Xbox Series X review: Seamless transition to next-gen gaming

Halo Infinite’s delay has left Microsoft in uncharted waters, launching a next generation console without a next generation game.
Xbox is now forced to lean heavily on games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla to headline the 30 optimised games it will have on launch day for the Series X and S.
For tech heads like myself, getting a new toy is always an exciting feeling. Turning on the Xbox Series X for the first time was truly exhilarating. Even unboxing the console was an experience; you can see 9News’ unboxing video here.
From November 10, those who have preordered the latest Xbox console will be able to pick it up, take it home and plug it in. If you’re already an Xbox gamer, the transition to the Xbox Series X or S is near seamless, with the current UI rolling months ago.
9News was given access to the final, retail version of the Xbox Series X ahead of its release.
Over the last two weeks I’ve experienced the meaning of next-gen console gaming. I’ve played games I otherwise wouldn’t have and most importantly: I’ve had a blast doing it.
Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X launches in Australia on November 10, 2020. (9News)

First impressions

The Xbox Series X is fast, that was expected — that’s been the top selling point for the new console. Picking it up and turning it on takes just seconds, load times for games no longer mean anything.
The console’s SSD completely changes the game.
READ MORE: The history of Xbox video game consoles as world waits for fourth-gen Series X launch
It’s dead quiet and keeps cool (unless you’re blasting the console at 4K 120FPS for hours on end), you’ll hardly hear a peep.
It’s surprisingly portable!
I’ve taken the Xbox to and from the 9 Newsroom half a dozen times, it’s been a breeze to set up — and being a rectangular box, it’s not an awkward shape.


It’s fast. Console loading times are no longer considered an issue for gamers.
There’s no running to the bathroom and grabbing a snack in between loading sequences.
I ran a few tests on several older games through Xbox Game Pass, including The Witcher 3, which loaded in seconds. The addition of a solid-state drive for the Xbox Series X is a complete game changer for console gamers.
Gamers now have the ability to load games in a flash, with Xbox investing in what they call Xbox Velocity Architecture. The console’s custom 1TB NVME solid state drive, CPU and software integration makes features like Quick Resume possible.
Quick Resume is a feature I never knew I needed, being able to switch between games without booting them cold is a blessing. The console can even hold game states while off power — which I discovered after transporting the console from home to the office.
The Series X loses almost 200GB to the system; 802GB is dedicated for games and with many new games tipping the scales at 100+ gigabytes, it won’t be long until you’ll need to start a cull — the alternative is splurging on an external SSD. The Xbox has an external SSD port on the back of the console.
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As mentioned, the console is quiet. That’s not to say you won’t hear anything, the fan noise is still existent, it’s just nowhere near as noticeable as its predecessors. Xbox calls it a whisper-quiet fan.
It also runs quite cool; all heat is expelled through the top of the console. I expected it to get hot after a gaming session, but it kept its cool (so to speak). The Series X fan and cooling systems are impressive.
Ray-tracing is a massive feature for the Series X, unfortunately available titles during the review period were limited and I didn’t get to see graphics at their full potential.
The Touryst
The Touryst runs at 4K 60FPS on the Xbox Series X. (9News)
That being said, the five optimised titles on offer were impressive.
Gears 5, Gears Tactics, Forza Horizons 4, The Touryst and Sea of Thieves were all optimised during the review period. Car games are always graphically impressive on any new console, Forza Horizons 4 was the most visually enticing optimised game I’ve played on the Series X (so far). The Touryst is also a visual stunner, a simplistic puzzle game with vibrant colours and lighting.


The design is sleek, it feels good in your hands, but it didn’t feel any more immersive.
The haptic feedback in the triggers was a bit underwhelming at times, there was no new experience there. It’s still near perfection in terms of handling.
My favourite feature of the new controller was the ability to capture and share screenshots and game clips. The controller has a new button in the centre to capture screenshots, if you hold it down it’ll take the last 15 or 30 seconds of gameplay and save it, those files will automatically download to the Xbox app on your mobile phone. You’re able to record in 4K, but those clips won’t automatically sync to your Xbox account. You will have to manually send them. While it’s not a new feature for gaming consoles, Xbox have done it right.
Halo Infinite
With the delay of Halo Infinite, there’s no first-party game for the launch of the new Xbox. (Xbox)

User experience

If you’re already an Xbox One gamer, the transition to the Xbox Series X or S is almost seamless. The UX was rolled out for Xbox users back in August, giving gamers a taste of what to expect when they load up their Xbox Series X consoles. This all sounds wonderful on paper, but I feel it takes away from the new console experience.
You can customise the user experience (console menu) as you please, you’re also able to sort your games into folders.


Next-gen console gaming exists and it’s here. The only thing we need to wait for is the games to match the power.
That being said, there are still hundreds of games to play, 30 optimised for the Series X on launch — and when EA Play joins forces with Xbox Games Pass at launch, it’ll truly be the best value subscription service on the market. With Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda (Zenimax), we’ll no doubt see quality first-party exclusives for the console in the future.
READ MORE: Xbox unveils list of 30 games optimised for the Series X from launch day
If you’ve already got an Xbox One X at home, I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to pick up a Series X. If you don’t own an Xbox at all — don’t look back. This is the console you need to set yourself up for the future of console gaming. Xbox Series X is here, it’s ready and there’s only good things to come.
The Xbox Series X retails for $749, while the smaller Xbox Series X will set you back just $499. If you’re hoping to get one by Christmas and haven’t pre-ordered, you may be out of luck.
9News were given early access to the Xbox Series X for the purpose of this review.

Source: 9NEWS