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Xbox Series X: New Console, Old Games

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 6 - 2020

Optimised for awesomeness.

The upcoming Xbox Series X launch will be a very different console launch to anything that has come before for Microsoft. Of course, the ongoing pandemic will have taken its toll, but there is more going on than just that. With the delay of Halo Infinite, there is no big console exclusive that will convince gamers to part with their money on launch day. Instead, players will have to entertain themselves with cross platform titles and older games with a new coat of paint. New hardware is always exciting, but not having a game that will show off what Microsoft’s new console is all about does seem like a mistake.


But the Xbox Series X is only part of a bigger picture. The console is part of a family that also includes the Series S, the Xbox One, Windows PC and even Android devices to some degree. While the Series X, and Series S, are important devices, the emphasis seems to be on giving players a choice in how to play.

Much of this choice comes from the game changing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This subscription service, which incorporates Xbox Live for online play, gives players access to a library of games that can be enjoyed on any of the Xbox One family of consoles, along with either of the next gen consoles that are about to launch. It doesn’t stop there though, as the subscription also gives players a library of games to play on Windows PC and now, thanks to what was formerly known as Project xCloud, can even stream games to their Android devices. It’s an amazing system that seems to be going from strength to strength.

It also happens to be the place to find the four games that are currently showing the new Xbox Series X at its best. There are plenty of new titles coming for the Series X, many of which will be reviewed right here, but there are four older games that have been Optimised for Xbox Series X/S that really show off those next generation capabilities.

With more power and faster storage, any game is going to be improved by playing it on the Series X. But Microsoft and other developers will be making extra effort with new games and even some older games to improve titles so that the Series X can flex its muscles. Some titles may just have a boost to the frame rate, going as high as 120 FPS, while others will take the resolution to 4K or introduce Ray Tracing. Then there is the Smart Delivery service that ensures once a player has purchased a game, they will have the best possible version of that game for their current hardware.

So, back to those four games that everyone who purchases an Xbox Series X and has an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription will be able to play on launch day. Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4 and The Touryst.


Hang on! What on earth is The Touryst? This indie gem from Shin’en Multimedia has been around for a while on various platforms, but did just recently arrive on Xbox One. It is a joyful puzzle platformer that sends the player to various different vacation islands in the search for adventure, treasure and whatever else the other NPCs are asking for. There are eight islands to explore as the player unlocks their brochures, each with their own theme and their own monument that will offer puzzles to solve. The player will also be able to involve themselves in all manner of other holiday activities, from lounging on a lounger, to diving and exploring underwater ruins, or dancing at the beach disco.

With a voxel art style, The Touryst was already a very good looking game on Xbox One. However, when making the jump to Series X, The Touryst will push the users TV as far as it can go, with 4K at 120 FPS available to those that can handle it. While the style of the game is simple, the lighting and depth just push the game to something totally unexpected. The whole game pops with colour and was probably the most surprising of the optimised games. If you get an Xbox Series X, check out The Touryst. You won’t regret it.


Forza Horizon 4, a game that I had already spent a lot of time with, is another of the optimised titles. The arcade racing game set in the UK, something I still think is kind of cool, sets the player the challenge to master a selection of different disciplines, from road racing to off-road, as they move from one event to another. With changing seasons and all that entails, and a mass of special events, there is always something new to do in this racing game. There is a massive selection of cars to choose from, a banging soundtrack, and a whole festival feel that makes it all really easy to play.

But when it comes to Series X, the first and most notable thing on booting the game up is how quickly I was able to get on the road. This reduced loading time shows when entering a race as well, making the game much easier to pick up and play. But the game also looks so much better, again with 4K and 60 FPS for a much smoother and prettier racing experience. After a short break from the game, I am now finding it difficult to stay away since the change to Series X.


Sea of Thieves, the predominantly multiplayer pirate ’em up from Rare, is following suit with an upgrade to 4K at 60 FPS. Improved loading speeds will also be apparent for players on Series X, thanks to the machines storage and increased power. In the game, players will join a crew, or go it alone, as pirates and explore the dangerous seas while actively sailing the ship, finding treasure, dealing with other pirates and even having to avoid sea monsters. The game has expanded vastly over the years since launch to include all manner of loot to collect and events to participate in. For multiplayer fun, it doesn’t get much better than Sea of Thieves.


Then there is Gears 5, the latest entry in the Gears of War series. This is the big one, the game that shows just how much the Series X is capable of with a non-dedicated game. Up to 4K resolution, up to 120 FPS, and Ray Tracing. Gears 5 has always been a very good looking game, but now it goes above and beyond. Those who have seen the recent video will know what to expect, but it doesn’t quite prepare the player for when they actually see it on their TV. With the improved loading times and much smoother gameplay on Series X, Gears 5 is probably the most Optimised for Xbox Series X/S game of the four.

Gears 5 is the ongoing story of Humanity’s fight against the Locust, and players will once again be placed in the oversized boots of Gears, tough as nails soldiers whose purpose it is to save what is left. The excellent snap to cover system returns, along with solid gun play, to provide not only a great story, but also an excellent suite of multiplayer options that will provide hours of alien shooting entertainment.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate has dozens of different games for players to enjoy, but these four are the ones that currently shine on Xbox Series X. There may not be a console exclusive for Series X at this time, and there isn’t even an urgent need to buy the new console. But those that do pick up an Xbox Series X in the coming weeks or months should make a point to check out The Touryst, Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves and Gears 5 on their new console.


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Coming later this year to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch.


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