Microsoft set themselves back as soon as they announced the Xbox ONE. All that TV talk was never going to sit well with the core gamers that want a top of the range games console. Over time things have changed and people started to get excited again, as did I. I lined up before midnight to get my Day 1 edition of the Xbox ONE, excited but fully aware of the disappointment that could occur if Microsoft’s past failing reared their heads again. After over 12 hours of use I am hear to give my first impressions and show why I am excited to get up again tomorrow and play some more.
The setup process was simple enough. Install the day one update, configure some setting and preferences and log into my profile and I was all good to go. Nothing complicated and everything worked perfectly so no issue there, there was also a sweet intro video that really got me hyped (even if it was used as a marketing ploy it sure was effective on me).
Before I start I will say that I live in Scotland so anything that is not available in the UK right now I can’t comment on until it becomes available. I also have not experienced any faults at all (touch wood) but I have heard there have been some faults which again I can’t comment on.
First main thing is the huge change to the dashboard. The layout from Windows 8 is used and although on a PC I hate that interface it works a lot better on the XB1. Very easy access to your apps and games all displayed well. There were two negative I have to say about the dashboard and it may be a personal point as, like I mentioned, I don’t like Windows 8. I could not find any way to organise your apps so that you could place something in a place permanently. They all move around once you use something else and it can make it a little confusing as to where something has gone. The other is that a lot of the system options can not be accessed from the main dashboard, you have to press the Xbox button on your controller in order to reach some things. This is a minor thing but you may struggle to find something until to release where everything is. Being able to pin games and apps to your home is great but again I would lke to be able to organise it better. Achievements and your friends list have both been given an upgrade and although it may take not look the same as it did on the 360, it all looks great. More friends, more achievements and challenges along with a social feed on of your friends list allows you to show off even more and keep up to date with what everyone is doing.
The next big thing is the Kinect. A device I have never used in the past and had no interest in. It works well for the most part. Any command I gave it was recognised and if it wasn’t it was down to me not saying the right thing. Some of the commands it has do seem irrelevant and I was left wishing it had something I feel it needs. You can tell it to return to the dashboard or return to game, but you could simply press the button on the controller which is just quicker and other things seem to be there just for the sake of it instead of things that would make your experience better. For example, the Kinect is used for a microphone but if you are playing a game online and don;t want people to hear you, there is no way to turn it off (that I could find) without going into the settings menu. Simple things like that are the things I feel are needed, especially if you are forcing it on everyone. However there are things I do really like. The amazing ability to scan codes is just a god send. The fact that it saves battery on your controller is a great feature and even though I am not sold on having kinect features shoved into games, small things do add something new to the gameplay. In Ryse: Son of Rome you give commands to your troops by saying whatever is no the screen. You don’t have to but it works perfectly and allows you to focus on the amputation of the barbarian hordes. FIFA 14 allows you to (among other things) make substitutions on without pausing the game, as long as you can pronounce the players name properly that it. All in all I feel that Kinect could have a place in games, as long as it does not interfere with the gameplay.
I will talk about the games in a minute but first I will talk quickly about the apps. I did not go into any real depth with any of them as I am a gamer first, everything else is just an add on for me. But I did try out the YouTube, Internet Explorer, 4oD and Skype apps. 4oD and Skype worked well for the limited time a used them. Over time I will play around with them more and see what if anything becomes a problem but for now it all works fine. Internet Explorer and Youtube function almost seamlessly. I say almost because the major drawback still remains in that typing anything is still a chore. They have improved it slightly. It may just be the controller but it does seem sharper but still takes longer than you would like. You can use the Kinect to search on Bing but can’t for anything else which is a shame. I also downloaded the Upload Studio but have yet to try it out but being able to upload to my computer hopefully will mean making videos much easier. I have yet to try anything to do with TV or music but with most of that not available in the UK till 2014 (which is a huge negative if you are really looking for that “all in one” machine) then there is not much point.
The final point for now is the main focus for me, the games. On day one I bought Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3 with FIFA14 coming free with the console. I also downloaded the new Killer Instinct (with the additions of Assassin’s Creed 4, Forza 5 and Crimson Dragon coming in just over a months time). I do not want to go into to much detail about what I think about the actual games as I plan to review the ones I bought today as soon as I have finished them. Mainly I just want to mention how they run, the performance, etc. The game all look great. I have said in the past that the 1080p 60fps target is great, but games can look and play great without hitting that. Ryse shows off the Crytek engine really well and FIFA does look like a big step up from last years (even if the gamplay has not changed). Killer Instinct for me was my biggest surprise. I love it. The way it looks, plays, everything about it I loved that after playing for an hour I decided to buy the whole game as I could tell they had done an amazing job. I have yet to play Dead Rising 3 but will most likely start over the weekend (check back soon for my reviews of al four of these games).
The big thing I have to mention about the games is the install time. It will obviously vary depending on the size of the game and your internet connection but I would say that if I were you I would have something to play while you wait. You can play a game after it has installed some of the content but can’t access all of it until it has completed. FIFA for example allows you to basically play the demo and nothing else so if you want to just jump in a play a few matches it is ideal but some games take 30minutes and beyond, especially if you are downloading them. Installing from a disk also seem to let you play al little quicker as Ryse (dics) let me in at around 25% while Killer Instinct (download) not till 75%. But FIFA which I also downloaded gave me access to at around 40%. I will probably vary depending on the game and what they can give to access to, I can’t see something like an huge open world RPG allowing much until everything is ready.
So my Day One experience certainly made me excited for more. The three games I played all have me wanting more and I have yet to play Dead Rising 3 yet. I want to check out more of the apps, fiddle around with some settings, personalise it more to my taste and test out how well the uploading clips videos work.
The console is not perfect, but to me it definitely feels like next gen is actually here. Thumbs up from me thus far and I can’t wait to see what else I can get up to. Safe to say it’s going to be a busy weekend.