Xbox One – Hands On and Played

MikeJ's picture
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 04:04 -- MikeJ

The annual Eurogamer Expo took place during September 26-29, and you can read about my experiences at the con by clicking HERE.

However, my real reason for visiting Eurogamer this year was to try out the Xbox One ahead of its release in November 2013. The crowds were buzzing to get their hands on the console, so I joined the masses and leapt in to the first queue I found showcasing the new console: Killer Instinct.

The queue was short, so I grabbed the controller and moved it around in my hands. The first thing I noticed is, somehow, Microsoft have improved on the Xbox 360 with the Xbox One controller. It moulds better in the hand, and after a short time playing, you kind of forget that you have a controller at all. It may sound cheesy, but it works like an extension of your hand. The buttons are well placed, have good resistance, and the LB, RB and triggers are comfortably located on top. It’s similar to the 360, but feels more natural, more suited to an adult’s hand. Whether children will give the same positive feedback is unsure, but as an adult gamer with adult hands, the controller is as close to perfect as it is likely to be.

So I selected my Killer Instinct character, as did my opponent (from a selection of three, as will be the case when it is released. I’m not going to offer my opinion on micro transactions other than… ugh) and we started our game.

Xbox One – Hands On and PlayedIt’s a real button masher.

I’m not a big fan of fighting games, and by the time the round was over my hands were already starting to ache a little from hitting random buttons hoping to get some decent moves and combos under my belt. Whenever I did it was by pure fluke, but it certainly looked good.

Yes, the graphics were great and yes, from what I could tell, the gameplay solid. Perhaps with more characters to choose from I would look a little more favourably on Killer Instinct, but from someone who is indifferent to fighting games in general, I can’t help but feel somewhat indifferent about this one as well. I’m hoping once the game is released it manages to change my mind, but for now, I’ll not be in any sort of rush to play it again.

A console beside me then opened up, and the controllers attached were in fact fight-sticks, so myself and my sparring partner had another round, this time with a more arcade feel to it. Again, it was ok, but then again maybe I’m just bitter because I lost.

Next up was Dead Rising 3, a game which I queued an hour to sample. The game wasn’t originally advertised as being playable at the expo, so I was giddier than a schoolboy when I realised I would get to try it out. I entered the booth, passed a zombie with a rotary blade sticking out from his chest, and took a controller beside my Killer Instinct opponent. I was ‘supervised’ by a Microsoft employee who guided me through my zombie slaughter – which is essentially all the demo was. It was 10 minutes of pure carnage, and as it booted up I had a sledgehammer equipped and a hoard of zombies in front of me. I smashed my way through the crowd and climbed in to a car – the controls are what we have come to expect from the Dead Rising series, and it all felt very familiar. The crowd of zombies felt my wrath, and it’s interesting that physics now play a bigger part in Dead Rising 3. If you hurl a small car in to a big crowd of zombies then the car slows down, unable to cope with the pressure, however if you power through in a bulldozer then even the biggest crowd cannot slow you down.

Once again weapon combos are back, however there is now no requirement to use a workbench to do so – in fact, I combined a steamroller and a motorbike to create a… motor-roller? Wait… a steam-bike? Whatever it was, it kicked serious zombie butt, and was even fitted with flamethrowers on the front.

Xbox One Dead Rising 3A flame-steam-bike? Awesome.

The graphics on Dead Rising 3 are light-years ahead of its predecessors, and the amount of zombies that appear on the screen at any one time is purely mind-blowing. This game really proves what the next gen consoles are capable of, and it’s no surprise the title isn’t coming to Xbox 360 – the console simply wouldn’t cope. It was fun, it was exciting, and my short rampage further cemented that Dead Rising 3 will be the number one title for me on launch day.

Next, I moved my way in to the Kinect area and checked out Sports Rivals. Kinect 2.0 is undoubtedly an improvement on the 360 version, and the movement is sleek, responsive and fun. Kinect Sports Rivals is finally showing what Microsoft wanted from the hardware.

It was at this stage I noticed the only downside to my experience with Xbox One – the console itself. It is HUGE. It’s bigger than the 360, and I would compare it to that of the original Xbox. It’s a monster of a box, and will really dominate people’s television setup. It’s inevitable that we will have a redesigned version in a few years, but until then, gamers are going to have to make do.

It’s a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless.

While I didn’t play Ryse, the game looks a little repetitive and involves a lot of quick time style gameplay mechanics. Those coming off the game had mixed reactions, but nobody outright disliked the game. I think this one will really split gamers upon its release.

Forza looks and handles like how you would expect. Realistic racers don’t really push my buttons, but the game looks phenomenal. It looks like you’re playing a cut scene, so really shows the graphical power the console is capable of. If racers are your thing, then Forza will not disappoint. They also had a full size car on display at the expo, so racing fans were treated well at Eurogamer.

To sum it all up, the Xbox One lives up to the hype. I won’t give my overall verdict on the console until I have it at home and I’m playing it on my own TV, but from what I sampled at the expo, it has done nothing but make me more excited for November. The console is great, the graphics are superb, and the gameplay is stunning.

Winter is coming, and I can’t wait to spend it playing Xbox One.

Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 9/30/2013

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