Xbox Series X Preview – Leaving Current-Gen In The Dust
If you read my initial impressions on Xbox Series X, you know that even spending a small amount of time with the next-generation Xbox console sold me on upgrading through its speed alone. The effortless and efficient nature in which it loads my Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games amazes me to this day, and puts my Xbox One X, the current most-powerful gaming console on the market, to shame. Now that I've spent more time with the system, and checked out some actual next-gen content on the console, I wanted to give a brief update on my experience.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've continued putting the Xbox Series X through its paces using my existing backward-compatible library. While I already spoke in-depth about the load times, I'm continually impressed by how fast I'm able to not only get into games, but swap between them. The Quick Resume feature is astoundingly helpful, even allowing me to pick up a suspended session after I unplugged the console. That's right: After moving the console between the Game Informer office and my house, I was able to plug the Xbox Series X into my system and immediately pick right back up where I left off using Quick Resume.
The performance of current-gen and older games is impressive. However, the true test of the system is in how fast it loads experiences created for it. Using software provided by developers and Xbox, I tested a few different next-gen titles. While these builds aren't final (nor is the Xbox Series X user interface), I wanted to give an idea of how long players can expect to wait to get into a next-gen game. Some games, like Gears 5 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, are extremely impressive in how quick they load into the world, but I was somewhat disappointed by others, like Dirt 5 and Gears Tactics; I guess I was expecting a bit faster. Check out the list of next-gen software I tested below.
- Dirt 5 - Loads into a Career mode race in 17.82 seconds
- Gears 5 - Loads into the open area of North Tyrus in 10.29 seconds
- Gears Tactics - Loads into a mission in 17.91 seconds
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Loads into the world in 4.71 seconds
My experience with the controller also continues to be good. I like how the grip feels in my hands, and I've enjoyed using the Share button to take instant screenshots and gameplay captures without backing into menus. I mentioned this before, but I'm still really impressed by the d-pad; it not only has a great click, but it also feels much more precise and conducive to 2D gameplay than the hybrid appearance would have you believe.
On top of all this, I'm enjoying the experience outside of the games with the Series X. Navigating through the (non-final) menus is super smooth. You can really tell how much consoles benefit from the upgraded hardware. Xbox also sent along an official Storage Expansion Card, which plugs into the back of the system. As far as I can tell, games installed to this storage card behave nearly identically to games installed on the internal storage. The price is pretty steep ($220), but it feels like a must-purchase item if you feel like you'll blow through the internal storage with the games you hope to install. Hopefully, other companies can provide less expensive solutions that deliver similar performance down the road.
While this can't be considered a review since the interface and software isn't final, I'm still very much impressed by the overall experience the Xbox Series X delivers. With my thoughts on Xbox's new console all but solidified to this point, I eagerly await getting my hands on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S to see just how it all stacks up to this powerhouse.
For more on Xbox Series X, check out our New Gameplay Today and my hands-on impressions of the Xbox Series X controller. You can also read more about the console's backward compatible games perform on Xbox Series X compared to how those games run on an Xbox One X here. For some of my next-gen game impressions, check out my hands-on previews of Dirt 5 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon.