Xbox One: Launch Games
There’s no doubt that, of the two new consoles, the Xbox One has the stronger launch line-up. None of the titles is a solid gold, ten out of ten launch masterpiece, but Forza 5 looks stunning and plays brilliantly, while Ryse impresses with its gritty, cinematic visuals even if the gameplay isn’t quite there.
Dead Rising 3 is limited, but entertaining, and Zoo Tycoon is – with a few minor caveats – a fantastic family game. We’ll come through with full reviews of some of these titles as soon as we can. Beyond the exclusives, you also get games of the calibre of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Need for Speed: Rivals. Not all of these are exceptional, but if you want a few decent games for your new console, you won’t struggle for choice.
See our round-up of Xbox One launch games to buy
Microsoft is also relying on smaller download games to add depth and breadth to the line-up. Of these Killer Instinct is a decent-enough revival of the ancient Rare beat-em-up, and Powerstar Golf is a surprisingly addictive cartoon golf game. Crimson Dragon was hailed as the successor to Panzer Dragoon, but combines bewildering mechanics, mediocre graphics and dull on-rails shooting, at least in the short chunk we played. The less said about Logocycle, the better. Here the PS4 pulls ahead with its more inventive and quirky indie titles, and this seems to be one area where Sony has had more success at enthusing the development community.
Still, console launch windows are notoriously hard on games, and neither the Xbox 360 nor the PS3 launched with a stellar line-up. Down the line Xbox One owners can look forward to Remedy’s time-stopping action thriller, Quantum Break, Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive and the intriguing, kid-friendly DIY game-studio, Project Spark.
And that’s without the real killer apps: Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall and 343 Studio’s Halo 5. We’ve yet to meet anyone who’s played Titanfall who hasn’t wanted it, and if you want to play it on a console, then Xbox One is the only system in the game – at least until a sequel is pushed out.
Xbox One: The Cloud
Microsoft’s standard retort to complaints that the Xbox One isn’t powerful enough is to cite its cloud-focused features. With Office 365, SkyDrive and Windows Azure up and running Microsoft has some of the most advanced cloud technology in the world. It claims that Xbox One will be able to leverage the power of Azure-based cloud services to handle background processing tasks that don’t affect latency-sensitive functions like the graphics or physics modelling, but could enhance AI or help developers build bigger and more detailed worlds.
At the moment, the only real-world example is Forza’s cloud-based Drivatar AI, and while that’s impressive it’s not without some problems as we’ll cover in the full review. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and we’ve barely seen a mouthful yet.
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