Hands on Impressions of the Microsoft Xbox One on the Xbox One Tour

Bill Loguidice's picture

My Xbox One (2014)My Xbox One (2014)In preparation for working on our upcoming My Xbox One book, Christina and I thought it would be a good idea to check out Microsoft's Xbox One console prior to its official November release. Thanks to the One Tour, we had our chance today in Philadelphia through an Area One party. Basically, what this meant was that we had to pick one of the three hour blocks of time, wait in line, and hope we could get in to experience "live music, live gameplay, and more..." Naturally, we were most interested in the live gameplay part.

Once inside the large warehouse area, we were treated to our choice of multiple game areas where we could sit or stand and play some of the Xbox One launch and launch window titles, which included: Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Ryse: Sone of Rome, Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood, Zoo Tycoon, and Kinect Sports: Rivals.

Getting ready with Christina for Microsoft's Xbox One event here in Philadelphia.
Just outside the venue.

Christina and the Xbox One truck as we wait to get into the event.
Christina waiting in line to get in. Note the Xbox One truck.

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First, we tried Forza Motorsport 5, which was of course gorgeous and completely unsurprising. It's the same great racing game series, just flashier. It's also one of the safer launch titles to get because you know exactly what you'll get and it supports many of the next gen features.

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The console itself was as blocky as we've seen in the photos. It doesn't look bad, but it sure won't win any beauty contests. In terms of size, it was reminiscent of the size of the original PlayStation 3 console. The Kinect is considerably smaller than the original and arguably looks nicer now that it's been streamlined.

For many gamers, including this one, the Xbox 360's controller is one of the best controllers ever made. Luckily, they didn't change much for the Xbox One's controller and it will feel pretty much the same in your hands. Not to jump the gun, but the only downside of the 360's controller, the d-pad, has been addressed here and then some, with incredible responsiveness when I used it with Killer Instinct.

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After Forza Motorsport 5, we tried the platform game, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, which is the next generation entry in the Max and the Magic Marker series. I wasn't expecting much here. The visuals are unspectacular at this stage, but the gameplay was surprisingly fun. Both Christina and I had a ball with the game and its unique mechanics. It kind of reminded me of a mix of Limbo and Trine, and as fans of those games know, that can only be a good thing. With some more polish (this was an early build), I think this could be a truly spectacular platformer.

Next, I tried LocoCycle, which reminded me of some of the great quarter eating arcade games of the past. It's pure, zany fun. There's not a lot of substance there, but it's genuinely bizarre and quite funny, particularly the LocoCycle's running commentary (it's a female). Even though I think the gameplay might get tiresome, the personality might keep me coming back for more. At the right price, this downloadable title could be an early favorite. The visuals were also nothing special in this particular build.

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I then moved onto Zoo Tycoon, which Christina was already immersed in. This is quite promising and visually rich, though the build that was on display was a bit sluggish in the third person parts. Still, there's a lot of potential here in terms of city building/Sims-style gameplay.

Next up was Crimson Dragon, which was remarkably similar to Panzer Dragoon Orta. It looked nice, but its on-rails nature - as befits the series - was not particularly appealing to me in this play through. I'm sure to pass on this title for launch, though we'll see if there's more to it than this initial playthrough revealed.

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I then got my hands on Ryse: Rise of Rome, which is one of my more anticipated launch titles. It looked great, but gameplay was limited here to local LAN multiplayer against computer opponents in arena-style battles (I died before battling other humans). Nothing I saw dissuaded me from thinking this will be a winner when released, though I only got a taste of the depth this promises to offer. Interestingly, like all the other titles present at this event, this was likely based off a build at least a few months old now, so, like most of the others, long load times and occasional bugs reared their ugly heads. In Ryse's case, we were warned not to press the Xbox, Start, or Select buttons for fear of crashing the connection between the two consoles.

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Next up was Kinect Sports: Rivals, though the only event available was the jet ski. Frankly, there was too little time for me to become acclimated to the controls, but they certainly seemed responsive and there was zero delay for calibration when jumping into a game. It saw what it was supposed to see and worked just fine. I'm not necessarily sold on the idea of putting my hands out in the air to steer and do other activities like that.

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After Kinect Sports: Rivals, we played some Killer Instinct, which featured local one-on-one gameplay (and I think at launch it will only feature multiplayer). It looked nice and played well (again, that d-pad is great), but all we could really do was button mash. I think it would be quite a bit of fun once we learn a few moves.

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Finally, we had Dead Rising 3. New to this entry in the series (exclusive for at least a little while to Xbox One) are several hundred zombies at once instead of dozens, as well as weapons that can be combined with vehicles. This was great fun to play and, despite being burned out on the previous games, I'm thinking I might have to eventually get this one. The next generation technology really helps here.

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Before we left, we saw a few of the painted controllers on display(?):
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And also got our photos taken:
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Overall, both Christina and I enjoyed our visit. There were plenty of play stations to go around and there was no pressure to rush game time. We definitely feel good going into November when work on the book officially begins and we get our consoles and a selection of launch titles.

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Any questions? Ask away!

