A PlayStation fangirl admits it: Today’s reveal of the Xbox One kind of blew the PlayStation 4 reveal out of the water. Even the name, Xbox One, rather than the casually monikered Xbox 720, is surprising and different. The PS4 reveal was centered on the games (and yes, the graphics capability of the PS4 seems superior). But the Xbox One focused on the integration of the Xbox with all of the media in your living room, making it “one” system. Obviously, a tech demo held at Microsoft MSFT -0.64%‘s headquarters in Redmond is less proof and more proof of concept, but if the Xbox One is everything Microsoft claims, it looks like science fiction made reality.
The Xbox One will be voice activated, so users can walk into their living rooms and say, “Xbox on,” just as Yusuf Mehdi, the CVP of marketing and strategy at Xbox, did at the demonstration. But the on/off switch is just the start of the Xbox’s commands. Watch TV. Browse the internet. Listen to music. Play a game. From where I sit, the only time I’ve been impressed more with next generation gaming technology is when I saw Nvidia NVDA +0.51%‘s SHIELD instantly flip between its mini-screen and your television.
And this isn’t the only way to control the One: Hand gestures work too, although it’s unclear if voice commands and hand gestures can be used interchangeably or if one works in places the other doesn’t.
Not only this, you can watch your television and surf the web at the same time, a sort of picture-in-picture display. This isn’t new—Phillips implemented this on their televisions in 1983—but integration with the Internet could add an extremely useful dimension to their gameplaying/television watching experience. You can purchase movie tickets online while playing a videogame. You can chat with a friend while playing a game
Xbox One isn’t just instant gratification. It’s instant gratification for people with attention deficit disorder.
But what Microsoft didn’t mention is as interesting as what was revealed:
- The fact that you can turn your Xbox One on instantly suggests that the new Xbox will be “always-on.” Not only does this require a constant internet connection, but also players can’t play when the servers are down and users can anticipate a slowed or buggy game experience. Microsoft’s promised 300,000 servers also implies that the company is prepped and primed for the onslaught of always-on users. For users of the Xbox One, it’s not a happy implication.
- Microsoft also did not address backward compatibility of their older games, however sites like Engadet are already publishing the bad news. That Halo 4 game you love so much will be relegated to your older system, unless you feel like buying that sucker twice. (I use the word “sucker” intentionally.)
The backward compatibility issue is a real problem for Xbox gamers, but the always-on aspect is severe enough of a problem for me that it may prevent me from purchasing the Xbox One. Considering the intense dislike for always-on gaming, Microsoft will have an uphill battle to fight in order to get gamers to place the console in their living rooms. But with voice- and gesture-commands, as well as integration with movies, television, and Internet at the top of that hill, for many, it will be worth the climb.
There is also no word on if the Xbox’s pizza delivery service will be upgraded to Pizza One.
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Where are you? You're in the world of Resident Evil, and it's good to be back.
This scenario, a clear throwback to the original RE, is how the E3 2011 demo of Resident Evil Revelations for the Nintendo 3DS begins. From the two demos I've played so far (the one at E3 and the one included with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D), it's already apparent that Revelations is a combination of ideas from all of the core RE titles, with a few new concepts thrown in for good measure.
You'll play as the original title's main protagonists, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, though both demos only let me play as Jill. In either case I was slowly working my way through various rooms in a creepy environment - a mansion or a seemingly abandoned ship at sea. Around practically every corner is a locked door or cryptic clue, accompanied by sparsely placed but powerful enemies you must either outrun or defeat with your meager supply of ammo.
The slow pace and heavy emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving strongly harken back to the RE days of old. Gone is the action-oriented focus we first saw in Resident Evil 4 and later in Resident Evil 5, replaced instead by slower pacing and an atmosphere better suited for a true survival horror experience.
While Revelations is most definitely a return to the style of the original RE games, it does take a few cues from some of the newer titles in the series. Revelations goes for a behind-the-shoulder view of the protagonist, a la RE4 and RE5. The graphics are some of the best I've seen on the system, using highly textured backdrops that are strongly reminiscent of the Resident Evil remake for GameCube.
Revelations' controls are far different than they've ever been in the Resident Evil franchise. You use the 3DS circle pad to move and aim (which you can now do at the same time if you hold down L). You can adjust the view to get a better look at things by placing your right thumb on the touch screen. While the new setup might worry RE fans, it actually handles beautifully. Despite my initial concerns, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the circle pad works amazingly well for aiming, and adjusting the camera with the touch screen feels quite natural once you get used to it. Even going into first person mode when shooting, while different, makes complete sense within the context of the game.
While both of the demos I saw were rather short, especially the one included with Mercenaries, what I've seen has me terribly excited. As I followed the sound of a man screaming down a dreary hallway in the "Mercenaries demo," only to arrive in time to watch him get eaten by two zombies (who then came straight for me), one thing was clear: Resident Evil is back, and it's taking no prisoners.
Are you excited for Revelations? Why or why not? And does a return to a more old school style of gameplay interest you, or will you miss the faster-paced action of the newer games? Sound off in the comments section below!
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