Cross-gen face-off 2024: Xbox Series S comprehensively bests Xbox One X

June 1, 2024
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It feels like the cross-gen era is finally drawing to a close – but regardless, a range of releases continue to span two generations of console hardware – and it’s when you compare Microsoft’s powerhouse 6TF Xbox One X against today’s 4TF Xbox Series S that we see the most fascinating comparisons. We examined their performance differential in a range of games two-and-a-half years ago with a somewhat mixed outcome. However, now we’re reaching the end of cross-gen, and we have a whole new set of games to examine, which have presumably been developed with current-gen hardware more firmly in mind. And to cut to the chase, Series S is powering ahead.

Let’s start our cross-gen comparisons with Diablo 4. This highly-anticipated action RPG shipped across both last-gen and current-gen platforms last year, with excellent graphics. The basic visual comparison here is a little odd: the two platforms look largely similar, but environmental quality takes a minor hit on Xbox One X. It looks like the terrain has been simplified slightly, with a flatter, polygon-sparing look but elsewhere, the two platforms look nearly identical. Even image quality is a basic match. Both machines run at about 864p internally, with upscaling – likely FSR 2 – giving the final image a 1440p-like resolve. The game looks a touch soft on a 4K panel but holds up respectably from a normal distance I’d say, and that applies to both consoles.

Performance-wise, the One X comes in with a respectable 30fps. The game does suffer from some occasional traversal stutters though, where the player character seems to stop in place for a couple of frames. Outside of that minor blemish, it does land a stable 30 with only limited exceptions. The constant lateral movement and lack of motion blur does give the game a bit of a choppy feel though in typical play. However, Series S delivers 60fps and I vastly prefer the way Diablo 4 feels here, as it just feels so much better to control at double the frame-rate. It’s not perfect – I spotted some minor dips in cities, and some cutscenes run at an uneven update – but it is largely a smooth 60fps experience and those stutters I noticed on One X weren’t apparent here, at least to my eyes.

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