From the days of the original Xbox, I have always been an early adopter of Microsoft’s gaming consoles. I was even lucky enough to get an Xbox 360 at launch because my parents waited in line with me on release day. I’ve gone through the fat original Xbox controllers, got the red ring of death on multiple 360s, and have dealt with the VCR sized design of the Xbox One. I guess you could argue I’m an Xbox fanboy (if you have too much time on your hands). But, with the Xbox One X release, Microsoft has entered new waters in the home console market, with a mid-cycle upgrade for their current console generation. The real question regarding this new era of the home console market: is the Xbox One X a worthy enough upgrade to justify its princely $500 price tag?
A couple of weeks ago I decided to take the plunge on the Xbox One X and a new 4K HDR TV. It wasn’t cheap, but I’m the type of guy who likes to be up to date with new tech. It’s an expensive habit to have… With that being said, after fiddling with my TV settings, I found an image that suited my needs. Now, it was time to try out some games.
Xbox One X Enhanced Games
The games I currently own that are “Xbox One X Enhanced” are FIFA 18, Skyrim, Gears of War 4, and Fortnite. I’ll just come out and say it, some of these titles enhancements are pretty minor, and don’t add much to the overall experience. For example, Skyrim gets a resolution boost to an adaptive 4K resolution. But, with it being a 10-year-old game, the difference between the standard Xbox One version and the Xbox One X version isn’t that eye-catching. The same can be said with FIFA 18, in fact, the X version is no different than the PS4 Pro version. They both support a 4K resolution boost with HDR, but FIFA has never been that amazing looking of a game to begin with. These enhancements only slightly boost the overall look from the standard version.
However, with all that being said, for every game with mediocre enhancements, there are also games with amazing enhancements. Gears of War 4 and Fortnite are the only games I’ve played on the console that I would say are a night and day difference from their standard versions. Gears of War features updates across the board with resolution, upgraded textures, HDR, and new ways to play like a 60fps mode for the campaign. When I hopped on Gears and loaded up the campaign to start my Insane difficulty run, I was instantly blown away by how much better the game looked. It honestly felt like a fresh experience, even though I’ve already played the campaign upon its initial release.
What About Fortnite?
For Fortnite, the enhancements are a nice touch, with a near 4K resolution and upgraded textures, but the real benefit comes with how much better the game actually runs comparing it to the standard Xbox One version. Before I upgraded to the X, I was still using my “Day One Edition” Xbox One and she was a trooper. She had a faulty disk drive, and a Kinect that would never want to listen to me. But, throughout all my hours gaming, few games I played ran as poorly as Fortnite did. With textures not loading properly to not loading at all, to the game running at a pretty much always sub 30fps (especially in the pre-game lobby,) Fortnite was not a fun experience on my original Xbox One (I hear PUBG runs even worse). Well, I’m happy to report that since playing on the X, Fortnite has been my most played game since – it looks great and runs dramatically better.
So, with all this in mind, should the average consumer run out and buy an Xbox One X? I’m going to say no. My reasoning behind this is that I find the X to be a niche product. I say this because you can still play everything you can play on an X with an original Xbox One. Additionally, there are still more unenhanced titles than enhanced titles, with some of the enhanced titles not really making a huge difference from the standard version of the game.
If you want the best Xbox experience possible, then yes, you should run out and purchase an Xbox One X. But, if 4K graphics along with some other visual quirks don’t entice you, then no. I would not recommend you upgrade your current Xbox console. It’s not for everyone then, but if you’re an Xbox fan, then it’s worth the deep dive because you’re getting the best Xbox experience you possibly can.