After accidentally leaving my PlayStation 2 in Bristol in 2008 (true story!), I went for a decade without playing any games at all, having been waylaid by all the exciting things London has to offer. Then all of London got shut down, twice, and so I bloody well got myself an Xbox Series X. Here is why it’s been a good idea.
I won’t bore you with stats about the Xbox Series X’s CPU, but it is obscenely powerful compared to my late, lamented PS2. It connects to the internet – turns out these days you tend to download games rather than physically own them – and it can do things like run Netflix and Disney+.
Graphics and game sizes have come on in leaps and bounds. And you’re basically mugging yourself if you don’t spring for the games pass, a monthly subscription that gives you access to literally hundreds of titles. It’s also designed to look unobtrusive, and indeed my own children have literally failed to spot that it has been in the living room for several weeks now. None of these things are liable to surprise you if you have gamed in the last decade – but they’re revelatory if you haven’t.
I have been playing the following new games: ‘Yakuza: Like a Dragon’, ‘Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’, ‘Watch Dogs: Legion’, ‘Immortals Fenyx Rising’, ‘Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’ and ‘The Witcher 3’ (I like an RPG, okay?). At first the sheer scale of the worlds totally freaked me out, alongside the prodigious volume of menus and submenus and expectations that you will eventually remember what every possible press of a button or tilt of a joystick will do.
Actually, though, it becomes fairly apparent fairly soon that a) your brain can accommodate the adjustment in complexity just as our forefathers moved from ‘Pong’ to ‘Super Mario Bros’ b) games are general still the same basic idea, they just look a lot better, and tend to be bigger with better acting.
There are as yet no games exclusive to the Xbox Series X – it can simply play Xbox One titles, which are to be supported for another few years. This also means that while it offers a more robust performance, there is nothing that particularly taxes the aforementioned monster CPU.
For hardcore gamers this might be frustrating, but for me it’s to have room to catch up on everything that I’ve missed. It also means it won’t be obsolete by the time my children’s small paws are ready for the controller.
The Xbox Series X is available now.