Xbox One review
At an after hours event at Microsoft’s gigantic E3 fortress, T3 finally got to play some actual video games on the brand new Xbox One console. While some of the console’s inner-workings and capabilities had been shown to T3 at Microsoft’s HQ in Redmond last month (check out our Xbox One analysis), this was the first time we got to see the Xbox One in action.
Xbox One: Size and Build
Microsoft has been investing in design like there’s no tomorrow (with Windows Phone sales being what they aren’t, perhaps there’s a grain of truth in that).
Xbox One: Features
The Xbox One will have 8GB of RAM but the processor and GPUs are ‘custom’ and ‘specially made’. The big tech news is that it will run two virtual machines and three operating systems.
Microsoft Xbox One vs Sony PS4: Next-gen showdown
Xbox One: Controller
The reason for this is that the four rumble pads on the Xbox One controllers on consoles that were hooked up to the games were disabled. As demonstrated back in Redmond and in a tech demo at Microsoft’s E3 booth, the new controller has four vibrating pads situated behind the triggers and where the player’s palms meet the controller.
They can provide a variety of sensations – such as simulating the kick of a firearm trigger, or the steady beating of a human heart – which are meant to better immerse the player with the action they’re controlling on screen.
Xbox One vs PlayStation 4: Next-gen showdown
The central ‘X’ button has been moved to the top of the controller and is also more flush against its surface; it’s light to the touch too, although T3 got told off for using it and inadvertently bringing up the UI.
Xbox One: UI
And since we paid for our nosiness with a mild ticking off, we might as well tell you about the glimpse we witnessed. The menu that flashed briefly before our eyes was laid out lengthways in a series of squares.
We didn’t have time to read any of the labels on any of them before the UI was removed from our field of vision, but the brief sense we got was that of a smaller version of the layout on a Windows Phone 8 handset if you gaze at it sideways.
Xbox One: Kinect
The next biggest change from Microsoft’s last gen machine is most evident in the Kinect Module. Unfortunately there were no games to play with the new sensor, but Microsoft’s booth personnel were more than happy to walk us through a demonstration of its capabilities.
Rather than reading the player as wiry stick figure with boxes for hands, feet and a head, the new Kinect module can pick up muscle texture, the shape of the player's head and register the difference between their thumbs and the tips of their fingers.
It can even pick up strain on the player's body parts, demonstrated to us when we stood one leg and saw our body part slowly turn red on the screen in front of us. Voice activated commands are still part of the package too.
Xbox One: Games
Microsoft is receiving a nasty caning from the entire Internet for its policies about second hand game sales, DRM, online and pricing in the wake of Sony’s press conference. Still, it’s worth remembering that before Sony stuck the boot in and changed everyone’s focus entirely, Microsoft had shown off a robust line up of video games at its keynote that looked absolutely brilliant.
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A lot of the titles that showcased the console’s variety either only exist in trailer form – such as D4 and the new Halo title – or as first-look demos
Xbox One : Forza 5
Still, Forza 5 is available on the shop floor and we have to say it looks utterly gorgeous. The series has always trafficked in car porn for petrolheads, but its never looked as good as it does running on the Xbox One at 1080p resolution with a super-smooth 60 frames per second.
The presentation is also boosted significantly by the intricate detail of the in-game textures; here, leather looks real enough to touch and every reflective surface shimmers as sunlight bounces off it. The draw distance is incredible, allowing players to navigate bends on the horizon the second they come into view up ahead and even the game’s dynamic lighting plays a part – pro- tip, don’t look directly into the sun.
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While this may sound like a game playing with itself – and what would be the point of that – bear in mind that the Drivatar’s performance is based around data collected on the player’s skill level. So, if you don’t play the game very often and show no desire to improve, it’ll be as rubbish as you are.
Xbox One: Ryse Son of Rome
Next, we took a look at Crytek’s sword and sandals epic Ryse: Son Of Rome. First unveiled at E3 in 2011 as a hardcore Kinect title, Ryse has since been re-fitted for the Xbox One’s control pad and given a visual scrub.
