The Xbox One was marketed by Microsoft as being more than simply a gaming console with more emphasis being placed on it being an entertainment device. Now while this might have swayed some people in direction of its competitor the PS4; it is fair to say that Microsoft has delivered the next-gen experience with the entertainment features that it focused so much on.
The first thing that strikes you when you first remove the console from the box is that it did live up to the suggestions that it looked like a 90s VCR, but a nice one at that. Looks aside it’s a nervy hour or so of set up considering that this was a console at launch which was bound to have some problems. Issues surrounding the disk drive and power supply have affected a minority of people but there is still that possibility that it occurs until the console is running properly, although these are easily avoided.
If you have a PC that runs Windows 8, then the Xbox One’s menu system should not be too difficult to navigate as it heavily resembles Microsoft’s most recent operating system, but there are still times when you may find yourself struggling to find what you’re looking for. This is where the brand new Kinect comes in, even though the first iteration of the device on the 360 can be argued to have been nothing more than a mere tech demo for the new version and it seems to have served its purpose. Motion controls aside, the voice control functionality has been improved to be more responsive and include a bigger array of recognised vocabulary to the extent that voice control is the easiest and quickest way to navigate the Xbox One’s UI. This also extends to turning the console off and on and perhaps the coolest feature of the new box, the snap function. Now you can have picture in picture simply by saying “Xbox Snap” which means that when working through Dead Rising 3, you can watch Netflix or YouTube, or bring up a walkthrough via the Machinima app which automatically loads videos based on where you are in the game that you’re currently playing. This is a great feature but it still lacks the ability to control the volume of the individual screens which is not a great problem but can be annoying if you’re trying to listen to a walkthrough for instance.
However, the Xbox One still remains at its core, a gaming console and to that end it is time to look at some of the games that were released at launch. Perhaps the most notable launch exclusive is Forza Motorsport 5. The fifth instalment of the series has made the jump to the next-gen with great success. The cars look scarily like their real life counterparts and the locations have also received the next-gen treatment while the further integration of BBC’s Top Gear helps add that bit of comedy to what is a mostly serious racing sim. The new ‘Drivatar’ system now ensures that you will never race against the vanilla AI but against computers based on real people’s driving styles. This means that gone are the days of boring repetitive races where you can win far too easily because now the AI is aggressive and will make mistakes such as going off the track or spinning out at a corner. Forza 5 perfectly shows off the capabilities of this new console and therefore is an absolute must-buy if you do pick up an Xbox One. Other recommended games for the new console include Dead Rising 3 which doesn’t necessarily have the greatest next-gen graphics but is a lot of fun; and NBA 2K14 which, if you enjoy sports simulators, delivers the most authentic experience in this genre yet, with perfect graphics and unbelievable reproduction of the real life NBA players.
Overall it is safe to say that the Xbox One has had a successful launch with over 3 million units being sold in launch countries. When looking at the launch titles for both of the new consoles, the Xbox One arguably has won this “battle”, but it will take more time to determine which of the two is ultimately better. The Xbox One is worth your time if you wish to spend the money on it but there is still plenty of life left in the very successful and affordable Xbox 360.
What do you think to the Xbox One? Better than the PS4? What launch titles are your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below