Xbox One Review: One Month Later
It’s been exactly one month since Microsoft launched the Xbox One and it’s been a pretty wild ride so far. We recently reviewed the console shortly after it launched, saying that it’s a good start for Microsoft and that it’s full of potential, but it’s not really where it needs to be. However, one month later, we take another look at the Xbox One to see where it stands just 30 days after its launch.
As with any new device, especially a gaming console that’s going to stick around for at last five years, the Xbox One and the PS4 aren’t necessarily as good as many gamers would have hoped. Both consoles are an improvement over their previous-generation brethren, but they’re chock full of bugs that bog down the experience right now. While it’s still like that a month later, both Microsoft and third-party developers are constantly improving the Xbox One.
Microsoft has already released a big update that fixes a lot of bugs with the Xbox One, including issues with multiplayer, dashboard performance and improvements to the TV function.
Furthermore, game and app developers are also preparing updates to their games and/or apps, with the most-notable update belonging to Forza 5, which will increase payouts, drop the prices of cars and add new game modes.
Forza 5 has been the most-controversial title out of the launch games released for the Xbox One, mostly thanks to fewer cars and tracks this time around. Forza 5 only has about 200 cars and 14 tracks, which is pitiful compared to Gran Turismo 6′s 1,100 cars and 39 tracks. The numbers of cars and tracks in Forza 5 likely won’t change, but Turn 10 Studios hopes to win the hearts back of Forza fans by giving them more opportunities to earn money and buy cars.
Perhaps the most important component of the Xbox One console is the controller, which has failed to really wow us much. We like that the overall design hasn’t changed from the Xbox 360, yet Microsoft improved the controller with improved triggers that come with integrated force feedback. However, it mostly still feels pretty cheap, and compared to the PS4′s DualShock 4 controller, the Xbox One controller is a bit underwhelming.
On the software side, I personally am no stranger to the bugs and issues that many folks have been talking about with the Xbox One. Games have frozen up on me, requiring me to do a cold shutdown and restart, and the Netflix app used to give me all kinds of errors. Fortunately, I haven’t had any of these issues pop up again in the last couple of weeks, but it wouldn’t hurt to knock on wood.
There are a lot of features of the Xbox One that aren’t fully fleshed out just yet, with the Upload Studio app being one great example. This app allows you to edit and upload game clips that you record. Unfortunately, you can only upload clips to your SkyDrive, but seeing as there’s a YouTube app available for the Xbox One, we don’t see why YouTube uploading isn’t integrated into Upload Studio. It’s possible that it’s on Microsoft’s to-do list, but right now it’s something that’s just a big gaping hole in the Xbox One.
Voice commands on the Xbox One work fairly well, although it’s certainly not flawless. The popular “Xbox On” command is a flip of the coin, and there’s been times when I’ve had to say “Xbox On” three times before the console would actually turn on. The same goes for pretty much any other voice command I’ve attempted to shout out. However, I usually stay away from voice commands in the first place, mostly because I probably look like an idiot when I talk to an inanimate object.
Kinect sign-in is another feature that doesn’t work quite well. This is where you can be automatically signed into your Xbox Live account by associating your face with your account, so whenever you go to sit down in front of your TV, the Kinect sensor will recognize you and automatically sign you in. Unfortunately, it’s really slow, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. There will be times when I turn on the console and get to the dashboard, and it’ll take a good ten seconds or so for the Kinect to recognize me, if at all. It’s a nice feature, but it needs improving.
One thing that absolutely blew my mind, though, was the ability to have the Xbox One console, my TV, and my audio receiver turned on all at once with the “Xbox On” command. Having your entire entertainment center turned on by just shouting out two words is amazing to me, and it finally proved to me that the future is indeed here.
However, one thing that I would love to see with the Xbox One is the ability to stream .MKV files from a NAS, but it’s pretty obvious that won’t ever happen, but I can dream. The Xbox One is almost the all-in-one set-top box that I’ve been wanting, but not being able to stream .MKV files from my NAS is the only thing that keeps my other streaming set-top box in the entertainment center. This is a very niche feature, so it’s likely that I’ll always need a second living room device for my NAS streaming needs, but the day that the Xbox One does introduce this feature is the day that my dream entertainment center is complete.
So has the Xbox One improved in a month’s time? Only slightly. Should you go out and buy one now that the hype dust has settled? Well, first of all, good luck finding one in stock, and secondly, if you skipped out on buying an Xbox One on launch day due to these very problems, then you should still wait a bit longer for things to get straightened out a bit more. Then again, it’s not really that bad, so if you’re hankering to play some Ryse or Forza 5, you won’t really regret getting an Xbox One right now.