Xbox One Tour: How to Shatter Hopes 101
MS Done MS’ed Up
The Xbox One Tour rolled into Atlanta from the 24th to 27th of October, amid frenzied fans and skeptics alike. I missed out on the first 3 days of the tour, and decided that a nice Sunday morning slot would do me well, considering from what I heard that the event was packed for most of the preceding days going into nights.
I arrived at 200 Peachtree pretty easily, with little traffic to get in the way of my ultimate goal: to try out most of the games myself and see what all the Xbox One hubbub was about.
As I reached the back entrance of the event, I was ushered in by the enthusiastic MS attendants who expected a high-five every 10 steps on the way to the show floor. Once I got there, I was greeted with a huge Xbox One green-glowing prop.
The show floor was mainly dark, spotted only by the green hue of rave-lights and TV screens showing sharp gameplay. There was a DJ there mixing and spinning a combination of forgettable beats; I was there for the games, not the atmosphere.
Enough of the foreplay. Letâ€™s get right down to it: How were the games? Well, there was some good, and some bad. Scratch that. Some good sprinkled over a crapload of bad. There. I said it. I didnâ€™t enjoy my time there much, and Iâ€™ll tell you exactly why. And please do keep in mind that I am an Xbox brand fan and have been there since the beginning of the journey, with the Xbox and Xbox 360 absorbing a decent part of my gaming life. My love rolls the gamut of games over the two systems. With that disclaimer out of the way, letâ€™s go over my breakdown of the each of the games I tried on the show floor, along with their ratings.
This was the game I â€œgunnedâ€ for first (stop throwing tomatoes at me!). Unfortunately, I was unable to grab any screenies or videos of gameplay since BF4 and FIFA 14 were the only games that I was not allowed to record, and you can probably guess why as youâ€™ll find out soon enough.
I played 8 vs. 8 Domination on a map tentatively titled Zavod 311. Of course, the same satisfying gunplay that we all enjoyed in the BF4 beta was found here in full force. Guns had more weight, felt meaty, and the controls were quite satisfying (except any bumper actions like spotting, etc.). Sniper rifles actually felt powerful, and the guns were adequately loud and definitely had a presence. Running, jumping, climbing, going prone â€“ felt very natural, even with the slightly changed up control configuration. BF4 was definitely not lacking in the fun department. But what it was lacking was pretty important to me.
All those rumors that BF4 running at 720p? CONFIRMED. There is no way that the game looked anywhere close to running in 1080p. The game looked barely better than the beta I played on my Xbox 360. Sure, there was some decent motion blur and the visual effects were okay, but there seemed to be very little anti-aliasingâ€¦either that or the build I was playing (I was told it was the latest build) wasnâ€™t optimized. I enjoyed the gameplay fully, but left my two sessions of domination disappointed at the prospect that next-gen looked barely better than current gen. I really hope the PS4 proves me wrong.
Overall: 9/10 (mainly for gameplay)
Remember those in-game graphics that we were promised at E3? The oneâ€™s that made us quiver with excitement about the potential of next-gen games? Well, take all those puppy-dog eyed fantasies and throw them right out the window. Ryse was not impressive at all in the graphics department. Coupled with Dead Rising 3, these two games made me want to cancel my Xbox One pre-order. Sure, the gameplay was interesting and fun, with all the counters, area attacks, environmental dangers, and enemies that I found in the Ryse arena I played in, but the graphics were definitely not something to write home about.
The only redeeming feature I found in the game besides the gameplay was the audio. Dear lord. With headphones on, the â€œRyseâ€ of the cheering or jeering crowd in the game is heard with complete acoustic fidelity. No game has ever made me feel like I was in an actual arena, before I tried out Ryse. Crytekâ€™s acoustic maestros definitely deserve a bonus this year.
Forza 5 isâ€¦wellâ€¦Forza. The graphics looked somewhat better than Forza 4, but like almost all of the games I tried, the anti-aliasing just seemed off. Clean-cut horizons and other straight planes should be just that: clean cut, especially in the next-gen world. Still, I enjoyed my time winning a race on Laguna Seca with zero issues. The rumble triggers were downright amazing on the new Xbox One controller. You thought you felt the road beneath you in in Forza 4? You, my friend, have another thing coming. The rumble triggers work like a charm and convey just about every cadence of the road, every bit of virtual pebble you hit, and relay with beautiful specificity just which exact wheel on your car is doing what at any given time.
