Roundup2 Microsoft’s Xbox One: it's a console so BIG, one games website found it needed five writers to tackle it.
And the reviews are big too: waffletastic screeds of such length you wonder how few folk will read ‘em through and not simply scroll to the end for the reader comments. And that's before the thing goes on sale this Friday.
So here comes El Reg to the rescue. To save you reading those many, many paragraphs, here are the take-home points that they all tell you:
- One box to rule them all: the Xbox One is a big black box designed to dominate your entertainment stack.
- It controls your entertainment stack not through the HDMI-CEC control system but through an old-style IR blaster, often with unintended and occasionally hilarious consequences.
- The Xbox One is voice-operated, and recognition is mostly but not totally successful, even with a fixed set of commands. Again, expect unintended and occasionally hilarious consequences.
- Fortunately, you can unhook the Kinect and control the console with, yes, a controller.
- The controller is good, bigger but with a better D-pad. The trigger-level rumble is smart.
- A form of limited multitasking allows you to, say, keep an eye on the TV input through a panel at the side of the screen while playing a game.
- Multitasking can go full-screen too, but it will quit the game you’re playing without saving. Whoops.
- The launch games aren’t bad, but none are good enough to warrant buying a new console.
- You can record 30 seconds of gaming as a video.
- There’s no media playback through external USB storage.
- The Windows 8-style UI makes more sense here than it does on a PC.
In classic Microsoft style, then, the Xbox One introduces a raft of handy new features which iffy implementation prevents from reaching their full potential. They work... mostly.
Updates will undoubtedly follow. Just plugging the darn thing in for the first time triggers a 1.3GB patch download, and there will be more of these down the line. Ditto games worth playing – the initial selection isn’t bad – but neither does it contain must-haves that transcend players’ genre preferences.
But it was ever thus with new consoles, and the canny gamer knows its worth waiting a while for hardware bugs to be identified and software glitches to be patched. The console will get better, so will the range and quality of games. ®
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