Xbox Series S

I recently decided to move my Xbox Series S from the bedroom down to the living room. My original thinking for having it up there in the first place was that I would have a viable option to play some games if my partner needed unfettered access to the living room — without having to resort to playing an inferior version of City Skylines on my Nintendo Switch. But those instances of bedroom banishment never really came to pass, and I certainly don’t spend much time lying in bed while playing games; I typically prefer the traditional, on-a-couch-in-front-of-the-big-TV approach.

Even though I had already cancelled my Game Pass Ultimate Subscription months ago, I decided that it was time to dust off that little white console and put it to good use. I reached a point where the games I had previously but more recently been playing on my PS5 have gotten a little stale, so I needed to shake things up. And what better way to do that then to play games from over a decade and a half ago?

As it turns out, almost my entire collection of purchased and installed games on the Series S is old Xbox 360 titles (and one original Xbox title). And you know what? That’s just fine in my book.

I’m now enjoying games like Prey (2006), Red Dead Redemption, I Am Alive, Grand Theft Auto IV, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Far Cry 2, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, and all three Skate titles. I’m also enjoying the original Xbox version of Splinter Cell Double Agent, which is apparently rather different than the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. These games are classics, and in a lot of ways they dance circles around some more contemporary games, even if the graphics are a bit dated.

To be honest, the Series S does an incredible job up-rezzing most of these games. In the case of Deus Ex: Human Revolution specifically, I find this version is more appealing visually than the Steam version of the Director’s Cut.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The same can most decidedly not be said for GTA IV, which has some real aliasing issues, specifically with textures looking super fuzzy and grid-like in the backgrounds — almost as if watching the game from the other side of a screen door.

GTA IV issues aside, I’m still having a lot of fun revisiting these older titles. Considering the only option for playing some of these games on a PS5 is to go through PS Now (this is admittedly due to change in the near future), being able to simply run these games without having to jump through any additional hoops makes the Xbox the superior choice here. The Series S simply delivers the goods, hands-down.

For my tastes, there aren’t a whole lot of recent blockbusters in the Xbox ecosystem that don’t involve Master Chief or fast cars. And that means it’s the perfect time to go back and play some gems from the not-too-distant past.

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