Review: XBox One


So I went and did it.  Even though I said that I would only go with one system this console generation, I ended up getting each of the big three’s consoles (PS4, Wii U and Xbox One)  Each system has it’s selling points, usually games that are only for that system or has a link to an older version on the previous console.  With the Xbox One, it wasn’t so much Halo 5, but the fact that all previous DLC for Rock Band are transferable to Rock Band 4.  I have a ton of those.  So I got the XB1 without the Kinect.

I’ve had played on the XB1 before.  When I was working abroad, I had the chance to log into one and play some games.  Like PS4, your account from the previous console (in this case, the Xbox Live account) is transferable.  You keep your Gamer score, Gamer tag and even your Avatar.  You can create a new profile picture with your Avatar, and customize it with the Avatar items you bought/earned.  Unfortunately, the Avatar shop has yet to make it into XB1.

The interface is not so different from the 360.  Because Microsoft was so hell-bent on getting everybody to use the Kinect, it is similar to the Windows 8/ Windows Metro GUI.  I don’t have one for my XB1, but I did have it for the 360 so I assume it works in a similar fashion.  The interface is divided into 5 sections:  Pins, where you can pin shortcuts to your favorite apps, much like in Windows 8; Home, where you launch your games and apps from; Friends, where you see your Xbox friends, who’s online, what everyone’s been playing and who ahead in their Gamer Score; What’s One; showcasing Xbox media videos, popular Xbox Twitch broadcasts and the popular movies on the Xbox Video service, and Store, where you buy games, add-ons, movies & TV apps, etc.

Warriors Or0chi 3 Ultimate
It is the games that make the console in the end and the XB1 has it fair share.  I’ve played NBA2K15, Shadow over Mordor, Warrior’s Orochi and Halo: The Master Chief Collection and they all look great. Microsoft has the support of all the major third-party companies and will have some exclusives, like the next Tomb Raider game.  With Halo 5 out next month and Gears of War getting re-released, there sure to be some old favorite returning to the XB1.

Now, I do have an issue with the fact your games are installed to the hard drive.  Back when the system was first announced, they touted that you could take your games to a friends XB1 through your Live account, provided your friend had the internet speed and bandwidth to download a 22 GB game in the time you are there.  They also promised Game Sharing, in which you could link up to 10 Live accounts to your copy of the game..  But this would mean you could trade in XB1 games and the public didn’t like that.  So Microsoft remove that feature, but the installation of the game remains.

In my experience, the installation of the game takes a long time.  Like a few hours.  You pretty much cannot do anything on your XB1 during this.  It is even longer than installing games on a PC from a disc.  I really don’t know why it takes so long.  Rare Replay (a collection of older games made by Rare studios) took the least amount, an hour an a half, but that was only the older games and videos.  The ports of Perfect Dark and Conker’s Bad Fur Day were downloads which  can take a while if you have crappy internet like me (Thanks, Bell!).  You still need the disc to play the game after that!  If the game requires an update, you cannot play it at all until it is finished, unlike on the PS4.

Hard Drive space is also an issue.  With the games installing on your 500 GB hard Drive (newer ones have 1 TB), you run out of room quickly.  Unlike the PS4, upgrading your hard drive is more difficult and will void your warranty.  However, you can use an external hard drive as well and load you games onto it.  You can them go into options and have the games load up from that drive.

Like the PS4, the XB1 has ways to share your gaming experience.  You can capture or live stream or live stream your gameplay on Twitch, or post it to Twitter from your console.  XB1 also allows you to take screen shots, and post them to Twitter or upload it to your One Drive (Microsoft’s cloud storage).  The screen shot mode is a recent feature and it takes a bit to get used to. It seems more like an after thought, unlike the PS4 with its Share button.

One thimg Microsoft did get right is including media connectivity with your PC.  You can stream movies and music fro your PC as well as use pictures from there as backgrounds.  You cannot, however save music to your XB1 for custom soundtracks/entrances (for the WWE games), but I hope they could change that.  It also plays Blu-Ray, but you need a free app from the Store to do so.

Another advantage is Backwards compatibility.  The XB1 is getting the ability to play older Xbox 360 games, both digital and on disc through emulation downloaded for each game.  We have see this through the Rare Replay versions of the Perfect Dark games and Viva Pinata.  Time will tell which games you’re able to play, but I’m sure most AAA games will be on that list.

Perfect Dark Zero is one of the first 360 games playable on Xbox One
Perfect Dark Zero is one of the first 360 games playable on Xbox One
The Xbox One is a great console  that was mired by bad luck in the PR leading up to the release and Microsoft deciding what people want without asking what they want.  Microsoft envisioned an entertainment hub;  gamers wanted a gaming platform.  Some of these ideas might work well, and one day, Microsoft will be commended on it’s forward thinking.  But people were worried about privacy and didn’t want Microsoft tracking what they watch or the Kinect watching them even when they are not on the XB1.  That probably cost them some early adopters.

In the end, I think the Xbox One will do well.  Games will drive the sales of the console.  I’m sure there will be an increase of XB1 purchases around the time that Halo 5 comes out..  In this console generation, Both Sony and Microsoft are in good positions, but I think Sony has the edge.  I will buy most of my games for PS4, mostly I like to play them right away, not after three hours of installation.  If Microsoft can fix that issue, it might be different