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Early Xbox One Reviews: So Far, So Good

Press reviews of the Xbox One paint a picture of a robust multimedia experience.
Posted at 11:35 AM, Nov 20, 2013

The Xbox One has gone to press, and the reviews are painting a solid picture.

It's physically larger than the PS4, with an external power adapter. Instead of sharp, smooth angles, some reviewers are saying it looks more like a cable box. 

"The nicest description most Polygon staff could manage for the Xbox One's silhouette is 'inoffensive.' Microsoft has created a system designed to blend into the other components of your home entertainment center, and it does that ... for better or worse."

Like the PS4, the Xbox One uses a string of digital-only ports, including HDMI input for channeling things like a cable box through the console.

Inside is a Blu-ray drive and 500GB hard disk, which will hold your games when you install them to play — a mandatory process, just like the PS4.

Microsoft isn't focusing its third gaming console solely on games, though. It's pitching Xbox One as an interactive conduit for all your entertainment — gaming, streaming, movies and television.

The Next Web sums it up nicely: calling it "a multimedia extravaganza that also plays games."

Not as much noise has been made over the revamped controller, but then, as Kotaku points out: if it isn't broken, don't fix it. 

Microsoft has made incremental improvements to its already solid gamepad by increasing the accuracy of the joysticks and directional pad, adding rumble motors to the triggers, and giving it a AA battery life extending into weeks.

The Kinect camera, which comes bundled with the Xbox, taps into every part of the console's experience. 

It will interpret motion controls for some games, it can be used as a position-tracking Skype camera, will recognize different users based on who's holding the controller, and works as a microphone for console voice controls. But as the Verge points out you can't have a big house or friends. 

"As long as you're in a quiet, small room, the voice controls work pretty well. But if there are any other people, other noises or just any echo, it starts to get really problematic." (Via The Verge)

But what about the games? Just like the PS4, the Xbox One seems to be lagging a bit in the launch titles department. (Via Engadget)

Engadget found Forza 5 to be a solid and very pretty racing sim, and Ryse's hacky-slashy fictional Rome showed off the Xbox One's muscle; but the console still looks to be waiting for its killer app.

That said, it'll have some time to build up steam over the holiday season. Microsoft will release the Xbox One on Friday, November 22 for $499.