Ahead of the Xbox One worldwide launch this week, reviews for Microsoft's launch line-up have started to appear online. We've gathered them all up for a comprehensive review round-up.
This round-up piece will be regularly updated over the next few hours - and likely days - with new verdicts as and when they're published by both CVG and other publications.
In addition to numerous third-party titles such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Microsoft's launch line-up also includes a number of Xbox One exclusives. Most notable among them are Capcom's Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct and Kinect title Zoo Tycoon.
Here's how each game is being received:
Dead Rising 3
- CVG: 7/10 - It may suffer both visually and technically next to its fellow launch titles, but there's no denying there's still some madcap brand of fun to be had in Los Perdidos.
- Eurogamer: 7/10 - Dead Rising 3 is the weakest in the series, then. It's no kind of technical showcase for Xbox One, although that didn't really bother me once I got into it, and if all you want for a launch title is something passably entertaining to plug away at for a few long evenings, it will suit you fine. Just beware, once you get over the pleasure of the first few combo weapons, Dead Rising 3 is just a solid zombie brawler set in an open world, not the strange game of tender heart that used to be so funny and surprising.
- Polygon: 7.5/10 - Dead Rising 3 gets a lot of things right. It presents a massive open world filled with possibilities and features the first truly impressive use of scale in a game based on a zombie outbreak. But the game's difficulty spikes - due to its control and inventory issues - and boring, stereotype-laden writing can be difficult to swallow. There's a very good game lurking inside of Dead Rising 3 - but it feels a little unsteady on its feet.
- Kotaku: Yes - Easily enjoyable enough to recommend, though its ambitious scale and satisfying zombie slashing are undercut by frustrating design and clueless writing.
- GameReactor: 8/10 - For those seeking a return to the comedy thrills of past iterations, there's enough of that original spirit here for that to still be possible, despite the grittier tone. Some won't appreciate the new save system and relaxed emphasis on timekeeping, but the remedy for that is to go straight to Nightmare mode as it's more inline with what's come before. If you're new to the series and are just after a decent zombie-fest and an open-world to explore on your new console, you'll find that here too. If you can forgive the fact that it's not the perfect advert for next-gen gaming, there's plenty of reasons to take a trip to Los Perdidos.
- GamesRadar: 3.5/5 - Dead Rising 3 has made its brand of zombie-slaying as much fun as possible, but it needs to fix a lot more than that before it becomes the king of the undead.
- Xbox 360 Achievements: 90/100 - It's a new day, a new dawn for the next-generation consoles and the Dead Rising franchise. Easily Microsoft's best launch title and the very definition of a killer-app, if Dead Rising 3's environmental depth and detail is a sign of things to come for the new generation of consoles, get ready to bask in the glory that is open-world games. Dead Rising 3 is an undead treat.
- Metro: 7/10 - The best Dead Rising so far and purveyor of some of the most entertainingly absurd weapons in all gaming - just don't expect any depth or longevity.
- NowGamer: 8.0 - There isn't much about Dead Rising 3 that sells the Xbox One - something you'd expect from any launch exclusive - but it is a thoroughly enjoyable game that would go well in any day one adopter's library.
- Digital Spy: 4/5 - Like a shuffling zombie with its eye on a hunk of meat, Capcom has stayed the path, offering a juiced-up Dead Rising experience that benefits from the next-gen hardware's added horsepower.
- VideoGamer: 8/10 - The game also relies too heavily on fetch-quests for most of its narrative and side missions, which are lacking any real drama or drive. Well, on 'normal' mode, at least - playing on Nightmare, with its strict time limits, super-tough zombies, and paucity of save zones, ratchets the tension no end, and is recommended. The city's many blocked-off roads, too, make vehicular navigation a chore.
- Shacknews: 6 - Unfortunately, the novelty of the much-larger Los Perdidos quickly wears off, especially if you cruise down a street with a sports car only to watch the framerate chug as it frantically tries to load in hundreds of zombies. Capcom Vancouver shot for a much larger world and, in the end, that idea wound up taking away from the overall experience. In the case of Dead Rising 3, I feel like less would have been more.
