The first reviews from the new Xbox One are starting to come in.
The consensus is that it’s a good start but still has room for improvement.
Microsoft has some work to do. Games seem to be a big plus but some wrote that the TV integration was a bit clunky. Check out what the critics are saying below.
The Verge: ‘Nearly everything that could be great someday isn’t great right now.’
When Microsoft says it’s building a console for the next decade, it’s not lying. Where the PlayStation 4 is designed to simply become an ever-better version of itself, the Xbox One is poised to turn into an entirely different, entirely unprecedented device. It may not only supplement, but replace your cable box; it could have a rich, full app store; games are only going to get better, more impressive, and more interactive. The blueprints are all here. Virtually everything Microsoft is trying to do is smart, practical, and forward-thinking — even as they’ve undone some of the Xbox One’s most future-proof innovation over the last few months, Marc Whitten and his team at Microsoft have clearly kept their heads in the future.
… But nearly everything that could be great someday isn’t great right now. The Kinect is an incredible piece of raw machinery and engineering, but it’s not implemented well into games, nor does its voice control provide a truly fast, seamless way to navigate the operating system. The TV integration is an awkward hodgepodge of menus and overlays and dead ends. There’s a massive opportunity for Windows apps to turn the Xbox into something no one could have imagined, but it’s as yet gone unexplored. Some of these are easily solved problems, but others — cable integration in particular — are a much steeper uphill climb.
Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku: ‘Ryse’s spears shudder under your grip.’
One cool addition: The Xbox One’s triggers can each rumble independently down along the controller’s grips, which allows some games to convey a surprising range of physical feedback. Forza‘s tires skid under your brake finger, Ryse‘s spears shudder under your grip. It’s as-yet unclear whether multiplatform developers will bother to take advantage of the Xbox One’s enhanced rumble, so it could well be that the feature will only turn up in Xbox One exclusives. It’s cool, though, so here’s hoping that more developers begin to program for it
Ben Gilbert, Engadget: ‘As is always the case with shiny, black plastic electronics, our Xbox One instantly got dirty.’
All told, Microsoft’s new game system is no looker; it’s a far cry from the Xbox 360’s “inhale” design philosophy, that’s for sure. The One is divided into quadrants fashioned out of a mix of glossy, black plastic and matte, black plastic. As is always the case with shiny, black plastic electronics, our Xbox One instantly got dirty. We’re talking within the first day of living with it. This was our first of many signs that the Xbox One is meant to be plugged in, set up and rarely touched.
Greg Kumparak, TechCrunch: ‘Not to say that it’s ugly, mind you — it’s not. It’s just… there.’
Beauty is a subjective topic, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would say the Xbox One is particularly beautiful.
That’s not to say that it’s ugly, mind you — it’s not. It’s just… there. It’s a big, black box. Its materials are a mix of matte and gloss. It has lots of vents. To describe it more richly would be to use needless words. Many a commenter has suggested that the Xbox One resembles a VCR, and those comparisons aren’t wrong. It does look like a VCR, or the box your cable guy might install.
Matt Peckham, TIME: ‘Microsoft has Sony’s problem — no one game that leaps out.’
The Xbox One brings 21 games to the party at launch, but it turns out the ones I want to talk about are under embargo for a few more days, so I can’t delve into the particulars of spotlight-hoggers like Ryse: Son of Rome or Forza Motorsport 5 or Crimson Dragon. Stand by for first impressions later this week.
… Without identifying any one game, I can say this much: Microsoft has Sony’s problem — no one game that leaps out, though like Sony’s launch lineup, there’s more to like than not; how many system launches had stuff as strong as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, LEGO Marvel Superheroes and Need for Speed: Rivals?