Xbox 1. Forza horizons 3 bundle

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diablo944's review of XBox One


“Xbox 1. Forza horizons 3 bundle”

Written on: 01/12/2017 by diablo944 (25 reviews written)

Thinking of buying an xbox one for christmas? If its a present for the kids you had better set it up as soon as you get it if its the current bundle.
Before I do this review, I need to stress I am a gamer. I have no allegiance to any manufacturer and they only keep my custom as long as they are supplying what I want from their devices.
My last xbox was a 360. I went sony as they didnt charge to go online back then and xbox live seemed like a ripoff to me. Since then we got the ps4 and sony realised microsoft had created a cashcow with love so they created ps plus, which was needed to play online so suddenly the choices were back open for xbox or playstation as both were now charging a premium for online gameplay.

I stuck it out with the ps4 though and avoided the xbox until this week. Black friday had the 500gb xbox one up for 170 pounds with forza 3. Me being me I missed it and only saw the ads afterwards when it had gone back up in price. Online GAME were showing it at 229 with forza, and kicking myself at deciding to buy an xbox too late I decided to go to the local store and pick one up at £229. Walk to the front, ask about the display they have of 500gb ones with forza, guy digs a box out and says 300 pounds please. Well that wasnt happening. Realised then its the 1tb version, but even so, nope.

So sainsburys half an hour later, 200 pounds crosses the counter and I am the new owner of an xbox 1s with forza 3 and hotwheels add on. GAME are always a bit richard turpin on hardware, I dont know why I expected anything different teally.

Get home, plug it all in. Fire it up and get the 'setup using a microsoft outlook email'. Had to create one before continuing and then finish the setup. So far so good. Time to install forza, this is where I realise that there is NO DISC. Its an online only deal and there is a slip of paper with a download code instead.

Now for me, this sucks. My internet is slow. Not because I wont pay for fast broadband, I actually do. But oir location is so gar from the exchange we have slooooow broadband. More narrowband in fact. On a really good day we can get 8 meg downloads, but on average six is the norm. Still, the only way to get forza3 horizons on the box is with the code. So we type it in and wait. Now let me tell you, when it popped up with 52 GiG as the download, I knew I wasnt going to be playing it today. So for anyone out there buying one of these bundles as a present for christmas, keep in mind that if you rely on the bundled game as the only game, then your broadband better be fast or theres some disappointment heading your way. Personally, I think it sucks on microsofts part. They go to all the effort of printing up boxes then for the sake of a disc they make things into a long wait for a great many people.

Luckily I also bought a second hand copy of forza 5 (top gear race track here we come). So after checking the super fast 8mbps download racing to download the 52 gig of horizons 3, and seeing it still hadnt got enough to show even one percent in the download bar, I reached for forza 5, slid it in the slot and started to install it. Then it stopped and a message popped up to say 'there is an update for forza 5, it is NEEDED to play the game. NEEDED? not needed to play online, but just needed. Damn. So off it goes and tadah! 15 gig download. So again, no gameplay. Now before anyone says, yeah, but the download could be ignored and you can play single player anyway without it, that is not what it said. That and for someone new to xbox one, it isnt a good thing to start off with. So now I have two big downloads (big to my narrowband anyway) and nothing to play. So I left it to download and watched telly for an hour or so.

Coming back to it, it was still nowhere near making a decent dent in the download. But I could now play forza 5 despite the download not having completed. Fair enough thinks I, game on.

I have played forza five for a good few hours now (doesnt half remind me of gran turismo sport in a lot of ways). All in all, its actually pretty good. One of the only cars I really wanted is there (300 zx/fairlady) but its dlc and NOT available to me. Shame really, but it is what it is. Checking the store there is no way to get it either so its unavailable dlc. Keep that in mind if you are doing forza 5.

The xbox x is out now, so the one is likely to start losing out very soon. But at the price (200) its a lot of hardware. I am genuinely impressed with it in a lot of ways. The unit is clean lined and tidy with nice touches in its style considering its a white box at heart. I have no intention of using xbox live, but even so its still allowing game updates etc without live, so thats fair enough. Its been bought solely for offline gaming, and infact the forza series over all else.

The kinect is no longer a thing, discontinued, so is not worth much of a mention here beyond saying dont expect one in the box. All a bit big brother for me anyway. I was surprised that the controller came with a pair of duracell aa batteries instead of a little battery brick and a charge cable (there was no cable either in case you are wondering). The lack of a physical disc for the included game (sic) is hugely disappointing to me with my slow net connection, and likely will be disappointing a lot more people over christmas, I knocked a star off the review solely because of that bit of penny pinching. I wouldnt have minded putting a code in, it would just have been nice to be able to do it in conjunction with a physical disc rather than 24 hours downloading the thing.