- Edge: 8/10 - But even these charismatic roadblocks can't quite derail an ambitious overhaul of the series that offers more than enough incentive for you to endure its less progressive design choices. Dead Rising 3 is a sandbox in the purest sense, one that urges you to experiment with its innumerable toys at your leisure. The result is an open world that, in spite of its reanimated inhabitants, feels more alive than most.
- US Gamer: 4/5 - The graphics don't provide as much of a next-generation leap as we'd hoped, but the atmosphere and huge number of zombies more than make up for any other visual shortcomings. The weapon and vehicle customization options and the addition of Nightmare Mode give Dead Rising 3 the legs it needs to stay in constant rotation on your Xbox One.
- Escapist: 4/5 - Dead Rising 3 will likely go down as one of the quintessentially "good" launch titles seen when a new console releases. It's an exclusive title with a big open world and tons of zombies that demonstrates the power of the next gen console well.
- GameSpot: 7/10 - Despite a wonky presentation and obvious technical hiccups, Capcom has successfully made Dead Rising 3 a more welcoming experience than its harsh predecessors. It can be an inconsistent experience, but I choose to ignore the game's peculiarities and play Dead Rising 3 in the spirit that I believe it's intended: running around in shark outfit shooting zombies with deadly dildos fired from a leaf blower.
- Destructoid: 9/10 - Although it sacrifices a tad of its loveable camp factor and neon style in favor of a few other advancements, the outcome is a much stronger, more involved Dead Rising game. For once, I actually felt overwhelmed in a zombie outbreak, which is a real example of how next-gen technology can be used to do more than simply "make things look better." Out of all the launch titles I've played on both new consoles, Dead Rising 3 is my personal favorite, bar none.
- Ars Technica: No score - It doesn't sell the $500 hardware on its own, but if you're getting an Xbox One, definitely pick up its most substantial, exclusive launch-day title.
- Joystiq: 3.5/5 - Dead Rising 3 is a worthy entry in the series and, for the most part, gets out of your way. It knows that all you really want to do is discover and create new playthings to dismember the undead. As a vehicle for that, it's a comfortable ride.
- EGM Now: 8.0 - When so many of this generation's launch titles feel like glorified tech demos, I'm inclined to applaud the fact that Dead Rising 3 is much more impressive to play than it is to look at. Would I love to have it both ways? Sure. But I'd gladly trade more polygons for more zombies, more weapons, more laughs, and more Dead Rising. And no matter what anyone at Capcom Vancouver might say, that's exactly what Dead Rising 3 delivers.
- GamesBeat: 81/100 - The city of Los Perdidos is a bit too massive for its own good, but there is plenty to do and kill within its limits. And with an impressive next-gen presentation and endearingly spastic boss encounters, Dead Rising 3 is an easy recommendation to any new Xbox One owner.
- IGN: 8.4 - The sad truth about fighting games is that much of what makes playing them against others interesting is usually kept obscured. Killer Instinct succeeds enormously at exposing all of that information to players of all skill levels. Not only is its combat system flashy and well thought out, it's well explained too, thanks to its powerful training tools, and what is easily the most complete guide to terminology and tactics ever assembled in a fighting game. Though it lacks an arcade mode or a full-sized character roster, Killer Instinct delivers where it counts.
- Edge: 7/10 - Fighting games live or die online nowadays, but Killer Instinct's business model dictates that Jago will be your most frequent opponent. Double Helix intends to rotate which fighter is offered for free, but that will only go so far with so slender a roster. There's a fantastic combo system at Killer Instinct's core, but right now it feels like half a game - one full of promise, certainly, but not an especially next-gen one either. The cascade of particles may not be enough to retain player interest until the rest of the game arrives.
- GamesRadar: 4/5 - Excellent mechanics and incredible playability make up for Killer Instinct's shortage of single-player content. Franchise fans and fighting game junkies will be most pleased.
- Joystiq: 3/5 - As Killer Instinct is a sound and inviting fighter mid-battle, it's an experience that ultimately feels hollow everywhere else. Online play - as spare as it is - may present a limitless well of competition to draw from, but with only six fighters to master and very few modes of play, Killer Instinct lacks the value and staying power offered by most other modern fighting games. With more characters and content on the way, the future might be different. At present, there just isn't enough to do.
- Escapist: 3.5/5 - Killer Instinct is definitely fun, if a bit lacking in depth. The lack of campaign mode and limited character options mean it won't take long for you to breeze through the entirety of the content offering, but the online versus should ensure that you get plenty of enjoyment for your investment.
