Just under a week ago, I bought myself an Xbox One. I’m not an avid gamer but I saw all the hoohaa promo blah blah and I guess I fell for it. Here’s my initial impressions based on six days with the Xbone.
Well, it started off badly. As soon as it booted, it needed an update. Really, MS? You can’t let the new owner have fun for a few minutes before updating? Bad start.
Once that had all done, I started trying all the much-hyped new features. The Xbone is, after all, meant to be your new media hub, playing films, blu-ray, music, everything.
So, I went to the Videos clicked it and….
… you have to install the Videos app.
Okay, seems weird. So, I headed over to the Music bit and…
… you have to install the Music app.
In fact, every single thing you want to do, apart from pop a game disc in, it seems you have to install an app. Even the vaunted social feature where you can record gameplay and upload clips, even that requires another install!
This is like buying a mobile phone, switching it on and then having to install an app to text, an app to make calls, an app to take pictures.
It’s clunky and totally, utterly Microsoft. It made me fantasise, briefly, about a parallel universe where I had unboxed the Apple iGame 4 and enjoyed the cosy welcome screen and a seamless, logical GUI, no extra install needed. Of course, it’d probably cost even more than the Xbone does.
So, for immediate user experience of the console: 6/10.
Pluses so far: the new Kinect seems very cool. And voice control actually works! I was quite amazed by how well it works, to be honest. We’re not far from the Minority Report benchmark judging by this.
Onto the gaming experience. I got Battlefield 4 with my Xbone and that’s fun. I mean, it’s shooty shooty, like how manly we are, gruff voice, YES SIR! NO SIR! standard teenage boy shit. But it’s nicely done and looks good, even if it has the narrative complexity of a spoon. Does anyone, apart from aforementioned teenage boys, take this macho horseshit seriously, though? Corny doesn’t even being to address my deep reservations. The USA as the heroes, the country that invaded Iraq and killed 1.2 million innocents? The country currently launching terrorist drone attacks on any wedding party it sees in Pakistan?
After a while, I tired of yet more lame US propaganda and headed to the store and…
… there are no games
Well, that’s not quite fair. There appear to be 28 in the online store. But that’s including things like Zumba Fitness World Party, Powerstar Golf and Extreme Tiddlywinks. Hardly the tentpole games one would want for a new generation of console. I’m most excited by Titanfall but that’s not out till March now and, in its absence, there are no huge games that aren’t PS4 too.
As an extra poke in the eye, Xbox One games retail for sometimes *twice* as much as the 360 version. Is it worth paying the markup? No ~ the graphics aren’t hugely different and they are, in every other respect, exactly the same game. All of which seems like a huge con trick that I, gullible fat fish that I am, have swallowed.
Look, maybe once Titanfall and other Xbox One exclusives come out, I’ll feel a little happier. Maybe there will be new games that make me gasp at the power of this next-gen brick. But, for the moment, my general feeling is that I’ve handed over my cash and been very, very underwhelmed at what it bought me.