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June 13, 2017

Xbox One X preview: Age of 4K HDR gaming enters an all-new phase

by John_A

We’d run out of fingers and toes if we tried to count the amount of times Microsoft has said its Xbox One X console (formerly Project Scorpio) is the “most powerful console ever”, but it doesn’t make those claims lightly.

It technically is.

As we know though, a games console is only as good as the games on it. And while you can fawn as much as you like over the specifications – which you can read more about here – if the games don’t make the most of them it’s just another box to try to fit under your TV.

An expensive one at that. Priced at £449 in the UK, $499 in the States, it falls more in the games PC range than traditional console. It’s £100 more than its nearest rival, the PS4 Pro after all.

Pocket-lint

However, its promise of providing the best gaming experience available on a games console does ring true, based on the couple of games we’ve played and seen running on it so far.

  • Best Xbox One games to look forward to in 2017-2018: Crackdown 3, Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves, Ori 2 and more
  • E3 2017: All the games, major announcements and what to expect from the world’s biggest games show
  • Xbox One X pre-order: How, where and when to pre-order

Forza Motorsport 7 wasn’t running on the final consumer Xbox One X at the Xbox Media Showcase during E3 2017, but was playable on a dedicated devkit with the same internal hardware. We’re confident therefore that the three race demo is representative of the final game and, if so, it will prove outstanding – a real showpiece for the new console.

Each of the three races were presented in full, native 4K and ran at 60 frames per second. Smooth doesn’t even cut it.

The game looks, quite simply, astonishing. It plays the same as if you were on an Xbox One S, but visually it is stunning. There will also be Dolby Atmos audio effects, we were told, which add a wider spatial surround soundfield. And considering that the rain and thunder in the dynamic weather demo sounded great in just headphones, we cannot wait.

The other gameplay demo we had rather than played was of Gears of War 4. The Xbox One X won’t just bring upscaled visuals, the lighting, draw distances and many more graphical flourishes have been reworked to present a very different, more tangible look to the game.

The details alone were exceptional, when run on a 65-inch OLED TV in 4K and HDR. We can’t wait to try it for ourselves some time in the near(ish) future.

First Impressions

It’s hard to actually say what it’s like to play on an Xbox One X in preference to a One S, partly because the games were running on devkits, but mainly because we were using the exact same controller and didn’t get any glimpse of the front end.

You don’t notice the difference in size between the X and S, regardless of Microsoft claims the new machine is smaller, but many will prefer the black colour scheme as it’ll be easier to hide in an AV cabinet.

We’ll be much more clued up when we actually get to play with the One X itself. And with a 7 November release date, that won’t be long now.

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