Xbox One Review Part 0: We Have Liftoff

By November 22, 2013
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Eight. That’s the number that represents the now-current generation of home video game consoles. It all started with the now little-known Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, but most people would likely agree that things really kicked off in earnest during the third generation, with the likes of the Sega Master System and the immortal Nintendo Entertainment System.

After the rise and fall of a lot of different hopefuls for the throne of home video game dominance over the years (remember the Atari Jaguar, the 3DO, and the too-advanced-for-its-time Sega Dreamcast?), three regular players have emerged as the major competitors in the home console market: Nintendo is still in the game, Sony has continued to make powerful and innovative hardware, and the 2001 late arrival, Microsoft, burst onto the scene with the original Xbox, and is now putting its junior effort forward with the Xbox One.

Microsoft claims the new controller is a vast improvement over it's predecessor. We'll see...

Microsoft claims the new controller is a vast improvement over it’s predecessor. We’ll see…

As an avid Xbox 360 gamer in the last generation, I consider myself dedicated to the platform, but not exactly a solid devotee (or “Xbox fanboy”). When the details started to emerge about the consoles that would be competing this time around, I obsessively looked at all of the details, comparing and contrasting released specifications, aesthetic design, new features, all the way down to relatively trivial things like size and color (it seems that all of the new consoles are taking the old Model T approach: get it in any color you want, as long as it’s black).

Technically, I already arrived in this console generation earlier this year when I took the plunge and bought Nintendo’s Wii U, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Now, I was pretty sure that I’d be complementing that system with either the PS4 or the Xbox One, not because I feel that the Wii U is inferior by any means, but just because publishers favor the Sony and Microsoft formats. As a Batman fan, I’d be pretty upset if I couldn’t play whatever the next-gen Arkham game ends up being if it didn’t make it onto Nintendo’s system. Nintendo makes incredible games (one of them which I’ll be reviewing here soon), but for the Triple-A multi-platform titles, you pretty much want a Sony or Microsoft console for two major reasons: graphical power and availability. If you prefer platformers and plumbers saving princesses, go ahead and buy the Wii U with no reservation. If your eye is wandering toward the next Halo, or Bungie’s upcoming Destiny, though? You may want to think about a PS4 or an Xbox One.

This is the game I decided to review. I'd have done more, but I'm not made of money!

This is the game I decided to review. I’d have done more, but I’m not made of money!

Ultimately, I decided to return to the Xbox brand for a few specific reasons: the implementation of Kinect looked intriguing, I’m a fan of Microsoft’s intellectual properties (or “IP’s,” specifically Halo and Dead Rising), and I just didn’t have the heart to leave my gamerscore behind. Not to mention the fact that the PSN framework simply doesn’t appeal to me as much as Xbox Live. Really, though, this doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that I thought I could use my new console purchase and the significant time I devoted to that ultimate decision for a greater good, by giving you the best, most full impression I can share from someone who considers himself a gamer, but not a troll.

Though I ultimately chose the Xbox One, that’s far from meaning that I’m going to spend any page space over the course of this coverage doing anything to blast or insult Sony and their latest effort. I’m not equipped to do that since I don’t own a PS4, but more importantly, it would add nothing to the conversation. It’s quite possible that reading my reviews for each feature and operation of the console may be the very thing that drives you yelling and screaming into Sony’s arms, but either way, I just feel like being informed is the best possible thing to be when you’re headed out into the warzone of the shopping malls this holiday season, thinking of picking up a new, expensive piece of tech.

So, what exactly will we cover here? A lot! As of now, the individual pieces will go over the following topics:

I’m going to do my absolute best to give you as much information as possible so that you know exactly what’s worth getting about the Xbox One, and potentially what’s worth passing. I hope you enjoy the coverage over the next week, and we’ll see you right back here very soon with Xbox One Review Part 1: Out of the Box!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.