The Goat House Presents: Xbox Series X Review

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It has been close to seven years since the first Xbox One was released. Just like all gaming companies, there was both good and bad with that console. With the hugely successful Game Pass, recent founding of “Xbox Game Studios”, as well as the Bethesda acquisition, many gamers are looking forward to where Microsoft goes from here. This is where the Xbox Series X comes into play. Yes there are two consoles for gamers to choose from, but the Xbox Series X is being regarded as the most powerful console ever. With that bold statement, let’s take a look at what it brings to the table.

The packaging of the Series X is the first thing that a buyer will be encountering, and it is done perfectly. The console will be surrounded by well placed foam to protect the investment, while the console itself is wrapped up nicely. But the message of “Power Your Dreams” will be wrapped around the protective layer surrounding the console itself. Opening the packaging legit had me grinning ear to ear in excitement, and yes proper packaging goes a long way, especially when spending this amount of money. It adds to the overall experience as a consumer.

Microsoft designed the Series X to not only be simple, but to stand out at the same time. It stands at 5.94 inches wide, 5.94 inches deep, and 11.85 inches high. After it was set up on my desk I quickly fell in love with the simplistic design, but the subtle green accents on the vents up top add to the overall mystique of the console. It is meant to be a centerpiece of your setup, and it does it so well. Those that are upgrading from the Xbox One will notice there are some ports that have been taken away, as they are no longer utilized as a main feature of the Series X. This is the HDMI In and the Kinect input (if you still had a launch Xbox One). The following ports are present though with the Series X.
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI Out (2.1)
  • Kensington Lock
  • Power
  • SSD Expansion
  • 3 USB-A Ports
Those mentioned above may all look familiar, but one does stand out. The SSD Expansion slot is a game changer for the Series X. It allows gamers to purchase an external SSD that simply plugs in. The prices right now are high, but there is no better alternative if you want to expand your Series X’s storage the most effective way, without losing speed and fully utilize the abilities of Series X titles or optimized titles. The alternative is downloading/installing your games as needed, or installing them to the Series X from an external drive.

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Many people regarded the Xbox One controller as one of the best controllers of all time, and I agree with that statement. Me being a bigger guy, it’s nice to have a controller that feels like I am not going to break it just by using it. Well it is nice to see that they haven’t drastically changed the controller for the Series X, only tweaked it. Some of the features that you find on the Elite Series controllers can now be found on the Series X controller that you get with your purchase (texturized grip, better D-Pad, etc.). It will also now fit into smaller hands better with the minor changes they made. Microsoft added a share button to the controller, as well as moved away from micro-USB to USB-C for the charging of the controller. Which still offers gamers the choice of AA batteries, or charge packs to use when powering the controller.

One thing that is great is that literally everything is backwards compatible. All the games that work on the Xbox One (Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, etc.) also work on the Series X without a problem, and usually offer a much better and smoother experience for the player. When unboxing and hooking up my Series X it was amazing to just be able to hook up my 8TB external HDD that I originally had on my Xbox One, and as soon as I plugged it in, it worked. It’s also great knowing that I don’t have to use the controller the console came with, which is great in it’s own right, but instead opt in for using my Elite Series 2 Controller. Microsoft made it easy to play the way you want to play your games, with what devices you want.

Now to discuss what people are truly wanting know about, the games. Many of the games that launched on Xbox One also launched on the Series X, or are getting an optimized/updated version in the near future. The best part is, that many of these are at no cost to the player. As soon as I was able I immediately jumped into Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. The loading times were improved tremendously over previous entries into the series, as well as when playing Valhalla on the Xbox One. The graphics are insane, along with the lighting effect. Offering a huge upgrade over the Xbox One version. This is the great thing about the Series X, while Valhalla is optimized for it, the console itself brings older games to life with the abilities that it has. It reduces load times, enhances graphics, and just makes games better all around, all while staying whisper quiet.

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The one downside to the Series X is that while it doesn’t have the worst launch lineup, it doesn’t have the best. Many gamers will be disappointed that several of the launch titles that were originally announced got pushed back to a later date. The games are still coming, but the gamers are going to have to wait a bit longer. Until then many Series X owners will be working through the titles that did launch with the console:
  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bright Memory 1.0
  • Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Cuisine Royale
  • Dead By Daylight
  • Devil May Cry V: Special Edition
  • Dirt 5
  • Enlisted
  • Evergate
  • Fortnite
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Gears Tactics
  • Halo: The Masterchief Collection
  • King Oddball
  • Maneater
  • Manifold Garden
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • NBA 2K21
  • Observer System Redux
  • Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
  • Tetris Effect: Connected
  • The Falconeer
  • The Touryst
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • Yakuza: Like A Dragon
  • Yes, Your Grace
While yes this list of games looks long, many of these games have already been released, and are merely optimized. The rest of the games that were pushed back are still on track to release now into 2021. This doesn’t include developers who also want to optimize their titles for the Series X. Also it should be taking into account the value that is being delivered with Game Pass, especially considering that it now includes EA Play. There are tons of games on the way for sure, but there is also plenty right now to enjoy for Xbox fans.

Overall the Xbox Series X definitely hits the mark. It is a sleek well designed machine that not only delivers great experiences with optimized titles, but also improves any game within it’s library of backwards compatible games. It is impressive to see older titles be improved in many ways as it breathes life into a game that you may have forgotten about. Fans of the Xbox ecosystem should definitely look at checking the system out, it’s going to be an amazing journey.

THE GOAT HOUSE SCORE: 9/10
 
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