Xbox One X: Does Microsoft’s Monster Live Up to the Hype?

Josh Challies

Microsoft entered 4K gaming earlier this week when they released the highly-anticipated Xbox One X, arriving over a year after PlayStation released the PS4 Pro and promising that the Xbox One X would be the world’s most powerful console.

Early reviews were positive but it all comes down to the consumer. After releasing earlier this week, we got our hands on the Project Scorpio edition, which only differs from the consumer version in that it has some little bits of green on it and comes with a stand. With that, our verdict is here.

Immediately, the first thing you will notice is silence. When we were downloading our games (more of that in a second), we actually had to check to make sure the console was still turned on. Microsoft’s machine is as silent as a mouse, perhaps even quieter.

Downloading games, and their 4K updates, is a significant venture. Forza Motorsport 7 now clocks in at over a whopping 100GB, whilst Call of Duty: WW2 is around 52GB. Remember all that lovely 1TB of storage you had? Well, it won’t last.

Thankfully, the new network transfer system makes things much quicker. The quickest way is to connect a portable hard drive but if, like us, you don’t have that at your disposal, then a network transfer will cut a few hours of time – although it still does take a while.

The biggest promise though is games. 4K gaming is all well and good but only if you have the games to back it up. Fortunately, the Xbox One X has exactly that – Forza 7 is beautiful, Assassin’s Creed: Origins gets a nice boost and other games we played, including CoD: WW2, also looked much sharper.

What you see varies though, as Microsoft has given developers the power but has left it up to them as to what they do with it. Some games go all-out, with 4K and HDR, whilst others won’t – and that’s potentially the Xbox One X’s downfall, as the console is only as good as the games that the developers make.

The biggest criticism, as it always has been with Microsoft, is the lack of Xbox exclusives. Upon launch, there was nothing of note that said ‘suck it PlayStation, look what we have’. Looking at the release calendar, that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.

Thankfully though, the Xbox One X is considerably better than the PS4 Pro. All those numbers and claims that Microsoft made in the unveil at E4 actually add up to something – a solid console with quality graphics that looks set to stand up to the test in the long haul.

If you don’t have a 4K TV yet, and the likelihood is there’s a lot of people who are yet to jump into that particular boat, then you do still get a noticeable boost playing in 1080p. It’s a lot smoother, sharper and quicker to run, though you won’t see the full potential until you make the considerable jump up to 4K.

Another edge over the PS4 Pro comes in the form of a 4K blu-ray player, something Sony elected to leave out of their console to keep costs down. That does raise the Xbox One X’s price-tag to the £449 mark but, with the price of 4K blu-ray players separately, it’s a fair sum to ask for.

If you only care about the gaming side of things, then you’ll be pleased that a lot of the top-selling favorites look and play considerably better on the Xbox One X. Forza 7, CoD: WW2 and Assassin’s Creed: Origins all have stand – out differences, whilst EA Sport’s FIFA 18 and Madden 18 looked as close to real life as you can possibly get.

The big question though is it worth it? That answer is difficult, as it depends on a number of factors. The Xbox One X, as many expected, hasn’t surged into the ‘must buy’ category ahead of Christmas. Instead, it’s a technological step-up to take at a time that suits you.

If you have a 4K TV, then it’s definitely worth thinking about getting one. If you’re yet to upgrade, the best advice may be to sort your TV situation out first before you jump in to grab an Xbox One X. You won’t regret it when you do part with the cash but it’s truthfully not worth it until you have that higher spec TV.

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