Xbox Series X: the future of video games according to Microsoft. We tried the console from the house in Redmond, that’s how it goes.
Xbox Series X everything stands out immediately, managing to amaze users before they even leave the box. The well-assembled packaging, the careful layout of the content, and finally the choice to put the material in the center of a rigid foam “throne”, are details that convey the feeling of a high-end product, a flat -elite fit that doesn’t want to compromise on the quality front. The console emerges from the packaging with its strict lines and imposing machine body: it is the triumph of what one might call “functional minimalism”. The form is essential, but the vertical development still breaks the models with the tradition of the console; despite the choice to maintain chromatic continuity with One X, focusing on an aesthetic “ntique n” aesthetic, the green plastic vezzo that can be seen on the upper grille is that touch of personality that the console has need. A welcome to Microsoft, in short, for having designed a product with a design distinctive,recognizable and well optimized. Choosing to go for a double-plank structure kept the dimensions smaller, while the heat dissipation system – also based on the large axial fan – lets you keep temperatures at bay. It is true that there are still no titles capable of squeezing Microsoft’s hardware to the max, but in these weeks of testing we have recorded extremely low working temperatures and a noise level that is sometimes even imperceptible. The Redmond-based company, in short, confirms the excellent skills of its hardware engineers, who take the already excellent work done with the fu Scorpion project to a new level.
Interface and user experience
Once turned on, the console projects us in front of a familiar interface,the same that we already find today on One X and the other platforms of the Microsoft ecosystem.
There has been some restoration work recently, mostly related to the Store, but in general this is a user experience that we are already familiar with. Again, as with the Pad, the company has chosen the conservation route, rather than clearly breaking bridges with the past. However, navigation inside the dashboard is more responsive and immediate,and finally all those little hiccups disappear, those infinitesimal downtime, which every now and then has been recorded on the consoles of the generation now at sunset. We hope, however, that Microsoft will decide to continue updating the user experience, not necessarily to turn up the novelty factor, but at least to remove some cumbersome choices (such as handling options given to a special application, vestige from a historic moment when even Windows operating systems desperately tried to get closer to the language of mobile platforms).
And the pad? We’ve already talked a lot about the joypad in our Xbox Series X controller review, and there’s not much to add to the considerations expressed elsewhere. As for the Microsoft pad, it has chosen a conservative approach, offering a design that does not deviate much from its predecessor. Slightly leaner on the sides, the controller has the same build quality we’re familiar with, with the addition of an action key in the middle position and the replacement of the classic D-Pad with a small dashboard circular. Ergonomics and functionality are not affected by these small deposits.
Still on the subject of responsiveness and performance, it is impossible not to mention the immediate start (less than two seconds if the X series is left in Stand By), and the equally fast loading of applications. Thanks to the integrated SSD,Game launch times are reduced to the lowest terms, and the last touch of class is represented by the Quick Resume, a feature that allows you to switch between the last used titles by resuming the game at the exact moment we have it. left (remember that the Quick CV does not work with all products, for example with always online games, which obviously need to stay connected to the servers). Still on the subject of SSD, the X series sacrifices around 200 GB to the operating system, and therefore retains 800 GB of storage space: more than enough to install more than a dozen products. You can also use an external SSD or hard drive to run previous generation games, or to keep next generation titles, move installation files very quickly.
To expand memory while taking advantage of games optimized for the X series, you will need to purchase Seagate’s memory card, which is currently extremely expensive. Unlike the S-Series, fortunately, you won’t feel the need for it so soon, not least because unlike the “younger sister” X-Series can also count on physical support.
In the case of the Xbox Series X (but in general the new family of next generation consoles) the compatibility to the reverse is a fundamental center of Microsoft’s strategy, since the Gamepass will represent not only a system for accessing new productions to come in the years to come, but also a kind of “instant collection” full of diplomas. Of course, Microsoft knows this, and from the first moment, it guaranteed full backwards compatibility with all titles running on One X, including those from older generations (which, it should be point out, are revived by a post-processing algorithm that adds a decently efficient HDR effect).
Performance wise, however, not all games behave the same: there are titles that do not exceed the resolution and framerate limits imposed by the development team (Control or Tekken 7 are among them), and products that rather manage – or they can – push at full resolution or framerate, alternately aiming for native 4K or stable 60fps. In some cases, we also have works that maximize framerate and resolution at the same time, but studies of cases are very limited (certainly not for the demerits of the machine, but for the programming limits that are upstream). Headlines in reverse have to be evaluated, in short, on a case-by-case basis, but there is good hope to find productions decidedly invigorated by landing on Microsoft’s next-gen platform.
Looking more generally at the launch line, unfortunately you have to admit that not only is there a killer app missing, but there isn’t even a game that can really put the X Series under pressure, definitely showingwhat he is able to do. Yakuza and Dirt 5’s next-gen updates aren’t indicative of what lies ahead in the machine’s future, and even Watch Dogs Legion, which thankfully incorporates decent Ray Tracing technology, showcases its ancient genesis. generation, especially when looking at the polygonal bulk and detail of some textures.
While appreciable, the Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 updates are also “timid”, if contextualized from a next-gen perspective. The first “essit” to doubling the framerate, the second does the same thing, but incorporates some improvements in texture filtering and shadow simulation. Complaining about these optimizations would be unfair– and indeed it is important that the first part titles were given this treatment, but under stressing the generational leap, you need something more. Gears 5 takes another step in the right direction, which incorporates some interesting improvements: more textures defined,better simulation of shadows and reflection effects, an ambient occlusion system that partially exploits Ray Tracing technology. The impact, it must be admitted, is not as disruptive as one might expect: some of the variations just mentioned are very “quiet” and not always noticeable; Moreover, these additions are paid for on the resolution front, 4K dynamic range that unfortunately even drops to 1080p (although in very rare cases). We would like to reiterate, as we did for the S series, that the performance results obtained from these cross-gen productions don’t give us much clue as to how the productions designed for the new consoles Microsoft will behave.
It is clear that Gears 5 and the company were not born to run on the new RDNA 2 architecture, nor to take advantage of the advantages of Xbox Velocity Architecture (which should not be confused with the mere presence of SSD). When the first titles designed and optimized to take full advantage of X-Series components and technologies hit the market, we can expect results. concretelydifferent. Of course, even taking into account the unexpected Halo Infinite stumble, the fact that at launch there isn’t a single title capable of highlighting the generational leap more clearly is Microsoft’s big fault. We look forward to the first exclusive games,from The Medium to Call of TheSea, but we can’t compare these productions to a big blockbuster capable of pushing the car’s sales and surprising audiences. Unfortunately, the X series is found with an uncovered side, and refers to a date to be assigned the appointment with more substantial experiences.
Xbox Series X sets the stage for the next generation of Microsoft. It does this by proving to be a powerful and compact machine, in some respects conservative (we refer to Pad and Interface), but certainly well designed, quiet, impeccable in the management of consumption and temperatures. Super fast boot times, lightning downloads, well-exploited backward compatibility, and plenty of updates to come for the first-party software: all of these aspects, however, need to be accompanied as soon as possible by an impactful software proposal, who knows stand out for variety and quality. X Series is currently a powerful “Game Pass machine”, but Microsoft can and must do more in terms of completeness and line expansion. The internal teams of the Redmond giant are now a large number, and everyone is working on several new generation proposals: we look forward to them, hoping that they will arrive as soon as possible.