Xbox Series X/S reviews have gone live ahead of the next-gen consoles’ launch on November 10.
While critics are in agreement that Microsoft has delivered technically impressive hardware that plays existing games better than ever before, its failure to provide a flagship launch game means a lasting impression that’s widely shared is of a missed opportunity to show what the consoles are truly capable of.
As our critic said in VGC’s Xbox Series X review: “Microsoft’s premium next-gen console is elegant, powerful and the absolute best place to play previous generation games. But at launch it’s lacking in exclusive content and is yet to realise it’s full potential.”
Features such as improved graphics, fast loading and Quick Resume coupled with an unrivalled backward compatible software library make moving from Xbox One to Xbox Series X feel like upgrading a PC, multiple critics say, but the reliance on legacy software means that at launch, this feels more like a blurring of generations rather than a generational leap.
Xbox Series X/S review round-up
- VGC: For now, Series X is an excellent console with some next-gen features, waiting for the software that will truly take it to the next level.
- USgamer: This is where I admit that I probably wouldn’t invest in an Xbox Series X, at least not right away. Impressive as the tech is, most of the Xbox Series X’s best games are available on other platforms, and its potential is all theoretical right now.
- Vice: But for the moment, both these Xboxes have been backwards compatibility machines, thanks to the seamlessness with which a lot of the Xbox One library has crossed over. They excel in that role, and for people who sat-out the One X they’re undeniable upgrades. But so far they don’t have a library of new games or lavishly updated older ones to make a persuasive case for their own frivolous necessity.
- VG247: In closing, what’s it like to live with the new Xbox consoles? Well, it’s great. I revisited a bunch of games from three generations of video game history and found them improved and in many cases as good as ever. But nothing can quite beat the excitement of something in gaming feeling truly shiny, new and revolutionary. One of the greatest strengths of these machines is how reverent they are of the past – but at launch, at least, this focus feels to come at the loss of an exciting early glimpse of what the future holds for this new hardware.
- Gamasutra: With Xbox Series X|S, Microsoft has delivered two highly appealing entry points that can turn players into long-term customers, while at the same time erasing the idea of “generations,” exposing people to more games, past, present and future. That is a very good thing that I think will resonate with many players.
- Eurogamer/Digital Foundry: Ultimately, I believe that in Series X, Microsoft has indeed delivered an excellent next-generation system – but one that likely won’t show its many strengths at launch. Part of that is down to the lack of first party titles that really put the new technology through its paces and another part is very much down to Microsoft’s vision of a more gradual evolution in gaming as opposed to the generational, revolutionary shift Sony is aiming for with PlayStation 5.
- IGN: We can only assume that the Xbox Series X will wow us with new and spectacular next-gen games eventually, because there isn’t much to judge it on right now. But in the meantime, no matter what current games you throw at it, your loading times will be drastically cut, your framerates will be smoother, and your resolutions will be higher… Compared directly to the PlayStation 5’s specs, it flat-out gives you more power for the same price. It’s going to be a joy to see what developers actually do with it in the coming years.
- GameSpot: Until console-exclusive games come out, you won’t necessarily be gated from accessing any content Xbox is offering if you don’t buy it right away. Holding off until you start seeing more games make the most of the system’s potential is a fair and smart move, and nothing really screams out as a killer app for the Series X right now. It’s worth considering that buying a console is an investment for your gaming future, and not just for what’s available here and now.
- Kotaku: The Xbox Series X is not a traditional next-generation system. In fact, it challenges the idea of console generations as we know them. Continuing the model it established with the Xbox One X and One S, Microsoft is evolving the Xbox One rather than replacing it entirely… As with the X, the S feels like I’ve replaced my Xbox One the way I occasionally replace my iPhone with a newer model. My games—or at least the ability to download them—are all right there, as are my settings, all good to go. And the Series S seems to have enough power to give me the ability to do the same Quick Resume juggle as Mike and experience a lot of the same loading speed improvements he’s experiencing.
- The Verge: Microsoft’s intention with this new generation is to bring a PC-like experience to a console. You can feel it throughout the Series X and even the smaller Series S. If you upgraded from a GTX 1060 gaming PC to an RTX 3080 PC right now, you’d get the same Windows 10 you know and access to the same games you’ve been playing for years. Everything would just feel faster and look better, and you’d be ready for the latest and greatest games… There’s one big question that remains for me with the Xbox Series X: when will Microsoft’s 23 first-party studios deliver the next-gen games to truly show what this console is capable of?
- Polygon: The Xbox Series X isn’t the home of Microsoft’s gaming universe; it’s just one of many nodes, connecting outward to your phone, your tablet, your computer, or just a different (and cheaper) Xbox. It’s not the place to play video games. It’s a place to play video games — not only from the future, but also from the present and the past. The Xbox Series X is boring. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Guardian: Despite the value of the Series S and the performance of the Series X, though, these new Xbox models are rather uninspiring. They feel more like upgrades than revolutionary new options. Because the Windows-like interface is almost exactly the same as it was on Xbox One and the controller is only marginally different, it doesn’t really feel as if you’re playing with a new and exciting console… Nothing about the Series X or Series S screams “buy me RIGHT NOW!” in my opinion, but equally, there’s not much to criticise: they do everything they promised to do, and they do it well.