Buying the Hype - My Xbox One Experience

Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

If there's one thing Giant Bomb needs right now, it's another idiot opinion on the Xbox One. I always aim to please, so here we go.

I'll kick this off by saying I now have all 3 major systems (well, if you consider the Wii U major anyhow!) And I've essentially owned every major system since I got old and stopped being a poor punk working part time at Electronics Boutique. So there, you can't pigeonhole me in any particular "bucket" or camp. I want good video games, that's the extent of my philosophy.

With that out of the way, let's get to it. I picked up the PS4 on day one (mostly because of the $100 difference) but just completed the set 2 weeks ago with a $375 Titanfall Bundle. ($449 -10% off Mover's coupon - $50 reward cert.) I'm happy I got a killer deal. I'm just not all that happy with the system itself.

First, my minor pros:

  • Design - I prefer it over the weird PS4 Trapezoid. Though I wish it weren't such a tank.
  • Controller Battery Life - So far it's VERY good.
  • Auto Sign In - I like that it says "hello" to me when I walk into the room. It doesn't feel TOO 1984 to me. I'm ok as long as it doesn't start singing Bicycle Built for Two.
  • Achievements - Nothing new, but I still love achievements, and I like the implementation here.

My minor gripes:

  • HDMI Pass through - On more than one occasion, this has caused issues. The Xbox tends to "lose" the TV signal. I'm also a bit miffed that the Xbox One has to be on any time I want to watch TV.
  • UI - It's like they tried to streamline something that should't be streamlined. I much preferred the "pages" like setup of the current 360 UI. I'm also not a fan of the vertical blocks of icons with the ellipsis underneath. Maybe it's that I don't have Windows 8, but this UI sucks for a game system.
  • Controller - The 360 controller was better. The PS4 controller is better. The rumble triggers are cute. And yes, I played Forza 5. I wasn't impressed with the triggers. And why is there still no internal battery? I'm not throwing away money on another Play and Don't Charge kit.

The Major Good Stuff:

  • Titanfall - I'm not an FPS guy. CoD, Battlefield, none of them. Titanfall is the first game of its kind to really appeal to me. I think it's because I like to be able to run away, I'm not really sure. Great game, but I worry that it doesn't have staying power.
  • Zoo Tycoon - This actually might be my favorite game on the system. One of the best things about it is it's a fantastic game for me to play with my young kids. I love the great graphics, solid strategy, and real educational value.
  • Price - Well, the price I got it at anyway!

And here we come to the real problems I have. I can't think of any other "Major Good Stuff" about the Xbox One experience. There are a whole lot of things that would be incredible, if they only worked the way they are advertised.

Voice commands should be awesome. I really thought they would be next level, but maybe the next level isn't good enough yet. I'm tired of repeating myself, first of all. "Xbox, Watch TV." "XBOX, WATCH TV!" And then the understanding is so limited. "Xbox, Watch HGTV." "Xbox, I didn't say BET." Eventually I give up, and it's "Xbox, go Fuck yourself."

And gesture controls? Don't even get me started. Only once have I seen gesture controls of a UI that worked well, And that was in The fucking Minority Report. That shit wasn't real. In real life, I look like a frantic moron just trying to go to the next page.

Motion control with Kinect in games is still way too hit or miss. The hype was that the Kinect 2.0 could do stuff like measure your heart rate. Too bad it can only make out my kids about 50% of the time. They see something like the Kinect Sports Rivals demo and get all excited, but then they try to play it and their hopes are destroyed.

Maybe I'm old and crabby. But the fact is that I was sold on a bill of goods with the Xbox One (and especially the Kinect 2.0) and Microsoft has not delivered. I'm happy with the purchase, since I got it at such a great price, and I also have faith that it will be worth it in the long run. I'm fully covered on "exclusives" now, so I can enjoy all there is to enjoy in gaming. I just thought the Xbox Entertainment experience would blow me away. I thought I'd be slinging voice commands, I thought it would enhance my TV viewing experience in some way, and I thought maybe it could be the "One" box to fill all my needs. It just isn't cutting it - at least not yet.

#1 Edited by isomeri (1406 posts) -

I've only had my PS4 for less than a month, but I'd still say that I prefer the experience I've had with my Xbox One. That being said I do agree with most of your points. Motion controls have basically not worked at all for me; not in games and not in the UI. And the UI itself is a bit of a mess right now, but I have learned to navigate it pretty well using voice commands. I do prefer the Xbox One controller over all my other controllers, and using it with rechargeable Eneloops is a more painless process for me than constantly having to plug my PS4/PS3 controller in to recharge it.

Oh and I might pick up Zoo Tycoon when and if it goes on sale.

#2 Edited by caesius6 (200 posts) -

Nice post! Good to hear from actual owners of all consoles. Can't say I have the problems some have with voice and gesture controls. The worst success rate I have is "Xbox, On," but even that works 85-90% of the time. Maybe I have an "ideal set up" for these sorts of things - it's a quiet apartment with a good deal of space for gestures and motions. I don't use the gesture controls much, as voice is much quicker, but the few times I have they worked as expected - the mini hand shows up and grips when I make a fist and selects when I push in, etc. I did play the Rivals demo with another person and neither of us had any issues controlling.

Sadly, I don't have cable anymore, so I never used the passthrough, but I look forward to the day when at least something will make that port useful for me. I've debating hooking up the 360 to it but...it really doesn't make sense if you can't use the One controller when doing that...not that I expected to.

