With the next-gen rapidly approaching, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 were naturally a source of great interest at Eurogamer Expo 2013. We went hands-on with the Xbox One to try out a few highly anticipated titles, but also to get an impression of the package that Microsoft has put together.
While we were waiting on Forza 5 to load up the demo track, we hit the guide button to take a look at this multitasking feature and the dashboard. The dashboard itself looks exactly the same as in the video that was posted online with a familiar tile layout. One thing that is impressive is how quick the switch to the multitasking feature is; the game continues on its merry way, while users can flick through the various Dashboard tabs at the same time. A perfect way to kill time while waiting for something to load.
The controller itself feels much nicer than the Xbox 360's pad. The differences are subtle, yet telling; the Xbox One controller has a better texture to it, it is slimmer and it's lighter. However, the difference in size requires a little adjustment as the grip position to reach the bumpers and triggers at the same time is slightly different. The bumpers themselves are somewhat underwhelming, as they are almost flush to the controller and don't give much in the way of feedback. On the whole, the new controller is compact and comfortable, though we weren't able to test it under the circumstances of an extended play session.
Though the controller may have lost some weight, the console has put on a few pounds. It looks nice, don't get us wrong, but it is a bit on the bulky side. Most won't be housing their Kinect 2.0 camera right on top of the console, which is a blessing, though in this environment it certainly adds to the perception that the complete package will require quite a bit of space in your living room.
One element of the Xbox 360 that has always bothered us, and most other owners for that matter, is the noise that it gives off. Microsoft promised near-silent operation for the Xbox One and initial impressions live up to this. We didn't risk getting odd looks by leaning down to give it a good listen, but from a regular standing position, we didn't feel like we'd be disturbing anyone in a quiet household.
Of course, one of the most important aspects of the next-gen to early adopters is how games look. Well, you'll be pleased to hear that the visuals are gorgeous. While the next-gen will have its share of grey and brown shooters, anything that implements colour looks stunning. Both Forza and FIFA looked brighter and more vibrant than their older counterparts, or in the case of FIFA its current-gen cousin.
The Xbox One will require some thought if you are including it in your gaming room thanks to its bulky frame, the added Kinect camera and the fact that it does not support vertical orientation thanks to its design.