- Shacknews: 7/10 - At launch, Killer Instinct serves as a solid foundation for what could eventually become a good fighting game. More characters and stages are coming down the line, but at launch, the game's limited single and multiplayer modes are glaring and will grow stale quickly.
- US Gamer: 4/5 - Killer Instinct may seem little light with only six characters at launch, no lobbies for online play, and no Story mode until March, but the fighting mechanics are top notch. You can't argue with how easy the game is to pick up and play, and you'll have a ton of fun in the process. This is easily one of the best Xbox One launch title.
- GameSpot: Review still in progress - So far I've had a lot of fun exploring the nuances of Killer Instinct's combat system. Its simplified combos free me up to worry more about playing mind games with my opponent and less about running a manual dexterity challenge. Of course, I've still got a lot to learn as I prepare to take the fight online. Be on the lookout for the full review of Killer Instinct on the Xbox One later this week.
- GameReactor: 7/10 - Killer Instinct is a technically complex fighter, and it's deep despite the shallow pool of characters. It'll definitely appeal to the more hardcore genre fans out there, who'll no doubt benefit from using the arcade stick (which is also set to be released at the same time as the game). For casual fighters there's a significant barrier to entry. If you can overcome the complexity and get to grips with the myriad of combos, breakers and special moves, there's a really good fighting game waiting for you, but it's a big 'if'.
- CVG: 6 - This is a great example of entertaining storytelling with brilliant bursts of inventiveness. But once you're left alone with the core gameplay, it feels pedestrian.
- Eurogamer: 4/10 - Ultimately, the whole thing is depressing more often than it's annoying. Twisted Pixel's lineage suggests that LocoCycle is made by talented and creative designers who had a handful of potentially entertaining ideas to play with. The implementation is rushed and slipshod, however, ignoring fundamental problems and expending limited energy on the wrong things. What you're getting for your money feels a little like somebody else's office in-joke: you can sense the well-intentioned laughter, but you can't really join in.
- IGN: 6.4/10 - If nothing else, LocoCycle earns its name. It's got not one, but two sentient motorcycles, and buckets full of loco. I imagine I'll have forgotten what LocoCycle played like long before I forget its unapologetically zany live-action bits, and its questionable treatment of Pablo. Its inconsistent gameplay becomes tedious despite its imaginative variety, and its levels lack cohesion or a sense of momentum. Like the cheesy 90's films it apes, LocoCycle is memorable, but not quite good.
- Joystiq: 1.5/5 - Maybe one day hordes of fans will gather in local arcades to play LocoCycle ironically and quote some of its notoriously terrible lines - Mi espalda! - but until that day, it's just a bad game, and there's nothing funny about that.
- VideoGamer: 5/10 - If you're looking for a weird update to the likes of Road Rash or Carmageddon then LocoCycle is certainly of that mould. Just don't expect the sheen or polish of the developer's older titles.
- GameTrailers: 4.2/10 - If you're picking up an Xbox One and you're hard pressed on deciding which launch game you should pick up, we'll make it easy for you; give LocoCycle a pass unless you really want to spend a few hours playing a game that's memorable for all the wrong reasons.
- Destructoid: 7/10 - LocoCycle tries a lot of new things thematically, while simultaneously paying homage to classic arcade racing shooters. It doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, but if you're looking for a decent arcade shooter to toy around with on your new Xbox One, LocoCycle is it. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until it hits the Xbox 360.
- GamesRadar: 2.5/5 - Plays like a torturous yet incredibly entertaining fever-dream. The humor makes a playthrough worthwhile, but the clunky mechanics are a real detriment to the overall experience.
- Escapist: 3/5 - LocoCycle has an utterly ridiculous story that will illicit a few laughs, but its gameplay isn't all that engaging.
- GameSpot: 6.0 - Despite its quirky sense of humor and some solid elements, boring gameplay keeps LocoCycle from establishing itself as a quality launch title.
- OXM US Online: 7.5 - Xbox Live Arcade may not have made the leap to Xbox One in name, but its quirky indie spirit more than lives on in LocoCycle. It's not the most standout piece of work in Xbox One's launch lineup, nor does it pull off any amazing technical tricks - but it's a fun, cheap ride busting at the gills with an absurd amount of charm.
