The Xbox One Tour has been traveling throughout the country since late October and today, November 6, 2013, the van stopped in the Adams Morgan area in Washington, D.C. to give fans a taste of what they can look forward to when the console is launched. The van brought three games to show off: Killer Instinct: Forza 5, and Fifa 14. All of them looked very impressive.
The biggest shock of them all to me was how smooth Killer Instinct played. No frame-rate hiccups, really deep and vibrant colors, and it made me realize that Killer Instinct is one of those games that you actually have to play to get a feel for whether you’ll like it or not. I have seen plenty of YouTube videos of the game where they do the same moves over and over again, and it makes the game look sort of dull. Almost like if you were watching two people who’d never played a fighting game before and were happy with what they were accomplishing. But when I got the controller in my hand, it was more than what I was expecting. I haven’t played a Killer Instinct game since Killer Instinct Gold on the Nintendo 64. I forgot the type of combos you can do in that game. I’m not sure if they took the No Mercy moves, which was their version of the Fatality, out of the game since there wasn’t any prompt or something notifying us to perform it, but the Ultra Combo was there for sure. The demonstrator who was running the event told me that he has seen a one thousand hit combo during one of his stops. It had a lot to do with performing the Ultra, canceling, and performing it again.
When it came to exploring the console itself, we weren’t allowed to exit out of the games in fear that “it may shut down the whole setup”. I was told that they were running on dev kits with “demos” of the games installed on them. Could this mean the same demos that were on these consoles will be there at launch? Hope so, because these are good use cases for people who are walking into a Gamestop or a Wal-Mart and have to chose between the two consoles that are arriving in a few weeks.
The one thing that I really got out of this stop was the controller. They showed off a re-design during the announcement of the console that left a few wondering what it felt like and if they were going to keep some familiarity with the 360 controllers from this generation. Let’s face facts here, the 360 wasn’t the only one who benefited from that controller. PC users, especially ones that use Steam, love the 360 controllers and it let gamers who weren’t down with PC gaming gain entry by letting them use something that was familiar. With that being said, the Xbox One controller feels like an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while. It looks different and acts different, but the feeling you get when you’re around it is the same. In fact, the only difference that I felt with the controller is the plastic matte finish they put on it and the flatness in the middle of the controller. The flat middle comes from the battery pack that is now also flat and the movement of the home button that is more towards the top of the controller, rather than in between the start and back buttons. The finish on the controller gives it a different feel. It almost feels kind of rugged, giving it sort of a grip in your hand, making it feel like you would never drop this thing unless you threw it for some reason. They have improved the D-Pad in a major way. The pad still has the same design as the 360 controller but the D-Pad itself is recessed into the controller with a circle going around and touching each part of the pad directions. While it is improved, I found myself jumping straight in the air when I was trying to move up and forward in Killer Instinct. Could it have been me not paying attention to what I am doing? I’m not sure.
Playing Forza 5 showed off how the rumble in the triggers felt and I have to say, it is impressive. The triggers aren’t overpowering and it’s just enough to make you feel that hard turn you take when you press the brake and the accelerator. I felt myself using the rumble to make myself turn better around corners in the game and the use of the rumble as a mechanic when you are turning is really smart no matter if it is on purpose or not. By the way, Forza is beautiful. The sun in your eyes, the landscape, the track, the cars, and the rearview mirror are all things in this game are well made. That was the showcase of this whole event in my opinion and it really showed me what this console could do. This has been pre-ordered.
I left the event wanting more and with a bunch of questions that I need answered, none having to do with resolution, price, or any other thing that the Internet is upset about to this point. I want to try out some of the OS features they were showing off during the unveiling. I want to see how other games play and who else will take advantage of the triggers and in what way. I want to see how they improved the Kinect since that is the reason why the console costs $100 more than the PlayStation 4. Up to this point, I wondered if there was a real reason to upgrade to new hardware other than having a game like Watch Dogs, which got delayed, come out and be the game that you’re buying this for. After this event, I am really looking forward to the 22nd, more now than I was when I first pre-ordered the console in June. I’m pretty excited now. Let’s hope that there is more to be excited about.