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Here's What The Critics Are Really Saying About The Series X

The release of the Xbox Series X is quickly approaching, and fans are more curious than ever to find out how the next-gen console will perform. Luckily for them, a few publications have been able to go hands-on with the Series X over the last week, and early impressions of the console are beginning to make their way online. A few of these sites, like Engadget and GameSpot, specified that the version of the console being reviewed wasn't the exact final build of the console, but it was complete enough for review purposes. With that in mind, hardcore Xbox fans should still be happy to know that the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.

While nobody has been able to play any next-gen Xbox Series X games yet, reviewers are getting a good feel for the Series X's capabilities by playing current-gen titles on the new console. It seems that older titles are benefiting greatly from being played on the newer hardware. 

One of the biggest revelations in these reviews has been how much faster the load times are for the Series X when compared to the Xbox One. The Verge's Tom Warren reported, "The most significant and obvious improvement with existing games on the Xbox Series X is the massive changes to load times. I noticed load times drop in pretty much every single game I've tested over the past week ... In Destiny 2, for example, I can now load into a planet in the game in around 30 seconds, compared to over a minute later on an Xbox One X and nearly two minutes in total on a standard Xbox One."

Warren also listed several other differences in load times between the Series X and the One X. Games like Warframe and Sea of Thieves apparently had their load times reduced by more than a full minute. Meanwhile, The Outer Worlds loaded up in an astonishing six seconds.

This impressive load time for The Outer Worlds was actually glimpsed earlier this month when Xbox finally revealed one its most hyped features, Quick Resume. Through this feature, players can swap between different games on the fly, allowing them to drop in and out of different titles without having to fully close one or the other. 

Early reviews for the Xbox Series X have also heaped plenty of praise on Quick Resume, which apparently works as well as Xbox's tech demo promised it would. Engadget's Jessica Conditt wrote that Quick Resume "might be the coolest software feature of the Xbox Series X," although she cautioned that not every game was apparently compatible with it. However, Conditt reported that "a majority" of the games tested were able to support Quick Resume.

VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb also felt that the overall performance of games on the Xbox Series X was a vast improvement over what is currently possible on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Grubb compared how several games ran on both the Series X and the Xbox One X and noted the differences. For instance, Final Fantasy 15's "Lite Mode" (which prioritizes frame rate) averaged 59 frames-per-second on the Series X, as opposed to what Grubb called a "miserable" 42 frames-per-second seen on the Xbox One X. Meanwhile, a relatively newer game like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice saw a dramatic leap up from 37 frames-per-second to 60. For games like Sekiro, where quick inputs are everything, this is a huge improvement.

It has been noted by IGN that the Series X runs very quietly. Even when playing more demanding games like Red Dead Redemption 2, the Xbox Series X reportedly ran silently and kept its cool.

And a lot of attention has been paid to the new controller that ships with the Series X. The overall consensus is that Microsoft didn't go overboard in changing a controller design that was already pretty solid. Instead, it appears as though Microsoft has simply refined what people already liked. The result, according to GameSpot, is a controller that "offers some subtle, but noticeable improvements over the current Xbox controllers." VentureBeat went so far as to call it "Microsoft's best-feeling gamepad ever, outside the Elite controllers."

Overall, it's looking like Sony has quite a bit of competition going into the new console generation. Research has shown that Sony's new PS5 may end up outselling the Series X, but perhaps positive reviews and word of mouth could change that. There are still plenty of things about the Xbox Series X that fans can't stand. However, it looks like Microsoft has made a system that could be capable of overcoming those criticisms.