The other star was lost because the menu system of the xbox is less than impressive to me. Dont get me wrong, ps4 isnt perfect, some of their menu options are a bit hard to navigate. But the xbox menu is harder and less intuitive. The way it handles its downloads is not great either. Its hard to explain in a short tome, but trust me when I say sony has their multiple downloads system worked out infinitely better than microsoft just for starters. That said, any menu system can be learned and whats awkward now will soon be second nature. I found a review I wrote many moons ago when I first got the ps4 and it had no mention of the menu being obtuse (though these days its gotten more complicated), while the xbox has frustrated me a few times. Similarly the xbox 'store' is less friendly to navigate than psx. I searched for forza earlier in a bit to get the fairlady dlc. The menu system only showed forza 7 initially. Four versions if memory serves. Not a good start.

Graphically, I can't say from the short time on it if its as good as a ps4. Coupled with the fact forza 5 is getting on a bit so its an unfair comparison anyway (especially when I keep seeing so much gran turismo sport in there). I am liking the amount of cars though it has to be said. Suddenly gt looks sparse on the car front.

So heres the rub. If I had no games machines and was buying just one right now (and not including nintendo as their machine is more a niche market than mainstream to me regardless of any arguments that statement can cause). Between a ps4 (lets make that ps4 pro), an xbox 1s or an xbox x (microsoft really need to stop using stupid monikas and start doing something logical here). I think I still favour the ps4pro at this moment. Partly for the menu system and better store implementation. Closely followed by the xbox 1s with the X coming in third. Thats today. Once the software starts landing in anger on the X that thought process could change drastically. But right now, both the ps4 and xbox one are almost bargain basement gaming giants. There is a lot of good stuff for both formats, along with a wealth of second hand games for both, while the X is still in the premium bracket. Playstation has psvr now, and while not perfect, it is a damned good stab at VR. I know microsoft is working on theirs, but its not here yet so thats another plus for the sony camp right now.

One of the biggest reasons I didnt get an xbox was the steering wheel situation. I went sony with a sony compatible wheel. Both sony and microsoft are being tight fisted in locking down their machines so that any manufacturer of wheels has to pay a licence to make it compatible with their box. So a wheel for an xbox wont work with a playstation and vice versa. Worse still is the g27 logitech (which was fine in its day, enough so that the g29 is basically the g27 in new clothes) also wont work on a ps4. The red ring of death on xbox still rings my memory too but thats another aspect from a long gone format. Anyway, the wheel situation has a remedy in the cronusmax drivehub. So even an old dfgt logitech can now be used on either machine. Suddenly the expense of buying a whole new wheel setup to change gaming formats is undone by one little box of electronic wizardry.

All in all, the xbox 1 is pretty decent and worth having under the tv, and it has bluray, which for lord knows what reason, sony (who pioneered the format) chose not to put in the ps4!? Ironic that bluray killed hd dvd then sony gave up on the format while xbox embraced it. Buy the one you like.

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Diablo944's Response to diablo944's Review

Written on: 01/12/2017

A quick update on the state of play.

The encosed leaflets for digital downloads (one for forza horizons 3 with hotwheels expansion, the other for 14 days of xbox live). The first obviously worked and after a very long time were downloaded and installed. Forza horizons 3 worked fine. But hotwheels needs xbox gold live.

Before I had gotten through my first day of use though, my newly created outlook account/xbox account (obviously very connected) was suspended and i had to go through giving phone number (which i hate) to reinstate my 8 hours old account so I could play forza3 on the xbox. Grrr. Not sure what triggered such security concerns so early on, but definitely unhappy with it. Yet another mark down for the xb1.

Anyway, back to needing gold to play hotwheels expansion (nothing of that works without live gold), No problem thinks I, just input the other code. Did that, xbox was happy with it, except after accepting the code and saying I would get the 14 days live, still no hotwheels expansion play. Bad form on ms for giving a game expansion, and making a big thing of it on the packaging, only to not get to play it as its hidden behind microsofts pay to play system.

I still like the xbox to a degree, but the hiccups and general annoyances are mounting steadily.

Forza 5 incidentally, I cant access any dlc. Reading between the lines it may actually not be there. On the forums I am reading that forza 4 dlc was killed off, declared an end of life item by its developers and the dlc taken off the store. This situation is a warning to anyone buying older games for the xb1. You may get the game, but the multiplayer servers, dlc, large portions of online components? May be dead in this day and age despite the game being theoretically ok to buy/play.

Its a fact that any games have a shelf life. I had even been concerned about games that need online connections to play were potentially suffering with inbuilt obsolescence. Forza 4 definitely has lost dlc for new players (those who already downloaded it still have it). The bigger concern for those buying old but current console games is when a game 'needs' some form of dlc to complete it. Its not just microsofts machine that carries that concern, sony are equally in that scenario. At least microsoft keep a lot of backwards compatibility with old games.

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