Friday, November 10, 2017

Oddly reflective

I am calm. I am collected. I am prepared to give my reactions to Forza 7.

*breaths*

But first I am going to talk about the Xbox One X. There are quite a few pieces of electronics sitting in my cold and musty basement, several of which were purchased in anticipation of its release. My 4K television did see some use from the Xbox One S (for 4K movies) and the PS4 Pro (for Horizon Zero Dawn) but it has never really been put through its paces. The same can be said for my receiver, an item chosen specifically because it supports Dolby Atmos sound.

The Xbox One X uses all of it. All at once. In the Insects demo. Don't get me wrong, the demo looks and sounds fantastic, but it isn't a game. Forza 7 is the game that I have to play right now and it only leverages some of what the hardware can do. It's a racing game, of course it looks fantastic. The Dubai track in particular has it all: detailed city scapes with sun filtering between building and clouds in a eerily realistic manner. Rocky valleys that look good enough to touch. Sand blowing across the road. It is the best looking, cleanest, sharpest racing game I have ever seen.

But it's a racing game. I was quite impressed on the first lap, even more so on the second as I had time to look around. Last night I did a 23 lap endurance race, in one sitting, and all the shiny polygons in the world are not going to make that interesting. Forza 7 is a good game but it is not Forza Horizon 3, one of my contenders for game of the year. It also has problems with its in game economy thanks to loot boxes but I will let the professional curmudgeons handle that talking point.

The Xbox One X sitting below my television makes me happy. The continued reports by Digital Foundry that multi-platform titles run better on the X than the Pro make me feel vindicated, that coming back home to my controller of preference was the right move. My gigantic coming soon list feels like less of a burden and more of an opportunity. What I'm missing, and what I am not going to get, is a new first party, exclusive, kick ass piece of software. Yes, Gears of War 4 looks amazing, but I have already played that. Microsoft needs to hurry up and buy a developer better than Rare and set them loose on a killer app.

Microsoft has the hardware buy Sony still has God of War and Days Gone and The Last of Us 2 (and JRPGs and that samurai game and a dozen other things that I am forgetting). At the very least I will be able to play the best possible version of Red Dead Redemption 2 and that is worth looking forward to.

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