I consider myself a gamer with reasonable intelligence about Microsoft’s platforms, given that I’ve played quite a lot of Xbox 360 games. So getting the chance to attend the Xbox One launch event was too much to resist, especially if it meant being surrounded by game developers, specialists, and press. I was expecting great things.
What I got was even better.
It was like a museum opening up a new addition to its collection, except in this case, the newly added piece was one of the sleekest pieces of machinery I’d ever seen.
It took three floors to show the full capabilities of the new Xbox One, filled with giant screens displaying the new games, neon green lighting to match Xbox’s traditional color scheme, and people eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking soda and champagne.
I knew from the moment I walked in I wanted to try out Battlefield 4, one of the leading militaristic games in that genre, because of its intense focus on the details and its multiplayer capabilities.
The new game take’s the player’s experience to a whole new level.
As someone who hadn’t played a full Battlefield game before, I was a bit nervous sitting next to the actual designer of every single piece of the multiplayer functions I was enjoying. I hadn’t even known I was sitting next to him until he introduced himself, increasing my embarrassment at having accidentally drowned myself in the game minutes before.
When you’re playing a video game online, you’re playing with multiple different people from all over the world, the pressure is on to perform well. The inability to grab a target or heal a partner can easily irritate you. In Battlefield 4, everything was faster. Everything was smoother. DICE, the studio that created the Battlefield series, has a reputation for providing exactly that multiplayer experience. The new ability to change the battlefield by destroying certain man-made and natural structures changes the way players interact with the world around them. The designers have kept the game’s class structures similar enough that their oldest fans can keep playing and enjoying the same roles they’ve been playing since they started, and new players can leap right in and get to a new fantastic experience.
And a major part of those improvements center around the new platform the game is played on.
The Xbox One looks a lot sleeker than its earlier iterations. It’s lighter, it makes less noise, and it’s got a smooth, almost granite-colored exterior. Much of the outer changes make the platform itself look a lot more like an installment in your home than a portable video game system. And those changes aren’t even really the important ones. The processing speed, the storage space, the visual cards — all of these things have gotten much closer to operating like a gaming laptop. Gone are the days of loading screens. The controller itself is lighter, and the buttons don’t stick. Playing the game felt like just playing a video game, rather than operating a slightly frustrating piece of machinery.
I consider myself someone who has a decent grasp on the capabilities of what Microsoft’s Xbox, and video game consoles in general. But being greeted by the brand new visuals and processing speed of the Xbox One was like using a handcrafted gaming computer, something I hadn’t expected from the gaming world for another few years.