Thanks to the Xbox One X’s raw power it will be the first console to be able to play games in native 4K with HDR and up to 60fps. Unfortunately, it’s launch lineup is nothing but a bunch of existing games that are getting special Xbox One X enhancements via a patch. Outside of Super Lucky’s Tale, there isn’t a single new game coming out for the Xbox One X to help show off its visual processing capabilities. That’s not to say the console isn’t worth getting, because it is if you have a 4K home theater setup and want a somewhat affordable point of entry into 4K gaming, but it does lack in exclusives to play.
With that being said, there is one existing Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive title that received its Xbox One X enhancements early that perfectly showcases what the console can do with its 40% more power over the other existing Xbox One consoles and the PS4 Pro. This game is Gears of War 4, which now supports Wide Color Gamut HDR, 4K visuals, and Dolby Atmos sound.
While testing out the Xbox One X for review I relied on this game heavily to preview the visual and performance enhancements that the console can bring to it. It truly is a great example of the type of visuals and performance that the Xbox One X can bring to both new and old titles.
Thanks to the Xbox One X’s power, The Coalition built-in a new menu option for visuals that allow you to opt for a pure visual boost, or for a performance gain. The Visual option will render both the campaign and Horde modes in 4K at 30fps. While the Performance option will render the campaign and Horde mode in 1080p at 60fps. I have to say that both options make the game look much better than it already does. The Visual mode provides some of the most vibrant colors and crisp textures I’ve seen on a console, and the lighting and shaders are very lifelike and respond to character movements and the environments they’re in. The Performance mode on the other hand brings the smoothest look to the game to-date, so if you’ve enjoyed gaming in Gears 4 multiplayer at 60fps, just wait until you experience the campaign with that frame rate.
Even though the Performance mode drops the resolution to 1080p, it still looks fantastic, and unless you stare at it from a few inches away, I’m not sure you’d really notice that much of a drop in quality from 4K to 1080p. If anything, the silky smooth frame rate makes up for any resolution hit this particular setting takes.
Gears of War 4 is easily the best example right now for what the Xbox One X can do. It’s unfortunate that the game is over a year old, because it would have been great to get a brand new game in 4K for the launch of the One X, but that’s just not the case. For now, if you are adopting the One X early you will have to play with games you may have already beaten to realize the power of the console.
One thing is clear though, and that is the fact that the Xbox One X has the power to get the job done, but Microsoft needs to make sure more games — especially exclusives — get developed for it. Without must-play games, I fear the One X will underperform in sales due to the lack of games, but also for the fact that not many gamers have taken the 4K plunge yet.
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