What is the Xbox One X really capable of: Hands-on with 10 Xbox One X games. Quantum Break, Titanfall 2, Gears of War 4, F1 2017, Shadow of War & and more.

There are two sides to the Xbox One X showing at Gamescom 2017. Initially, Microsoft’s colossal acreage only seems to play host to a small range of familiar-looking wares. Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Super Lucky’s Tale – games we saw at E3 – are joined by an impressive native 4K version of Shadow of War. Aside from the Warner Bros title, there’s very little new here to report on. Forza Motorsport 7 still looks beautiful (as does its companion PC build, also present at the booth) while the other titles look very similar to the builds we’ve already seen.

However, at the back of the stand, tucked away behind a black curtain lies an Aladdin’s Cave of new Xbox One X software from both first and third parties, featuring titles that deserve to take pride of place on the main booth. These additional games add much more to our understanding of how powerful the new hardware is and crucially, they help to answer a crucial question left unanswered in the wake of E3: just how much of an upgrade does the new hardware represent over the standard model?

The roll call of new games is impressive: Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Titanfall 2, Quantum Break, Killer Instinct, Path of Exile, World of Tanks and F1 2017 are joined by Rise of the Tomb Raider – the same demo we played behind the scenes at Square-Enix earlier, looking even more impressive as it was running on a much higher quality display. We can also confirm that all software was indeed running on Xbox One X hardware – production units were on display, fully wired up with hot air pumping out of the rear vents, in contrast to the cold, empty shells seen at E3 on many titles, with demos hosted on PC hardware instead. Put simply, Gamescom 2017 is the real deal, our first chance to get a look at how the new console performs across a relatively wide cross-section of in-development titles.

As expected, the Coalition’s Gears of War 4 conversion looks exceptionally impressive. The lack of capture opportunities means that a full breakdown of the enhancements isn’t possible at this title, but even to the untrained eye, the upgrade is substantial. At the most basic level, you’re getting a native 4K version of one of Xbox One’s most technically accomplished, visually arresting titles, backed up the high-end texture assets previously exclusive to the PC version of the game. Texture filtering gets a big upgrade over the standard console too, with none of the improvements having any kind of noticeable hit to performance. Gears of War 4’s campaign did a great job of sticking doggedly to its 30fps target on base hardware – in addition to the big visual boost, Xbox One X hands in the same performance level point-for-point, based on the three campaign levels available to play through.

There are two sides to the Xbox One X showing at Gamescom 2017. Initially, Microsoft’s colossal acreage only seems to play host to a small range of familiar-looking wares. Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Super Lucky’s Tale – games we saw at E3 – are joined by an impressive native 4K version of Shadow of War. Aside from the Warner Bros title, there’s very little new here to report on. Forza Motorsport 7 still looks beautiful (as does its companion PC build, also present at the booth) while the other titles look very similar to the builds we’ve already seen.

However, at the back of the stand, tucked away behind a black curtain lies an Aladdin’s Cave of new Xbox One X software from both first and third parties, featuring titles that deserve to take pride of place on the main booth. These additional games add much more to our understanding of how powerful the new hardware is and crucially, they help to answer a crucial question left unanswered in the wake of E3: just how much of an upgrade does the new hardware represent over the standard model?

The roll call of new games is impressive: Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Titanfall 2, Quantum Break, Killer Instinct, Path of Exile, World of Tanks and F1 2017 are joined by Rise of the Tomb Raider – the same demo we played behind the scenes at Square-Enix earlier, looking even more impressive as it was running on a much higher quality display. We can also confirm that all software was indeed running on Xbox One X hardware – production units were on display, fully wired up with hot air pumping out of the rear vents, in contrast to the cold, empty shells seen at E3 on many titles, with demos hosted on PC hardware instead. Put simply, Gamescom 2017 is the real deal, our first chance to get a look at how the new console performs across a relatively wide cross-section of in-development titles.

