It’s been over a week since the Xbox One X has been released, and at this point we thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the good and bad of the new system. We won’t give you the corporate pitch, but simply a consumer’s point of view of the system. If you are still on the fence about getting one, take a look at our perspective and then decide. Meanwhile, here is the straight dope on the system.
Ease of setup
If there is one thing I could thank these newer systems for, it is that while these are upgrades to older consoles, as long as you remembered to back up all of your settings to your external hard drive, the move is painless and quick. I was really pleased that within an hour’s worth of time from unboxing to loading, the system was ready to play with no problems or hiccups. But in so many ways, this smacks of how iPhones are now handled. If you backed up your phone, as there are new ones yearly, then your new phone continues with your old. I am hoping so much that this trend doesn’t continue with consoles as we know that we will get upgraded systems every few years. I fear that we may, but if the next big console released (not an upgrade but a whole new system) is able to do this, then it won’t be so bad.
What about the load times?
As far as loading times, there is still a sense of this being dependent on the game; but in my opinion, the differences from the original Xbox One to now are small. Simplistically speaking, your miles may vary dependent upon the game. Games like Shadow of War and FIFA 18 have had drastically reduced load times as opposed to their predecessors, but load times are something that I have begrudgingly become accustomed to. Let’s hope that when the next consoles come, they are fully integrated with SSD drives which may reduce loading times, as that will help keep gamers immersed into their games.
Isn’t a 1TB hard drive small?
Speaking of SSD drives…
This is the same argument that many of us had with the original Xbox One. Knowing that game sizes are getting larger, why ship this system with such a small drive? Sure, one can say consumers can buy an external HDD and mitigate that, but at the same time, a lot of consumers may not have the money to buy consoles piecemeal – especially if they are parents. Beyond the consoles themselves, many will want to pick up an extra controller, and you still of course need games, headphones and more. The bottom line is that consumers may wind up sinking (at minimum) another $250 on top of the $500 they just shelled out for the Xbox One X.
The Controller Buttons
If there is one more gripe I had with the system, it is the buttons. Sure, this may sound like a first world problems thing, but I play in a dimly lit room, you know, for immersion purposes. One of the things I loved about the old controllers, is that I could easily distinguish the buttons even in near-darkness. Now, I can’t see them at all. No biggie though, as I will be picking up an extra controller and solve that problem easily.
But those graphics though!
Even on a 4K UHD TV without HDR, games that were already looking good looks so much better. Shadow of War is one game that I would highly recommend to show off. The new Star Wars Battlefront II is also a joy to watch even during cut scenes. Even EA games with the Frostbite engine go full tilt on the One X, with the aforementioned FIFA 18 looking more and more realistic. Even taking a quick dive back into Battlefield One showed improvements. I am curious however if this system could help Mass Effect Andromeda because from what I saw, it was the worst looking AAA title to release this year. Not every game benefits however. As much as it was touted that even older Xbox 360 games would see a boost, I did try Elder Scrolls Oblivion and sadly, even though many of the game textures look to be improved, the game does not age well on a newer machine.
Issues with the Blu-ray player
Yes…just like everyone else, I experienced problems with the system running 4K Blu-rays. Not only with it not running the color palate properly, but also at times losing the audio signal. Also, from what I saw, it doesn’t appear to upscale regular blu-ray movies well at all. The strangest thing I noticed, is that when I ran Battle of the Five Armies (don’t judge me! Ha!) on both the One X and the PS4 Pro, the movie ran slightly better on the Pro. I am not sure why, but the movie looks very muddy and distorted on Xbox One X. Maybe the upgrade that Microsoft has coming will fix some of these issues, but I was hoping for better from this console. One thing to note however, is that the 4K content that exists on many streaming services actually looks great running through the Xbox One X, but again it depends on the source material as well as your connection speed, so your results may vary.
In summary so far, the Xbox One X – while not the ‘killer console’ that many were really hoping for – still has so much going for it for having a system fully capable of 4K support. We have reached an age where games are looking their best and that synergy between console and our TVs makes this a great moment to be a gamer. My only hope now is that we can get a great amount of time out of our consoles before ‘the next big thing’ comes along.