I have to say though, I don't understand your gripe about the Xbox One having to be on to use the passthrough - what did you expect? If you really don't like that, then simply just plug the cable box to the TV. The One is meant to be a hub, overlaying an experience on top of the pretty dreadful guides and menus of 100% of cable boxes these days. And personally, I want access to the battery of the controller - if anything goes wrong I can manually shut it down that way. And batteries are easy to find on sale, so powering it is pretty cheap. I could be wrong, but the "play and charge" idea would still be present, and actually mandatory if the battery was internal and out of sight for the user, no? It seemed like you were associated it with the ability for the controller to take standard batteries.

The snap features, quick switching, and save state (powering down and coming right back to where you were when you power back on) are all pretty neat. I never owned a Kinect 1.0 but the convenience of this one is useful for me, if not for the auto sign in and code scanning alone. Like you though, definitely looking forward to what the future holds for Microsoft devices. They're hitting a stride now and monthly updates are addressing many of the community complaints pretty quickly.

#3 Posted by micemoney (159 posts) -

@caesius6 said:

Nice post! Good to hear from actual owners of all consoles. Can't say I have the problems some have with voice and gesture controls. The worst success rate I have is "Xbox, On," but even that works 85-90% of the time. Maybe I have an "ideal set up" for these sorts of things - it's a quiet apartment with a good deal of space for gestures and motions. I don't use the gesture controls much, as voice is much quicker, but the few times I have they worked as expected - the mini hand shows up and grips when I make a fist and selects when I push in, etc. I did play the Rivals demo with another person and neither of us had any issues controlling.

Sadly, I don't have cable anymore, so I never used the passthrough, but I look forward to the day when at least something will make that port useful for me. I've debating hooking up the 360 to it but...it really doesn't make sense if you can't use the One controller when doing that...not that I expected to.

I have to say though, I don't understand your gripe about the Xbox One having to be on to use the passthrough - what did you expect? If you really don't like that, then simply just plug the cable box to the TV. The One is meant to be a hub, overlaying an experience on top of the pretty dreadful guides and menus of 100% of cable boxes these days. And personally, I want access to the battery of the controller - if anything goes wrong I can manually shut it down that way. And batteries are easy to find on sale, so powering it is pretty cheap. I could be wrong, but the "play and charge" idea would still be present, and actually mandatory if the battery was internal and out of sight for the user, no? It seemed like you were associated it with the ability for the controller to take standard batteries.

The snap features, quick switching, and save state (powering down and coming right back to where you were when you power back on) are all pretty neat. I never owned a Kinect 1.0 but the convenience of this one is useful for me, if not for the auto sign in and code scanning alone. Like you though, definitely looking forward to what the future holds for Microsoft devices. They're hitting a stride now and monthly updates are addressing many of the community complaints pretty quickly.

Pretty much this. Basically, you will have to invest in some batteries or a play and charge (unless you want to buy batteries every 2-3 weeks.) It's a minor inconvenience once you overcome the obstacle. I like to view and use Kinect for things that actually work very well, such as the snap features, and turning the volume up/down, starting games, record gaming moments, Netflix and more. It complements the system quite nicely. I plan on getting a PS4 sometime during the summer, but I think at the moment X1 has it beat on games. Titanfall is a blast, and despite of resolution issues, most of the games look damn good. Being the underdog at the moment, they are really trying to connect with the community, and the system is being updated consistently. This is gunna be a great gen to own all consoles.

#4 Posted by confideration (440 posts) -

About the voice control stuff... I think we are lightyears away from voice being an integral part of how we interact with computers.

People say Google does it well, and I agree, except when it doesn't work right and you have to repeat yourself, the same thing with Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. Also it just doesn't feel natural, and it annoys EVERYONE around you.

I was near a guy the other day who was dictating his text messages back to someone, and it was the most unnatural, ridiculous things I have witnessed in a long time when it comes to human interfaces.

It doesn't mean we should stop trying, however, and I actually think MS was taking a bold step making Kinect a pack-in. It really is too bad they backtracked.

#5 Posted by BigJeffrey (5170 posts) -

i really really want to play zoo tycoon, i hope it's in games for gold someday.

#6 Posted by lowestformofwit (239 posts) -

I have a broad scottish accent and Kinect understands me 99.9% of the time on the Xbox One. I think it's very good and will be extremely handy when I have 200 games on the hard drive.

Maybe you are just not saying the right commands? That's a gripe I have. They should put some fuzzy criteria in the commands. Let me say "Xbox go to Tomb Raider" and at least PROMPT ME if I don't happen to say "Xbox go to Tomb Raider Definitive Edition".

#7 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1333 posts) -

I have the play/charge kit (because I had it for the past system, and because you need a cord to use the controller on PC) and it works fine for me, in theory I prefer that to a built in battery that when it fails I am out a controller while it flies away to get replaced or whatever. I viewed the kit as kinda a required purchase because of my heavy use of it for the 360, and it's requirement for use of the pad with a PC (which I have been loving almost everyday since)

I'm still cumbersome with the new shoulder buttons, they are weird and I wonder if that was an oversight for the team. They seem like 20% harder to consistently press, and often when I hold it to hold open a radial menu (mostly what it's used for now) I accidently loosen just enough pressure that the menu pops off... it's just not as consistent to use as the past shoulder buttons of the 360 controller, and that's sad making. Everything else about the controller is rad though, and I especially like the re-worked analog sticks... noticed them a bit at first but definitely noticeable when having used my 360 pad for PC games a month ago and feeling the stark difference. Poor 360 pad, I swear it felt like the 360pad aged a decade right before my eyes when I did that :(

I have a weird set up, I hook my Xbox One to my PC which means I have to break out almost all of it's outputs and individually convert them to usable inputs for my screens and speakers. Was nerve raking at launch since that sort of advanced set up stuff is impossible to find information on... even the 360 took months to release a VGA adapter which I eventually used, and the Xbox One will never have that since most monitors have hdmi... though most pc speakers do not have optical inputs really, so you still have to convert that somehow to whatever you'r working with.

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