Xbox One X Second Take (Hardware) Review

Justin Celani

Good, Bad, and the Xbox One X.

There was a time and place when Xbox was at the top of the console world in terms of game titles, technology, and sales. The Xbox 360 was a power house that would usually run third party games better than the PS3, and with exclusives like Crackdown, Fable, Halo, and Gears… Microsoft was no slouch. The reveal of the original design for Xbox One was a huge misfire though, and one that Microsoft has been attempting to rebuild and bring back in terms of consumer appreciation and offering. There have been some rather huge hiccups with their first party games or lack thereof. Yet there is hope and promise for steps forward, and with that the latest console from Microsoft. The latest addition to the Microsoft Xbox family is the Xbox One X, and I have to say I’m rather impressed but let me be firm in stating, this is still an Xbox One at its core, good or bad as it may be.

From the ground up

The Xbox One X is being touted as the most powerful console on the market, and in the console sense, they would be correct. This thing puts out my power to create, refine, and reshape games for developers. Allowing old games to be reborn in a sense. For the games with downloadable enhancements, gone are the lower resolution blur or even system performance issues on others. The X is being used exactly what it has been designed to do, play games better and make them look better in the process.

MSRP: $499.99
Price I’d Pay: $499.99

There has been a resurgence in support for increasing games for the X enhancements and also just bringing back classic games from Microsoft history that anyone with an Xbox console can play. Xbox original games and 360 titles can be played on a standard Xbox One or S, but even the X can run them better, if either enhances or just the system itself brute forcing a cleaner visual look. I tested a wide ranges of games on my Samsung KS9500 4k HDR TV and with great results. Red Dead Redemption looks better than ever before, and with no PC version in sight it’s clearly the best looking version available now. Fallout 3, which was enhanced via a patch, looks much cleaner even if the PC versions are a preferred playing platform, console wise the X version can’t be beat. I also tested some Xbox One games before and after the patches.

Games like Assassins Creed Origins and Shadow of War benefit hugely from increased visuals and system performance, with games running at steadier framerates. Depending on the title and developer, some games have visual options, and it’s great to give players a choice. It would be nice to see a standardization across the board for this but as it is now, it’s up to the developers to implement. Even playing with an Xbox on just standard 1080p system can lead to super sampling in some games and overall games still performing and looking better than the base system. It’s a rather impressive showcase overall with or without a 4K, HDR TV.

System wise, the UI seems snappier then ever with little issues in speed and navigation. The loading times on games have seemed to decrease. The look of the system is very sleek, but it’s also extremely heavy for such a little thing. Even with the games running with 4k enhanced visuals and HDR, the system seems rather quiet. There does appear to currently be an issue with the Blu-ray player app that Xbox is aware of, and while I personally haven’t noticed much of an issue, it’s good to hear it’s being addressed as 4K, HDR look fantastically sharp and crisp. The Planet Earth II 4K HDR Blu-ray that was provided looked amazing and consistently wowed me at every scene.

The Verdict

This generation has been interesting as both companies have provided a mid-generation refresh of sorts. Regardless of what platform players ultimately choose to play their games on, it’s exciting to see gaming pushed to even higher fidelity than ever before. The Xbox One X is still an Xbox One, and if the ecosystem or exclusive games they provide do nothing, there will be little to change the mind. The system interface still feels convoluted at times, and disc install speeds still seem slower than their competitors. Yet with the upgrades to current games, the more powerful system specs, backwards compatibility and third party titles looking and running the best on the Xbox One X versions, it’s clear what system I will be using for third party titles from here on out.

Competition in the industry is what pushes developers to create and innovate. It’s quite possible without the issues Microsoft endured the last few years, we wouldn’t see this next step yet here we are. I think the future looks much brighter for Microsoft and for Xbox fans as a whole going forward. This is the most powerful console currently and it shows, but besides just pure power, Microsoft seems poised to make huge progress forward in backwards compatibility, newer tech, and listening to their current fan base to improve. It’s hard not to see how much they are trying to improve and in that process might just gains some new fans.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Quiet
  • Compact
  • Most powerful console

Bad

  • UI remains the same
  • Heavy
  • Software exclusives
9

Excellent

Justin Celani
Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.
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