I’ve had an Xbox Series X for a few weeks now, and I love it. I could write poetry about the greatly improved controller, and of course everything from next gen games to ye olde games just look better.
While the thing I’m most excited about the future of this console is obviously what developers will be able to do with this processing power, and the creative and spectacular games that will no doubt materialise soon. What I’m loving most now is rediscovering old games in new ways.
Whereas playing a game like Forza Horizon 3, one of my favourite games of all time, used to require a proper session to truly enjoy, I’ve been finding that I can just pick it up and put it down as I have time. It was the loading screens before that made it feel like something that needed a chunk of time dedicated to it to be worth playing.
From the almost-minute to load it up (on the Xbox One X, longer on the Xbox One Classic), to the race load screens you could put your controller down and have a bite of a snack during, it was never a game that you could just pick up for five minutes and actually do something. Last night, though, while I was waiting for pasta to cook, I went from turning the console on to actively racing in less than a minute.
This is thanks to a few things:
The reduced loading time now means a race loads in (at my count) about three seconds. The game loads in about 10 seconds. The reduced loading time means there really are far fewer limits on how and what I play, and it’s been really interesting seeing how my habits change because of that. I’m now doing more actual races and less free play, because racing doesn’t feel like it’s wasting so much of my recreational play time. I never used to do races, now they’re almost all I do on the Xbox Series X.
The other thing is Quick Resume. It’s a feature that I’ve seen a lot of people poo poo on Twitter, and I can understand why it wouldn’t seem like a big deal until you’ve used it. But it genuinely is a game changer. A lot of people see it as just being something for indecisive gamers, and it’s great for that. I really enjoy doing a level in Tony Hawk, and then jumping into Forza to get a break from that, and then jumping over to NBA 2K21 for some career mode, without friction or pause.
But where Quick Resume shines is that I feel like it gives me more options of what to play when I’m feeling impatient and just want to play something now without loading. Before I’d feel limited to whatever I was playing last time. Now, being able to pick up where I left off in four games with only a few seconds of loading means I’m playing more genres, and playing more for fun than before.
Even though this pandemic means we’re not going to have as exciting a launch line-up for either console as was originally hoped, this experience has shown me that there are so many benefits to getting into next gen from day one. It’s not just about the new games (though, admittedly, that should be the focus), but the new consoles will change the way you see and approach your old favourites.