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Hands on with the Xbox One

We take some time to play with the Xbox One, looking at the new controller and the super-sensitive Kinect 2.

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Ahead of its late November launch date, we got some hands-on time with the Xbox One at a Microsoft event in Sydney.

The games on show included:

  • The Roman-period action-fighter Ryse: Son of Rome

  • Dead Rising 3 — the next insane instalment in the popular zombie series

  • Old-school, arcade-style fighter Killer Instinct

  • Console-exclusive Forza Motorsport 5

  • Kinect Sports Rivals.

It was a broad mix designed to show off the capabilities of the Xbox One. Ryse and Dead Rising 3, in particular, show how the hardware can handle GPU-intensive games, such as ones with realistic body animations or large groups of individually animated figures.

The Dead Rising 3 developers were quick to point out that they've been able to include bigger and badder zombie hordes than in any other games in the franchise.

For Killer Instinct, it's the business model that's the unusual feature. The game, a launch title for Xbox One, is free to download with one playable character. You can then buy additional playable fighters either as stand-alone characters or as part of character packs. Aussie pricing is yet to be confirmed, but US pricing is US$4.99 per character or US$19.99 for six launch characters.

Forza continues the realistic driving simulations that the title has become known for. It was also an excellent demonstration of the Xbox One controller's rumble triggers, with feedback for acceleration and braking coming from the individual triggers rather than the whole controller.

In terms of the new Kinect and its integration with the Xbox One, there was Kinect Sports Rivals, as well as a demonstration of the Xbox One user interface (that we unfortunately weren't allowed to film).

Kinect Sports Rivals certainly boasted improved controls — when jet skiing, the acceleration is controlled by clenching and unclenching your right hand, and speed boosts are activated by a stamped foot. But it is the ability to scan yourself and create an avatar with an eerily accurate representation of your face that is oddly impressive.

The same Kinect sensitivity was shown off as part of the UI demo. Kinect can now easily detect multiple bodies in the room, identify users by face and even read emotions such as "happy" and how engaged you are at what's on-screen.

The device can also sense which leg has the most weight placed on it when you're standing, even the speed and muscular power of movements, such as punching or kicking.

While this was only a quick look across a number of titles, we're hoping to have a more detailed first take ahead of the launch. The Xbox One launches on 22 November for AU$599.