First of all, I want to say that I am not hating on the Xbox or Microsoft, I am simply telling about how it works. Second, yes I know there are a lot of articles out there like this but it is important that people read these articles because it helps them make a decision on whether they should buy the product or not. So with that said, let’s get on with the article.
My brother received a brand new Xbox One for work and hooked it up, but he didn’t want to play it at the time so he suggested that my younger brother and I play instead to test it out. So in this article, I tell my thoughts about the Xbox One and the Kinect based on my personal experience I have had with the new gaming console ever since it launched.
Xbox, ON! (Xbox features)
I’m going to start by saying that the voice commands don’t work very well. I am starting here because the advertisements promoted this feature so much on TV showing people giving simple commands and the Xbox One carrying them out. I however, felt embarrassed to use it after awhile because it just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. We asked it to take us to game demos and it took us to movie videos. We would say something on the line of “Xbox, Videos” when we wanted to watch a movie, and it would take us to the main settings page. It did work whenever someone would say “Xbox, record that” and it would record perfectly once we said it, that was probably the only command that was 100% successful every single time.
The hand gestures wouldn’t work very well and were just as wonky as the voice commands, they are a pain to use. It wouldn’t display the hand icon to navigate correctly and this was a big problem because it happened both in the main menu and while using the Xbox One Kinect to play games. You can easily find game video uploads for Kinect rivals showing two players playing together and the Kinect struggling to read their gestures, resulting in them playing badly and crashing a lot. Watching the people play in real life is quite entertaining as they struggle to get the Kinect’s attention for it to pick up their motions.
The Xbox One Kinect has a hard time with two players because it keeps losing their movements while playing. Kinect rivals displays the Kinect’s field of vision so that you know when it can see you clearly and when you move too far out of view, but it couldn’t pick my brother and I up even though we were right in front of the TV screen. This was very annoying because it could pick up someone that was NOT playing walking by in the distance. For example, my younger sister walked passed the front door to get the mail and as she was walking outside it picked her movements up perfectly even though she was outside the Kinect’s field of vision.
To make it worse, we couldn’t even do Co-op championship mode against other players around the world like in “Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed”, instead you can only play Kinect Rivals in single player mode when doing the online championship. Since it only had that one game mode and stage to race on we decided that it was best to just play in single player mode to practice.
The game Kinect Rivals is fun and Microsoft gives the game away for free, but it was very frustrating because it couldn’t track us correctly and it also kept mixing the players up. For example, I was player one and for some reason I randomly started controlling player two. But on a positive note I told my brother to facepalm to see if the character in game would mimic the motion and the Kinect seemed to recognize the facepalm with no problems (I am actually serious about this).
The Xbox One game controller works great and is very similar to the older 360 controllers. The only downside to the controller is that you can’t use it to play Kinect Rivals, which was a real bummer because the gesture controls kind of suck. But I have no complaints about the controller, it works great. There were a few people that complained about the Xbox One’s size and giant power block, but I had no problem with that either because it was only slightly bigger than my original Xbox and didn’t take up too much space in the room.
The user interface…. Why is this not simple? I still remember the good old days with the GameCube, the Playstation one and two, and the original Xbox. You put a game in and it booted up; done. If you were in the dashboard you could simply click “Play game” and it would load, done. On the first Xbox dashboard you could go to the system settings, manage your saved games, change the resolution, everything was right there and easy to find in under 5 seconds in a nice tidy list, but not with the Xbox One, it makes things a bit more difficult.
Yes, you can click on “Games and Apps” in the Xbox One menu then click the game you want and it will load it up, but the main menu looks junky and cluttered. I’m not a fan of Windows 8 operating system, but in comparison the Xbox One menu is a mess, it is similar to Windows 8 in its basic style and design but lacking a lot of the easier functions that Windows users have gotten used to over the years.
The Xbox One is cluttered with a lot of icons like Netflix, TV ads (the walking dead was advertising on mine), news and a lot of other stuff that I didn’t care about nor wanted on my gaming consoles home screen. For example, pinning your video game library list to the homepage is either nonexistent or impossible to do. By video game library, I literally mean JUST the games list, kind of like Steam’s Big picture mode where it is nice and neat and easy to use. It would be nice to customize the main menu so that when I turn it on my list of games is right there up front and ready to go, no ads, no TV, no News, just games; but I can’t figure out how to do that right now on the Xbox One. I tried pressing the Menu/Start button to see if I could delete the other items or remove the defaults to clean the screen up a bit but the option was not there. Perhaps you can drag and drop the icons away with the gesture controls but I can’t get that dang hand icon to do what I want it to do.
