An evening with the Xbox One and a few friends Richard Berry 6 November, 2013 Features, Previews, Xbox One In just over two weeks the Xbox One will finally launch and I’ve yet to grab some hands-on time with the new black box from Microsoft. Sure I’ve seen the live stream unveil, the E3 coverage and Acey and the Major rocking gamescom but I’ve yet to come face to face with the Xbox One. Instead I’ve had to settle for hearing about how great the games are from my colleagues and friends but have they been swept up by the new and improved PR machine that has been repairing the damage from a somewhat lukewarm unveiling or is the next-gen Xbox truly the One and only machine you’ll need? Well, yesterday I was lucky enough to take a trip down to London to see for myself and boy was I impressed with what I saw although you might be surprised by the game that made the most impact on me. Firstly the console looks great and will certainly fit perfectly into the vacant gap I’ve left for it under my TV. The pad itself is extremely comfortable, the thumbsticks offer much more grip than the current controller and the turning circle of the sticks felt more resistant rather than the wide loose feeling of the current pads. The triggers were a bit edgy and dug into my fingers slightly but they had a great feeling to them when depressed although I must admit that it was a little strange that the bumpers ‘click’ that I’ve become so used to was absent, they sit so flush on the pad that I almost forgot they were there. I got to see a whole host of games running on the Xbox One, each looking sharp, vibrant and with a tremendous amount of detail and draw distance to their backgrounds particularly Killer Instinct, Forza 5 and Ryse. It was like I’d been watching a TV show on BBC before switching over to BBCHD, each game looked glorious with some of the titles I got to see really showing off the power of the Xbox One’s graphical prowess. – Ghosts looked crisp with some great detail in the draw distance First up I headed for Ghosts, after the barrage of abusive tweets I had read during the day I was dying to see how bad Ghosts was for myself and to be honest I really enjoyed it. Graphically, while not too dissimilar from what I’ve seen on the 360 I suffered no screen tear and the graphics ran smoothly with some lovely particle effects in explosions and smoke. I settled in fine with the gameplay going 22-11 in my first game. Even though it wasn’t shown, I have high hopes for Battlefield 4 – if it makes the same graphical jump that Ghosts has then we are in for one beautiful looking game. – The life of a pirate looks beautiful on the Xbox One Next up the temptation of Assassins Creed IV was too strong and I took to the waves to charge the Jackdaw straight through several ships in stormy weather – it looked amazing. Again the graphics were smooth and sharp but the highlight was the superior particle effects. You could actually see the rain drops in the storms, the clouds swirling and the fog misting – it looked stunning and there wasn’t a single screen tear in sight. In just a short time with the Xbox One version it was clear that I’d be sinking plenty of hours (and ships) into Black Flag come 22nd November. – Racing in these beautiful visuals won’t be enough to sway me to get Forza 5 but fans will love it Forza has always looked fantastic but Forza 5 really drives home this HD feel to the graphics. The cars and the backgrounds are a visual treat and while I can’t say I’m too excited to race around even more tracks, it did look spectacular. – – – Crazy weapons, hordes of zombies to slay, no loading screen – this is going to be fun! Dead Rising 3 was the first game I pre ordered for my Xbox One and playing it just cemented the fact that this will be the finest entry into the series. Gone are the shackles of time constraints, allowing you to freely sandbox and maim zombies to your heart’s content, although should you be a Dead Rising purest you can place the shackles back on in a difficulty mode created just for those of the more warped persuasion. The two things that stood out in the latest zombie romp from Capcom is the sheer number of zombies on-screen, each one different from the next, and there were no loading screens. Weapons can be built on the fly at any time and there are some pretty crazy combinations that can be constructed – if there was any doubt that Dead Rising 3 wouldn’t be any good, they were squashed there and then. Dead Rising 3 is a great showcase for the power of the Xbox One and I can’t help but get a little giddy with excitement that this is the quality of game available so early on in its infancy, cast your mind back to the 360 launch and the games we had then! – Certainly my game of the evening! I’ve saved the best until last and it’s a game that I hadn’t banked on being so impressed with – Ryse. Graphically this game is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else I saw, it was incredibly beautiful, almost painfully so. Not only is it stunning to look at but it’s violent, plays smoothly and it was a lot of fun, in fact my only concern was that the game may be a little on the short side but regardless, it has gone from being a title I was merely intrigued about to one that is now at the top of my Xbox One games list. – To top off a fantastic evening I walked away with my very own Xbox One, shame it was small, metallic and on a keychain!