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Which Xbox One launch game should you buy first? The OXM assessment

Can't afford more than one? Let us assist with your ruminating

You're expecting me to say this - you awful, pernicious cynic - but I think Xbox One's launch line-up looks pretty damn spectacular. I'm personally more interested in the games that come after launch, chiefly Respawn's well-bred mecha-shooter Titanfall and Capybara's haunted island escapade Below, but it's a sparkly assortment of early-doors efforts nonetheless.

Assuming you're jumping in right from Day One, and assuming you don't live in a house of gold bricks, you may be a little stumped as to which launch game you should buy first. The below feature is a hack-handed attempt to help with that, split into three cheerfully idiotic categories - "Is It Pretty?" "How Does It Play?" and "How Long Will It Last?"

To be clear, I'm not offering a final verdict on any of the launch games - consider this a round-up of currently available facts with a dash of opinion-giving, to help you crazy kids with your crazy preorders. The list excludes cheap downloadables and free-to-play titles such as Lococycle, Killer Instinct and Project Spark, along with the new Madden, NFL, FIFA and NBA titles, because I have literally no clue about either sport or "sports". Let's begin.

Forza Motorsport 5
Is it pretty?
And how. Running in 1080p at a well-greased 60 frames a second, Turn 10's new Forza is perhaps the most handsome game you'll play all year. It's so unspeakably high-end, that the developer has devoted a fair whack of the Xbox One's RAM not to making cars look good but making them look imperfect, riddled with realistic blemishes such as bubbly paint, blued exhaust pipes and machine scratches on wheel components.

The tracks (which include the Prague circuit) are equally easy on the eye; buildings are built of a wider variety of materials, atmospheric effects such as fog and rain are more prevalent, the crowd headcount has swelled to 400,000, and the road surface has been laser-scanned for utmost fidelity. Be sure to plug in some speakers, too, as the audio's now generated moment-to-moment from a vast toybox of effects (including abstract touches like lion roars) in order to better reflect the mood.

How does it play?
From what we've seen (and this is all pending proper hands-on time), the handling should be very familiar to players of Forza Motorsport 4, which was excellent, so no complaints there. Fans of arcade fare like Forza Horizon may not warm to it, though. The game's Drivatars system is shaping up to be a real innovation, however - it'll create a cloud-stored, perpetually learning persona based on your behaviour, which appears in your and other people's Forza 5 sessions as an AI driver. Thus, it's possible to race against a friend while that friend's offline, asleep or dead. This should give so-called "single player" races a lot more zap, which is also good news in terms of...

How long will it last?
...longevity. Mind you, that shouldn't be a problem regardless: Turn 10 is promising "the most diverse lineup of vehicles ever seen in a Forza Motorsport game" (whether this equates to "most vehicles ever" remains to be seen), a roster that spans classic sport cars, modern tuners, exotics and open-wheel race cars. Each car gets its own career, too, which explores the vehicle's history, strengths and weaknesses, and we're told to expect the usual robust array of customisation options, including an upgraded livery editor and sharing network.

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