Review: Microsoft's Xbox One the revolution begins

The controller for the new Xbox One gaming console from Microsoft.(Microsoft)The new Xbox One gaming and entertainment console from Microsoft.(Microsoft)Microsoft's new console -- the Xbox One -- releases Friday, and despite its rocky announcement this past summer, the successor to the Xbox 360 may initiate a gaming revolution.Xbox One's E3 conference this year in Los Angeles may go down as one of the worst opening gambits of any console in history. As well as announcing an eye-watering $500 price tag, Microsoft stated that the new console would require an always-on Internet connection, and would strictly limit the ability to play used games.Backlash from fans was overwhelming, and the company quickly backtracked. Although it kept the price tag, the need to be always online was scaled back, as was the limit on used games. Since then, Microsoft has been playing catch-up with Sony's PlayStation 4.Now the Xbox One is here -- so how does it stack up?HardwareThe Xbox One is a big unit, dwarfing most consoles in recent history. A simple black box, it is unimpressive but not bad looking. Families with large living rooms will find it unassuming, students living in tiny dorms may struggle with its size.The controller is a minor upgrade from the Xbox 360's, with the most notable feature being the triggers. The back LT and RT buttons now have feedback in them, meaning that if you are playing a racing game, the triggers will vibrate and push back as you accelerate - adding to the realism of the experience. It's subtle, but it works well.KinectThe Kinect camera/voice system is also back, but it's upgraded to the point that it is barely recognizable from the glitchy, low quality version that was an optional extra for the Xbox 360.Additionally users without a steady Internet connection won't get their money's worth, as many of the features, both with games and apps, will not work properly without a solid wireless Internet connection. Also, some games (as well as the console itself) require an online update before - look what I found - they will work, so make sure there's an Internet connection at least partly available at home.GamesIn all the talk about TV, TV and more TV, Microsoft hasn't overlooked the most important part of the console: The lineup of games at launch is surprisingly - - strong.In addition to titles such as "Call of Duty: Ghosts" and "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" that are available on current-generation consoles, it has a fair share of exclusives.The three big titles are "Ryse: Son of Rome," "Dead Rising 3" and "Forza Motorsport 5." Other titles such as "Zoo Tycoon" and "Killer Instinct" back up the three AAA titles. Not all the titles are great quality, but "Dead Rising 3" and "Forza Motorsport 5" may go down as two of the strongest launch titles in recent history.Additionally, looking into 2014, Xbox One can dangle exciting exclusives such as "Titanfall" in front of the eyes of gamers. While rivals at Sony are still looking for strong exclusives, Xbox One has its fair share already.ConclusionThe Xbox One's revolution nearly failed at the first hurdle. But now it has recovered with fervor and the revolution is underway, albeit imperfectly. Despite its occasionally choppy interface, its unremarkable design and its high price tag, Xbox One is changing the way gamers use their consoles.With TV integration and a solid set of launch titles, the Xbox One has positioned itself at the very front of the console race. Let the battle commence!Adam Shaw writes about video games for You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @Kupo1211.Adam Shaw is a News Editor for He can - - be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.