By Gavin Muirhead
It’s been a while since we have strolled through the digital forest of preordered gaming goodness, or taken in the fresh scents of our favorite DLC – and for this, I apologize.
Too long have you been left in the dark, so to kick off our New Year of Next-Gen gaming we dive right in to the last 42 days of my life with the Xbox One.
It was November. Outside of the local Best Buy, the smell of smog and dust ripped through my nose and stung my eyes, and it was only 7pm. Hours went by, and the temperature plummeted to somewhere around 53°F, which for us in Los Angeles is an arctic level of frigidity, when finally it happened. Best Buy opened it’s pearly sliding glass doors and allowed us lucky (stupid) few to enter and grab our prized Xbox Ones.
As we wound through the check out line, talk of launch titles and “did you get the day one edition?” flew through the location, I picked up my console and dashed out the door like I had the last Turboman doll. Across the parking lot I ran, dodging the swarm of people doing burnouts with glee and complete disregard for pedestrians – I made it to the car; Xbox in hand; Green swag beanie firmly attached to my head (again, it was cold), I peeled ass out of the parking lot like the rest of the psychos and by 12:30am – I was up and running in the Next Generation of console gaming.
Some of our readers may note that previously, I had ordered a PS4. I even wrote a whole article on why I ordered that over the Xbox One. (You can read it here )
But some time in September, I caved in. I wanted my Call Of Duty and Halo scores to keep going, and mostly – the damn Halo 5 trailer came out and I went blind. I canceled the PS4 order and was all in for the Xbox One.
…. Back to present time:
The first night of Xbox ownership was full of settings, setting up those settings and finding a good spot for the Kinect while learning the very strict voice commands. Once it was all up and running, I said “Xbox, Watch TV” and the TV appeared, “Xbox, Go to YouTube” and it obeyed. “Xbox, Snap TV” – now I was watching YouTube and TV at the same time, much to the enjoyment of my ADHD.
The next morning I couldn’t wait to show my fiance what was surely about to change our lives forever: “Xbox On”
Naturally, I felt pretty stupid.
“XBOX ON!” I was sure to annunciate as much as possible.
– It turned on, and was ready to obey.
– “Xbox, Watch TV” I said, and the TV turned on. Fiance didn’t show any amazement. So it was time to kick it up a notch – “Xbox, Go To Call Of Duty: Ghosts” (Yes, you have to say the complete name of the game.)
Still, She wasn’t impressed. I went for the hail marry.
“Xbox, Snap TV… Watch Bravo” – while still playing Call Of Duty.
Her jaw dropped. Not only was I playing video games without lagging, she was watching Millionaire Matchmaker on the same screen, in real time. It was glorious, and also just the beginning.
Launch night (and week) didn’t have all of the Apps that are currently available, so my Snap ability was limited, but when Netflix was released the next day – I was able to take my ADHD to new levels. “Xbox, Snap Netflix. “Go to Ryse, Son Of Rome.. Xbox, Watch TV” Sounds crazy right? Because it is. No one can watch Netflix and television at the same time, but you have the option too, and that’s fantastic. The voice controls alone make it worth the price, for me at least.
The games on Xbox One are where some red flags get raised, for one: Resolution.
Almost everything on the PS4 runs at a native 1080p resolution (Battlefield 4 being an exception, and a few others) but on the XB1 games can run anywhere from 720p+ and are then upscaled to 1080p. When you are playing, it’s not a difference you notice from one console to the other, but if you take a title that is available on both consoles and use the same TV and settings to view both images – the PS4 will be better (Call Of Duty: Ghosts for example.) On the same note though, games like Forza 5 have cars that look true to life – while racing. Ryse: Son Of Rome has set the standard for me personally, for what games should look like now. It is mind blowing, and is testament to the fact that upscaling resolution, and native resolution is truly up to the game developers to make the best out of. Ryse plays at 900p native, is upscaled to 1080p, and I am just fine with that.
2014 will be a huge turning point in gaming, graphically intense titles like Dying Light, Metal Gear Solid, and Destiny have some amazing engines driving them and will be coming to both the Xbox One and PS4. Adding to the war, console specific titles like Infamous: Second Son for PS4 and Halo 5 for Xbox One are more or less out to destroy their respective competition, and its console specific games that will keep things interesting for years to come. Is the Xbox better? Is the PS4 better? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I am still on team “buy both”. And Team Edward. And Team Kimye. And Team Bring It.
The main thing that I can not stand about the Xbox One in comparison to the PS4 is one of the most crucial parts to console gaming – the controller.
If you haven’t held a PS4 controller yet, go the the store and touch it. Now touch your XBOne paddle. Disappointing, isn’t it?
Sony really nailed it with their paddle, and if I hadn’t played a PS4 before getting the Xbox, I might not have cared as much – but the Xbox 360 controller was better than this new version. The PS4 paddle feels great, it’s soft to the touch and is ergonomically perfect to hold for hours, and feels solid – without being weighted. Microsoft took a Snap Together approach for their paddle, and it feels like it is just a matter of time before I snap it in half . The numerous rumble packs in the Xbox paddle are also a let down. Microsoft had said six rumble motors were in the new controllers, but on a tear down – I only counted four. Two large rumbles, one in each palm and one for each trigger – and those are the worst. When playing Forza, for example, the trigger rumbles vibrate so hard that the triggers feel like they are coming loose. They aren’t really, but its the snap together flimsy design that gives you the feel of half-assed design.
Which led me to get a custom controller, and I’ll fill everyone on that in the next couple days.
All in all, I love the Xbox. I always have, and probably always will.
In the coming months, both consoles will see more additions and upgrades through patches (HDMI 2.0, 4k upscaling, external hard drive support – just to name a few) and in 138 more days I will be revisiting this subject after we have had a chance to play some upcoming titles (TitanFall… mmm…)
These first 42 days have been similar to having a puppy. It’s awesome when you get it, but then you realize it just shit on your favorite sneakers, but as you train it and show it some love – it rewards you ten-fold in return.
Be sure to look for our upcoming PS4 review (not going to happen until Gavin gets one, Because, I, Cameron, don’t really care to review mine seeing as it was a gift and the review could be viewed as less than flattering. Also, I just don’t give that much of a shit about reviewing something that, yet again, dropped the ball at launch, and won’t really have anything worth while until Metal Gear. It’s really cool when you have the better looking games but you don’t have any pretty games to look at. Infamous: Second Son looks cool, but it’s not enough to match the three Xbox One exclusive titles that came out on launch,. PS4 had one exclusive launch title and it was Killzone: Shadows Fall – which as pretty as it is, isn’t anywhere near as fun or next-gen as the three Xbox exclusives. I don’t care (it’s a lie I do) that much about my inability to yell at my system and have it do things. But don’t sell me something that’s essentially a PS3 with a better graphics card. Oh and good fucking job on keeping Metal Gear exclusive. Oh wait, you didn’t. Good job Sony, you literally have one job in this department and yet again you were bent over and spanked like a disobedient child, then told to wait in a corner.), as well as our customization projects for both Next Gen Consoles, gaming news, and as always – whatever we decide to publish on any given day.