The Good, the Bad, and the Next Generation

Next Gen Gaming has been all we have been hearing about in the last few months especially in gaming circles. Next gen has been on the radar for a long time, the Xbox One has had rumours swirling around it for more than a year, remember when it was called Durango? Anyways, I thought I would share my opinions on Microsoft’s new console. I would like to be able to do something similar for the Playstation 4 but alas I could not afford to buy both, however I did play the PS 4 for about an hour at a friend’s house and all I can say is that they fixed the controller! Otherwise I do not really have an opinion on the PS4.

Obvious no?

The Xbox One or as it is commonly referred to the Xbone, is Microsoft’s newest piece of gaming hardware. First off I would like to say that yes it does share a certain resemblance to an old VCR but that is the only similarity it has with old technology. This is a state of the art gaming machine. Even though it looks bulky the outer finish says sleek and when the console is turned on you forget about the bulky black box. The menu and operating system is sleek and snappy, everything works very well, everything is all about efficiency and simplicity. The console turns on and off quickly, when turned off the console goes into a stand-by mode allowing it to be turned on by simply telling it to, and when it does turn on it only takes a few seconds. The dashboard is obviously inspired by Windows 8 but this is not a bad thing, the home screen is easy to read and understand, and with the help of the Kinect’s voice commands it is very fast to navigate. Yes that’s right, the voice commands which were a huge part of the advertising campaign actually work, and work well! I turn my Xbone on with voice commands, I often use it to navigate the menus and I turn the console off with my voice as well, that’s how easy/well it works.

Now the controller, this is the key component of any console, this is the way the player interacts with almost every game. We hold it in our hands for hours and hours so even a tiny insignificant problem can make or break a controller. Luckily the greatest controller ever made (Xbox 360 controller) has been improved, yes I said it, Microsoft managed to improve the best controller. The Xbox One controller is in a word, fantastic! The 40 plus changes that were made to the controller have made it perfect, the sticks are slightly smaller and much more comfortable, the triggers are more comfortable and have rumble motors in them, the d-pad finally works and works really really well, and personally I think it looks cooler than the previous iteration. I could go on, but in the interest of time I will simply say that it is a wonderful controller that you can hold for hours.

The ‘Perfect’ Controller, courtesy of the Xbox One

Xbox live is still working well, and now updates download while you play and even when the console is in stand-by (when it’s not turned completely off). I have had no problem downloading new apps or updates or anything. To me live is worth paying for.

There are a few small problems I have come across, the Xbox One I bought came with a semi-broken Kinect, the dashboard and menu system can be slightly confusing, and there are a few things that were on the Xbox 360 dashboard that weren’t included on the Xbox One. So about my Kinect, the one I had would work when the Xbox was first turned on but in a few minutes it would simply stop working for no reason. This was very frustrating, so I got in touch with Microsoft and they sent me a replacement right away, suffice to say it was hard to stay angry with such excellent customer service. Now about the dashboard, it is confusing at times, and overly complex, in order to get to the settings you have to go to the home, then apps, then settings and then finally you have a list of different settings to change. However there is one thing missing from this menu… the status of your hard drive. To me it seems like common sense to include something like that, so you know how full it’s getting as you install more and more games but nope, it’s not there or anywhere. The menu system can also feel redundant, everything is accessed from the home screen, so you are continuously going back to it. The other thing missing is the status of your controller’s battery, on the Xbox 360 you could simply tap the home button on the controller and the battery status would come up with the dashboard menu. Of course these problems will likely be fixed soon, Microsoft has confirmed that dashboard updates are not far away, and based on previous experience with the Xbox 360 the dashboard will keep being improved over the course of the Xbox One’s lifespan.

Xbox One’s Dashboard

The Xbox One is a great step forward for Microsoft’s gaming franchise, it is an awesome system with some awesome games and more on the way. It has had a much smoother launch than its predecessor; there has been little talk of machines dying unlike the days of the red ring of death. The Xbone is an great system and if you want to play Halo or Titanfall you’re going to need to get one. I can promise that you will not be disappointed with the console, I can’t make that promise with the games however.

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