- Edge: 2/10 - It's tempting to believe that Microsoft and Twisted Pixel set out to create some kind of meta-joke here, but the line between a successful and unsuccessful parody can be a fine one. All Lococycle achieves is falling on its face, while no one laughs.
- OXM: 7/10 - Lococycle is as hard to put down as it is hard to love. Even if the comedy scratches your itch, there will be times when the shortage of depth and aversion to polish become impossible to forgive. But then again, Lococycle never feels like it's actually trying to be good. Twisted Pixel's latest is a eulogy for the hopeless bricabrac you find at the bottom of cardboard boxes at car boot sales - the naff old DVDs, figurines, kitchen gimmicks and kitsch decorations that catch your gaze, despite your better judgement. I can't imagine a less appropriate hardware launch game, and that's somehow marvelous.
- Xbox 360 Achievements: 60 - Twisted Pixel demonstrates once again that it's a studio that not only produces good comedy, but is also one of Xbox's most reliable purveyors of joyful downloadable titles packed with character, charm and enjoyment by the bucket load. LocoCycle is unhinged madness, and impossible not to like. Grilled cheese sandwiches!!
- GameSpot: 6/10 - I loved seeing LocoCycle through to its zany finale, because I enjoyed the jokes and Iris' robotic line delivery, and because I loved seeing the characters get themselves into silly situations. This would have been a great short comic film. But LocoCycle is a game, and in an unexpected twist of fate, it makes the act of catching rockets, fighting soaring robots, and rushing through the rural fields outside of Scottsburg, Indiana, blander than they deserve to be.
- Polygon: 8/10 - Zoo Tycoon is repetitive and a little glitchy; it's simple and sometimes irritating. It's also a smartly designed simulator, accessible for all. It's charming and sweet, to the point that I never wanted to stop playing - even when my colleagues demanded we use the console for one of the bigger launch titles. Forget them, I just want to see my next task. What can I do to make this zoo better, the visitors happier and the animals healthier? For a game with tycoon in the title, it's got a good heart.
- VideoGamer: 5/10 - Maybe I'm not the target market for this and maybe I'm reading too much into the word 'Tycoon', but even looking past that I didn't have a whole lot of fun. The Kinect interaction, while cute, is less so after repeated animations, and I'm not sure that Zoo Tycoon really knows what it wants to be.
- OXM: 7/10 - For all its shallowness, I couldn't help but fall for Zoo Tycoon. While its charms may indeed be too quickly exhausted, they're potent while they last, and there's an overpowering wholesomeness that's difficult to resist. There are a lot of great ideas, wonderful moments and potential memories to be made here that make it more than worth a look, but much like my experiences with real-life animal parks, Zoo Tycoon becomes less likely to delight upon each subsequent visit.
- Xbox 360 Achievements: 75 - Zoo Tycoon's biggest crime is its lack of ambition. With all the power behind it and a renowned sim-orientated brand, it's as if family specialists, Frontier, wasn't sure which crowd to cater too. Despite that, the pseudo-deep sim game is feature-heavy and an ultimately enjoyable ride.
- Shacknews: 7/10 - I would've been disappointed by the shortcomings of the "cute" half of Zoo Tycoon, if the sim aspect weren't so thoroughly enjoyable. For casual players, there is a mode that lets you build a zoo with no concern over money. This is the mode meant for players that really want to walk around, explore the zoo with their in-game camera, and play with animals.
- Metro: 6/10 - A fun demonstration of the Xbox One's capabilities but unfortunately much more a stealth sequel to Kinectimals than it is a proper Tycoon game.
- Game Informer: 6.0 - Hardcore fans of classic on-rails shooters like Star Fox or Space Harrier might be able to play through this while wearing rose-tinted glasses, but it doesn't hold a candle to its precursors that came out decades ago.
