The Xbox 360 is touted for its three-chip processing power and rich graphics capability, but it is the extra touches Microsoft hopes will lead to the development of a gaming community around its next-generation console. Among the more interesting features are the console's ability to make unlimited free calls to other 360 users when the device is connected to a broadband modem. There is also voice mail, text messaging and a friends list which works much like MSN Messenger. For those looking to build their cred with other gamers, Microsoft has introduced a new scoring system, which allows users to rack up points and rise in the community. In each title, players can earn a maximum of 500 points through unlocking game secrets and other methods. Other features to keep users coming back to the Xbox community include free access to Xbox Live Market Place, where players can download free game demos, expansion packs, trailers, classic games, user-interface themes and wallpaper. At a presentation in Hong Kong last week, Microsoft unveiled several 360 titles. The first was Kameo: Elements of Power, which is best described as a combination of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Pokemon in a Shrek-like 3D environment. Forest scenes are beautifully rendered, highlighting the 360's brilliant graphics capabilities. One could easily mistake Kameo for a Pixar animation rather than a video game. Another game on hand was Perfect Dark Zero, the sequel to 2000's Perfect Dark by Rare. Like Kameo the graphics are impressive, and the guns highly detailed to the point of near realism. But the 3D environment, although much better than typical first-person shooter games, still has those hard edges to buildings and walls; texture maps are obvious when walking through a tight hallway or alley. Also, when the AI simulants get up in your face the graphics become quite horrible and ugly. Character control is quite easy. But once things go to hell in a firefight with half a dozen simulants, you suddenly wish you were ambidextrous. The main problem was the lack of lock-on targeting (that I am aware of since I had no manual). This made trying to evade getting shot with one button while aiming with another quite difficult, sort of like attempting to write two letters with both left and right hands at the same time. One of the funniest moments came after shooting a simulant in the crotch (not intentionally). He bent over in pain at a 90-degree angle at the waist, muttered something incoherent and then straightened up. It took another three shots in the same area (this time for laughs) before the simulant died. As usual with new game systems, there are few titles that showcase the console's improved capabilities. But give a year for software developers to harness the 360's full power, and the console looks to be a strong challenger to the dominant status of Sony PlayStation.