Yeah, I’ve been eyeing this up for a while but was never that sure whether to make the leap or not. What am I talking about? The Xbox One X of course. I always felt that Microsoft upgrading their Xbox One console made more sense than Sony upgrading theirs. Well, the PS4 ever since it’s release had been riding high on the simple fact it was more powerful than Microsoft’s console and hit that much desired 1080p HD resolution more consistently than the Xbox One could. So along with Microsoft’s woes with the largely ignored Kinect, a lack of sheer horsepower made it the less desirable console. It placed the machine in second place and well, the damage was done. So to grab back some momentum and close the gap in graphical power… the much anticipated Project Scorpio for me, made sense even if shelling out for another console was less appealing.
Now since Sony’s own PS4 Po has been released, I was impressed to see that even with such competition Microsoft could still make the more powerful machine – something admittedly they should have done from the start, but er… better late than never, eh? I’d had the original Xbox One for getting on for 5 years and so thought it may be time to upgrade, seeing as I were more and more games taking advantage of the enhancements afforded by the X.
So my first impressions from about a day of having the Xbox One X It’s a much sleeker looking, compact machine, dwarfed by the enormity of the original machine in comparison, but also weighs a fair bit more as a result. How they managed to cram almost 5 times more raw power into a much smaller machine boggles the mind (it’s even smaller than the PS4 Pro) and doesn’t come with an external power-brick either (same as the redesigned Xbox One S). So it’s a nice looking machine but how does it operate? That’s a tricky one to answer. Without comparing both machines side by side, the graphical upgrades aren’t immediately obvious. The games I’ve tested thus far include Far Cry 5, The Witcher 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears of War 4. All feel extremely smooth and look very sharp. Lighting, particle effects and texture detail all seem excellent so it’s difficult to grumble, but how much better? I’m still unsure. But there does seem an improvement. These games were already graphical powerhouses (although Far Cry 5 I got with the console) and some have required huge update patches to bring the enhancements. Certain games also give handy menu options to toggle such things as visuals, frame rate or fixed 4k support. However, I am using a 32” 1080p TV so seeing the true 4k beauty isn’t possible – but by my eyes each game looks great.
It’s early days, but owning a new Xbox has made me want to get back into the platform after being distracted by the joys of Nintendo Switch. So I will be returning to Xbox games I have yet to complete and checking out recent and forthcoming releases, especially the ones that really show off what the machine can do. So far I’m impressed, but like the transition from DVD to Blu-ray the real joy of this system will only come with time.