Friday, 27 December 2013

Xbox One Review - Part 3: The Games

So here is a rundown of what I’ve experienced on the games front so far with the Xbox One.

My two choices on buying the console were Battlefield 4 and NBA 2K14 and I picked up Ryse: Son of Rome soon after.

Having completed the single player campaign on Battlefield, I can say it is good fun, not over-reliant on set pieces and the visuals are amazing. Multiplayer, now with up to 64 players is on a scale we haven’t seen before on consoles. The maps are huge and the action is furious. Team work, as ever, is the key in Battlefield following in Battlefield 3’s mighty footsteps, I believe this is the best multiplayer out there right now.

But…… the ability to squad up before a match is missing, as is customising your soldier unless you boot up the new Test Range feature or adjust your loadouts with the Battlelog app and the game has been plagued with other issues since release. Sound drop outs and corrupted saves. Dice are working on updates and a few have already been released, improving the performance of the game each time. 
NBA 2K14 will take time to get into as its controls are many and complex, even if you are a veteran of the series, but as sports games go, this is as close to the real thing as it gets. Superb commentary that puts EA to shame, amazing broadcast quality and stunning visuals. It’s like you’re watching a real-life game. 

Now I’m not a football fan, but have owned a few FIFA games over the years. FIFA 14 on the Xbox One is as smooth a game of football as I’ve ever played. Player collisions are no longer a mess and everything is super fluid and responsive. 
When I first saw Ryse: Son of Rome I was impressed by the visuals, but I was worried the combat would too much of a button-basher. As it turned out, the combat, is deeper than it looks. A variety of enemies will ensure you need to change up your tactics, blocking, dodging and attacking from different angles. Well timed button presses will ensure gruesome executions and a counter system not-unlike what we have seen in the Batman series and Sleeping Dogs, keeps the action fluid.

The story is decent and the length of the game and variety of combat available is just enough to ward off repetition. And the visuals? The best I’ve seen. But then it’s Crytek; it was always going to be a visual marvel. Buy it, if only to show off what your new console can do.

Elsewhere on the console there is the free-to-play fighter Killer Instinct in which you get a couple of modes and one character to use, unless you opt to buy more.
Kinect Sports: The Rivals was delayed into next year, but you can download a demo of the jet-skiiing portion of the game and it is immedietly obvious the the Kinect sensor is vastly improved on its predecessor. And the game looks great too.

Kinect can also be used in Battlefield 4 to lean and peek around corners or look around with a turn of the head if you’re in a vehicle. You can also call for a medic, ammo or issue orders in multiplayer, even with your headset mic muted.
In FIFA you can make substitutions, formation changes and play style decisions with voice commands and it works really well, providing you can pronounce the name of the players!

So that was my 3 part-intro to the Xbox One and what it currently has to offer. I'll be reviewing Forza Motorsport 5 separately as I've only just got it, but in short, it is definitely worth your time.
The Xbox One needs improvement in some areas, but I believe the console is not only a great leap from the Xbox 360, but also lays the groundwork to build a great entertainment package on over the next decade.

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