Xbox One Tour – Area One: Chicago Impressions

xbox one tour chicago impressions review

Microsoft brought the Xbox One to our fair city of Chicago this week (and continuing this weekend October 17-20th) to let fans get their hands on the system and play a few games. Conveniently enough, the event was held at the MCA Warehouse, which is around the corner from our office so we decided to take a long lunch and give it a try.

The Xbox One Tour brings with it 13 different games setup in 3 different rooms. There were 8 different sections to play the games, along with a DJ booth, a few couches, a table where you could pre-order games and accessories from GameStop, as well as the local radio station (103.5) giving away merchandise.

When you first walk in to the event you’re greeted by a few friendly girls with wristbands. I’m sure these wristbands serve some purpose when it’s busier, but I had my sweatshirt covering mine the entire time and nobody questioned it. It is an 18 or older event, so maybe it’s used to let them know who can play what. Once we had our wristbands, we made our way upstairs and into the actual event.

There were 3 large open rooms each of which had different game stations setup. The first room had Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Ryse and a few others. We obviously didn’t play everything, but we did give those 3 a shot.

Killer Instinct looked pretty good. You definitely need to use the d-pad when playing fighting games on these new consoles. It’s just too hard do any of the moves with the thumb stick. When we tried to use the thumb sticks, we just ended up jumping all over the place. None of us are big fighting game people so it’s hard to judge the game itself, but it looked good, played fairly well and I’m excited that it’ll be free at launch because I definitely wouldn’t pay for it.

I didn’t play Crimson Dragon, but another guy we were with did and he thought it was the best game there. He’s a big fan of those games, so fans should not be disappointed.

Ryse: Son of Rome. This game had the most people surrounding it in this room, and I will admit, it was pretty fun. The controls felt a bit clunky, almost delayed, but it could have just been the fact that it’s still a developer demo version, or the fact that I’m not used to the controller (which I’ll get to in a minute). The demo had us fighting in an arena against hordes of barbarians and gladiators, so it didn’t give you a real feel for the game, just the mechanics. If the game plays like it did in the demo I don’t know if I’ll be picking it up. It reminded me of some of the original Need for Speed games, and how the cars controlled like buses. But like I said, it could have a lot to do with the controller as well.

The 2nd room of the event had a huge DJ Booth and stations setup for Fifa 14 and Forza Motorsport 5. I’m not a big Fifa guy so we skipped that station and went to Forza. I’ve never played any of the Forza games, so I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was terrible. I don’t know what it was, but I could not get the car to take a turn for the life of me. Every time I hit the brake to try to slide through a turn, it wouldn’t let me steer. Glitch in the game? Or just the fact that I’m so used to the latest Need for Speed games, which are much more arcade-styled instead of simulation. Either way I was terrible and did not enjoy it at all. I will say though, it looked beautiful.

The 3rd room had only 2 larger setups for 2 games: Dead Rising 3 and Battlefield 4… we spent time at both. Battlefield 4 is actually the first game we played when we arrived, and while I’m more of a Call of Duty guy, it was pretty solid. It controlled very similar to Battlefield 3, but looked incredible. Battlefield 3 looked amazing when it came out, so to say that Battlefield 4 looked even better is testament to how good it truly looks. Obviously I’d change up my sensativity and things like that if it were my own copy, but right out of the box the demo version played pretty well. Movement isn’t as tight as Call of Duty is, but that’s how I’ve always found the Battlefield games, so it has nothing to do with the new system. Whether or not I’ll pick up Battlefield 4, I’m still not sure.

Out of all the games we played I think I had the most fun with Dead Rising 3, which actually surprised me a bit. I bought the original Dead Rising when it first came out and was immediately disappointed with it and never played it again, but for some reason I didn’t want to leave the Dead Rising 3 booth. Even though the demo was just a city street map filled with zombies and random weapons, I had a blast. I even found a horse head mask that I used to smack around zombies… it was fun. Not to mention it looked beautiful. Dead Rising 3 wasn’t even on my list of games to check out, but it might have just made the buy list.

So those are my impressions of the different games, now let’s talk about the Xbox One Controller. I can’t talk to the kinect sensor because we didn’t really use it, even though every system had one setup with it, but I can talk about the controller and after about an hour of playing with it, I’m still not sure how I feel. The controller itself feels great in your hands. It’s a little bit smaller, but that doesn’t take anything away from it. The thumb sticks and the triggers are what have me worried. The thumb sticks don’t control the same way the Xbox 360 thumb sticks do. I’m not sure if they are more sensitive or less sensitive, but they felt like there was a delay when doing things. It could have just been the way the sensitivity was setup in the games themselves, but I’m not sure. The actual thumb stick pads themselves are also smaller, which I like. It allows you to get the sides of your thumbs on the sides of the sticks to move them around easily.

My other controller gripe is with the triggers. They don’t seem to have the resistance that the old triggers have which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just going to take some getting used to. When you squeezed the triggers on the Xbox 360 controller, you had to apply a little pressure to get them to pull. The Xbox One triggers have very little resistance and take very little force to pull down. They also feel super light which only adds to the lack of resistance. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, it’ll just take some getting used to.

So overall I’m still very excited about picking up the launch day system when it comes on in November. I’m also very excited about getting my hands on Call of Duty Ghosts, since that was the only game I really wanted to play, but they didn’t have it at this event unfortunately. So thanks to Microsoft for putting on this event, and we look forward to getting the console in our own homes and giving it a little more time.