Teraflops, I can’t hear you should be the title of my review because the Xbox Series X is whisper quiet. Even under 4K game load, the thing doesn’t break a sweat. Microsoft has definitely added owl features for fan blades because it’s spewing hot air but without any of that noisy fan whirling. This is fantastic and, in my opinion, an absolute game-changer.
We ran Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 4K on a PC gaming rig with Nvidia RTX 2080Ti and then tested the same game at 4K on the Series X. Long story short, I am not going to be visiting my gaming rig as often. The Series X does everything my gaming PC worth ₹2.5lakhs does for nearly one-fifth the price and that’s without the noisy fans ruining the experience.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla ran at 60FPS on 4K without any hassle. There’s a bit of frame drop in some places but I doubt it's the fault of the Xbox. It happens on our gaming rig too, so it’s up to Ubisoft to optimise it for platforms. The dynamic resolution also kicks in from time to time but you’ll not notice it. So much so that I had to put in the effort to spot the differences in the game running on PC and Xbox. It’s negligible.
Gears 5 is an Xbox-exclusive title and it has been given a spit shine with Ray Tracing upgrades. The game on the Series X looks gorgeous. If you’re new to Ray Tracing, here’s a tiny TedTalk. It’s basically a lighting tech in video games that exhibit realistic lighting conditions within the game world. Shadows, objects and reflective surfaces like metal and water bounce light realistically. Depending on the game developer, the amount of Ray Tracing in a game can be controlled or not implemented at all too. Thankfully, the 2020 mantra for new consoles is Ray Tracing and its visual benefits. Ray Tracing is also a resource-hungry tech. This means if you don’t shell out nearly half a lakh on just an Nvidia GPU, you’ll never get to properly experience it on PCs.
Dirt 5 too ran on a stable 60FPS at 4K but occasionally took frame hits when the weather system in the game starts to ramp up. Dirt 5’s tracks are gorgeous and they change weather and time of day rapidly within one race. It’s only when the snow starts to bash your windscreen and the sun takes a nap, the heavy snow particles within the game world nudge the Series X. It’s nothing alarming, to be honest. Once the spit second dip is gone, the Series X runs super smooth and, again, whisper-quiet.
Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs: Legion is a GPU wrecker. Our RTX 2080Ti was barely limping through 35+ FPS on 2K ultra settings so we were not very keen on dipping back into the game on the Xbox. The Series X experience is somewhat similar. Hard dips in performance during demanding situations and a fairly noticeable dip in resolution too. This may sound like a no-no but I am quite surprised by the Xbox Series X’s performance here. We had the Ray Tracing bit and everything cranked up for pure 4K fun and the game runs at a playable frame rate. It’s not crisp and detailed as the PC version but at least you’re getting more than 30FPS here.
It’s also worth noting that many of the games that are launched in the initial periods of a console launch tend to be poorly optimised and buggy. That’s from the developer side mostly and rightly so because a lot of third party games are developed for multiple platforms. Sinking in the tech for old and new hardware is rather punishing on developers. That said, by the time I’ve uploaded this review, many games like Watch Dogs: Legion, AC Valhalla and Dirt 5 have gotten patch updates with quality and performance improvements.