Xbox One Launch Guide
With one day to release of the Xbox One worldwide, there’s no better time to start talking all things Xbawx. Queue our special launch guide for the Xbox One – covering a rundown of all the games available at launch (with swanky trailers), details of midnight launches across the world and highlights of good deals going at launch. Without further ado, our specially prepared Launch Guide for the Xbox One – and unlike other people, we won’t make you pay for it!
The Midnight Launches
First things first – you’ve preordered an Xbox One and you want to know whether your store will be participating in midnight launches. Below we’ve listed the retailers participating in midnight launches, with links to further details of the particular stores open, and times for the launch events. If you’re in doubt, we recommend giving your local store a call to see whether they are participating in any midnight launches.
US Midnight Launches
- Microsoft stores will be hosting midnight launch events across the country. According to the official facebook event page, the launch events will be starting at 10PM local time on the 21 November, with special entertainment and giveaways scheduled throughout the evening. Those lucky enough to be among the first fifty people to arrive will receive a special giveaway, which of course is uber secret. To find your local Microsoft store, click here. And if you haven’t pre-ordered – tough nuts. All preorders have been exhausted and Microsoft is only taking rain-checks.
Microsoft are also planning special launch events at certain cities across the world. If you’re lucky enough to be living in one of these cities and are near the Microsoft stores participating in the events – it may be worth your while to check them out.
If you’re in NYC the Best Buy Theatre on 1515 Broadway is hosting a huge event that features Roman soldiers, zombies and supercars. Plus, the first 1,000 people to line up outside the theatre in Times Square and who purchase an Xbox One or Xbox One game will receive a special invite to an in-person concert with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I guess Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus were busy. You will need to be at least 18 years old for the event, and pre-purchase starts at 8am. Doors for the event open at 9pm. Don’t get those times confused!
In Los Angeles, Milk Studios on Cahuenga Blvd will be hosting Deadmau5 and 7Wallace, and the first 500 people to purchase an Xbox One or Xbox One game will get the invite to this concert. Again, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and pre-purchase starts at 10am. Doors for the event open at 6pm.
There will also be special events in Australia and New Zealand. In Auckland, there will be a launch event hosted by Shed 10, whilst Sydney will play host to the Xbox One launch event in Australia. You may want to come dressed to impress at that event, given both the Opera House and the harbour will be at their dazzling best.
- Best Buy will be participating in midnight launches at select stores across the country. For a full list of participating stores, click here. You’ll need to select your state in the drop down list to the right of the page. Best Buy also have a FAQ for those of you with burning questions about their midnight launch events.
- Gamestop will be participating in midnight launches at ‘eligible stores’ – we’ve heard this figure is inclusive of 4200 Gamestop stores across the country. To find out whether your store is included, click here. According to their official site, the Gamestop events will begin at 6pm on Thursday November 21st and customers are being encouraged to bring in any trade-ins to take advantage of special deals in the lead up to launch. Oh, and if you haven’t already preordered at Gamestop – too bad, because the XBox One is sold out across all stores.
- Walmart will also be participating in midnight launches and whilst there isn’t an easily accessible listing of all participating stores, you can use their store locator to find your local stores details and ask them whether they will be open for a midnight launch. Perhaps by the time the next console launch rolls around, they’ll actually have a listing of all their stores open for midnight launches. We can dream.
Canada Midnight Launches
- Best Buy will be opening all stores (except for those in Quebec and Sudbury) to celebrate the launch of the Xbox One. For more information, click here. For those who haven’t preordered, there will be a minimum of 20 unreserved consoles per store up for grabs for those quick enough to nab them. To maximise your chances of nabbing one of these consoles, the Cambie store will have 250 of the beauties up for grabs – so hit there first if you’re desperate to get your hands on one and haven’t pre-ordered.
- EB Games stores will be holding midnight launches, and the full listing of stores participating in the events can be found here.
- Walmart stores will likely also be participating in midnight launches, despite no confirmed details at present. For a listing of stores, click here. Again, give them a ring and ask if they’re participating, and perhaps mention that an easily accesible online list of stores participating in midnight launches is all the rage these days. They should get on that, pronto.
- Future Shop stores across the country will be holding midnight launches. All stores, with the exception of those in Quebec and Sudbury, will be open for midnight launches. Full details on the events can be found here. There will be a minimum of 250 unreserved consoles available at the Yonge and Dundas midnight launch events for those who haven’t pre-ordered but want to take home an Xbox One on launch day.
