I honestly never thought I’d write something like this for at least like another 2 or so years but I have to say that Xbox One is having one hell of a good turnaround since spring.
Let me be clear, when it comes to the PS4, Wii U and the Xbox race, Microsoft’s box, the Xbox One, has been in dead last since launch to me. It was the first console I owned of this current generation and with exception of Ori and the Blind Forest, I’ve hated pretty much every moment of it, especially in the early days.
Without going in to too much detail, the console just didn’t move right. Just everything about it felt off… Why was I installing games from disc? Controller updates… that initial retarded mandatory update before you can even pop in a disc… Everything about this system just felt off (except, of course, its controller).
So I regretted it, had a few drinks, decided to trade it for a PS4 and did not regret it. It wasn't even close. The Playstation 4 was just an improvement on the Xbox One in every single way (from a GUI stand point especially). Not that it had any particular major difference in the way of features but everything that Xbox One was doing, the PS4 simply does better. I’m sure all my Playstation fans know what we’re talking about here. The fluidity.
I would literally laugh at Xbox fans. Forget the One competing the PS4, Xbox One being a better console than the fucking PS3 was debatable. All those Xbox loyalist scrabbling to defend that scrap, it was basically that same Xbox dance we’ve all heard, ‘Halo, Halo, Rise, Forza, Gears, Brown, Brown, Brown, Hey Macarena.’
But much later, After E3 2015, with major moves being made from Microsoft, it was apparent that Microsoft knew that their console was trash and tried to fix it. Suddenly, things like backward compatibility, Rare Replay and Tomb Raider exclusivity was announced along with a whole new UI for the console. And as incredible as that FF7 and Shenmue 3 trailer was at Sony’s booth, in regards to the short term, the ball was definitely in the Microsoft court.
So when November finally came around, in additions to all the dramatic improvement they were making for Xbox One, they were now including the system with 2 free games! Well fuck, I guess it doesn’t hurt to take a second look and take the plunge again if they’ve straighten out their act.
When the Xbox arrived in the mail and I finally got to hooking the thing up. It all came back to me in a way that could not have been any worse.
You see, that so happened to be the same week I moved to my new address. Why does this matter? Well, that new address didn’t have Wi-Fi. This is going to seem foreign to my Playstation fans out there but if you don’t already know, the Xbox One, like I’ve mentioned before, has a mandatory update! This is before anything too, folks. You can’t even pop in the disc and fuck around offline. No, it’s absolutely necessary that this fucking system is online. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking because I owned the system before and knew that it was a thing but, y’know, I’ve gotten use to PS4 standards.
So anyway, I’m just starring at this box, unable to open my new toy in a sense. That’s when I remember that my phone has internet on it, free internet, provided by the company I work at—perfect. So manage to turn my phone into a hotspot and download this massive firmware update. Just so I can get SOME action out of the damn thing. I mean, I had so many games I wanted to try!
When the update finally installed… oh wait! Here’s an installation, for your controller! For fuck sake. So let’s get that hotspot going again I guess! It installs and finally I reach for the game, Rare Replay. I’m pretty everyone on Xbox knows what’s about to happen to my ass right now. So I pop in the disc and I have never seen a cluster fuck of installation bars like I have for this game. Huge installations and guess what, all online! So I said, ‘nah, fuck this, if I keep going like this, my job is going to see something’s up with my phone data… this shit is a lot gigs…’ But all I wanted to play was Banjo Kazooie so whatever, it was downloading from the disc.
(Another problem with this console right there, installing of disc and not being able to play during that installation. What is this, a fucking PC? Is this 2005? Anyway… )
When the game was finally downloaded from the disc, Banjo, I finally pressed start but WAIT there was a fucking PATCH that I needed to download, a patch that was sized at over 600 MB! A patch that measured over 600 MB? Back in my day that game was fucking 16 Megabyte cart! What the fuck is this?
SO no, we never ended up installing that game, because it shouldn’t take fucking hours before we get to play an old ass game that came out back on 64. Nope. I’ll just turn off the fucking box and play Playstation 4. PS4, a system that isn’t so heavily reliant on the internet for some reason.
