Although it is still not launch day, journalists and gaming fanatics from around the world who managed to get their hands on an Xbox One early are busy posting reviews now that Microsoft's embargo has been lifted. Let's cut to the chase: the review are, unsurprisingly, great for the most part. There are a few duds along the way, but this is to be expected for virtually any product.
So, here it is. The ultimate collection of Xbox One reviews (or at least the start of it!) from around the web all collated in one place for your delectation.
The Guardian awards the console 3/5 and points out its bulk: "it is extremely big and heavy. Comparisons to an early VHS video recorder are a little unkind but have some truth". The launch day games are described as ranging "from mediocre to pretty good", but while "something about PS4 feels fresher, more seductive, and Sony ended this generation with one of the true great games, The Last of Us", the Guardian feels the Xbox One still has a great deal to offer.
Anandtech decided to compare Microsoft's latest release to not only the PS4 -- its obvious rival -- but also the Xbox 360, and found that the "UI is much improved over its predecessor." Rather than picking a favorite, the reviewer points out that "this next generation of console wars will boil down to a few key questions: exclusives, online, extra features and personal preference."
The Verge starts off saying "Xbox, convince me," and looks are quickly brought up as being a negative point. The interface comes in for some criticism for being "a smorgasbord of colored Windows 8-style tiles in seemingly arbitrary locations" and the fact that "there's a lot to set up, and a lot to learn." Kinect is found to be less than one hundred percent reliable, and when looking at games, the feeling is that there will be better to come: there are "a few good launch games, but these won't be the Xbox One's best." Overall, there's a score of 7.8 out of 10.
Over at Destructoid, the sleek, simple looks of the console are praised, but noise is highlighted as a potential issue: "Xbox One is fairly quiet, though it's never completely silent. Most of the time it'll emit a faint whirring, but when some games start, it'll crescendo to a full roar for a few seconds." The console was also found to run fairly hot. The redesigned controller has been widely praised, and this is no different here: "the new analog sticks are fantastic". Console volume is singled out once again: "the d-pad makes a sharp clicking noise under heavy use," but the comment that "it needs to win some kind of award for the most improved piece of gaming tech ever created" sums things up nicely.
Engadget is disappointed with the appearance of the Xbox One (it is "no looker"), but there is, once again, high praise for the controller. Like elsewhere, the Impulse Triggers get a mention -- "despite the silly name, they're actually a neat little addition" -- but it is pointed out that the shoulder buttons "noticeably stiffer than on the 360 gamepad". The UI gets the thumbs up too: "the Xbox One Dashboard is simply a cleaner, more intuitive setup than the PlayStation 4's endless app list."
Over on Ars Technica there seems to be a little disagreement about how loud the console is: "it's functionally silent from across the living room, even when loading data from a disc and running a game." In game, lighting effects have impressed although some titles (Dead Rising 3, Zoo Tycoon, and Powerstar Golf) apparently would not look out of place on the 360. Again the controller is loved, apart from the lack of a rechargeable battery pack. The overall advice from Ars is simple: "buy an Xbox One if and when there are enough exclusive games to convince you it's worth the expense."
TechCrunch suggests that "you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would say the Xbox One is particularly beautiful" but the controller is "absolutely superb." Most apps are described as working well, but one is singled out for being less than perfect -- Internet Explorer is "super wonky." It is the price tag that seems to be the sticking point: it "comes with a $500 price tag. Faults, even small ones, are a bit harder to look past." The advice is "hold off for now" if you're not desperate for any of the launch titles, but that said, "it’s a solid buy."
We'll continue to crawl through more of the online reviews over the next couple of days, and will pull out more highlights as we comes across them. In the meantime, feel free to share any review that you have particularly enjoyed or found to be helpful.
Have you managed to try out an Xbox One for yourself? What are your first thoughts? Or are you still impatiently waiting for yours to be delivered?