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)
Dead Rising 3 "definitely

Dead Rising 3 "definitely isn't a timed exclusive" for Xbox One, says Capcom. it's an Xbox One game," said rep briefly detailed. "We see a lot of this online. It's not coming to PS4 or PC. Get you're facts straight

Bill Loguidice
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Dead Rising 3

Anonymous wrote:
Dead Rising 3 "definitely isn't a timed exclusive" for Xbox One, says Capcom. it's an Xbox One game," said rep briefly detailed. "We see a lot of this online. It's not coming to PS4 or PC. Get you're facts straight

*your

I was specifically told it was exclusive to the Xbox One, yes. However, I'm taking that with a grain of salt in that I wouldn't rule out some type of future variant like "Dead Rising Ultra" or some such thing coming to PS4 and PC based off the same core game. That's why I said what I said. It's not like Capcom hasn't delivered the game to other platforms in the past after creating the first version on an Xbox platform.

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Mark Vergeer
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Wow

Wish I would have been able to see and experience all that new and shiny gaming. May get a chance at Replay 2013 this weekend in Manchester UK though.

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Bill Loguidice
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Special events

Mark Vergeer wrote:
Wish I would have been able to see and experience all that new and shiny gaming. May get a chance at Replay 2013 this weekend in Manchester UK though.

It's a fun way to do it. The only other pre-launch event I went to that I recall was for the GameCube, and that was equally enjoyable. First-hand play gets you so much more excited for what's coming than even the most extensive preview accounts can.

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Ken Gagne (not verified)
Launch titles

Wow! You sure got your hands on a number of titles. Which ones will you be picking up at launch?

Bill Loguidice
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Xbox One and PS4

Ken Gagne wrote:
Wow! You sure got your hands on a number of titles. Which ones will you be picking up at launch?

So far I have Forza Motorsport 5 Day One Edition, Ryse: Sone of Rome Day One Edition, and most likely I'll be adding Dead Rising 3 Day One Edition. Beyond that, I'll probably just get a downloadable title or two. I'll definitely be getting more, but from the launch day games, those are the ones.

Right now for the PS4, I'm just getting Knack, though I suspect I'll be adding some downloadable titles as well.

I don't want to overdo it at launch for either system because the launch titles usually get surpassed pretty quickly in overall quality. I think I'm most interested in Titanfall and I think I'd also like the Max game (my daughters would especially like that), though there's no telling when either game will be out for Xbox One.

The good news is is I should have about a week with the PS4 before the Xbox One comes and I need to get cracking on the book, which will take a lot of my time.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I agree with you regarding Dead Rising 3

I completely agree with you regarding the thought that Dead Rising 3 isn't a timed exclusive. And here's why; Recently Capcom revealed in their quarterly results that they have a small amount over 137 million dollars in the bank. This is extremely low, and they need to make as much money as they can off of the games they are planning on releasing. You don't do that with console exclusivity and it will be exceptionally easy to port the game over to the PS4 at the very least due to the platform similarities. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they released a cut down version for the Wii U just in an attempt to return to a positive cash flow. I also think you are right about them calling it something other than Dead Rising 3, even though it will be the same game. Depending on how well Dead Rising 3 sells, I give it no more than 6 months before it comes out on at least the PS4 platform. At this point having played both the PS4 and the Xbox One (we have a microsoft store near where I work and they have it on display. It was Forza Motorsport that I played.) I am not really that excited by either console sadly. I will delay getting a PS4 until I see some more games I want. With the news released yesterday regarding the fact that Microsoft will be taking data captured by the kinect and selling it to marketers make me want to use the XBox One even less. Their debut on that machine to me has been a series of bad timings and missteps in their assumptions of how gamers would react to changes introduced. I don't do anything that would be bad on camera I just don't like the idea of Microsoft selling my information to target me with ads on a device I have to pay a monthly fee to get full use out of. I remember an article I read that indicated that something like 90 features of the X Box One will require a gold membership to use. That's a lot of features. Anyway, my reservations are just that, my own and both consoles are going to sell like hotcakes this holiday season.

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Anonymous (not verified)
xbox one

So I'm big on graphics. After you seeing it would you think its better in graphics and gameplay then ps4. . Also did you see a difference from 360 to the one?

Bill Loguidice
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Visuals

Anonymous wrote:
So I'm big on graphics. After you seeing it would you think its better in graphics and gameplay then ps4. . Also did you see a difference from 360 to the one?

There was a definite sharpness improvement over the 360, and I did notice more detailed elements, but it was not a particularly earth shattering difference. In terms of the PS4, I don't think I'll see one in person until my launch console arrives. I think in both cases, what we'll see rather than significantly better graphics is an increase in sharpness, more detail, and higher frame rates. Otherwise, we're still talking the same 1080p output (even if it's sometimes upscaled). I think with this gen it's just going to be more of everything we're used to. I think we'll certainly be wowed here and there, though...

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Bill Loguidice
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Xbox One reviews have started to trickle out...

Interesting that my first impressions of Xbox One games I played on the Tour are borne out in the final reviews. Crimson Dragon is awful, LocoCycle is a missed opportunity, and Dead Rising 3 is great fun. I didn't care for Killer Instinct (not my type of game), but the reviews are positive and it has the distinct benefit of the core game being free. I didn't get to try Powerstar Golf, but that sounds like a day one download.

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