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South African Xbox One fans, your time is now.
Today, the Xbox One launches in South Africa, a mere eleven months after the 22 November 2013 U.S. launch. Eleven months later. During that time, the Xbox One has seen a price drop, been beaten in sales by Sony’s PlayStation 4, failed in Japan and released a whack of great, to really average games.
In my opinion, Microsoft’s Xbox One is a solid follow-up to the glorious Xbox 360. It has a sturdy controller, brilliant design and one of the most stable online environments yet conceived. But it’s saddled with a bucket-load of fun yet flawed games. The Xbox One needs time to grow alongside the ever-changing needs of an extremely fickle audience. This happens through the development of exceptional, and not so great games.
These Xbox One games are pretty average, but will be well worth a purchase once they hit the bargain bins. Next to each game is its Metacritic score, for those who care about such things.
Ryse: Son of Rome – 60%
Ryse was one of the Xbox One’s launch titles, and it didn’t do so well. Wonky, repetitive gameplay held back a genuinely beautiful-looking game. Saying that, I wouldn’t pass up on a copy going for under US$10.
Just Dance 2014 – 71%
Just Dance 2014 is the sort of game made to attract the casual user, a type of console gamer which is slowly vanishing, no thanks to the surge in popularity of mobile gaming. There’s not much else to it save for dancing and looking silly, but it remains as a fun party game for those who want to get drunk and have a reason to play Xbox One with non-gaming friends.
Crimson Dragon – 56%
Gamers expected much from Crimson Dragon, as it came from the creator of Panzer Dragoon (the best dragon-genre game of all time). Sadly, this on-rails shooter could not transfer its magic to 2013, and as such, gamers avoided it in droves. It looks incredible, but poor camera controls hampered an otherwise enjoyable game.
Murdered: Soul Suspect – 50%
This one frustrates me. There could have been so much to Murdered, but its hokey story and pathetic difficulty — it was essentially an interactive storybook — ruined an otherwise cool concept. Playing as a ghost is supposed to be fun, correct? Not when it’s as boring as this.
Sniper Elite III – 64%
Sniper Elite III has its moments of brilliance, especially when you’ve pulled off a few crack head-shots with the difficulty turned to impossible. But the story was bland, online matches almost never worked and the forced stealth sections were so terrible, they felt broken.
Xbox Fitness – 71%
For what is essentially a collection of YouTube videos, Xbox Fitness ain’t half bad. But, you will need a Kinect (an add-on Microsoft stopped forcing people to purchase) to get the most out of it. Also, you need to want to get fit, making this a tough sell for couch-potatoes.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood – 72%
Gamers who can look past the poor controls and repetitive stages will find much to enjoy within Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. This is thrilling game, with heaps of imagination and graphics that will soothe any eyeball.
The Golf Club – 65%
Here’s an odd one. The Golf Club is essentially the Dark Souls of sports games, in that it’s incredibly challenging, but opens up its secrets to those who choose to sink time into it. Of note is the spot-on commentary and course creation. What I disliked was the lack of career play and the incredibly tricky controls. Perhaps I’m simply not good enough?
Super Ultra Dead Rising 3′ Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha – 75%
The names a mouthful, and the four-player co-op madness is inspired, but Super Ultra Dead Rising 3′ Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha is just “okay”. And by okay, I mean that it gets extremely repetitive, as you continuously grind through ranks of the samey-looking zombies. In short bursts, the games a treat. But play it for longer than an hour and you’ll be pulling your hair out.
Flockers – 67%
Did you love Nineties puzzle-game-supreme Lemmings? If so, you’ll love Flockers. It’s a blatant clone of Lemmings, in that players must guide and assign job tasks to sheep, just to get them through the many, many stages.
Thief – 69%
Personally, I hated this version of Thief. It took an excellent, almost open-world thieving system and condensed it down to “push A to steal”. For those who really want to experience Thief, play the original Thief (1998), and then Thief: The Dark Project. While this version is enjoyable, it pales in comparison to the original.