Xbox One X Preview Event

Xbox One X Preview Event
 
 

Now more than ever, consoles are in a strange place. With platforms like Steam ensuring access to a growing library of games in perpetuity, a traditional 8-to-10-year console life cycle starts to lose meaning. The rise of short hardware iterations with iOS and Android has muddied the waters further. Consumers are comfortable swapping out devices. as circuit boards shrink and screens grow.

Earlier this month, Microsoft invited me to Sydney to check out the Xbox One X – the company’s answer to the changing console landscape. On offer were a suite of games that made use of the system’s higher specs, running at a crisp 4K or a smoother framerate.

Our full opinion of the One X will have to wait until the system is released, but here are some of my thoughts on the games present.

Forza Motorsport 7

Turn 10 know how to make good looking driving games, and Forza 7 is no different. You can head on over to the full preview for a more in-depth look.

But the long and short of it? It’s a damn fine-looking game. They also had the Xbox One X version running alongside the PC – something you rarely see at showcase events like these. It was a smart move though, as both are nearly on par. If you have an eye for detail though, there are some sharper specular reflections on the PC version, with wet roads looking especially nice.

Gears of War 4

If you don’t know anything about Gears of War 4, I highly recommend you read Luke’s review.

What was already a sharp game looks even nicer on the One X. The bump in resolution has had a noticeable effect: textures look cleaner, and edges less aliased. I was hoping to see an increase in framerate, but the game still aims for the tried-and-true 30 FPS.

Path of Exile

Coming from New Zealand’s own Grinding Gear Games, this loot-driven hack-and-slash RPG hit PC back in 2013. Following a spate of successful expansions, it eventually found its way Xbox One in August.

The One X version looks nice: spell effects stack and pop-off without any slowdown, and the resolution adds an appreciable level of detail to the randomly generated, pre-fab environments. Some UI elements like your inventory screen take up a little too much of the screen real estate, but you’ll only be looking at this intermittently.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition

This one was actually on PC at the event, but I figured I’d include it because the original game is such a cultural touchstone.

I don’t remember much about the original Age of Empires, except the cheat to spawn a sports car with a rocket launcher, and the one that let your catapults throw villagers and cows. Also, the priests that would yell “wololo!”

It’s a bit weird seeing sprite-assets – which at the time, were a technical limitation – realised at such a high resolution. Extra frames have also been added to their movement, meaning your troops now fluidly glide around the map.

The MIDI soundtracks have also been remastered, in all their percussive glory; there’s a depth and richness there now. Some audio cues on the other hand are grainy, like they were maybe re-using the original samples.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft’s latest adventure hit Xbox One nearly two years ago. Since then, I’ve built myself a PC that can run the game on the highest settings with no sweat – so seeing the One X handle it relatively well was pleasing.

Like Gears of War 4, the framerate was still locked around the 30 mark, which it managed to maintain even in gunfights and larger locations. UI and other HUD elements looked grainy however, like they were upscaling lower-resolution button prompts.

Cuphead

I can’t speak to the power of the Xbox One X here, because Cuphead would look gorgeous on any device its running on. The game was also one of the busiest at the event, with multiple journalists and devs trying their hand at the fiendishly difficult, hand-drawn platformer. I managed to get some time with the game, and I’ve come away with one thought.

Cuphead is hard.

If difficulty-curves that are more akin to brick walls are your thing, Cuphead has you covered; I saw maybe one other attendee manage to beat a boss. Encounters are lengthy, and work in phases. One moment you’ll be engaged in forced-scrolling, bullet hell fights with a dragon, the next you’ll be hopping between the clouds avoiding sentient fireballs.

It can be disheartening, and frustrating, and overwhelming – but it’s also fun.


One of the major things the PlayStation 4 Pro lacked at launch was a clear reason for its existence. Sony did – and at times, still do – a poor job of communicating the benefits that some games would have over their base versions.

I’m not yet convinced that the Xbox One X will dodge that bullet either, but events like this – and seeing an ever-expanding list of supported games – fills me with some confidence.

The Xbox One X launches November 7.


Keith travelled to an Xbox One X press event in Sydney. Flights and accommodation were provided by Microsoft.




 

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Comments Comments (15)

 
Posted by 163Battery
On Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 7:20 PM
8
My wife is buying me one. YAY ME!!!
 
 
 
Posted by Paorio
On Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 7:56 PM
3
20 September 2017, 07:20 PM Reply to 163Battery
My wife is buying me one. YAY ME!!!
What an awesome wife!
 
 
 
Posted by MadDudeHorse
On Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 8:04 PM
4
20 September 2017, 07:20 PM Reply to 163Battery
My wife is buying me one. YAY ME!!!
My fiancee is paying for the difference between the S and the X. So I guess that is the difference between wife and fiancee :P
 
 
 
Posted by 163Battery
On Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 8:53 PM
2
20 September 2017, 07:56 PM Reply to Paorio
What an awesome wife!
She sure is.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 9:14 PM
-2
Huh, i wonder how aoe will do.
 
 
 
Posted by ModifiedSoul
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 7:40 AM
1
still more than a month away............ antica
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 8:41 AM
-2
thought pubg was going to be here.
 
 
 
Posted by Tin-Automaton
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 8:54 AM
1
21 September 2017, 08:41 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
thought pubg was going to be here.
It was on a dev machine, running on PC servers -- seemed to run exactly like PUBG, but on a controller
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 10:15 AM
-1
21 September 2017, 08:54 AM Reply to Tin-Automaton
It was on a dev machine, running on PC servers -- seemed to run exactly like PUBG, but on a controller
You can make any games work with a steam controller.
 
 
 
Posted by Tin-Automaton
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 10:22 AM
1
21 September 2017, 10:15 AM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
You can make any games work with a steam controller.
Yeah, I have one

If I'm playing via my Steamlink though, I prefer an Xbox controller -- something about the Steam controller is plasticky and cheap.
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 10:29 AM
3
20 September 2017, 07:20 PM Reply to 163Battery
My wife is buying me one. YAY ME!!!
Great wife!

My fiance let me buy PSVR and a PS4 Pro last year, and a Switch this year, I'm not even going to try upgrading my Xbox this year as she lets me away with a lot and don't want to risk it.

Great write up thanks Keith.
 
 
 
Posted by 163Battery
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 10:57 AM
1
21 September 2017, 10:29 AM Reply to drunk_monk
Great wife!

My fiance let me buy PSVR and a PS4 Pro last year, and a Switch this year, I'm not even going to try upgrading my Xbox this year as she lets me away with a lot and don't want to risk it.

Great write up thanks Keith.
Good call, don't want to push too far ay.
 
 
 
Posted by Paorio
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 11:13 AM
1
20 September 2017, 09:14 PM Reply to ThatUndeadLegacy
Huh, i wonder how aoe will do.
Screenshot looks pretty nice
 
 
 
Posted by kentnz
On Thursday 21 Sep 2017 7:56 PM
2
I hope the slims go down in price even more. I probably won't get a 4K TV for another decade.
 
 
 
Posted by Rocky1986
On Friday 22 Sep 2017 9:19 PM
1
Hope Aoe lives up to the hype. Definitely going to give that a try. Cheers for the write up was a good read.