Following my PlayStation 4 post, it’s time to balance the scales. Keeping to the same format as previous, this is ten aspects of the Xbox One that make it worth owning to me, not just a list of exclusive games. I have no interest in Kinect, and the initial mandatory bundling of that hardware was a big part of me writing off the Xbox One to begin with. I always maintained I’d reconsider once they cut it from the console though, and I am glad I did.
As per my conclusion on the PlayStation 4 post, I do find it hard to recommend the Xbox One over a PS4 unless you’re REALLY big on the exclusives, but now was definitely the right time for me to add one and own both.
1. Rare Replay
Easily the best value and greatest presented Retro Compilation ever, this is an absolute gem and the tipping point for me to suck it up and buy the console. So many great games on here, and available brand new for less than the price of just one of the included N64 games on ebay… It is cool that the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade titles retained my progress from the first time round, but I would have liked an excuse to replay Nuts & Bolts.
2. Halo: Master Chief Collection
A close runner up to Rare Replay in terms of value, this initially passed me by due to reports of broken multiplayer. It contains Halo games 1 – 4, and a free update added Halo ODST. The games have received graphical work since their original releases, most notable in Halo 2. I’m very much enjoying replaying the campaigns, and the multiplayer issues seem to be resolved. I’ve played quite a bit online, and I really like how the multiplayer mode spans all the games, with a vote each round of which to play next.
3. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
I got this bundled with my console, and although I am a fan of the series, I had played Gears of War 1, 2 and 3 through several times in co-op and didn’t think I’d bother again. It looks amazing though, and I found myself co-opping the campaign with a new buddy (shoutout to @SuperGoataku) and thanks to Microsoft providing free Backwards Compatible downloads of the original Gears of War 1, 2, 3 and Judgement, we are now half way through a Judgement campaign and setting up to play a bit of GoW 3 Horde to pass the time while we await number 4.
4. Forza Horizon 2
My purchase of this was largely fuelled by the difficulty issues I had been experiencing with Driveclub, documented in my PS4 post. Horizon is a much more forgiving series, but thanks to the physics and handling models perfected in Forza, it is still very satisfying to play. The theme of a racing festival does grate a bit, but the driving makes up for it and I find it perfect for half hour sessions before work.
5. EA Access
As a proper casual sports gamer, the EA Access vault is something I’ve been wanting for years. I like the idea of sports games a lot more than the reality, and long ago learned that it wasn’t worth me paying £40 every year for a set of new names in FIFA. This way I get to play the previous releases as much as I like. It’s just a shame it isn’t available on PS4 where my Madden playing friends are. It doesn’t hurt that I managed to snag 12 months of EA Access for £10 either.
6. Backwards Compatibility
After trading my Xbox 360 for a graphics card sometime back, I had come to terms with losing my digital library of games. Admittedly it is still early days to see how many of my games I’ll regain the use of, but it has already started well. Ikaruga and R-Type Dimensions were very pleasant surprises! I now look forward to the monthly updates as more support is added. Extending it to all future Xbox 360 games included in the ‘Games with Gold’ is also a stroke of genius. (Still doesn’t quite match the value I personally get from PS+ though, while owning PS3, PS4 and a Vita…)
7. Halo & Forza Series
Although I’ve touched upon these higher in the list, both have new entries that were factors in my buying the console. Halo V and Forza 6 are both appealing to me, and it’s a testament to the fun I’m having with the machine that I haven’t got around to buying either yet! As it happens I think the Halo itch is being scratched by both Destiny and the Master Chief Collection. I’ll likely grab Forza 6 when I finish Horizon 2 or Driveclub. Halo and Forza were the big exclusives to me when I had the 360, and although I didn’t feel like I was missing much by the Forza 5 release, I am pleased they seem to have found their feet on the new generation.
8. Killer Instinct
I’m not much of a fan of free to play payment models, and ignored this from launch when I saw how it was being distributed. However, I came across the Season 1 pack on a disc for £5 and decided to give it a go. It is a really good fighting game, and worth hooking up the cronusmax plus and arcade stick for (also see my post on cross-platform accessories). I’m still not sold on the DLC model, but did grab season 2 over Christmas when it dropped into the sale, £8 felt like a good price and now I’m happy to have all fighters released so far. I expect I’ll hold out for a sale on Season 3 as well once it’s out.
9. Destiny: The Taken King
As I touched upon in my Driveclub section on the PS4 post, Destiny’s Taken King expansion was a pretty major turning point for the game. Widely considered to have addressed many of the game’s original issues, the more I heard about it the more I really wanted to get involved. After hearing several people mark Destiny as their GOTY for 2015 (Specifically The Taken King) I decided I’d make the leap. Fortunately the Taken King Legendary Edition contains the original game and all DLC to date, and can be had cheaply. The biggest problem I had was choosing which platform to get it for. In the end I sided with the Xbox One as I seem to have a few more active Destiny players amongst my Xbox friends. I haven’t ruled out buying another copy for the PS4 though…
10. Windows 10
I have mentioned before, but I maintain a decent gaming PC, and am a happy early adopter of Windows 10. The Xbox One app was really straightforward to configure for in-home streaming, and I have found it incredibly useful for when my flatmate wants the TV in the lounge and I’ve agreed to play Gears of War online… I really like how well it works with my PC setup, a wired Xbox 360 controller and PC headset and I’m good to go. Obviously I could just plug my Xbox One controller in, but it is nice to not have to carry that back and forth.
Just one more thing…
One negative point I thought I’d share, relates to the original design of the Xbox One controller bundled with my console. Original versions of the pad didn’t have a mini-jack for connecting standard headsets. My PS4 controller has one, and I spent 99p on a short cable that took the twin mini-jacks from my PC headset and let me use it on there. There are three options if you want to do this on the original Xbox One pad:
- A clip on adapter* for £17.99 UK
- The Chatpad* mini clip on keyboard, as this also adds the port for £29.99 UK
- A replacement / second controller* as new revisions of it have the port added circa £35 UK
So far so Microsoft… I went with the Chatpad, arguably I’ll want a second controller at some point anyway, but the Chatpad is pretty nice to use and it also has buttons for saving screenshots and videoclips, much less intrusive than the standard ‘double press the home button’ technique or indeed the delights of hearing cries of “Xbox record that!” from my Nephew over live…
*affiliate Amazon links – I’ll get a small commission if you use these and buy something. Thanks. ^^