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NEXT GEN BUYING GUIDE: XBOX SERIES S & X

The Xbox Series X is just around the corner, and anticipation for both it (and its competitor, the PS5) is reaching a fever pitch. To help out, we’ve put together a handy guide on what to expect from the coming weeks and what games you should consider picking up alongside your shiny new console. 

Wait, there are two consoles? Which one should I get?

That depends entirely on two things: how much you like owning physical copies, and do you want the fastest, biggest, and the best machine out there, regardless of the cost.

The Xbox ships in two variants: the Series S and the uber-powerful Series X. The former is a digital-only white unit, while the latter is what the kids call “an absolute unit.” Not that the Series S is a slouch, though. It comes equipped with a custom Zen 2 octa-core processor running at 3.6ghz, 10 gigabytes of DDR4 ram, a 512gb SSD drive, and capable of gaming at 1440p up to 60fps. 

But the real kicker is the price: Series S starts at 309€ in Finland, meaning that you’re getting an exponential jump in power for less than the previous generation One X console. The only major thing you’re missing out is a disc drive, as Microsoft has not announced anything beyond the digital-only version of the machine. 

The reason for no disc drive is that Microsoft is pushing its Xbox Game Pass hard, and it’s not hard to see why. At 9,99€ a month, the Xbox Game Pass offers a massive library, complete with the additional EA Pass, available to download and play at any time. With first-party titles launching simultaneously on the Xbox Game Pass as they come on sale, Microsoft’s offering is one of the very best deals in gaming at the moment. Think of it as Netflix for gamers, and you’re not far off the mark.

For those looking for the definitive statement on console gaming today, look no further than the Series X, launching at the same time its sibling on November 10. With a similar custom Zen 2 octa-core processor, clocking in at 3.8ghz, the Series X comes with a whopping 16gb of DDR4 ram and a one terabyte SSD. Both consoles come equipped with AMD’s latest GPU technology, with the Series S clocked at 4 TFLOPS of computing power, while the X comes with a mammoth 12 TFLOPS. 

If numbers don’t mean anything to you, fear not, as the translation is fairly straightforward. The Series S is good for gaming regardless of what television you have, but with support for 4K streaming and video. At 2K and 60fps, games will look better than previous generations easily, and you won’t break the bank for your hobby.

On the other hand, the Series X promises 4K/60fps performance in select titles with all the bells and whistles attached. That means games will have up to four times the resolution and run twice as fast in frames. If Blu-ray was the significant leap from DVD, the Series X promises the same for console gaming. 

All that’s not even getting into the current Cloud Gaming Beta, which brings the Game Pass to your mobile device wirelessly. More on that once I get my hands on it later in November. 

That sounds great; how can I get one?

Here we run into a bit of a snag. The availability of both Series S and Series X is currently extremely limited in Finland. Gigantti currently lists any Series X purchased today will arrive sometime before Christmas, with their competitor, Verkkokauppa, saying it won’t be able to deliver consoles until the start of 2021. Meanwhile, the Series S has slightly better odds, arriving most likely at the tail end of November to Gigantti, but only by Christmas to Verkkokauppa.  

At Toisto, we’re currently waiting for our copy with bated breath. Still, with no news coming in from retailers at present, it remains uncertain when we’ll be able to get a closer look at the intensely awaited console. 

OK, so let’s say I get my hands on one; what should I play on it?

The good news is you can play everything that Xbox has released in the last generation, along with everything coming out on launch day, November 10. 

Thanks to the Xbox Smart Deliver System, any game purchased for previous generation consoles will automatically upgrade to next gen. That means fan favorites like BORDERLANDS 3, DIRT 5, DEVIL MAY CRY 5, SEA OF THIEVES, and ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS will all work instantly if you own them or the Xbox Game Pass.

Currently, the Xbox Series’ X and S have 31 confirmed launch titles, arriving either through Smart Deliver or the Xbox Game Pass.

  • Assassins Creed Valhalla (Smart Delivery)
  • Borderlands 3 (Smart Delivery)
  • Cuisine Royale (Smart Delivery)
  • Dead by Daylight (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
  • DIRT 5 (Smart Delivery)
  • Enlisted
  • Evergate
  • The Falconeer (Smart Delivery)
  • Fortnite
  • Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Gears 5 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Grounded (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • King Oddball (Smart Delivery)
  • Maneater (Smart Delivery)
  • Manifold Garden (Smart Delivery)
  • NBA 2K21
  • Observer: System Redux
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • Planet Coaster (Smart Delivery)
  • Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • The Touryst (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
  • War Thunder (Smart Delivery)
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (Smart Delivery)
  • WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship (Smart Delivery)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Smart Delivery)
  • Yes, Your Grace (Smart Delivery)
  • Bright Memory 1.0
  • Sea of Thieves (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)

That’s quite a lot of games. What should I start with?

You bet! For the best bang-for-your-buck experiences, look no further than these five games, all coming out in the next few weeks.

ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA looks to be a big and splendid open-world action RPG that is perfect for testing the latest generation’s graphical capabilities. It promises to deliver in spades for fans of ancient history, just as their previous title, ODYSSEY, did two years ago. VALHALLA launches November 10. Look for my review in the coming weeks.

Another Ubisoft launch title is WATCH DOGS LEGION, the third part in the franchise, set in a dystopian future, where London has fallen under fascist rule. You play as part of DedSec, a group of revolutionaries out to topple the regime. To do so, you need to recruit members of the public to your aid, leading them into battle against a better armed and far better-funded organization. Another open-world game from the company that’s come to define the genre, LEGION comes out November 10. Look for my review soon!

Indie-darling ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS is another masterpiece from Moon Studios and the story’s second installment. The first part was one of my favorite games of its year, and my review for this one is coming out soon. Suffice to say; it’s an incredibly charming, heartwarming, and exciting epic in the style of Studio Ghibli. Certain moments might be too scary for the youngest gamers in the family, but experienced together with an adult, WILL OF THE WISPS packs the same emotional punch as LION KING did for the older generation. 

SEA OF THIEVES, by Rare Dynamics, launched already a few years ago but has since then consistently improved with every update. Today, it remains one of the most exciting multiplayer experiences, casting players into the open seas to seek treasure and high adventure. No other game hosts as much potential currently, and SEA OF THIEVES is at its best with like-minded friends wanting to soak themselves in pirate life. While the adventures are grand, the best moments are the long voyages out at sea, as the sun sets on the horizon, and your band of buccaneers plays sea-shanties long into the night. 

Arriving just under two weeks from the Xbox launch date, CYBERPUNK 2077 might be the most anticipated title coming out this year. Developed by CD Projekt RED, CYBERPUNK is a hard-hitting, mature thriller set in the far future, where technology defines not just lives but the physical definitions of people themselves. You play as a rogue mercenary out hunting a fabled body modification, which promises eternal life. But the city is ruthless, and you’re not the only one looking to score big. CD Projekt’s previous game, THE WITCHER 3, is considered by many (including myself) as one of the best games ever made. So expectations remain immensely high for their follow-up, but it doesn’t look like CYBERPUNK will disappoint based on early footage. 

(Well, this aged poorly. CD Projekt just announced that CYBERPUNK 2077 is delayed until December 10.)

The Xbox Series S and X launch November 10 in Finland. Series S is priced at 309€, while the Series X is 509€. The Xbox Game Pass starts at 9,99€/month. Toisto does not receive a commission or kickback from any of the links on this site. They are there for your convenience.

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