Microsoft TIFF Party
My Chance with an Xbox One

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 12th, 2013


For those that are unaware of the goings-on in the universe, the Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing here in Toronto. Earlier this week, Microsoft decided to throw a little bash, with the guest of honour being a console that will be making its retail appearance closer to the holidays. I managed to hang out for a bit and mingle with some familiar faces (as well as some new ones that I was happy to meet). However, the highlight of the evening for me was the chance to sit down to try out Forza Motorsport 5 on the Xbox One.

The Par-tay

When I arrived at the venue near King and Spadina, there was a fair lineup. There were a lot of people that I didn’t recognize, but we were all here for a common purpose: to have a good time! Some of us had a bit more on the agenda than that, to be honest. When I found out that the Xbox One would be making an appearance, I really wanted to try it out!

After walking in the entrance, I was greeted by some nice folks; my eyes were also gifted with the sight of a clear case with the Xbox One inside (similar to the one from the Xbox Booth at Fan Expo). Spread around the venue were various pieces of Microsoft tech, flat panels showing tweets hash-tagged to the event (#PowerOfOne) and a number of consoles. Microsoft was kind enough to provide some NHL 14 stations to give everyone a little preview of the title. There were also a few Xbox One stations that were loaded with builds of either Forza Motorsport 5 or Killer Instinct.

Come to me, my precious…

I saw snippets (from afar) of Forza and Killer Instinct at Fan Expo and was duly impressed. Being even closer to the action merely served to whet my appetite for later on in the year when the Xbox One hits the shelves. While Killer Instinct looked pretty amazing, I was all about taking the wheel of the McLaren P1.

Forza Motorsport 5

Turn 10 Studios has always been about turning car enthusiasts into gamers and gamers into car enthusiasts. Forza Motorsport 5 is their latest attempt at this worthy goal, and let me tell you: it is freaking awesome. The stations were set up to allow the player to choose one of 5 pre-loaded cars with which to drive a single lap on the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Standing in line for these events is normally agony; however, I used this opportunity to study my quarry and see what was different from the previous iteration.

First of all, it is very obvious that, as I stated in my Next, Next Gen article that the devil is in the details. The unscratched exterior of the cars looks fairly close to those from Forza Motorsport 4. However, if you are driving inside the cockpit, the position of the Sun can play havok with your view (just like real life), and your dashboard, steering wheel and hands are reflected on the inside of the windshield! Damage visuals and physics are much improved over the last one (although, the delivery system is kind of odd: “insta-dents”), and the environments are head and shoulders above any other game in the franchise.

Lighting is amazing in this game. Being in the car is a totally different experience from being outside.

One thing that I was not expecting was a drastic change in the interface. While the configuration and general shape of the controller are similar to the Xbox 360’s, the Xbox One controller is much more comfortable, feels much more rugged (and durable), and really makes you feel like you’re driving the cars! The dude who was manning the station spoke about how the controller is the closest thing to force-feedback that you’ll feel without it actually being force-feedback. I have to say that I agree with him! It really hit home for me the moment the car was airborne: the controller made it feel like I was airborne, tires spinning uselessly in the empty air, and then – BOOM! Touchdown.

I was a little sad that it was so loud in the joint, as I really wanted to hear the new sound effects. I have to say, though, that after getting my chance behind the wheel of the Xbox One, I’m confident that the next generation of consoles is going to knock my socks off!

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