Xbox One: Games we want to play right now
It’s fun stuff, although a bit button-bashy, but the main sticking point – as was said earlier – was the fact that the deactivation of the rumble pads caused us to feel a lack of agency with our Roman solider – and when you’re slicing through barbarian bonces with a gladius, this is more important than you think.
Xbox One: Crimson Dragon
Finally, we took a look at Crimson Dragon, the rail shooter from Panzer Dragoon creator Yukio Futasugi. Once again, this title began life as a Kinect game with the working title Project Draco, but it’s now played with a control pad. (The booth assistant couldn’t confirm whether the Kinect controls had been stripped out utterly).
Xbox One: Verdict
This overall sense of uncertainty is a fitting way to round off our assessment of the new Xbox One, as our impressions are pretty inconclusive. A lot of the console’s appeal lies in believing its creators assertions that when it ships, it’ll do everything they say it will and more.
Hands-on pics and additional reporting by Mark Harris
Xbox One review
Xbox One reviewT3
Xbox One review
- Robust internal specs
- Oodles of potential
- Improved controls
title: Xbox One: Controller, Games / url: Xbox-One-Controller-Games
- Hulking brute of a machine
- Lack of killer launch titles
- Eye-watering price tag
Xbox One: Controller
At first glance, the Xbox One’s controller looks like a dead-ringer for its predecessor. Dual thumbsticks, face buttons, shoulder bumpers, D-pad and twin triggers are all where you’d expect to find them. But pick it up and play with it and the improvements become apparent.
The triggers feel smooter, the D-pad and shoulder buttons feel more responsive and the twin-sticks meld snugly to the player’s thumbs. The pad overall feels more molded to the player’s hands and the smooth surface is svelte to the touch. Instead of a Start and Select button, you have an Apps and Menu button, but they serve the same purposes in-game.
The most notable improvement are the rumble-filters beneath the controller’s casing that give players a sense of immersion the Xbox 360 didn’t have physically.
In a title like Forza 5 they convey the sensation of a roaring engine and the subtle push in a gear-change. In Call Of Duty Ghosts, where there’s enough action to send Bruce Willis into orbit, they convey every meaty trigger pull and shudder at every explosion.
Much has been made of the control pad’s re-design, but believe the hype; this controller is a marked improvement on its predecessor.
Xbox One: Games
The launch games themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. Among them, Forza 5 is clearly the frontrunner. Easily the best-looking title on the Xbox One, Forza 5 is a swoon-worthy racing simulator that is also the best demonstration of the console’s much heralded cloud gaming.
Right from the beginning, players will be racing against Drivatars, the virtual representation of other players, which the cloud tosses into their race. They can also build up their own Drivatar, which can grind for them when they’re away from the console.
READ:Best Xbox One games: The ultimate list
Ryse Son Of Rome is sword and sandals hack ‘n slash is a surprisingly layered affair, which tosses mini-games on top of a brutal combat experience to keep things varied.
Players take on a role of a commander in the Roman army who is called on to both provide tactical guidance to artillery and carve up foes with a sword with reckless abandon.
The story has about as much historical accuracy as Zach Schnyder’s 300, and the mechanics and level design leave a lot to be desired. That having been said, if you fancy a button bash in ancient Rome, this is probably your prettiest option.
Dead Rising 3, the third installment of Capcom’s open-world zombie fragfest, shuns the George A. Romero roots of its predecessors and heads straight towards the grim territory of The Walking Dead.
Centering on a mechanic called Nick, who is a dab-hand at creating amusing weapons by combining whatever’s around him at the time, the story is two parts morality tale and one-part sheer horror-show. Utterly excellent.
On the download side, Killer Instinct will be a boon to arcade veterans, while Crimson Dragon and Lococycle are so-so examples of DLC titles.
Zoo Tycoon and Kinect Sports Rivals round out the casual gaming side of the noteworthy platform exclusives.
There are also ton of second party games – most of which are replicated on the PS4. Yes, there are issues with COD: Ghosts 720p presentation, but if that’s a deal-breaker at this stage, then you’re really missing the big picture.
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