Australia Midnight Launches
- EB Games will be holding midnight launches at select stores across the country. A list of the participating stores can be found here. In addition, special official launch openings will be happening at certain locations across the country. At these events, attendees can expect free food and slushies, live entertainment and cosplayers, hole in one golfing and more. Details of these flagship launches can be found at the above link. If you have a preorder with EB Games and pay it off completely before launch, remember to visit your store and pick up your ‘fast pass’ voucher. This will allow you to line up in the special fast pass queue come launch day and hopefully pick up your Xbox One that little bit quicker. Of course, if everyone chooses this option the line will actually be longer and you’ll be worse off, but hey, in theory it should work.
- JB HiFi have announced they are participating in midnight launches and have provided a listing of participating stores here.
UK Midnight Launches
- GAME stores are participating in midnight launches across the country. For the full listing of participating stores (with perhaps the best names of cities and suburbs I’ve ever read) click here.
For those who aren’t attending midnight launches in their area but who still want to be a part of the midnight launch fever, the official live launch of the console will be broadcast on Spike TV, Xbox.com and Xbox Live.
The Launch Games
A console launch isn’t much of a launch if there aren’t games to play, and the Xbox One launch promises an impressive stable of games available on day one. Below is a quick run-down of the games that will be available on Launch day, whether these be via retail purchase or Xbox Live download. Since we’re nice, we’ve also included trailers, to help those of you who haven’t seen much of the game, or just let those of you who have enjoy them a second time. You love us for that, right?
Assassin’s Creed IV – Black Flag
Yes, it may already be out on PS3 and Xbox 360, but those consoles are SO last generation. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is set in the Carribean during 1715, with the action unfolding across multiple islands. It’s piratey goodness with shiver-me-timber shazaam and fans of the series likely already know what to expect. Players will assume the role of new protagonist Edward Kenway, the grandfather of Connor and father of Haytham Kenway who were previously both seen in Assassin’s Creed 3. For the first time in the series, players will have the ability to explore underwater locations, if they so desi-arrrrrrrrrrr. Ok that was a bad pun. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag received favourable reviews at launch on other consoles, and is currently sitting in the 80s on Metacritic.
If you’re looking for a fun, polished gaming experience and haven’t played it before, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag might be a good launch day purchase.
If you like shooters with strong storylines and solid multiplayer elements, Battlefield 4 may be your launch day ticket. The singleplayer campaign takes place six years after the events of Battlefield 3, and sees tensions between the power players within the game world (those being Russia, the US and China) at breaking point. Players step into the shoes of Sgt Daniel “Reck” Recker, a member of a special fantabulous U.S operations squad called “Tombstone.” Unlike the events of the previous game, Battlefield 4’s campaign occurs in chronological order and allows the player to control Recker the entire time.
Battlefield 4 scored favourably at launch on other consoles, and the game is currently sitting in the 80s on metacritic.
Crimson Dragon is an exclusive title for the Xbox One and is a rail shooter featuring dragons. Seen as a spiritual successor to the Panzer Dragoon series, the game features 6 types of dragons, over 100 skills, and three-player online co-op. A shooter featuring dragons sounds like a good combination to me, but we all know what happened with Lair on the PS3, so i’m wary with this title. I do recommend watching the trailer and taking a shot every time the word Draco is mentioned – you’ll be drunk within 2 minutes.
Crimson Dragon has received mixed reviews from critics, and is currently sitting on a score of 55 on Metacritic.
Dead Rising 3
The trailer above says ‘welcome to the afterparty’ and for fans of the series, an open world zombie slayer party is exactly what they’re going to get. Another of the console’s exclusive games, Dead Rising 3 takes place in the fictional city of Los Perdidos, California, three days after a zombie outbreak. The game events occur almost 12 years after the events of Dead Rising 2, and players will assume the role of Nick Ramos, a mechanic struggling to survive the endless zombie horde whilst attempting to find a way out of the city. Dead Rising 3 is set to provide players with an open world to play in, devoid of loading times. Vehicles can be used to traverse the game world, with hundreds of objects available to create weapons or use as distraction devices.
Dead Rising 3 is sitting on a score of 78 on Metacritic.
The amount of trailers which featured awkward kinect flailing at the screen I had to skip through in order to find this relatively acceptable trailer almost made me give up, but I perservered and found one that was somewhat ok. If you’re a fan of fighting games that use the kinect motion sensor, you’re probably going to pick up this game, given it’s the only launch title that features converting your awkard arm-flailing at the screen into smashing someone in the face. The game itself is an Xbox One exclusive, and from the trailer the graphics look passable, but if this game isn’t on your radar, it’s unlikely to suddenly win a place on your launch day must buy list.
