Review: New Xbox Experience (aka the Xbox 360 Dashboard Update)

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The main dashboard on the NXE

So the new Xbox 360 Dashboard Update (aka NXE for New Xbox Experience) has been out now for about a week, and I got mine the night it came out and have been using it for the past couple days more frequently (I had some tests I needed to study for before, which is why this review is coming a little late 😉 ).

Anyways, what are my thoughts? Is this better or worse than the old Xbox 360 “blade” dashboard? Read on for the answer. 

You know what- I’ll give you my answer right up front- I love this new Dashboard update.

Plain and simple. The menus are clear and easy to use, and on HD look AMAZINGLY CLEAR! The avatars, while some may consider Wii-ish and stupid for such a system that plays Halo — and their argument is valid and understandable — I find look pretty nice, and while I don’t really use them in any games, I like the whole “create your own player idea” (probably a reason I love the Madden Superstar mode 🙂 ). The avatars are not really bothersome in any way, and are just a 3D character– you don’t even need to use them as your Gamertag.

Another thing I like in the NXE update is that when you’re on Xbox Live, you can see what your friends are playing on the Dashboard panel devoted to Xbox Live.

Oh, and for those of you who really liked the old interface, the Xbox 360 still has it! Now when you hit the big “X” on your controller, you’re greeted with that much-cleaner blade interface over the old side panel of the old interface. I like this a lot- going through music from an iPod or Mp3 player connected to your 360, as well as looking at you friends online is much easier to navigate and use without exiting your game.

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The old “blade” interface on the NXE

Let’s now move to another feature- Playing Games off the Hard Drive.

For those with a newer Xbox 60 GB or Elite with the 120 GB Hard Drives (or someone who upgraded to the 120 GB or 60 GB “starter pack” bundle), this is a great option.

I personally like it a lot, and while load times weren’t necessarily much faster, the lack of noise from the DVD drive was golden. Seriously, that thing can be LOUD! I only have a 20 GB hard drive, so I’m not gonna be able to do this with all my games (each game is several GB’s- Madden 09 for example, is close to 7), but its still a nice feature.

A couple things to note. This isn’t done automatically every time you load a new game- you need to go to the game on the Dashboard, click Y, and then select Copy to Hard Drive. The process of copying the game takes a few minutes, but it isn’t a terrible wait. Also, YOU NEED TO HAVE THE GAME IN THE XBOX WHEN YOU PLAY IT OFF THE HARD DRIVE! For obvious reasons (i.e. people not buying games but just renting and then coping), Microsoft made this a requirement (bummer I know).

Overall, this is a must (literally, Microsoft made this a required download) have for any Xbox 360 owner, and is a great update to what I think is the best gaming system on the market.

What are your thoughts- love/hate the new update? Want the old blade interface back? Think another system is better than the 360 (and if so which one)? Have an opinion on the NXE you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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Posted on November 28, 2008, in First Look/Reviews, Video Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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