I managed to pick up an Xbox Series X at the beginning of December and have spent the last month and a half playing Microsoft’s next generation console.
Like with my PS5, I opted for the disc-drive version of the console so in this case, the Xbox Series X. This was mainly due to the number of Xbox One games and Xbox 360 games in my collection, which are phenomenally nearly all backwards compatible. Visually I think the Series X does actually look quite smart, despite its chunky shape. The Series X is actually that big that I couldn’t fit it into my TV cabinet! This was somewhat annoying, but the Series X found its home upstairs with the PS5 being able to squeeze into the cabinet in its place.
The Series X comes with an updated version of the Xbox One controller, with the new updates coming in the form of a circle pad instead of classic D-pad and a new share button in the centre of the controller to share game clips and screenshots more conveniently. The new controller does feel quality and plays well, but given the minor changes from the previous generation’s controller, I don’t feel as if this is a big enough step up, especially compared to the fantastic PS5 DualSense controller.
The System Software
There have been a few minor tweaks to the User Interface but again, for me there is no hugely noticeable changes in comparison to the Xbox One UI. I understand Microsoft’s reasoning behind this but I’d have liked to see something a bit different to what we’ve experienced over the last few years.
Despite the disappointing UI, the Series X really does make up for it with its speed. From booting up the console, you can be within a game in no more than 30 seconds which is phenomenal. With the Series X’s ‘quick resume’, this load speed is even quicker and can even let you suspend and resume multiple games at once. The super quick load speeds are most noticeable when playing with friends on older generation consoles, for example, if you both boot up Black Ops Cold War at the same time, you can be in the multiplayer menu updating your loadout before your buddy has even connected to the Call of Duty servers!
On my Series X I’ve mostly been playing Watch Dogs: Legion, Black Ops Cold War and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, as well as a few other Game Pass games too. I was disappointed that there were no Xbox exclusives released at the launch of the console, granted Halo Infinite was supposed to be a launch title but was delayed to COVID-19, but I feel like I’ve got a good grasp in what the Series X has to offer from the titles I have played.
I’ve been playing at 4K at 60fps on my Samsung TU7020 and graphically speaking, these games look awesome! Exploring Norway and Anglo-Saxon England in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is made even more enjoyable with thanks to the stunning scenery, enhanced via the Series X. Black Ops Cold War is the best looking Call of Duty date and these graphics are particularly spectacular within the campaign, with cutscenes looking like scenes from a movie. Cold War runs into a few issues when playing multiplayer on some of the larger maps and game modes, like the screen tearing and poor frame rates, but none of these make the game unplayable.
Despite the lack of launch titles, the Xbox Game Pass really is Microsoft’s saving grace. There are some brilliant games on the Game Pass to be played, with many enhanced for the Series X. I’ve played a few of these enhanced games on my new console, mainly Forza Horizon 4 which looks stunning and having played this on my Xbox One, there is a stark contrast in the visuals. The Series X’s backwards compatibility is highly impressive too, with not only hundreds of Xbox 360 titles readily available to play but having the ability to also play games from the original Xbox is super exciting. Now all I need to do is dig out Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic…
The Xbox Series X is let down by the lack of launch titles and minimal changes to the User Interface, however it packs a punch with its power which is noticeable in its impressively fast loading speeds and beautiful graphics.
When it ever eventually comes back in stock, you can purchase an Xbox Series X on Amazon here – https://amzn.to/2KD2Qwo (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).