This year, Santa brought an XBox One for our entire family to enjoy. Luckily, parents always have a direct line to Santa, so we knew this information. We got each of the boys one game to play on it.
In the past, I did a comparison review of the XBox 360 vs the Wii. I’m not going to do a full comparison of the XBox 360 vs the XBoxOne, but I am going to talk about how I feel about our newest system. My opinions are mixed for many reasons.
To preface my review, we now have the Wii, XBox 360, and the Xbox One. With our kids being ages 8-15, the Wii gets the least amount of use of the three. They pretty much take out the Wii for Mario Kart, My Sims, and Band Hero (because my daughter likes to play as her favorite singer, Taylor Swift). That’s about it. The system that has the most options for games for all of our kids is still the XBox360.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
First and foremost, I can’t believe it didn’t come with a single game! You would think for the price those systems go for, that one game would be included. Nope! Each game available right now is between $50-60. Some cost even more. In looking at the Microsoft Game page, it looks like some games coming out in the future will cost a bit less, but we haven’t seen any for less than about $50 yet. This system also only comes with one controller. Santa brought us a second controller, which was good (it’s somewhere in the area of $75 for a controller with rechargeable battery).
As a side note about the controllers, the new ones no longer displays which player you are. If you look at the picture to the right, the top controller (for the XBox 360) has a green circle that is divided into 4 parts. Whichever player that controller is connected to, the coordinating numbered section lights up. This made it really easy to tell which controller belonged to which player, which was also helpful during game play. The XBox One controller just has the X lit up, with no indication as to which player is connected to that remote. Because of this, it’s difficult for players to tell what player they are during game play. This can make it very confusing at the start of a multiplayer game.
Setup seemed to be a real pain for my husband, Jason (@StrateSQL). Luckily, I wasn’t here for that part. I was driving my kids to their dad’s house for Christmas while the hubby was working on getting it going. After being gone for almost 2 hours, they were JUST starting to be able to play a game on it when I got home! Apparently, there were updates galore that had to be downloaded for both the unit itself, and the games the boys wanted to try.
There is a very limited selection so far of games available for the XBox One. That is pretty typical any time a new game system comes out. Most of the games that are available, are really more for teenagers to adults. We got a Lego Marvel game for my 8 year old. He really likes that. Then again, we almost all like the Lego line of games in this house! There are other games, such as Skylander Swap Force, that are age appropriate too, but not many yet. We also got Call of Duty: Ghost, DeadRising 3, and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. A list of games available and coming can be found on the XBox Games page. My husband decided he wanted the Madden Football game, so he just downloaded it right to the One. Not having to go to the store to get any game available is a pretty cool benefit to this system.
We keep discovering more and more we can do with our One. It is, apparently, also a Blu-Ray player. We haven’t played any Blu-Rays on it, but it says we can. We have watched regular DVDs on the One. We can stream our Netflix, and Vudu movies through it (though, we could do this with the XBox 360 too).
We have our cable box connected through the XBox One. On the home page of the One, there is a TV button. We click on that, and proceed to use our cable remote as normal. We’ve noticed that while we are watching TV through the One, there are black bars on either side of the screen. It’s like watching a “widescreen” edition of a DVD, but the bars go the opposite direction.
The Kinect sensor on the XBox One is pretty incredible. When anyone comes into the room, it knows who they are, and signs them in, while displaying their name on the screen. It’s kind of cool, but also annoying when the whole family is in the room, and the Kinect wants to sign them all in.
The graphics on the games are amazing! When my husband and son are playing the Madden football game, it doesn’t quite look like you are watching actual NFL football, but dang close! If your back is turned, you would swear it was an actual playoff game you are listening to. I do wonder about the sensitivity of the microphone on the Kinect, as I often hear them yelling “no huddle” or other commands that it doesn’t always seem to pick up. That can be frustrating to the game players. Jason also said the game (Madden 25) tends to crash between menus at times.
I don’t think as kids, as we sat playing our Nintendos and Super Nintendos, we ever imagined there really would be video games you would command with your body and/or voice. It’s pretty awesome (and scary) to think of just how much further game systems will evolve in our life time! Implications reach so much further than just video games!
Watching players play games such as Assassin’s Creed, or watching the trailers for some of the games coming out in the near future, it really looks like the players are participating in a movie, TV show, or cartoon. The graphics really are THAT good.
Another feature that my husband and step-sons really appreciate, is the ability for some games to connect with XBox’s Smartglass. We experimented a bit with this with our XBox 360 this past fall with their karaoke channel. While one person was singing, other people could add songs to the playlist using the tablet. With some of the games on the XBox One, the connectivity offers other benefits, such as keeping a map of the “world” you are playing up on the smartglass. During game play, you can see where you are at in real time on a tablet or laptop, rather than switching screens on the TV during play. For experienced gamers, it can be a huge benefit to play and strategy to have this information up at all times.
Overall, I like the XBox One. I still prefer the XBox 360. I’m sure as I learn even more as to what I can do on it, and more games become available, I will like it even more. There are things I don’t love (such as the minor change to the controller), and things I do (such as the Fitness Channel and amazing graphics on games). I look forward to seeing what the future of gaming holds!