As part of Kotaku Australia’s Xbox Series X preview, we were provided codes for a bunch of games releasing on Xbox Series X at launch. While they all showed off glistening new textures, shiny surfaces, realistic sweat glands and gorgeous scenery, Gears 5 was the most mind-boggling of the lot.
The opening scenes of Gears 5 are undoubtedly stunning, even if you’re playing on Xbox One X. There’s the brilliant, sweeping views of the Azura ruins, the launch of the Hammer of Dawn satellite and all those lovely close-ups of the COG Army. With the Xbox Series X, these sights are dialled up to eleven with ray tracing and improved graphics pushing the game so close to realism you’ve got to wonder where consoles go from here.
On Xbox Series X, eyes are glassy and brilliant, hair is more lifelike and environments are extremely textured, to the point where they look photoreal. Water is also a standout here with brighter, shinier ripples and smoother movement. Even metallic textures fare better, with more shine and mirroring than on the Xbox One X.
The difference isn't obvious in every game, and some of the games we were provided weren't yet optimised for Xbox Series X, but Gears 5 really shows off the potential of the Xbox Series X. The game felt next gen, and that feeling is essential with scarce launch titles and few current reasons to buy the console right now.
Check out Marcus. His skin is so textured you can see the sweat pooling in his eye wrinkles. You can see shimmering sweat on his nose and lower lips, too. His eyebrows are perfectly textured and his skin folds naturally, as any older man's would.
Then take a look at his armour. It's ultra shiny and metallic, but it also reflects the light source of the room he's in. Even the focus is picture-perfect, with sharper lines and colours for objects in the centre.
Kait fares similarly. Gorgeous, textured skin and eyes realistically lit. Her skin looks soft and her face is very human. Every character in the game feels real, and it's important point of difference for next gen consoles. It means you're more immersed in the game and the characters are more relatable.
These shots are from cutscenes, but the quality is replicated in real-time gameplay as well. The transition between the two is often seamless, and the Xbox Series X just powers through them with no stutter or qualms.
You can check out a short video of just how impressive Gears 5 on the Xbox Series X is below (and keep in mind, YouTube's compression means the video doesn't measure up to the actual sights and sounds of the console. You'll need to experience it for yourself in person to really "see" how well the Xbox Series X performs.)
And check out a handful of our favourite screenshots below (due to the larger file sizes required to show picture fidelity, these images may be slow to load):
Gears 5 looks good. Dang good.