X-Box One Review

In the console war, there are X-Box fans, and there are Playstation fans. South Park has documented this rather thoroughly over the past couple weeks. I am an X-Box fan. I wasn’t initially planning on getting the X-Box One at launch, but I did. Impulsively. I impulsively spent 532 dollars (plus a little more for the games). So what comes with the X-Box One?

The Console

The new Kinect 2.0

A wireless controller (uses 2 AA batteries)

A headset

An HDMI cable

AC Power Adaptor

That’s it. That’s the great unboxing of 2013. Once you turn on your console, you’ll find that a few games are available for download that have some kind of a “free” version. For example, Killer Instinct has a demo that allows you to play on one level with one character. However, you can play online and vs. your friends, so that’s something. However, these few experiences aren’t really satisfying, so you should plan to purchase at least one of the launch titles (since 360 titles are not compatible on the One).

Once you set up the console, it will require an immediate update, so you will need to make sure it is connected to the internet. Then you’ll set up a few other things. The most notable set up is the kinect, which at some point will ask you something uber creepy. Do you want the kinect to recognize when you are present in the room, that way it can turn things on before you even ask it to. The kinect will scan your room, figure out who is human in the room, and you’ll see your gamertag above your head. It knows who you are.

Once everything has been set up, remember you have to redownload all your favorite apps. From what I can tell, not all 360 apps have made the jump yet (especially some of the newer, more obscure 360 apps). Facebook is not on The One yet. Most of the major apps, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, and ESPN are ready to go. For me, I noticed my Netflix was ready to go, and didn’t need me to sign in again. My Amazon, however, did require me to sign in on the new console. I would recommend also downloading the voice command tutorial, as the Kinect is now able to do a wide variety of things for you.


1) The TV integration is perfection. They spent a lot of time making sure that the X-Box One was an entertainment system, and one of the ways they did that was to seamlessly integrate your cable into the X-Box One. For me, previously, my TV only has 2 HDMI ports, and I had 3 HDMI devices (360, Cable Box, Blu Ray Player). The X-Box One is now a Blu Ray Player, and my cable box now runs into my X-Box One, so I won’t be needing to swap my inputs anymore. The One knows your stations, and offers you a station guide (separate from the cable’s guide). It will also recognize stations by voice command. “X-Box Watch ABC” will take you to your local ABC affiliate. Also, for me, even though the X-Box has no idea what to do with it, I can still use my cable box’s DVR, and play shows from it. a

2) The Blu Ray Player is perfection. This one is hard to mess up. Let’s be honest. But the reason the player works so well is because of the kinect voice commands. No longer do you need to fumble for the controller, and turn it back on (because it shut off), in order to pause. You can pause the movie using the kinect command. Got a phone call? My X-Box One communicates with my TV, so I can say X-Box Mute. You can also control the volume, rewind, fast forward, and the other things that make life awesome. If you’re at a DVD menu, I didn’t have a problem with “X-Box Play” as a command to start the movie.

3) The Possibilities of Voice Integration In The Games. Right now, I have played Dead Rising 3 and Battlefield 4. Both of those games have voice integrated into the game, via the kinect. In Dead Rising 3, I can taunt the bad guys, I can tell other survivors  to follow me or scavenge, and if I’m making too much noise in my living room, it will attract the zombies. In Battlefield 4, the commands are pretty simple. Need a medic? Call out for one. It isn’t so much about whether or not the current wave of voice commands is impressive, it’s about this new tool that developers can use to enhance future X-Box One titles.

4) The Games Are Very Pretty. I suppose that’s a way of saying “I like the high detail in the games”. I’m not sure that they are so much better than a lot of the recent games out for 360. I think GTAV is a really high detailed game that looks quite comparable to Dead Rising 3. The colors are perhaps more vibrant, but these people are no more realistic looking. Perhaps that is different in games like Madden, where the characters are real people. I think what has opened up is the ability to have more things going on. Battlefield 4 now run servers where over 60 people can face off against each other in a match. In Dead Rising 3, there is a ridiculous amount of zombies on the map at any given time. The map itself is huge, and it seems that many more buildings are explorable than on GTAV. So I think the potential of the games lies more in the expansiveness of the universe.

5) A Few Other Smaller Features- The controller is lighter. It apparently recognizes you, but I haven’t had any guests over in two days to challenge that theory. I also like the new ratings system, as the previous one was just “avoid or prefer”.


1) X-Box Doesn’t Want You To Have Friends.When you hit the home button, no more friends list. You have to go through the home screen to access your friends, and the useless feed. The X-Box also doesn’t let you know when your friends sign on. They’ve made it harder to link up with your friends, even though you can command the X-Box to invite to party. You just might not know if your friends are on.

2) X-Box Doesn’t Really Care About Your Loyalty. Let’s talk about the “Day One” problem. When you call a system the “Day One” X-Box, but the system is only available to those who pre-order the system, then it isn’t really a Day One system, is it? It’s a pre-order system. It is insulting the intelligence of everyone who purchases the system on the first day. Because the “Day One” achievement is tied to the system, you won’t get the achievement saying you stood in line, waited in the rain, and dropped the absurdly high price like everyone else. You call yourself an X-Box fan, but X-Box doesn’t care that you picked them. Maybe Playstation treats their fans better, because X-Box doesn’t. They won’t give you the achievement. It’s a simple zero G achievement, and they can’t give it to you. They allowed themselves to code the achievement in such a way that they can’t satisfy their fanbase. This is leading to an outcry for their fans, especially for families who bought the Day One edition, only to find out that the achievement only applies to one account. So families are forced to choose who gets the Day One achievement. If you have kids, this isn’t an easy thing.

3) The Lack Of A True Free Game. DriveClub was free for PS4 owners. X-Box thinks that demos are good enough, when they are charging $100 more than their competition. It’s not. There should have been a full, free title. Would it have killed them to offer Killer Instinct free (with all the characters/levels) to people who buy the One? Especially since you can’t play your old games on the system, or even any other XBLA titles you previously downloaded. Not even Tetris. They didn’t care enough to give you one free game.

4) It Crashed On Me Already. Yup. Already. My X-Box shut down the first time I tried to play Battlefield 4. When it restarted, I had to set up my wi-fi all over again. I don’t know why.

5) The Kinect Could Be Better. Apple has made leaps and bounds with Siri. There are so many things that Siri can understand and process, but the Kinect has a fraction of those. You have to say “Xbox Go Home” not “Xbox Home”, when they should both do the same thing. It also took forever to find me in my room, despite being the only person. I would guess this is because my room is rather busy with other items, but aren’t a lot  of people playing in rooms with posters on the wall, and furniture in the room?

As far as the two launch titles I played, I would definitely recommend Dead Rising 3. It’s really fun, even if you feel like you’re doing the same thing a lot. You can build different weapons, use vehicles, and team up with other survivors. Plus, there’s a multiplayer co-op element now.

Am I happy with my X-Box One? Yes. Definitely. Am I annoyed with some issues? Yes. but then again, I don’t think I’ve ever 100% loved any new tech, whether it be the IPhone or a Kindle Fire. There’s always going to be something that can be improved, or something missing. The real test here is how does X-Box respond? Will X-Box make it easier to find your friends? Will there be a Day One alternate achievement? Time will tell.