Xbox Series X / S one month after launch: what convinced us and what didn't

Xbox Series X / S one month after launch: what convinced us and what didn't
A month has now passed in the company of Xbox Series X with which we have embraced the new Microsoft generation. Having lost some initial enthusiasm and being able to think with a cooler mind, we want to review the elements analyzed in the review to see what convinced us and which elements instead disappointed us in this month of use. We are sure that Microsoft is working at full capacity to take care of every aspect and solve any problems present at launch, so in the future we expect significant improvements to the various issues listed in this article. On the other hand, few consoles come out in their perfect form at launch. We know that the pinnacle of every gaming machine is reached at the end of its life cycle, so let's give Microsoft some time to perfect the already excellent work done on Xbox Series X with the release of new software updates and above all many quality video games. . Today, however, we want to take stock of the situation about a month after the arrival on the market of this monster of power, enclosed in a clean and innovative design. Let's see if Microsoft has managed to convince us or not with Series X, without neglecting its little sister Xbox Series S.

What convinced us

After several missteps made over the last generation, Microsoft has managed to design a respectable console. Xbox Series X is undoubtedly a gem, assembled with some truly remarkable engineering gimmicks. Its compact and innovative shape has fully convinced us and is at ease in any living room or gaming station. The hardware of the "most powerful console in the world" has been perfectly enclosed by a very elegant matte shell with a single upper air intake that manages heat dissipation in an excellent way. In terms of silence, it is the best console on the market. In the month of use characterized by long gaming sessions we never heard any noise produced by the console. We are therefore really satisfied from this point of view, even if it must be admitted that we have not had the opportunity to try a real new generation game as it was not present at launch.

Once we turned on the Xbox Series X immediately made to feel at home. The dashboard is exactly the same as seen on the Xbox One family consoles. While this might seem like a flaw or a lack of evolution, we were still pleased with its cleanliness and responsiveness. We knew how to use each of its elements without particular effort and while there is undoubtedly a lot of room for improvement, we immediately felt comfortable navigating the menus and settings.

The real strength that has transported us to the new generation, however, was the Quick Resume. The feature uses the console's solid state drive to keep several previously played titles in memory. This way we can pick up exactly where we left off, without having to go to the main menu and load the game. The speed and simplicity with which it is possible to carry out these operations is truly disarming and significantly changes the way the console is used. In the past few weeks we have found ourselves turning off the game machine for even just ten minutes, because we knew that upon our return in a few seconds we could pick up where we left off our session. Likewise, we loved being able to go from a challenging game to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and have a quick match with the friend at FIFA, then return exactly to where we left off in the From Software title. From this point of view, again thanks to the excellent SSD of the Xbox Series X, even the video game loads have been significantly speeded up, undoubtedly improving the gaming experience. While we no longer have the time to make coffee or go to the bathroom on a quick trip to The Witcher 3, having fast uploads is definitely a welcome improvement, finally present on this new generation.

Microsoft for a few years has become a strong advocate of backwards compatibility. The feature is also present on Xbox Series X where it undoubtedly reaches its peak in terms of compatibility and performance. Old-time video games are able to enjoy a new youth on Xbox Series X, thanks to optimizations brought directly from the console hardware and software, without the direct intervention of the developers. Being able to play the already great titles on Xbox One X with a higher framerate and resolution has certainly pleased us. Seeing Monster Hunter: World or a Shadow of Tomb Raider finally at 60 frames per second really changes the way a particular video game is enjoyed. The same happens with older titles, belonging to the Xbox 360 generation or even the very first Xbox released in the early 2000s. Overall then Microsoft manages to offer the best backwards compatibility experience available on consoles and is certainly a huge strength for this Xbox Series. X, which in this month of gaming has made us rediscover and appreciate many titles of the past more.

Let's now pass to the video games available on Xbox Series X, where the popular catalog offered by the Game Pass dominates the attention. With the subscription active for several months, we found ourselves with the entire library proposed by this service, available on the new game console. This was certainly a pleasant surprise, because in the recent past during a generational leap, we were used to leaving behind all the titles previously owned. Having a console with such a large library in your hands slightly attenuated the perception of the transition to the next-gen, but at the same time gave us many hours of entertainment already at the launch of the console.

Week after week new welcome additions are coming to the catalog and we can only be happy, especially in the future, when the exclusives of Microsoft studios will start to arrive completely free on the day of the launch. The Game Pass is also an excellent way to show the potential of the Microsoft ecosystem, which includes the PC and mobile devices connected via the cloud. Having a PC in our gaming station and a console in the living room, which communicate perfectly with each other with the synchronization of saves and acquisitions made within the ecosystem, is certainly a considerable advantage that only Microsoft can enjoy. If we also add an Android smartphone with which we always connect to the same title via xCloud, left pending first on the PC and then on the console, the sense of continuity offered is fully felt.

