In an effort to drum up excitement for the upcoming launch of the Xbox One console, Microsoft decided to take its little rock star on tour, sending trucks to various stops across the US and Canada. Miami was lucky enough to be the first stop on the east coast leg, stopping at The U, Sunday's Dolphins game, and Sunset Place, among others.
We had a chance to get some hands-on time with the console and talk to some excited fans. Check out our impressions after the jump.
The Xbox One tour paid homage to console-exclusive titles Forza Motorsports 5 and Killer Instinct, both available to play at multiple stations. Forza proved to be a perfect title with which to showcase both the Xbox One's power to render beautiful images and the improved controller. Killer Instinct was a popular title with fighting game fans waiting for a reboot of the franchise for over a decade.
According to one of the marketing guys, the response has been pretty positive: "Everyone's been blown away. They love the controller, and they're happy with their preorders."
I hopped onto an open station and tried out Forza. Immediately, I felt the improvements in the controller, including the increased feedback in the triggers. Even when I was absolutely failing at a race, it was pretty cool to feel the change in vibrations between skidding through the grass and slamming head-first into a wall.
I switched to Killer Instinct, which was more my speed, and managed to eek out a three-win streak through glorious button-mashing and damn near giving myself carpal tunnel. Even though there were only four characters available to play in this demo, the character redesigns were impressive, and I'm looking forward to see what my arcade mainstay B. Orchid plays like when the game drops in November this year.
It was Killer Instinct, naturally, that brought the fiercest competition and the best trash-talk---and the best excuses: "Naw, bro, if this was Mortal Kombat, I'd be BEASTING you right now."
David braved almost two hours of traffic driving to Sunset Place just to play Killer Instinct. He's a bit of a diehard, having once dressed up as Spinal for Halloween as a kid. "Killer Instinct was my gateway into the fighting game world. I've been waiting for this game for 15 years." After he gets the console for his birthday in February, he plans to train on Killer Instinct and eventually compete at fighting game tournaments.
Even gamers like Anthony from the other side of the console wars got in on the action and found themselves impressed: "Love the controller, the vibration, the D-pad is great. I'm a PlayStation guy, but I'm loving [Killer Instinct]. It was way better than I expected."
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It may not have been enough to convince the PlayStation diehards to switch, and perhaps not enough to make more people drop the money for it right at launch. It would have been nice to see some of the other features that turn the console into a full-fledged media center (snapping back and forth between games and your favorite show, NFL fantasy football support, etc.). The Xbox One event did, however, create some buzz and galvanize the base by letting people just play and feel it for themselves.
The controller just feels better, the graphics are pretty sweet, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what the next generation of consoles has in store come November 22nd, when the Xbox One launches.