Fighter Within isn’t featured on Metacritic yet, but once scores start rolling in, you’ll be able to find them here.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
The game that really needs no introduction, but for the purposes of fairness I’ll give it one. The next game in the juggernaught that is the Call of Duty series, the singleplayer story is set in an alternate timeline that follws the nuclear destruction of the Middle East. Players see the story unfolding through the eyes of Logan Walker, who is a member of the game’s main protagonists – the Ghosts. The Ghosts are a U.S Spec Ops force trained to undertake secret and clandestine missions deep in the heart of enemy territory. The game itself offers the shooty combat and explosions the series is known for, with some added features ot the ever popular multiplayer element.
The game has been receiving generally positive reviews, and is currently sitting in the 70s on Metacritic.
Forza Motorsport 5
Likely one of the most anticipated launch titles for the Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 5 is essentially porn for car lovers. Making a point to mention that all footage shown in the above trailer is in-game, Forza 5 is certainly impressive in the visual department. And according to the choice review quotes in the trailer, it also does a great job of being both impossibly realistic and spectacularly real at the same time, so well done on that achievement. The game will feature 200 cars from over 50 manufacturersand 14 circuits, which sounds fantastic until you realise that Forza 4 featured 500 cars from over 80 manufacturers and 27 circuits. But never fear, car lovers, as, in the spirit of capitalist profiteering, Turn 10 and Microsoft will be offering monthly DLC car packs which include 10 cars for the first 12 months following the game’s launch. Oh happy, money milking days!
No scores available on Metacritic just yet, but once they start zooming across the finish line, they’ll be found here.
FIFA 14 / Madden NFL 25 / NBA 2K14 / NBA Live 14
I’m sorry guys, but given these are all sports games (and most of them have already been released on previous consoles) I’m lumping them all together into one segment. Let’s face it – if any of these games are your thing, these will already be on your launch game buy list, and if they aren’t, you’ll probably do what I do and yawn whilst you scroll down past this summary. In fact, if you’re not interested in sports games as a launch day purchase, you probably aren’t even reading this. But for those who are interested in these games as a day one buy, you know what you’re getting – slight improvements from the last iteration in the series whilst retaining all the features you’ve enjoyed from previous games. Why pick Madden NFL 25 for the feature trailer here? Because let’s go 49ers baby!
Just Dance 2014
A launch trailer that shows more of the people playing the game than the actual game itself – and in fact I think there’s around 10 seconds of actual gameplay shown. But hey – it’s Just Dance and there’s really no ‘gameplay’ to speak of, other than face the screen and flail about attempting to mimic the choreography going on in front of you. The game features new modes and a songlist that includes all the top hits from those bands that the young-uns like these days. Included are Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Katy Pery, One Direction and you know what? The full list of titles can be found here.
The game is sitting in the 70s on Metacritic.
I guess there was a memo that went around the Microsoft offices saying people like fighting games, so let’s release a bunch of fighting games at launch, because you guessed it – Killer Instinct is another beat ’em up. Killer Instinct features combo based gameplay, and includes a variety of features with wonderfully whimsical names like Auto Doubles, and Ultra Combos and Combo Breakers and Bumba Busters. Ok, I may have made up that last one. Suffice to say, if you’ve liked the previous games in this series you’re probably going to at least check this one out, and if you have no idea what Killer Instinct is, you’ll bypass it.
Killer Instinct is sitting on a score of 73 on Metacritic.
You see that trailer above? That’s the best trailer I could find for LocoCycle, and if you’ve watched that trailer, that’s saying a lot about the game itself. Billed as a motorcycle racing game with combat, the game stars “I.R.I.S.”, a sentient motorcycle which is able to perform over 40 forms of combat and speak 50 languages. The bike is accompanied by a mechanic named Pablo who is dragged along behind her during the game’s events. If that description didn’t immediately turn you off this game, perhaps the knowledge that it also features live action sequences with the actors who provide the voice over for characters will. Or it will make you more intrigued by the game that you’ll buy it, and if so, you’re one weird individual.
The game is sitting on a score of 52 on Metacritic. Can’t imagine why.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Apparently Xbox One isn’t as much of a DC fan as Sony is, as their launch line up is devoid of DC themed games, however to represent Stan Lee’s iconic characters, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is part of the launch day offerings. The plot of the game is a touch too involved to summarise succinctly here, but fans of the Marvel verse should rest easy knowing that the game features approximately 150 characters from the Marvel universe, each with their own unique abilities. Now, having said that, I know there is one question on everybody’s lips that I am happy to answer: Yes, guys, Moon Knight is a playable character. Rejoice! And if you have no idea who Moon Knight is, go ahead and visit this wikipedia entry. To summarise – he’s the goddamn bomb.
The game is sitting in the 80s on Metacritic.