Overall, I had a good time with the game, albeit at the mercy of the new controllerâ€™s looser sticks, I was still able to control my car pretty decently.
How can I explain this game to you? Let me seeâ€¦ah! If you made one of the parents the (amazing) Panzer Dragoon, and the other one a complete steaming pile of something-something, then youâ€™d get Crimson Dragon. It controls bad, the level was generic, trying too hard to wow you with flight peaks and drops, and the game overall just felt derivative to the core. Not worth it in my book, or at least not considering from the level that I played. As you can see below, A few seconds of recording gameplay was still too much for me. I just wanted to move on.
Dead Rising 3
Everyone who loves Dead Rising 3 is going to hate me. Before you start slapping me around, Iâ€™ll let you know that I enjoyed my time with Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2. The quirky gameplay, story, and graphics were a perfect mix of black humor, terrifying zombies, and weapon-creating innovation. Dead Rising 3 played just fine, and seemed to have the same heart of the previous games, exceptâ€¦againâ€¦the graphics. They were coated with the next-gen â€œshineâ€ that early 360 titles had (remember Perfect Dark?). Also, if you told me that the game was running on an Xbox 360, wellâ€¦I wouldn’t have been surprised at the least. Dead Rising 3 does not look next-gen ladies and gentlemen. Sure, itâ€™s mostly about the gameplay, but if you expect me to shell out $500 to be able to play a game that looks like it could run fine on my 360, then youâ€™re doing something wrong. I want to pay for next-gen, and not current-gen version 1.2.
Overall: 7/10 (mostly for gameplay)
Now this game exuded that next-gen quality. The gameplay was fun, and although it was open to button-mashing, there were some people playing that seemed to be pros and were pulling off some complex KI moves that for the life of me I couldn’t mimic. The graphics were crisp and clear and the controls were pretty solid. I played a couple of matches and the â€œooooâ€™sâ€ and â€œaaaaaaâ€s flowing out of me made me blush as I saw the event attendants smirk at my reactions. Okay, Iâ€™ll high-five you guys one more time; just donâ€™t speak of this again. At the end of my two matches, I was raring for another go, but felt the eyes of a few souls on my back who were waiting for their turns, so respectfully, I moved on to another game.
All I can say about FIFA 14 is that if youâ€™ve already bought a copy on the PS3 or Xbox 360, thereâ€™s no need to buy the Xbox One version. Not much is different, except for some paltry new features here and there. The graphics look slightly better than current-gen (and considering current-gen already looks amazing, FIFA 14 on the One looks pretty damn life-like).
There were a few other games on the show floor that I saw, but didnâ€™t playâ€¦because BF4 happened. Max, Skylanders, Peggle 2 and a few others caught my eye as Arcade titles, and all looked decent enough. But they didnâ€™t look â€œnext-genâ€. Which brings me back to the point I was making earlier: if MS wants me to spend $500 (plus tax) of my hard-earned cash on their product, theyâ€™d better bring their â€œAâ€ game to an event like the Xbox Tour. But they didnâ€™t. They brought their â€œCâ€ game. And thatâ€™s not the kind of strategy to use when showing prospective customers games (and a console) that are coming out in literally less than a month.
I left the Tour, not feeling wowed, but feeling let down. I remember asking myself â€œwas that really it? Is this next-gen?â€ The genuine excitement I felt going into the show was sapped out of me as I left. Most of the titles were just okay, with only Killer Instinct and Battlefield leaving an impressionable mark on me. Whereâ€™s Titanfall? Where was Destiny? Call of Duty: Ghosts? Outside of Battlefield 4, KI, and Forza 5, Microsoft should have brought forth some more showstoppersâ€¦yet they didnâ€™t. And just like the troubled history and controversy that the Xbox One has seen so far, wellâ€¦add the Xbox One Tour to the list as well.
Xbox One Tour Overall: 6/10
*The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of SpawnFirst as a whole.