Xbox One Review

With the exception of my cat chewing through the cord of the headset, I have had nothing but a great experience with my new Xbone.  From its quick, multitasking prowess all the way down to the pinnacle of gaming controllers, I have been impressed and more than pleased.  Is it for everyone?  Well, no.  If you aren’t already using a 360/PS3 on a daily basis, there probably isn’t a need to jump to the next gen anytime soon.  However, if you find yourself wanting to respark that pure gaming adrenaline, picking up one of these bad boys will certainly get your blood pumping.  “Xbox On.”

As I walk inside the house, that simple phrase boots up the Xbox One, flips on the TV, and signs me in before I even make it to the kitchen.  Unbelievably, it took less than 30 minutes for the initial setup to have the new console in this running condition.  That included unboxing, cord tetris, update download (this alone only took FIVE minutes!), account recovery, and all that fun preliminary mumbo jumbo.  I have been up and running ever since.  Snacks in hand, I return to the couch to start talking to the Xbone.

Personally, I don’t mind voice commands.  As long as the vocal cues are functional and easy, they provide shortcuts that would otherwise be impossible.  That said, I think finding your own combination of voice and controller input is the real magic.  Sure I can “Xbox Go Home,” but when that sexily lit button on my controller does it instantaneously, there is no need.  However, if I am folding laundry or eating dinner, that option remains accessible without scrounging for my controller.  Navigating the menus is simple.  They have rid the HUD of trash and have presented a simplistic selection of options that you can tailor.  This is useful if you are in the dark for how you are going to occupy your night.  Most of us know what we are getting into though, so with just an “Xbox” prompt you can say exactly what it is you wish to do.  Squeezing in some game time before your significant other gets home?  When she walks in ready to catch up on this week’s shows, “Xbox go to Hulu” has you there in a blink of an eye.  She actually wants to watch a movie instead?  “Xbox go to Netflix” and just as fast as Hulu was there, that green was washed away with red.  It truly is a marvel to behold, and the power you feel is hard to explain.

The complaints I have seen in regards to this functionality is that gamers just want to play games.  For the past few years as I’ve pulled up my friends list while gaming, everyone is doing anything but playing a game.  This person is streaming, that person is streaming, and, hey look, that person isn’t streaming.  Oh but they have a DVD playing…  Microsoft knew what they were doing when they made this console.  Even with all of this new integration, I still feel this all is just accompanying a true gaming system.  At any time during these other possible activities, you can go back to the game that you were playing hours ago and pick up right where you left off.  Simply amazing.  To top it all off, you can go touch the Xbone and find that it is barely lukewarm after all that time.

Of all the new features, “Xbox Snap” is by far the coolest.  Having the One snap in a show or search bar on the side of the screen while playing a game is the future I’ve always dreamt about.  Attention is hard to divide, but most things have priority.  If I am playing a turn based game or mindlessly killing with no story investment, I can easily watch a show at the same time.  The only problem with snapping at the moment is volume control between the programs.  There is no easy way to mute or adjust sound unless you use the game’s/app’s settings.   I doubt it will be long before we have a patch to clean this up though.

Now, if you haven’t had a chance, you need to find an Xbone controller and wrap your fingers around pure bliss.  The upgrades are nice: better D-pad, sticks, shape, battery pack/life, and look.  There is something else entirely about its feel that I can’t put into words.  I just feel joy with it in my hands.  For those who used to pop off the back to quickly turn off their 360 controller, those days are over.  However, holding the guide button to do so is a much faster process than before.  This guy is almost a system seller alone. 😉

I am itching to pick up Just Dance 2014 to check out some motion control gaming, but my wallet said I was on restriction for a bit.  There is a Kinect Rivals demo to meet these needs in lieu of dancing goodness…

I am stunned.

With just the one Jet Ski level available, I was blown away with the Kinect’s improvement.  YOU HIT THE GAS BY CLOSING YOUR HAND!  After a few rounds, never did I once feel that my performance, good or bad, was affected by the Kinect not picking up my movements.  All these rounds were played coop, and my partner in crime was having as much as a blast as I was with just this one demo level.  With Just Dance being the exception, I am not one to normally play any motion based games.  This demo has definitely slipped a seed of doubt in my mind in that regard.

Overall, it is a fun time whenever I turn on the Xbox One.  It does so much, yet still does what I truly enjoy which is gaming.  With new titles on the way and the inevitable drop of the old consoles, I am poised to continue without a hitch.

I really want to check out the PS4, but the Xbox One and life have prevented the opportunity so far.  The only reason I would attempt to sway a friend or fellow gamer to purchase the One over the PS4 would be so they could play with me online.  Hopefully, Sony has its own bag of improvements that will get the industry back to a state of innovation.

Because in the end, that is what gamers need.  We didn’t get where we are now by just releasing and playing the same old same old.  Each company’s success and risks serve to improve our experiences as a whole.  Maybe you aren’t too keen on voice controls, or you aren’t syched that we lost backwards compatibility.  These are stepping stones for a goal that we don’t even know yet.  Personally, I can say that I love my new console with all its bells and whistles, because every bit of it is just the beginning.  We’ve got years before any system reaches its true potential, and I already love it.

Feel free to ask about specifics or something you don’t understand about the Xbone, and I’ll be glad to talk your ear off!

About Groat Hardstroke

Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!
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