Thursday, March 4

Xbox Series X Game Review Roundup: Gears 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, NBA 2K21, and More


Given the compressed nature of the Xbox Series X review program, we were unfortunately unable to gather in-depth analysis of every game release for Microsoft’s new video game console.

Like our roundup of the PlayStation 5 launch titles, we’ve decided to give a selection from the Xbox Series X launch line the same mini-review treatment.

In addition to taking a look at Xbox Series X backward compatibility features, this story also delves into titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Falconeer, Halo: The Masterchief Collection and more.

It’s important to note that not all of these games are exclusive to Microsoft’s new consoles and that performance is generally comparable on the PlayStation 5 when it comes to most of the third-party titles on this list.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Stadia
Developer: Ubisoft montreal
Editor: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Price: $ 79.99

Sometimes, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla it’s a bloated mess, surprisingly flawed and too expansive. On the flip side, it can also be dazzling and really pushes the long-running franchise in exciting directions.

For example, the game’s medieval setting, which includes intricate Gothic castles, rolling hills, and a level of detail not present in its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, is one of the most fascinating worlds that Ubisoft Montreal has created.

Of course, as expected from Ubisoft’s open world games, Valhalla it is also a bit messy. Enemies aren’t very smart and will sometimes stop chasing you for no apparent reason, environmental objects occasionally float (we saw a whale float in the ocean once), and overall it’s not a very polished game. Also, despite a simplification of the series’ quest system, you’ll still find yourself doing an occasional side quest to boost the story or level up protagonist Evior.

On the brighter side of things, health is no longer automatically replenished, adding a level of stakes to battles not present in recent Assassin’s Creed titles. In addition, the weapon and armor system is much more optimized than in other recent titles in the series.

With everything said Valhalla It remains one of the most attractive video games available for Series X and is a good indication of what to expect from the Xbox Series X in terms of graphics when it comes to future Ubisoft titles.

For more on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, check out Patrick O’Rourke’s in-depth look at the game.

The Falconeer

The Falconeer

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, PC
Developer: Tomas Sala
Editor: Wired productions
ESRB Rating: T for teenager
Price: $ 38.99

Act as an unwitting spiritual successor to the classic Xbox jet fighter game. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, The Falconeer it was developed by a single person: Tomas Sala.

With that in mind, the game’s impressive aerial combat is compelling, though unfortunately it gets repetitive after a few chapters. Between moments of intense combat, a relatively simple story unfolds involving several different factions and the discovery of secrets that have been lost at sea.

It is also worth noting that while The Falconeer It’s not very long, it’s one of the few titles that supports 4K 120Hz on the Xbox Series X. All things considered, it’s great to see a standalone title like this launching on the Xbox Series X alongside big-budget titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. . As long as you set your expectations appropriately, there’s a lot to like The Falconeer.

Gears 5 leads the pack improved

Gears 5

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PC
Developer: The coalition
Editor: Xbox
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Price: $ 39.99 (on sale for $ 9.99) Game Pass

In spite of Gears 5 Already one of the hottest Xbox One titles, Vancouver-based The Coalition has managed to improve the game’s visuals in a number of ways on the Xbox Series X. While the game still uses dynamic resolution scaling, it hits 2160p. much more consistent. On the multiplayer side of things, Gears 5 it now features a surprisingly smooth 120Hz frame rate, and as a result, slightly lower resolution than the game’s campaign mode.

Gears 5The level of detail has also been significantly increased across the board, with the X-Series version of the game adopting higher-quality PC-like volumetric lighting, improved shadows, and more. Of course, the game also loads much faster thanks to the X Series NVME SSD.

In what feels like an effort to fill the void left by Infinite HaloDue to the delay, Microsoft offers several “enhanced” Xbox One titles that are backward compatible. For example, Ori and the will of the Wisps operates at a smooth speed of 120 Hz, and Forza Horizon 4 A game that already looked amazing on Xbox One, it now runs in native 4K and 60fps on Series X. Sea of ​​ThievesRare’s ship-filled pirate adventure also runs at a steady 4K / 60fps on Microsoft’s new console.

It’s also worth noting that all of the titles mentioned above are part of Microsoft’s excellent $ 16.99 per month Game Pass Ultimate subscription service, giving you access to a wide range of games for a relatively low monthly fee.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo The Masterchief Collection

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PC
Developer: 343 Industries
Editor: Xbox
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Price: $ 49.99 or available through Game Pass

Outside Gears 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is perhaps the biggest old game to get X / S Series optimizations. Impressively, 343 Industries has introduced a lot of improvements in various games in the collection – both in campaign and multiplayer. This means X and S Series gamers can enjoy 120 fps single player and multiplayer modes as well as improved split screen playback and adjustable field of view. X Series owners, specifically, can benefit from 4K resolution.

We have not played the Master Chief Collection since the days of Xbox One, so you can play the classic aura gaming at 4K / 120fps on the X Series was a real treat. While we personally didn’t notice much of a difference between 60fps and 120fps, it’s still a welcome change that affects gameplay to some degree. What is most impressive are the sharper images, which make auraThe iconic maps look absolutely stunning when we shoot, hit, and Spartan Laser blast us through them. Meanwhile, the consoles’ faster loading times mean you can jump through levels more quickly. Interestingly, 343 actually had to slow down the loading times so they don’t affect pairing.

Overall, optimizations certainly don’t fill the gap left by Infinite HaloIt’s a delay, but it’s nice to have them in the meantime anyway.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Stadia, Windows
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Editor: Interactive entertainment from Warner Bros.
ESRB Rating: M for mature
Price: $ 79.99

Positioned as the definitive version of Mortal Kombat 11The new Ultimate edition of the game includes Kombat Pack 1, Aftermath Expansion, and Kombat Pack 2, giving players access to 37 playable characters, two full story campaigns, and a wide range of modes. For reasons that are not clear, Rambo is also in the game now and Sylvester Stallone expresses it (yes, you read that correctly).

If you have played a Mortal Kombat title before, you will know what to expect here. The game is rife with exaggerated, sometimes disgusting, blood-filled violence, featuring the same crazy franchise characters, and a plot that really doesn’t make sense. With all that said, there’s still something lovely about Mortal Kombat 11Simplified special system and generally reduced combat. Most anyone can keep playing and have a good time pounding buttons. There are also a host of tutorials available if you want to understand the mechanics of the game on a deeper level.

In addition to improved load times, Mortal Kombat Ultimate also runs at dynamic 4K resolution on the X Series.

NBA 2K21

NBA 2K21

Platform: Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, PC, Google Stadia, Windows
Developer: Visual concepts
Editor: 2K sports
ESRB Rating: E for everyone
Price: $ 79.99

NBA 2K21 is an extremely impressive video game from a graphical point of view. This is because it is one of the few third-party titles built from scratch to take advantage of the vast power that Xbox Series X offers.

Everything from the faces and animation of the players, to the sweat dripping down their faces, looks stunning in dynamic 4K at 60fps with HDR. If you have seen videos of NBA 2K21 in action on YouTube, they really don’t do the game justice given the video quality limitations on the platform. That said, there are times when the visuals fall apart, such as when a player looks into the distance for no reason – say hello to the haunting valley.

On the downside of things NBA 2K21 it’s packed with intrusive microtransactions and pay-to-win mechanics in almost all of its modes. It’s also not a huge improvement over last year’s game in terms of features and gameplay, and most of the updates are purely visual. The only notable change to the game is a surprisingly compelling new shooting mechanic that requires the player to aim their shots and have precise timing.

Still, as for sports titles that really take advantage of what the Xbox Series X has to offer, NBA 2K21 it’s in a league of its own.

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