With Microsoft’s next-generation console just days away from arrival, reviews have hit the web. Can the Xbox One compete against the PlayStation 4 when it comes to games, graphics and value? Well, we’ve gathered all the best reviews from around the web to help you make that decision. Enjoy!
I admire what Microsoft is trying to do with the Xbox One, and I’m rooting for them to give their console that final push to get it to where it needs to be. The whole thing is almost there. The Kinect almost works well enough to get me to use it all the time. The TV integration isalmost smooth enough to make me plug it into the heart of my living-room setup. Multitaskingalmost works well enough to get me checking the internet while I play games.
The success of the Xbox One is largely dependent on what you need for the living room, and whether you intend to use the system for multiple forms of media, with multiple people in mind. The user interface feels cluttered at times, and it has a definite learning curve, but it’s also easy to carve out a quick and comfortable groove for yourself as you jump between a game and a few different applications. The Xbox One’s app-driven interface is full of possibilities, living alongside quirks to be learned or updated in future.
The Xbox One may not be exactly what Microsoft thinks it is, but it’s still a strong start for a powerful game console. Its sheer speed, versatility, horsepower and its ability to turn on and off with words make it a relatively seamless entry into our already crowded media center. What determines whether it stays there is the next 12 months: Exclusives like Titanfall and Quantum Break will help, as will gaining feature parity with the competition (we’re looking at you, game broadcasting!). For broader success beyond just the early adopter’s living room, the NFL crowd must buy in to Microsoft’s $500 box. But will they? That remains to be seen. What’s there so far is a very competent game box with an expensive camera and only a few exclusive games differentiating it from the competition.
Like PlayStation 4, Xbox One aims to take the work out of play. Whether you buy a game from the integrated digital store or on a disc at your local GameStop, all games have to be installed to the Xbox One’s 500 GB hard drive before they’ll run. And of course, digital games must first be downloaded. But you don’t have to sit around and wait for this. Once a game is some small portion of the way into its download or install, you can start playing it immediately. This is very cool. (Of course, having to install all of your games instead of just being able to play them from the discs is a step backward in terms of player experience. Although it’ll probably cut down on loading times across the board. And you’ll probably run out of those 500 gigs pretty damn fast if you play a lot of games.)
As a video game console, the Xbox One offers about what you’d expect from a new Microsoft console: a big, heavy box (though quieter than you might expect), more impressive specs (though less than what you might expect after eight years), an improved controller (though still with a few odd oversights), and some good exclusive games (more reviews are coming but look into Dead Rising 3, Forza 5,Powerstar Golf, and Zoo Tycoon). As the central hub of a living room entertainment complex, though, Microsoft has a much harder sell. The company needs to prove the Xbox really adds enough value to be worthwhile and to justify the extra cost of the included Kinect over its similar competition.
The Xbox One’s bold direction for the future is well in place. The integration of voice controls and its media strategy are a boon to everyone, and the ability to run apps while playing games is something we now want on every gaming console we have. That it has a handful of strong, exclusive games at launch only supports its legitimacy as a gaming console and not just an entertainment hub.
The Xbox One feels a bit scatterbrained in its interface and presentation. To core gamers it might come off as a lot of unwanted fluff. On the other hand, the casual audience may be asking themselves why they needed to spend $500 when a $100 (or even $80) Roku might serve just as well for entertainment apps.
Where Sony positioned the PS4 as the “gamer’s console,” Microsoft felt customers would be better served with a console that wears many hats. Thankfully it can still play games with brilliant visuals, but it lands short of its ambitious all-in-one hubris.
On balance, the Xbox One is a fantastic piece of technology, well worth the cost of a new iPad. There are some sore spots, which Microsoft will undoubtedly address in the coming months through software updates. Chief among them are the terrible quality of Game DVR recordings, the inability to stream game sessions, and the total lack of social media integration. People want to share their fun with the world, and “upload to SkyDrive and do what you want from there” is a half-baked solution. The ridiculous policy of requiring Xbox Live Gold to use streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus deserves to be abolished, too.
I had high expectations for the Xbox One, and it largely lived up to them. The main disappointment was that it doesn’t work as an all-in-one system for me because of my coaxial TV setup, but the feature should work great for most up-to-date cable and satellite customers.
When Microsoft says it’s building a console for the next decade, it’s not lying. Where the PlayStation 4 is designed to simply become an ever-better version of itself, the Xbox One is poised to turn into an entirely different, entirely unprecedented device. It may not only supplement, but replace your cable box; it could have a rich, full app store; games are only going to get better, more impressive, and more interactive. The blueprints are all here. Virtually everything Microsoft is trying to do is smart, practical, and forward-thinking — even as they’ve undone some of the Xbox One’s most future-proof innovation over the last few months, Marc Whitten and his team at Microsoft have clearly kept their heads in the future.
Would I recommend buying the Xbox One? If you already have a 360 and aren’t absolutely dying for any of the launch titles, I wouldn’t say you need it right this second. Give developers a bit of time to figure out the console’s inner workings. Let the must-have titles get made. If your 360 is on its last leg or you skipped the last generation, however, it’s a solid buy as is.
For now, the Xbox One is one impressive living room box machine—and it more than justifies its $500 dollar price with the inclusion of at least $100-worth of set-top boxitude—but you’re going to be better off waiting for a little while to see how things shake out.