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Xbox One In One Week

Now that we are a few weeks into the release of the new consoles, me being the "Xbox Guy", I chose to sit down with the Xbox One and share my thoughts so far on Microsoft's new system. I don't want to get into the games, as at this point there really isn't any significant changes from PS4 to the Xbox One, and it really comes down to your controller preference.

I wanted to focus more on how the system itself is, how I'm enjoying the interface, the controller, and how use to it I am after a week straight of playing around with it.

 

I had my pre-order in for the Day One Xbox One for a few months now. As it was getting closer to launch day, I was getting rather excited. I stuck around and read all about the successful launch of the PS4 and was getting excited to own that system soon, too. However, being primarily an Xbox gamer this past generation, I still had some hope for the Xbox One.

Lo and behold, it arrived at around 6pm on the 22nd. I stared at the Day One's black sleek box for a few seconds. I enjoyed how minimalist it was. No tacky ads for other games or accessories on the back, just the Xbox One text and info of what was included in the box. It felt like getting a brand new Apple product, like they really care about the outside representing that you're getting a fancy, top hat wearing, device on the inside.

I cracked it open and front and center was the new Kinect. I moved that and all of the other nifty gifties aside and experienced a "HOLY HELL THAT'S THE BIGGEST CONSOLE I HAVE EVER SEEN!!" feeling. The Xbox One is massive. It's rather heavy and dwarfs the modern 360 consoles by comparison. I don't mind the design as both the PS4 and the Xbox One are going for this part gloss, part matte finish. I couldn't, however, help but feel that when put next to my 360, it was the Xbox One that looked like the older generation.

Once I had it set up and plugged in, I quickly forgot about its aesthetics. Now, it was all about the insides of this machine.

 

Once I got through the day one update required, connected the Xbox One to my WiFi, and watched the start up video, I was ready to get into the belly of the beast. Before I got into that, however, I wanted to test just how fast this machine was at booting up. Suffice to say, I was very pleased at how instantaneous it was from the moment of commanding my Xbox to turn on via the Kinect, and how it was at its home screen, ready for me to play around with it.

If you are a user of Windows 8, have a Windows Phone, or have all of the latest dashboard updates for your 360, everything will seem rather familiar. It took me very little time to get use to the tile system. This is also made easier by the fact that there are a lot less sections to toggle through now. There are three primary areas of the dashboard: The home screen, your pins, and the store section. Setting up your pins is easy and navigating between everything feels fluid.

Now that you can tap the Xbox Home button on your controller and it will take you to the home screen right away, multitasking on a system has never been easier. I was very impressed with how I could pause a game, load up Skype, chat with a friend for an hour, and get right back into my game where I left off. This, with the added ability to Snap things like your TV which you can hook up through the Xbox One's new HDMI in port, makes this an amazing home entertainment unit for just about everything, which is what Microsoft has been trying to sell us on since day one.

There are a few things I found slightly off about it. One being the fact that you can't edit your download queue in any way. This makes it very annoying if you're downloading a game that will take several minutes, and realize that you haven't downloaded the YouTube app, which will take less than fifteen seconds, and watch a video while your game donwloads. The other minor nuisance is the Game and Apps tile. I don't like the fact that they are put together and believe games should have their own, large, designated tile, as opposed to being bunched with all of the apps you have downloaded. Within this tile it didn't seem that there was an individual section for games and apps either, which was very annoying when wanting to just look at the games, or vice versa.

Those were really the only things I had slight issues with, and overall, I was very pleased to see how fast, and easy this system was to use from the start. Updates can always come to fix the minor issues, and I do hope that one of them is to make a separate tile for games. I still want to feel like this is my primary gaming machine, after all.

 

I think it's going to kill me in my sleep.

 

I have had almost every system to come out since the Super Nintendo of my childhood, and in my opinion, the 360 controller is the BEST controller in gaming. I was upset at the Sixaxis, and a year later by the underwhelming DualShock 3 and the 360 controller continued to be solid throughout its generation. Now, the PS4 controller is fantastic, and an amazing improvement over its older brothers and has, undoubtedly received more praise than the Xbox One's controller. I wanted to see if this was deserved.

The first thing I noticed when holding it, was the fact that it's still an Xbox controller. It is going to feel very familiar to anyone who has held a 360 controller before, which, to me, is a good thing. There are a lot of small changes. The joysticks are smaller and allow for more precision, the shoulder buttons are larger, and the controller itself is lighter.

The joysticks I really liked, and with the new grip on them, they felt great. The shoulder buttons are placed nicely, but don't give a satisfying feeling when being pressed. Making the controller lighter is something I actually don't like. It makes it feel a tad too toy like, a problem I had with the DualShock 3.  By far the best, and coolest addition, are the separate rumble motors in each trigger. This feels so natural when playing a game, that it's amazing this was not done sooner.

So far, I still give the edge to the 360 controller, but I really had no problem feeling at home and playing with this, and time will tell if it becomes my new favourite controller.

 

   

Overall, I'm very pleased with my first week with the Xbox One. The speed and multitasking make this one hell of a machine to own. And yes, the Kinect is vastly improved, and worked incredibly well. I had to repeat some of my voice commands a few times, and while I was watching Netflix, it popped up and I had to tell it to stop listening to me to go away. I'm interested to see the tweaks they will continue to make to it, and the games that will be developed for it as time goes by.

I am happy to see systems like the PS4 focus on gaming so heavily, but I do believe with the potential the Xbox One displays, it has so much to offer in the future in a wider variety than we have ever seen in gaming consoles before. Just make a damn Game tile!