Upon watching the above trailer, it appears that Powerstar Golf was made by people who had an appreciation of REALLY BRIGHT COLOURS and electric golf drives. If these elements were billed as features, I may be inclined to give the game a look in at launch, but my dislike of all things golf means I’ll never hole-y get this game. Sorry, that was a cheap shot. I better bail out right now before I bogey up the rest of the article. The game itself is an arcade style golf experience which apparently plays similarly to Hot Shots Golf on the Playstation. Each golfer comes equipped with a unique power and the game will ship with social features which will let players see their friends stats.
The game is sitting on a score of 68 on Metacritic.
Need For Speed Rivals
Rev those engines with a capital V for Vroom and get excited for the latest instalment of the Need for Speed series. Rivals lets players choose between racing as a cop or a racer, with each side having its own set of challenges, rewards and consequences. For those choosing to play as a racer, the goal is to become infamous by completing challenges such as police evasion, whilst for cops the goal is to work together as part of a team to pursue and bust racers. Both racers and cops will have access to their own cars and tech, and the open world within Rivals features over 100 miles (160km) of open road.
The game offers new features and is sitting on a score of 84 on Metacritic. Just don’t think about the upcoming Need For Speed movie. It’ll leave a sour taste in your mouth, and no one wants that.
Ryse: Son of Rome
I have no idea what Ryse stands for, but for the purposes of this launch guide it now means ‘realising your sublime energy’. This Xbox One exclusive promises a plethora of leather clad roman soldier funtimes and places players in the sandals of a Roman general named Marius Titus. The game will feature working with Roman infantry by issuing them commands and my favourite game mechanic, quick time event controlled finishing moves as part of combat. Players will control Marius using the Xbox One controller, whilst simultaneously issuing commands to his legion via Kinect voice commands. Because combining quick time events with Kinect voice commands sounds like a flawlessly perfect idea.
There is no Metacritic score for Ryse: Son of Rome as yet, however you’ll be able to find it here when it’s available.
Skylanders: Swap Force
I’ll be honest here and say I have never understood the appeal of Skylanders, having completely missed the boat on the Skylanders craze. Given the amount of shelf space taken up by the games and figurines within the series at my local games store, however, I’m clearly in the minority. For the all new Skylanders, the action unfolds within the Cloudbreak Islands, a part of Skylands not seen in the previous games. Players will be able to take charge of 16 new Swap Force characters, who have the amazingly marketable ability to mix and match their top and bottom parts to create over 250 new character combinations. For those not wanting to splurge on the new ritzy Skylanders, all 100+ previous characters from the prior games can be used in Swap Force.
The game is sitting in the 80s and 90s on Metacritic, unless you bought the 3DS version which scored in the 60s. Eep.
I’m a fan of playing games that let me indulge in behaviour I’ll never be able to experience in real life, and since my dreams of building, owning and operating my own zoo are unlikely to be realised anytime soon, I’m a fan of Zoo Tycoon. An exclusive to the Xbox One, Zoo Tycoon will feature a 15-hour story campaign mode, a freeform mode and challenge modes. Players will be able to swap between top down views of their zoo to exploring their park as their avatar in a fully realised 3D environment. A rather nifty social element will allow gamers to upload their zoos and share them with friends. Up to four players will be able to work on a given zoo simultaneously and friends are able to continue to work in a zoo even when the owner is not present.
Zoo Tycoon is on my list of launch day buys, and let me tell you readers – if it allows me to place and care for multiple types of Otter (sea and river) I might just explode from the sqeeing.
The game is sitting on a score of 70 on Metacritic.
Best Xbox One Launch Day Deals
With the majority of retailers scrambling to get you to spend your hard earned cash at their stores instead of their competitors, there are some fantastic deals on offer at launch for the Xbox One. Below we’ve highlighted some of the best deals we’ve seen advertised, both in the US and Australia.
Best Buy in the US is offering $25 My Best Buy rewards certificates with the purchase of three select Xbox One titles – these titles being pretty much every retail Xbox One launch game. Free shipping is offered as part of the deal, however you must be a My Best Buy member to take advantage of the deal.
EB Games in Australia is offering a special bundle of Forza 5 + a controller + 12 months Xbox Live Gold membership for $199 when purchased with an Xbox One console. The offer is for a limited time only while stocks last, so if you’re interested, get in soon.
JB Hi Fi in Australia is offering the majority of Xbox One launch games at a pricepoint of $79, which is a good saving from the usual $88-99 price point offered by most other retailers. For a list of the games, click here.
Big W in Australia is going one step further than JB Hi Fi and offereing select launch day games for $78, a whopping $1 less than the JB Hi Fi price point. For a list of the games available at this price, click here.
And there you have it – our Xbox One Launch Day Guide. We’ve tried to cover as much as we could in this guide and we hope it has been of benefit to you. If you’ve found it helpful, or if you know of any other special deals, let us know in the comments section below. Otherwise, we hope that wherever you are, you enjoy the Xbox One launch.