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Xbox in the test: Microsoft dares to revolt against Sony

Xbox in the test: Microsoft dares to revolt against Sony

Use of games

We simply picked out the best games from the start, after all, we don't want to rate the games ourselves. It's more about seeing what the programmers actually get out of the hardware's potential.

Halo

Real fans will already feel a shiver when they hear the music they remember from the very first videos after inserting the Halo DVD. Then a new player profile is impatiently created, whereupon you can lean back to be introduced to the story through an intro in game graphics. It doesn't look bad, but it's not exactly exhilarating either. Above all, the wobbly animations in the intro make you look skeptical at first. But that's forgotten as soon as you can watch the Master Chief, the main character of the game, wake up from his cryosleep for the first time.

The Master Chief
The Master Chief
The Master Chief
Halo in Action

The depiction of every scratch on his armor, in which the surroundings are reflected, makes game freaks feel a tingling sensation for the second time. Then you are briefly introduced to the controls, in which the two analog sticks take on the role of mouse and keyboard, and before you are really done, and without having a weapon in your hand, you are surprised by intruders in front of whom you are must flee from his own spaceship. As in the intro, the interior of the ship doesn't look breathtaking during this first section, but honestly you don't have much time to look around either. The excitement around you is far too great, so that you can most likely notice how great explosions and bullets are represented. In addition, Artificial Intelligence has been particularly fascinating from the start, and not only do the opponents skilfully take cover, but above all you get strong support from clever buddies. Once you have escaped from the ship, any flaws on the graphics are finally passé.

The ring planet, the gave the game its name, looks beautiful from front to back. Whether rocky grasslands are explored on foot, whether snow landscapes are flown over or whether the beach is made unsafe in a jeep. No other game has ever had such detailed outer worlds. Again and again you come to places that you like to play multiple times, just to enjoy the graphics. The effects possible with the XGPU and DirectX 8 are clearthe icing on the cake, because you can't tear up trees with a resolution of 640x480 alone, that's perfectly clear. The absolutely fluid animations also contribute to the gaming experience. Where animation and effects meet, there are always highlights. For example, when the ice that has become plastic through bump mapping and environment mapping splinters when driving over it or shooting at it - nothing like this has simply been seen on the PC before.

Halo landscapes

Now here don't get the impression that we're writing for Bungie or Microsoft's PR department. The above are highlights that showed us what the Xbox hardware is capable of. It is completely clear that Halo as a game also has significant weaknesses, but these are not to be evaluated here. Only one is worth mentioning from our hardware perspective. And Halo can also be played side by side in co-op mode. It's a lot of fun, but this mode clearly shows the limits of the Xbox for the first time, so that in this case you have to accept one or the other heavy jerk. Of course, that could not change the excellent overall impression that Halo left.

On the next page: Rallisport Challenge

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