The Xbox One Review…so Far

Emanuel Jumatate from Chicago, hugs his newest XBox One after he purchased it at a Best Buy on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013., in Evanston, Ill. The Xbox One, which includes an updated Kinect motion sensor, cost $500. Microsoft is billing it as an all-in-one entertainment system rather than just a gaming console. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Xbox launched in 13 countries and sold over 1 million units, so what experiences has everyone been experiencing?

The first thing you’ll notice when buying an Xbox One is that the package is heavier than and other previous Xbox system before it. Microsoft has said already that it’s a system that will meld into the background i.e. it’s not the most attractive design, but it’s got it where it counts. This is totally true, as much as I disliked the Xbox One shell design (I personally think it looks like a VCR) it has me hooked with good launch titles and a much improved Kinect.

Physically everything about the system is massive, so you might have to spend some time setting up your Kinect by finding a good place for the Kinect sensor, making enough room for the power brick and since the Xbox One can’t be stood up on its side, it’ll take up a larger footprint having to be laid flat on all four.

After the hardware setup, don’t get too excited yet because you’ll have sign in to Xbox Live and download an update. I had purchased Killer Instinct and Forza Motorsport 5, updates to those games ensued after the console update. You’ll need to wait roughly about an hour before you can start diving into next-gen nirvana.

The Dashboard looks very close to the Xbox 360, and if you had a Kinect on the 360 you remember waving to move around the dashboard. This time around the “wave” notice is gone, so if you want to use Kinect to control the dashboard just hold your hand up and you’ll see a virtual ghost hand appear, to move dashboard screens, close your hand to grab and slide to the right or left. It’s still a bit jerky and hopefully it’ll get better with the next update. To select an app tile, open your hand and push forward…it seems odd and I think I liked hovering over the tile better on the 360.

Ok, now that we have all that out of the way, what are the games and graphics like?! In my experience with Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct, it is what we were expecting…beautiful, sharp and detailed. There are scenes in Forza that look so photo realistic that it’ll make you look twice to understand what you’re really seeing. Textures on the road, reflections on the surface and amazingly detailed 3D modeling of the cars that are so exact you’ll reminisce having some of these cars if you owned them. I felt like I was a part of the game and everything else disappeared around me. Just the way I always hoped my experience with the next-gen systems would be.

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As a fighting buff, Killer Instinct did not let me down. It has to be the best looking fighter to date. Intricate backgrounds, lighting, textures and brilliant particle affects from throwing fireballs all POP! It feels so 3D and the vibrancy of the characters is in your face.

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On to the Kinect, there aren’t very many games available for Kinect 2.0, but of the games I downloaded Kinect Sports Rivals Pre-Season. It brought me back to the days of Wave Racer on the N64! That’s a very good thing because it was fun with choppy waves thrashing around as your jet ski plummeted through to the finish line. The experience is so awesome here. The tutorial will have you move your arms as if you were operating a Jet Ski and the coolest part to that was closing my right hand to throttle up and speed away! Doing something as simple as accelerating while controlling turns is something the previous Kinect could never do, so reading hand gestures and fingers is added to its technical prowess. FYI you’ll feel a nice burn in your thighs when you’re riding your Jet Ski!

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There’s more to the Xbox One like it’s control over TV, DVR, voice commands and dashboards but we’ll share our experience with that later, this last weekend was all about fun launch games.

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