A grey and drizzly London played host to the UK's first demonstration of Microsoft's Xbox 360 yesterday, at an invite-only press event held in a luxury apartment overlooking the banks of the River Thames, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

Xbox 360 UK First Play press event - Photo copyright GamesPaper

Several launch titles were on show, with the much-hyped Perfect Dark Zero drawing a fair amount of attention, and it feels very much like you'd expect a Perfect Dark game to be, but with nice new next-gen high definition visuals to boot. It seems likely that PDZ will appeal to fans of the original but unfortunately doesn't quite seem the killer title that so many had been hoping for, and simply put doesn't feel as though it's equivalent to the original Xbox's big launch title Halo.

Another game on show which looked as though the only obvious difference was its HDTV looks was Namco's Dead or Alive 4, which was 92% complete but had vast parts of the game locked giving only access to the two-player versus mode. Where next generation power did break through was with Activision's Call of Duty 2, which on a brief play certainly did seem to offer some visually impressive action coupled with the already good gameplay which CoD is known for.

Xbox 360 UK First Play press event - Photo copyright GamesPaper

Indisputable personal favourite at this stage is the Bizarre Creations developed PGR3, and although it doesn't really seem to do anything particularly different from the previous titles in the Project Gotham series (at least in single player offline mode) it still manages to impress and stand out as one of 360's key games - one which seems certain to be the big seller when Xbox 360 launches this Christmas.

New additions to the game include point-to-point racing where you simply have to sprint from one part of the city to another, whilst a new route creation feature allows you to place start and finish points at pre-selected locations in London, Los Vegas, New York and Tokyo, and then click on the checkpoints that you want the course to follow through the winding streets.

Xbox 360 UK First Play press event - Photo copyright GamesPaper

Microsoft were also demonstrating the Xbox 360 Guide features, and showed off the connectivity aspect of it by linking up an Apple iPod Nano and Sony PSP - both of which had music streamed off of them, and in the case of the PSP photos were used in a slideshow, with one being selected as the background graphic for the blades of the 360 Guide, and all done at the click of a button without having to drill down through tedious settings screens.

Xbox 360 launches in the UK and across Europe on December 2nd, with some 15 to 20 games expected during the launch period on the run up to Christmas, and you can read our hands-on preview of PGR3 here.

Related articles:
X05: London returns for PGR3
December 2nd for UK Xbox 360 launch
Origen welcomes the wise to Xbox 360 launch