Xbox One Verdict

xbone

Today on the Geek Infusion, Matthew weighs in on the Xbox One. The first new console picked up by the Geek Infusion guys. (Mike already has a god-like PC). So, good? Bad? Otherwise? Here we go!

I’ve been really looking forward to this.

It may surprise some of you, even with my previous posts, thatI’ve chosen the Xbone over the PS4, given my fawning over the PS3 for the last few years. However, the price was right, as was the timing, and so the big black monolith graces my entertainment unit.

Over all impressions are good. I like its general size. It fits well into an entertainment unit designed for things like blueray players, and satellite receivers. Also, it’s black and so it doesn’t draw the eye away from the general setting of my living room. This may seem like an odd complaint, but I like to tie a room together, not set off a box.

I find the user interface unfriendly, however. The 360’s was well organized, easily differentiated and well labeled. The Xbone is none of these things. There is a home screen and pin screen and a store screen.

The store screen is by and large unnecessary, because it only shows you current hot offers. You are still required to select a store icon to launch the Xbox Live store, and then you are further prompted to search for games, apps or add-ons. This all could have been done differently.

The PS3’s storefront is probably the best way to do this, in my opinion. You make the icon to go into the store also a mouse over type icon which brings up the hot offers and advertisements. The Microsoft way is clunky.

By pressing the menu button on the controller, you are given the option of putting a quick launch icon on the pin menu for any games, apps or menus you want quick access to.

The home screen itself facilitates the need for the pin screen. It is impossible to remove the settings icon, disc tray icon etc, and put your own choices in. Bear in mind, all of these icons are also available by pressing the menu button on your controller and pressing “settings”.

This is further clunky design. I should be able to choose what is on my home screen, never mind 80% of the screen is taken up by a splash of the game, app or program you have most recently used. It feels like looking at a slowly scrolling bill board.

The Kinect works well, though I feel like it can go both ways. You can use the controller to go anywhere you want, and the gesture control does you little good. It’s easier, and more convenient to use a thumb stick.

The voice control and facial recognition, however, works well. It signs me in automatically based on me having the P1 controller. I can navigate the Xbox quickly using voice commands, and it never has trouble understanding me.

You can tell, however, the console was originally designed to function with the use of the Kinect, and you can also tell in the layout of the user interface. It’s a non-issue if you’re using voice controls. It’s a huge issue if you’re not.

Now, on to the oft-mentioned controller. This makes the system shine. I absolutely love it. I’ve always thought the layout for the GameCube and Xbox Controllers (vis a vis the thumb sticks) was right on the money. It’s also light, without feeling delicate and breakable. Something Sony has failed to do so far. Buttons response feels good, they aren’t sticky, or too loose, and it’s pleasing to look at as well.

So far, in terms of games, I’ve only played AC: Untity, which you’ll be getting my review on tomorrow. But for the moment, I’m pleased. It has a good frame rate, good draw distance etc.

But it is dragged down by the user interface being a stripped down, awful version of the Windows 8 pin screen. It’s unnecessary, clunky and unfriendly. I do love this thing, and I’m looking forward to playing Halo, Dragon Age etc. But there are definite improvements which could be made. And I expect they will as further feed back is received by Microsoft.

All in all, well done. I’m pleased. Not in love, but not aggravated either.

P.S.

I picked up Dragon Age: Inquisition today, and I”ll be streaming this in lieu of Assassin’s Creed Unity, unless I hear a huge outcry for it. So stay tuned to my twitter for more info. @matthewjburt

The stream will be going live tonight. Thanks a ton. Hope you’re all well and had a good new years.

-Matthew

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Xbox One Verdict

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