As expected, the Coalition’s Gears of War 4 conversion looks exceptionally impressive. The lack of capture opportunities means that a full breakdown of the enhancements isn’t possible at this title, but even to the untrained eye, the upgrade is substantial. At the most basic level, you’re getting a native 4K version of one of Xbox One’s most technically accomplished, visually arresting titles, backed up the high-end texture assets previously exclusive to the PC version of the game. Texture filtering gets a big upgrade over the standard console too, with none of the improvements having any kind of noticeable hit to performance. Gears of War 4’s campaign did a great job of sticking doggedly to its 30fps target on base hardware – in addition to the big visual boost, Xbox One X hands in the same performance level point-for-point, based on the three campaign levels available to play through.

Remedy’s Quantum Break – announced on Sunday’s livestream but not actually shown running – also hands in an impressive showing. We wrongly assumed that the no-show during the stream was because down to the lack of presentable code, but what we saw looked just as solid and as polished as the existing Xbox One release, again running at a very stable 30 frames per second. It was one of the few titles not shown running at native 4K, instead using the same upscaling technique as the base model, based on the accumulated data from four prior frames. Certain scenarios can break the illusion, giving us a look at how the technology works – and right now, we’d hazard a guess that the base resolution is probably closer to 1080p before the smart upscaling kicks in. Regardless, the increase in clarity over the Xbox One title again represents a night and day difference – and further on down the road, it’ll be interesting to see what level of PC hardware is required to get the same presentation from the Windows version.

We knew that a 4K upgrade for Killer Instinct was on the cards, but again, it was a pleasure to see very final-looking code up and running and fully playable. It’s an interesting evolution for the title – let’s remember that it launched alongside Xbox One itself, rendering at a native 720p. A subsequent title update pushed it to 900p, but Xbox One X delivers a crystal-clear native 4K presentation with no performance drops we could spot. The only blemish to the look of the title comes from its video assets, which appear unchanged from the original and look decidedly low res compared to the pristine 3D rendered output. Joining Killer Instinct in offering a clean 4K, 60Hz output is Path of Exile – flawless in motion, and clearly delivering a full frame-rate, ultra-HD experience, as you would expect from a title of this scope.

The surprise package comes in the form of Codemasters’ F1 2017. Similar to Rise of the Tomb Raider, this game is operating at a native 4K on Xbox One X, while its PS4 Pro counterpart hits the same 2160p output via checkerboarding. Image quality on this one is off the charts – if it’s not a match for the top-end PC experience, it’s very close. However, while the title targets 60fps, its current performance level often falls somewhat short, with dropped frames and noticeable screen-tear. We’ve not had the chance to check this one out on the existing consoles yet, so we’ll be curious to see the extent to which the base versions at 1080p resolution compare in performance terms – and to see whether performance on PS4 Pro via checkerboarding is on par or better than what we saw here on Xbox One X.

Regardless, the fact is that both Rise of the Tomb Raider and F1 2017 are adopting native 4K rendering in situations where PS4 Pro is checkerboarding instead, and that’s a comparison point we really didn’t expect to see. After all, this represents is a 2x increase in the native rendering resolution between Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, from hardware with a 43 per cent increase in compute power and a 50 per cent uplift in memory bandwidth. However, checkerboarding can and does really work well in delivering a great image for 4K screens. It’ll be an interesting exercise to see how well image quality on these existing Pro titles holds up side-by-side with the native output from the Microsoft hardware.

A clear uplift in visual quality is also evident in Titanfall 2, which presents very much as a mid-way point between the PlayStation 4 Pro version and the top-end PC experience. You get what looks like the Sony console’s visual set, paired with the extra clarity found running the PC version at a higher resolution. In effect, all that’s missing from the top-tier Titanfall 2 presentation is ambient occlusion and some shadow effects. The series’ signature 60fps gameplay remains fully intact, with Respawn’s demo level even stress-testing the engine with a huge arena of battling Titans. It’s another palpable hit and the boost from base Xbox One in particular here represents another night and day improvement.

Read the full story on Eurogamer.net

   

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