- Polygon: 4/10 - Crimson Dragon is a total misfire. But I could forgive all of these missteps, the weird microtransactions, the underwhelming graphics, the off-kilter systems, if, on a very basic level, it was fun. It's not. Crimson Dragon manages to take riding on a sweet flying dragon and make it a bland, frustrating slog. In my book, that's about as unforgivable as
- GamesRadar: 3.5/5 - There's a surprising amount of game to be had here for $20, even if some of Crimson Dragon feels lacking. Its pretty world and detailed monsters are slightly offset by a lack of variety, and its free flying segments feel kind of pointless when they don't let you do anything you otherwise couldn't on-rails. But its score-based, arcade core and digestible levels will keep you coming back for more until you're sittin' pretty on top of the leaderboards. After all, no self-respecting human would stand idly by while xXxBigPimpin420xXx holds the number one spot.
- GameReactor: 4/10 - If you're one of the original dragon riders from the Panzer days, Crimson may look tempting, but it's a much more flawed, shallow interpretation of a mythos, world and mechanics that the original Sega Saturn trilogy did much better.
- OXM: 6/10 - With heavy controls and a tainted economy, Crimson Dragon is rewarding when you're returning to a level you've mastered.
- IGN: 5.9 - Crimson Dragon works well enough as a straight arcade shooter, and there's plenty of challenge in it. There's some nostalgic value, too, but it's weak graphics and frustrating free-flight boss fights make it tough to enjoy the stroll down memory lane.
- Escapist: 3.5/5 - While Crimson Dragon may lack a certain level of polish or depth, it's certainly above average.
- Edge: 5/10 - Crimson Dragon is at its most absorbing when it's not hard. There's a sense of satisfying caretaking to easier levels, and the constant stream of instant rewards for playing well is more gratifying than it should be. It's during its harder moments that Crimson Dragon pushes you away. A combination of heavy handling and poor communication make you feel hoodwinked rather than outmatched, and the ability to buy continues with Gems you've purchased with real money sullies the challenge. It's a good job that the Zen gardens of those easier levels are always there to return to.
- Destructoid: 8/10 - Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that this wouldn't quite honor it, but there's plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003's Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old-school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them.
- GameSpot: 5/10 - Fight your way towards the end of the game, and you'll discover stages with greater visual appeal than the initial selection of barren landscapes, and more sound level design, but it's too little too late. Crimson Dragon frustrates more than it entertains. Flying your dragon can feel good, but it's only when the game takes a rare breath and slows down that it feels right. The ability to raise dragons is mildly intriguing, but they take forever to evolve into slightly more effective warriors, making the process more of a distraction than a rewarding challenge. It doesn't take long to realize that for all its efforts to be something more, Crimson Dragon misses the mark. It's occasionally sloppy, usually frustrating, and ultimately disappointing.
- GamesBeat: 35/100: If Crimson Dragon had been released for iOS or Android devices at a cheaper price, it would be one of the year's more interesting releases. Instead, the final product is a rushed, homogenized mess of a game that fails to live up to its loosely associated pedigree. There's a couple good ideas in here, but they've been haphazardly thrown into an unimpressive package that does nothing to stand out against far better Xbox One launch titles. As it stands, the Panzer Dragoon series is still as dead as ever.
- Game Informer: 8.0/10 - Zoe Mode is new to the golf scene, but Powerstar Golf plays a like a seasoned pro, nailing most of the fundamentals of the sport, and establishing its own identity by applying little magic to a gameplay formula we know well.
- OXM: 7/10 - With a little bit more attention paid to the power gauge, this could have been an instant family classic. As it stands, it's still an enjoyable party game that makes good use of online.
- OXM US Online: 5.5 - The golfers seem handicapped make such an approach work, and it's hard to know if it's just ill-considered design or a cynical attempt to drive credit purchases. Powerstar Golf has its enjoyable strokes, whether playing solo, with local buddies, or while challenging an online rival's best score in an asynchronous mode, but truly head-scratching skill and progression choices diminish what's already an uninspiring clone.
- IGN: 7.0 - Powerstar Golf manages to successfully marry an old-school arcade golf experience with some decidedly new-school ideas. The lack of proper online multiplayer is a bit of a blow, but the Rivals mode has the potential to provide an ongoing challenge after you've scooped up all of the career medals. It's not a complete hole in (Xbox) One for golf fans, but it's a good deal of fun if you desperately want to hit the links on your new machine.
- Xbox 360 Achievements: 70/100 - It's neither revolutionary, nor a next-gen leap, but Powerstar Golf is a cheery, entertaining experience regardless. We'll be coming back to this for weeks.