When I went back to work, they informed me of data usage. Turns out that I only had 2 gigs, so that was awkward. I explained the former Xbox story to the higher ups but this type of convo doesn’t really hold up in the real world, so I shut the fuck up and let them slap me on the wrist. I knew deep down that it was my ignorance about my company cellphone plan was really a fault of my own but the fact that this Xbox just sucked all my data and I was still unable to fucking play a game on it… It was like I was coming home to a console that was laughing at me, Xbox. And a Playstation that kept telling me, ‘what the fuck are you doing bro?’
Eventually when I managed to get unlimited internet in the apartment. There were so many installations from the discs and multiple online patches, that I basically just left the damn console a whole night to figure itself out and prove itself a changed man in the morning.
When everything finally looked on point, I don’t know what it was, but this was not the console it needed to be in January 16. I never really hopped onboard the Xbox bandwagon until this console. I was more of Wii and eventual PS3 person, like a normal gamer who look likes games with color and innovation. I don’t know exactly what it was that I wanted from the Xbox brand but I’m pretty sure I just wanted what some of my friends were experiencing with the Xbox 360; just a laidback console, with a great library to come home to and jam—Relax. Maybe that’s where I was mentally at my age with my lifestyle, don’t over complicate shit too much, and just get it done. Kinda like their controller (… the second edition… where the idiots put back that headphone jack standard THEY established.) Straight forward, and comfortable.
I was very much looking forward to going back into their back catalogue and downloading a lot of the indie games that made waves on the Xbox 360. So I started looking around that clunky and cluttered (but improved) UI. Nope, nothing, no Xbox 360 games for download. It turns out that you have to get up and log in to their website and order games through the web browser on a PC. Well fuck, you guys announce this shit in June 2015, you guys just forget about that, y’know, convenience!? What’s the point of announcing all the new available retro content if you’re putting people through hurdles in order to get to the damn games? Honestly, this is not the end of the world, but remember, right next to this console I have a PS4 that’s just doing everything well without going through all this growing pain.
Some people may be thinking that it invalid to compare the PS4 with the Xbox One in this regard because the PS4 doesn’t do backwards compatibility at all for PS3 (and Playstation Now doesn’t count). But honestly, where the Xbox has it in backward compatibility, the PS4 has it in indies and other exclusive content.
Now imagine, I have one console to the right that does everything… right and I have another console to the left that’s doing everything wrong. Phh, I’m simply not going to be making time for the Xbox One, it’s not like I actively go out of my way to somehow ‘punish’ the Xbox like it’s a character in Toy Story. It’s just a question of not wanting to bother with the bullshit. Eventually, I think by mid-February my Gold membership ran out so now I was REALLY done with it.
So anyway, fast forward to the last couple of weeks. I don’t know when exactly it happened but Xbox has been making one hell of a case for itself.
So I was honestly just about to sell the damn thing but then there was this offer for a Gold Membership for one more month for just a dollar I was able to download the solid Lords of the Fallen and Borderlands 1 for free. I love borderlands. And it was just announce that next month’s games for Gold was going to be Sunset Overdrive, for free as well! Well fuck!
And then they announce that you could now download old title directly from the Xbox One menu and Castlevania Symphony of the Night was now one of those titles! Some people look at this like no big deal but for me, when I’m ready to start a game, many times I don’t know what game I’m in the mood to play or mood to buy until I’m able to pull the trigger on it in a respectable time frame.
So I started getting cozy with the Xbox One again, and admiring the things it’s doing right. I love the controller and I love the idea of Cuphead coming out soon. Being comfortable in this environment allows a gentle curiosity toward generic looking crap like Quantum Break, who knows, maybe it’ll be good. It’s allowed me to download great games and have them in a sleek convinent interface and I’m talking quality titles all in one place. Super Meat Boy, Shantae, Beyond Good and Evil, Castlevania, Shaddow Complex all in one place, next to a market place that’s dynamic and makes some sense now.
But it’s really odd, just the single omission of a basic feature like that was enough for me to fall out of the Xbox world completely. But enough was simply enough.
So yeah, I’m basically writing this because I was so close to giving up on that box but I would argue if there was any time to take a second look at the system that’s got it all wrong from the beginning, now is the time.
As of writing, I play my Xbox One more than my PS4. If the proposition is not better, at least it feels equal in comfort. Whatever the case it may have taken a while for my settling in but now Xbox One represents the console I wanted from the beginning. In the past couple weeks, it has proven itself one hell of a force against a Playstation Plus line up that’s become a joke in comparison. And don’t quote me on it but if it keeps up this trend, we can be looking at a very different 2016 than we could have ever anticipated.