Well, we’re here. It’s finally time for a truly new generation of consoles. The Switch sort of kicked us off, but the arrival of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, with their impressive specs, is kicking it off in earnest.
2013, when the Xbox One first released, feels like forever ago. Twinfinite did exist back then, but we were a newborn in the gaming enthusiast world. Back then –in case you need a quick history lesson– the Xbox 360 was coming off a successful run in the United States and Europe.
However, the console reveal earlier that year ruffled some feathers as fans were not happy with various anti-consumer practices that Microsoft had initially revealed were in place for the Xbox One.
Also, the fact that the Kinect was included and pushed the console’s cost up to $499.99 made it pretty unpopular too. While Microsoft would roll back many of those unpopular features, it would take a while for the Xbox One to find its footing.
Heading into the Xbox Series X’s launch, though, there’s a renewed sense of hope for Microsoft’s flagship home video game console.
The Xbox Series X is a powerful console equipped with just about everything that the vast majority of modern gamers could ask for from a technical perspective in 2020. It will be fully capable of 4K 60FPS and even 120FPS in some games and boasts impressive load times, which we’ll get to later.
Most importantly, however, clued in gamers are excited to see what comes from the fruits of Microsoft’s labors in acquiring multiple talented game studios including the famed Bethesda.
In this review, we’re going to go over the whole “Xbox Series X experience” that we were able to glean as it stands roughly a week out from launch day. Using what we were able to experience from owning and testing out the Xbox Series X, we’ll answer the question of whether or not it’s worth buying.
Let’s start with the initial first impressions of the console: how it looks, how it was to set up, and how easy it is navigating around the system’s menu and store to do whatever it is you want and need to do.
The Xbox Series X comes in a fairly simple box. The console was neatly packed in alongside a controller, HDMI cable, and power cord. While there are instructions, hooking up the Xbox Series X is very simple to do.
Unlike the Xbox One, which was confusing with all the different HDMI In and Out ports (because of the TV functionality), the Xbox Series X is straightforward. There’s the HDMI port, the power port, a slot for the optional memory card storage, and a few USB ports if you need them.
The only “issue” is that the Xbox Series X is a UNIT. It’s just a massive brick of a console that will not be easy to fit if you were barely finding shelf space to place last gen’s consoles.
The Xbox Series X is designed to be placed vertically and comes with a built-in stand of sorts to keep it steady. Still, you can play it horizontally just as easily as long as all the vents have adequate room to breathe, and you don’t mind seeing the unused vertical stand on the left side of the console.
Standing it up vertically just wasn’t an option for my setup, and I was forced to lay it flat. Not a big deal for me, but I imagine the sheer massiveness of the Xbox Series X could be problematic for some potential buyers. Make sure you plan ahead.
Like hooking up the Xbox Series X, the set up process once everything is plugged in is also very simple and straightforward as long as you remember your Microsoft account login info or don’t mind creating one if you didn’t have one already.
The Xbox Series X will ask you to log in, set a few things up, ask you a few questions about privacy, and away you go. After a few minutes, you’ll be into the UI.
While not required, I’d highly recommend, afterward, going straight to the Settings to calibrate your TV for 4K gaming if it’s not already set up, as that will ensure that your games look the best they possibly can.
Like everything else, calibrating the 4K is more or less painless, provided that your TV’s picture settings are easy to play around with.
If you have no idea how to do that, I’d highly recommend finding someone who does to help you; otherwise, you can really mess with your TV’s picture settings. That said, once again, the on-screen calibration walkthrough from the Xbox Series X’s Settings does effectively help foolproof the process by using visuals aids to guide you as you mess around with the picture.
If you’ve ever used or seen an Xbox One since the release of the Xbox One X, you should be quite familiar with the UI of the Xbox Series X. It’s effectively exactly the same with a few small tweaks.
Your last six games and apps are lined upfront when you log in, along with whatever game is currently in your disc drive. Right nearby is a tile for your entire library where you can dig around if what you want to use wasn’t recently used.
Along with that, you’ll see some messages/ads from Microsoft, and then from there it’s whatever you want to customize your Xbox One X to show you. By default, it will show stuff like Game Pass news, the Store, Entertainment Apps, Community updates, etc.
You can also create pins where you can stick commonly used games and apps to always appear on your UI. I’d recommend moving that up towards the top of the UI.
While I do prefer the simplicity of the PS4’s UI where everything just shows up chronologically in a long line leading into your whole library, there’s certainly nothing offensive about the way the Xbox Series X UI is set up. It should serve you just fine unless you’re very particular about UIs.
The storefront is also a non-factor. It’s standard, safe, and easy to navigate.