As noted in a previous rant, I’d become totally frustrated with getting Final Fantasy XI to run stably on my PC. So I went out to Virgin yesterday and bought an Xbox 360, a copy of Final Fantasy XI for Xbox 360, and the VGA HD cable so that I could connect it to my PC monitor. Yesterday was a pretty hot and sticky day, which did not help my mood setting things up. Nevertheless, the setup was pretty painless, the only setup related hitch being that I’d forgotten my Microsoft Passport password which is needed to setup Xbox Live. The only other issue was due to my own oversight. In my haste, I didn’t give enough thought to the sound setup. My Samsung 730b monitor doesn’t have built in speakers. Luckily my cheapy Labtec speaker cables allowed me to plug in a splitter to share the speakers between the PC and the 360, so I can get sound. This isn’t a great solution though. What I really want is to find a good amplifier that I can plug both into.
Once the initial setup was complete, the next 3+ hours involved installing Final Fantasy XI. There’s no getting around this since the game is pretty big and then it has to be updated to the current version. So I had dinner and used my old monitor switch box to flip back to the PC. Once installed, I spent the next 2 or 3 hours running around San d’Oria before heading back across La Thiene to the Valkurm Dunes. That was enough to be impressed by the graphics and overall smoothness of play. Playing FFXI on the 360 is, for me at least, a much better experience than on my PC. So by that measure, I achieved my primary objective. The placement of the analog sticks on the wireless controller took some getting used to, but I was thrilled to be free of controller cords at last! And the Logitech USB keyboard that I used with my PS2 version of the game plugged easily into one of the two USB ports on the front of the 360, and with the exception of the Caps On light not working, works well.
Today, I’m going to check out the Xbox Live offerings and other goodies including running some of my old Xbox games. One last thing to note, in probably 6 hours of operation, this box definitely gets hot! It won’t burn your hand if you touch it, but you’ll definitely feel the heat. So this thing should definitely be placed in the open for maximum airflow or it’ll fry itself and anything around it! The Xbox 360 is quite literally, hot!