Having recently managed to get my hands on an Xbox Series X, purchased solely to play Forza Horizon 5 which launches this week, I can’t help but compare everything it can do against the PlayStation 5. If it wasn’t for the Forza franchise being Xbox exclusive I likely wouldn’t have bothered with a new Xbox for some time, but now that I have one I’m starting to explore more gaming options.

Whilst setting up the console a helpful menu screen informed me I should download the Xbox app for my phone as it had lots of new features to improve the overall experience. Mainly through curiosity to find out what they could be I duly downloaded the app, and while it is useful for checking Xbox digital store prices, it has another feature which I love but also don’t understand: The ability to turn the Xbox on from my phone. It would make sense if everything took forever to load so I could turn the Xbox on from work for it to be ready by the time I got home, but as everything is lightning quick I’m not sure why the feature needs to exist.

That said, I use it to turn the console on every single time, even whilst sat next to the controller which would do the exact same thing, but quicker.

Speaking of the controller, why the hell doesn’t it come with charging capabilities straight out of the box? Launching in 2020, it baffles me why Microsoft decided that using batteries (again!) would be a good idea, charging extra for the ability to charge controllers. Fortunately, the charge pack for the Xbox One fits in the Series X / S controller thanks to the lack of imagination that has gone into the updated design, and so all you need is a USB-C to get it going with the new console. I found a spare cable down the back of my sofa if you’re wondering how common they are nowadays, but that’s certainly not a point in support of Microsoft!

To fill the time between setting it up and Horizon 5 releasing, I installed a couple of my older games to see how the Series X compares with the One X. First up was Prey, which whilst I never actually got round to playing it despite owning since 2017, the fast loading and graphical capability is staggering. What’s more is that the fast resume function means that from the moment I switch the console on and select Prey I’m thrown immediately in to the exact second I left it on. I am hugely enjoying Prey so far, though that shouldn’t be a surprise as its developer, Arkane Studios, also made the Dishonored games which I adore.

The other game I installed was Forza Motorsport 7, and while I don’t see any real change in graphics or performance, the afore mentioned faster loading times are drastic compared to the One X. Each race in Motorsport 7 took around 40 seconds to load in the previous generation, but with the Series X this is reduced to around 10 seconds!

I likely don’t have to talk about Gamepass as that’s the only real reason most players own an Xbox aside for the sake of exclusives, and while I am yet to start my subscription everything I have heard and read over the last few years makes it sound like a real godsend. The true test of the Xbox Series X’s capability will be with Forza Horizon 5 so stay tuned for my review of that in the coming weeks. In the meantime thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week!

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