A lot of other common sense things are also missing from the menu and search list, for example when you download a Demo they also have the option to buy the full version of the game on the same screen for convenience, but when you browse the list of full version games to buy and download there is no option to download a Demo of the exact same game to test it out, so you have to go to a completely different page for that just to download the demo which often times leads you screaming out “Xbox Bing. Xbox game Demos” and then it takes you to the movie playlist…
Xbox One has no games…
Well, the Xbox One has a few games now, but back when my brother first got his there weren’t many games to choose from, it was frustrating because our Xbox One only came with a controller in the box and had no starting “launch” game that came with it so we had nothing to play.
By “No games” I mean games that were exclusively made only for the Xbox One, it didn’t have many. The Xbox live arcade is no where to be found due to Microsoft’s Indie game self publishing policy that had fans raging when it was first announced, so because of this the Indie games are simply not there yet, which means that we couldn’t even download something small and simple just to play around with.
The only free sample games it had at the time was Killer Instinct, Kinect rivals, and a few sports games. Killer Instinct and the sports games were quite large, so the only thing we could do with the Xbox One the first day we took it out the box was… well, look at it. Oh yeah, it also had Dead Rising 3 and Zumba Fitness for the Kinect but both of those games had to download for awhile as well so we couldn’t actually play them…
The Dead Rising 3 demo was fun and entertaining but was only 20 minutes long and only gave two tries to play it, so that was only 40 minutes of gameplay. We played it once and decided to not play it again for a long time to save the final 20 minutes for later. If you die while playing the demo- even if you were only in the game for 5 minutes, it will take one of your demo tries. So die twice within the first five minutes and that means you can’t play anymore. I remember back on the original PlayStation that I played the Metal Gear Solid demo so many times that it convinced me to buy the full game, but that wasn’t the case for Dead Rising 3.
Killer Instinct was decent but not my type of fighting game, it was a whole lot of button mashing and not a lot of skill, I prefer fighting games on the line of King of fighters; so we didn’t play Killer Instinct that much either. To make things worse the free version of Killer Instinct was very limited because you don’t get to pick your own character and it didn’t have any extra stages, you have to buy a lot of the extra content separately because it is locked. I was just about to give up on the Xbox One and never bother with it again, and then Titanfall launched its free Beta and my brother received a key for it. OH HAPPY DAY!
I won’t go in detail in this article, but Titanfall saved the Xbox One. The Titanfall Beta was extremely fun to play and so far is my favorite game on the Xbox One (I will probably save up and buy the full version one day). You can read my full review by following the above link.
I am highly disappointed with the Xbox One at launch. I highly recommend that anyone planning to buy one to wait a bit longer for their AAA titles to come out later in the year, hopefully by then they will also release some patches to fix the gesture controls and the voice commands for navigating.
The Xbox One has a few more games coming in March so anyone who has just ordered one or who is planning to get one will have more games to play than when my family first got ours.
Things I would like to see in the future is an easier navigation menu, maybe send an update so we can customize options easier, add an option to click items and delete them from the main menu altogether so that it looks less cluttered (like deleting everything from the home screen on an Android). Microsoft really needs to bring back their Xbox live Arcade for some casual games to pass the time so that you have something to play on day one that isn’t over 5GB. They still have the MSN gaming zone website up and running yet you can’t play the games on your Xbox One; that makes no sense to me!
Why not have the MSN gaming zone linked to the home page for people to play casual games?
Heck, the Lenovo Flex20 AIO could do more than the Xbox One could do straight out of the box, it had quite a few pre-installed games to pass the time when you boot it up for the first time.
They need to fix the voice recognition because it is a mess and I’m tired of arguing with my Xbox One, why can’t it just listen to me and do what I say for once?
Everything else about the Xbox One was mediocre. It was supposed to be an All-In-One entertainment system but it is so hard to navigate the menu that it makes simple tasks more of a hassle than anything, on top of that it keeps having errors while running MP4 and FLV movie files (like from my Android phone), which made it a bit useless watching anything in those formats so I still had to convert the videos to watch them; so much for being an entertainment system…
For now, Titanfall is the best thing about the Xbox One, so I am giving the console a 4 out of 10 right now. I will still keep an open mind though because the Xbox One is still young and could pull it together in the next few months with a few system updates. I have to say that the Xbox One is seriously overpriced to have so many flaws and be more than $499 USD.
For more information you can Visit the Xbox One official website.