|System: Xbox One (Upgrade)|
|Release: November 7, 2017|
|Players: 1-4 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Playing Gears of War 4 in performance mode on the Xbox One X rocked my world. Yes, it meant it was not as pretty as it would be in visual mode. But I felt like I was actually playing better due to the decrease in input lag, increased refresh rate, and smoother gameplay. This was nice enough in the campaign, but really made more of an impact in the horde mode. When you have enemies coming at you in 50 waves, constantly bearing down, that extra processing power actually felt like it was working to my advantage, allowing me to react faster to situations. I was responding better, it seemed like the enemies reflected my actions quicker, and it all came together to make my strategies more fluid.
Another star showing off how the Xbox One X’s power can be put to good use is Killer Instinct. Which may sound odd, seeing how this exclusive doesn’t exactly impress on the Xbox One. After all, it sacrificed resolution for frame rate, giving people 60fps at the cost of resolution. While entertaining enough, it almost felt at a disadvantage when so many other current generation fighting games manage 60fps and 1080p. But now with the Xbox One X, it outclasses them all. This is the first 4K fighting console game in the world, and it shows just how amazing it is.
I love looking at Spinal when playing Killer Instinct on the Xbox One X, because you can really see the detail when his bones come together as he enters a stage. The runic writing on his shield stands out more than before. It really makes character models and textures pop. But then, that’s something that applies to almost every character. And with someone like Kan-Ra, you can really see how the Xbox One X’s power can process all of the particles that stir up when sand spirals around him as he attacks and moves. It is easier to pick up on the little things, which made me appreciate the game so much more.
The only game that didn’t leave me with a sense of wonder when running on the Xbox One X hardware was Disneyland Adventures, one of the games provided with the review unit. This isn’t due to any fault on the part of the system, though. It is because the game itself shows its flaws when played on a console capable of the displays and resolution the Xbox One X is. This is a title that looked fine on the Xbox 360; the Disney characters looked good enough, but the human avatars fell deep into that uncanny valley. While the 4K Ultra HD and HDR are incredibly obvious here, making environments look even more colorful, vibrant, and alive than ever, seeing that kind of range and detail makes the humans look creepy and highlights the ways in which Disney characters like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy sometimes move in alien ways. Still, even despite its creepiness, it was exceptional at showing off how well HDR works on the Xbox One. The vibrant colors, range of shades, and depths of light and shadow made the entire world sing on this system.
The Xbox One X is an extraordinary machine. The differences here may not be immediately noticeable when you first turn the console on, but the second you start a game or pop in a Blu-ray, you will see the effect its 8-core CPU, 6 teraflops of processing power, and 12 GDDR5 memory have on games. It has a measurable impact, whether or not it has received an official update. Though, if you are going to get an Xbox One X, make sure you have Gears of War 4 ready at the same time. Having this new system and that particular game is an incredible one-two punch that shows off exactly how impressive all of the tech packed into this box can be. This is the most powerful console out there, and it shows.