What did not convince us

At this point we have to start talking about the less convincing aspects of Xbox Series X. We want to emphasize it again: these criticisms are made for the current state of the console, one month after its arrival on the market. Undoubtedly many of these issues will be resolved in the future, but now the hardware and software status of the console is as follows.

Let's start with the computing power, which is praised by Microsoft as much as it is badly exploited by developers. As we had already highlighted in our special, many cross-platform video games at launch fail to match the performance of the competition. We certainly didn't expect this result from the most powerful console in the world, so we can't help but express our disappointment. By purchasing Xbox Series X we wanted to get the most out of every cross-platform title, but we were left with a bit of a bad taste in this respect. Also with regard to the welcome backward compatibility function, with some video games such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the software remains anchored to the limitations imposed by developers for last generation gaming machines. These do not lead to any advantages on Series X, although it is perfectly capable of guaranteeing them, as demonstrated by the competition.

In the eyes of a less experienced gamer, many innovations introduced by Microsoft in this Xbox Series X could easily pass in the background. If on the one hand turning on the new generation console we immediately felt at ease, finding everything we previously had in the Xbox ecosystem, we cannot say that we were pleasantly surprised by the novelties brought. This made the transition less painful and difficult, but at the same time less exciting and full of novelties to experience. By simply changing the compute unit and solid state drive on Xbox One X (if it were possible to do it like on PC), we got the same result. The dashboard is the same, the games are always the same, the services as well and the controller hasn't changed either.

Speaking of the controller, we wanted to highlight how the latter has perhaps remained too anchored in the past, depending on your point of view. Microsoft has done an excellent job for the Xbox controller in recent years, thanks to good ergonomics and great key feedback. Once again, however, there is a lack of expected news in a generational leap, in fact in addition to the button dedicated to sharing and some small tweaks, the pad is essentially identical to that of the Xbox One family. The most criticized defects of recent years have also been maintained, such as the use of batteries to supply energy to the pad. We sincerely appreciate being able to use this charging method, because it allows us to change the controller's battery when it degrades, while with other pads it is not possible. However, Microsoft should include the "Play and Charge Kit" in the pad package to keep up with the times from this point of view. The controller keys then seemed a bit too noisy to us, which is definitely avoidable with a better implementation. They could also implement the keys in the lower part, as they did with the Elite controller, to bring some fresh air to this next-gen.

Finally we come to the real sore point of this Xbox Series X: i video games . Finding the Game Pass library was a real pleasure, but not being able to fully exploit the power of the console through an exclusive video game designed for this hardware was a real disappointment. All in all we are happy that Halo Infinite has been postponed, as it suffered from significant technical issues and it is only right that they be fixed before launch. Having a next-gen machine without next-gen games is pretty disappointing though. We've spent the last month catching older titles, trying to fill this sense of emptiness with backwards compatibility. In the Game Pass there are always some gems that can give us hours of fun, but still fails to justify the lack of a real exclusive that shows the muscles of the console. Unfortunately, the beginning of next year doesn't look much more promising, in fact Microsoft has not yet revealed any launch dates for its next exclusive titles such as Forza Motorsport, Fable and Avowed. After the acquisition of Bethesda, Microsoft's intentions seem quite clear: to guarantee a highly respected title park for Game Pass subscribers. But who knows how long it will actually take them to reach our hands.

Xbox Series S

Last but not least we want to dedicate a paragraph to the little sister: Xbox Series S. Conceived and created to bring next-gen to consumers' living rooms at a much more accessible price, she immediately caught our attention. With Xbox Series X she not only shares similar characteristics, but also numerous strengths and weaknesses analyzed just now.

Also in this case Microsoft has managed to design a respectable design for the Xbox Series S, thanks to a small and compact shape, without giving up an excellent heat dissipation system. The dashboard, the games, the backward compatibility and the controller are exactly the same available for the more powerful version, clearly with some small compromises. We were a bit disappointed by the computing power offered, because already at launch it struggles to better manage the multi-platform video games present. In terms of performance in terms of resolution and framerate, it is in fact closer to the Xbox One X than the Xbox Series X. This immediately made us worry about the future of this gaming machine, which may not enjoy the same at all. visual quality at the expense of resolution as promised by Microsoft, but further graphics "sacrifices" may be required.

Similarly, the capacity of the solid state drive is really very small, especially because the console is presented without the optical reader. With less than 500 GB available, the purchase of an external memory is practically mandatory if you want to make the most of the extensive catalog offered by the Game Pass and the excellent Quick Resume function. In fact, in one afternoon we have completely filled the memory of the console, then having to "play Tetris" in the settings dedicated to the space used to fit our favorite titles.

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