Nothing is perfect and the Xbox One is no different. If you missed part one and part two of my review, well, those are hyper-linked so feel free and read those first. The Xbox One has been fun so far and even if this part goes over some of the frustrations it is still a good system that could be great. It is also understandable that every system is going to have a few stumbling points right out of the gate and what Xbox One has experienced can be overcome and most likely will be by spring of 2014.
Microsoft has, much like any other tech company, is pushing their cloud service. The Skydrive is their go to product for storage and it works pretty well and it is fast. Files can be uploaded and downloaded on any number of devices. Since I have a Windows 8 laptop it came standard and the basic storage option is free. It is handy and maybe I am just so used to discs by now but there had to be a better alternative. Also, the Skydrive does not come equipped on the system. I had to download it and from there it linked to my current account. So for those who do not have a Microsoft account they may not know what the Skydrive is for. There are other solutions for online storage and the app can probably be used but this leads to another negative.
The initial launch of the Xbox One should have had a good deal of apps ready for use. As it stands now there are very little to choose from. Most were already available on the 360 and Windows 8. After so many different apps have become available for Windows 8 it is quite a surprise to see so little available. The standard apps are all there such as Netflix, ESPN, Hulu Plus and Crackle. Sure there are others but nothing compared to the amount currently available on other platforms. I would expect there to be as many ready for the launch but would have settled for at least fifty percent of that. This will obviously change as the system gains momentum but the same issues that plagued the Windows 8 app release is plaguing the Xbox One. You would think Microsoft would have had that figured out. There is no Flixster, Ultraviolet, UFC, WWE, Instagram or even Facebook for that matter.
Now the biggest complaint and this is one that cannot change. When the system was announced and the specs were revealed the big question is if he Xbox One was going to be backwards compatible. The answer was no but as dissent grew towards that decision Microsoft said there will be a form of compatibility. This will probably come in the form of a downloadable content. Seeing as how many new games came out for the 360 it would lead you to believe these same games would reach the Xbox One at the same time or around the time of launch. This simply hasn’t happened. So all of the new 360 games that have been and that are available for purchase are worthless for the Xbox One. You still need to have the 360 available to play the games you purchased or were gifted.
After going back and forth for nearly an hour on what game out of the five or so available I would purchase, I left Best Buy with Dead Rising 3. The other Dead Rising games were ok and would have been far more enjoyable if I hadn’t played Left for Dead 1 and 2 over and over again. The genre was up my alley but this style of game play wasn’t. So to me I took a chance on this game.
Wait a minute you have to download the game on to the console in order for it to play seamlessly? Why the hell am I even bothering with a disc then? It takes entirely too long to download the game. Dead Rising 3 took almost ten minutes before I could actually play the game. For a system as advanced as the Xbox One this is embarrassing and frustrating. Now it does help the functionality of the system as it runs smooth and silent during game play. In an open world game, of sorts, like Dead Rising 3 the transitions are seamless and the load time is minimal. The tradeoff seems worthwhile so far but as games accumulate and this process is run over and over again it is bound to get tedious. Also, by storing the games directly on the Xbox One hard drive it takes up space that could be used for music, video or pics to make this a true entertainment system. Yes you can use an external drive for these items but then Microsoft has just what you need in case the hard drive runs low on space.
As of now the amount of games available for play on the Xbox One is a paltry total of ten. Ten games available for a state of the art system. Of the ten, four are sequels to popular series and break no new ground. So if you have the system you are left wanting more already. Maybe this was Microsoft’s tactic to build anticipation? They give the audience a little bit of a taste of the system through established properties while allowing game developers more time to create and build on a more powerful system without the possibility of going bust on a game. At this point it is irksome. I want to play GTA V since I am nowhere near finished with it yet. I am waiting on someone to spring for a copy of Arkham Origins for Christmas but I can’t play it on the Xbox One. The brand new shiny system that costs a lot of money is going to sit there while its cartoonish looking older brother system gets the whirl.
I understand the first generation games are never the best and that they are merely fodder for the system launch but there had to be a better alternative in this case. The argument that is commonly used is that backwards compatibility allows people to buy the cheaper 360 version of the game to play on the Xbox One. Well that is absolutely correct when there is nothing to purchase for the Xbox One currently. There is an extensive library of 360 games but why would you buy the new system to play the old tech games? As more games become available the 360 version will not be purchased for play on the Xbox One. In the meantime you have users all over your network on the Xbox One. You have consumers purchasing the systems knowing there is a wealth of titles to play instead of the very small amount currently available. You would have had a wider audience learning and exploring the system instead of back on the same old system wishing they were utilizing their new system to greater heights.
Now it hasn’t been all bad and some of these negatives are temporary. The apps will come and the system will have many more games. So far the Xbox One has been as good as advertised. It has updated once again since the beginning of this series and it went rather slow. The update itself was fine but the loading and restart of the system took so long I thought the system froze. There was nothing indicating it was loading or starting up. All that appeared on the screen was the Green Xbox One screen you see on the commercials. If the length of these updates are going to take this long some sort of status bar or acknowledgment needs to be onscreen. This way it prevents the user from getting impatient and realizing this is a Windows based program and that it may have frozen. It is a small change but it is one that needs to be made.
Again, the negatives of this system are inconsequential outside of the download time from disc to drive. That is going to be a grating problem for this system and there is no changing that. On a positive note though the features advertised are pretty slick.
The Kinect does indeed recognize you when you enter the scanner range. The snap feature is handy but borderline worthless if you are trying to play a game unless you are on Skype. The app loading time is almost immediate and downloading apps is incredibly fast as well. The installation of the apps as well is very fast and you can actually download more than one at a time. After so many downloads, the system reaches a buffer but it will download, install and open multiple apps at the same time effortlessly.
The HD streaming has been very good so far and I am sure peoples experience will waver depending on their internet connection. Once more television and movie options become available it will become an entertainment hub. I have not done so but plan on connecting my Time Warner Cable receiver through the Xbox One and experiment with the voice function when choosing and changing stations. This will be saved for the inevitable Xbox One: The Follow Up whenever it gets written.
One more thing before wrapping this up. Dead Rising 3 is incredibly fun. The game doesn’t exactly showcase all of the Xbox Ones advancements but the graphics are very nice. The game loads fast enough and there is no clipping in between scenes. It helps that it is a smaller environment game so the action gets chaotic and the Xbox One processes all of it with no lag and no slowdown at all. It is impressive that Dead Rising has increased the amount of zombies tenfold. So as you run over zombies with a steamroller, as hordes of zombies rush the screen with cars exploding and fires starting there was no slow down whatsoever. It is worth the price so far and the replay value is evident based on the choices you make during the game and how it changes the actual game play. If this initial Xbox One offering is a small taste of what is to come then the future of games on the system is solid. As developers become more accustom to programming the quicker and better the games should become. Despite these few missteps the Xbox One seems to have a bright future. -Jeremy
Filed under: Jeremy's Blog, Stunt Granny Blogs, Video Game Reviews | Tagged: Bill Gates, Bob Ross, Dead Rising 3, DLP, ESPN, Hanna Barbera, HDMI, Itunes, Kinect, Microsoft, Netflix, Pixar, Time Warner Cable, UFC, Windows 8, WWE, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox One |