Microsoft has a lot to prove with its new console. After announcing controversial decisions such as making the Xbox One always online and not allowing it to play used games (the company later backpedaled on those plans), as well as a steep price ($499 versus the PS4’s $399) and a confusing name (it’s not the first Xbox), fans need something to convince them to get excited for Microsoft’s next generation.
There’s rhetoric, and, thankfully, there’s the console itself. The Xbox One looks and plays great. The console is a bit smaller than the Xbox 360, but just as sleek. Microsoft’s controllers keep getting better, and the new controller is stellar. The d-pad and bumper buttons are much improved over their almost-unusable 360 counterparts, but the biggest improvement is the thumb sticks. Xbox has always had solid and comfortable sticks, but the Xbox One’s have ridges around the perimeter of the stick, which help make the controller feel more solid as well as reduce the potential for wear and tear. I never thought anyone would make a stick that feels just right, but Microsoft has proved me wrong.
The primary game being demoed is “Ryse: Son of Rome” from Crytek. The bloody Roman Empire-themed action game certainly looks next-gen, with dynamic environmental shifts and stunning lighting effects. While the game controls smoothly, the action feels a bit stilted and scripted.
The gaming community has a few choice words concerning some of Microsoft’s recent decisions regarding their new console. But sit down with the Xbox One for a few minutes, and all that ill will seems to disappear. It’s a winner, and, if it has quality software to back it up, it should have no trouble flying off shelves come November.
The Xbox One will retail for $499.