I’ve seen a couple of articles on the Xbox One recently, especially on N4G, and one view that is always expressed in the comments is that the Xbox One ‘fanboys’ never give an honest opinion of the games console. I wouldn’t completely agree, though there are clearly those that will defend it to the death for some unknown reason. I own an Xbox One, and I love the console, but the thing about love is that it isn’t always perfect. Everything and everyone has flaws, it’s what makes life so interesting. So, to answer the critics that accuse us Xbox One owners of blindly backing the console, I’ve decided to write two articles. One (this one) will talk about the bits of the console that I like, the other article will focus on the negative aspects of the machine. I want to give an honest, balanced look at the console because, at the end of the day, the Xbox One isn’t perfect and it’s OK to accept that. So here’s what I like about the Xbox One.
I love the games on the console. Some might complain about the titles on offer but, in the most part, they’ve been of a really high quality. Dead Rising 3 was amazing, by far the best of the series and, to date, the best zombie game that I’ve ever played (apart from Telltale’s TWD game series, of course. Though that’s not a conventional zombie game). The other games on the console run incredibly well, and a lack of 1080p isn’t a deal breaker in my books – though I could understand why others are bothered by it. The graphics are brilliant and, to be perfectly honest, you can only notice a slight difference between the PS4 and the Xbox One if you put screenshots side by side – otherwise the differences are miniscule. Of course there are exclusive games on the PS4 that I would love to play, but I’m sure that I’d be in the same boat had I purchased a PS4 instead. Overall, the games are of a good quality, they’re fun, exciting, engaging, beautiful and more than worth my time and money … though it would be nice if they were cheaper.
I’ve had very few issues with my online games – including Battlefield 4 – and as an overall experience, online gaming on the Xbox One is pretty damn good. Of course, I’ve had lagging issues across most of my games on rare occasions, with FIFA 14 being the worst culprit for me, but in the most part I have few complaints. Where the Xbox One really excels, however, is with its social online features. The friends system is simple and, after a few updates, is almost flawless. You’re informed when friends come online and you can invite them to a ‘party’ in a matter of seconds. Party connection is clear and very rarely malfunctions (again, after the updates) and it’s crazy simple to invite friends to games as well as join their game in progress. The Kinect really helps with all of this, as voice commands (for me at least) are easy to use and the simplest way of controlling the console. Plus talking to my console makes me feel like I’m on Star Trek … which is a good thing.
As an all round entertainment device
Something that Microsoft promised (and have definitely delivered) is that the Xbox One would be an all round entertainment device. I was a little sceptical at first but, over the past few months, my Xbox One has firmly become the centre of my room. I play my music through it, I watch TV through it (both from my cable subscription and Netflix / LoveFilm) I use it for BluRays and, of course, I play games on it. It really is the centre of my media, and I’ve not had a problem with any of its entertainment functions. This is definitely the console for someone who likes using online media services like Netflix and LoveFilm, but if you’re all about the games, I’d imagine that you wouldn’t be too bothered by all of this. Still, using the Xbox One is a fantastic way of connecting all of your media together in one place.
I’ll admit it now, Kinect isn’t for everyone. I have a couple of friends who never use theirs, and that’s fine. I, however, use mine all the time – pretty much every day in. fact. I use it to turn the console on, I use it to switch between games, TV and online streaming. I use it to join or leave parties or to manage and switch between my apps. It’s incredibly easy to use and, for me at least, it’s very accurate. It’s rare that I have to repeat myself, but even if I do it’s still quicker than finding the controller if I want to quickly watch an episode of Archer on Netflix, or listen to a spot of music. I’m lost without the Kinect now, and it makes me feel slightly aggravated when I have to use my hands and pick up the dreaded controller to navigate the menus on the console … which might be a good thing, I’m not sure.
Microsoft are open to change
The best thing about the Xbox One, however, is that it’s constantly changing. Microsoft really shot themselves in the foot when they first announced the console. It had a huge number of unpopular attributes that put people off buying it and it seems like they’re still paying for it now. However, the console that I have now is nothing like the console that I purchased last year, and that really is a good thing. Updates to social aspects as well as controller changes, game DVR updates and so on, have all improved the console no end. Plus, they’re still releasing more updates, with another one due for this month. They’ve even selected update beta testers (I myself am one) which gives us the opportunity to trial the updates and give them our feedback. It’s a great way of developing the console, as it really makes me feel like I’m a part of something, and valued for it.
That’s all that I love about this console (there’s more, but I didn’t fancy writing forever and they’re only little things). But it isn’t all sunshine and lollipops and, in my next article, I’ll run through the things that I don’t like about the console.