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Polygon: The Xbox Series X is the Xbox 360 of my dreams

Bullet Club

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The Xbox Series X is the Xbox 360 of my dreams

Finally, games like Crackdown can fulfill their potential



II received an Xbox Series X last week and soon downloaded the obvious flashy games: some Forzas, Gears of Wars, Halos, and Calls of Duty. But the first game I downloaded onto my Xbox Series X was Crackdown, the 2007 open-world game in which you play as a superhero future-cop who can run faster than cars, jump over small buildings, and throw helpless enemies hundreds of feet into the air until gravity kicks in and they crash onto the pavement. Like RoboCop, it’s a damning critique of the police’s use of excessive force. Like with Marvel movies, it’s unclear how much of the social commentary is intentional.

The game was ahead of its time. Literally. On my Xbox 360, it ran like a 30-year-old Chrysler Imperial, especially when I launched the game’s Keys to the City mode, which allowed me to spawn piles of enemies, vehicles, and combustible barrels. The explosion of all this metal and human mess would appear on my CRT television in chaotic bursts of animation, the Xbox 360 trying its damndest to load all the visual chaos, huffing and puffing and nearly giving itself a hernia.

Despite the game’s technical limitations, I played Crackdown obsessively for a couple of years, only stepping away when Microsoft debuted the Xbox One. Crackdown was exclusively released on the Xbox 360, and so the game got mothballed along with the console.



In 2018, Crackdown lived again via the Xbox One backward compatibility updates, getting a visual boost. But for me, revisiting it and so many other Xbox and Xbox 360 classics on the Xbox Series X has been like seeing the game achieve its true potential.

These days, players assume that the vast majority of console games will eventually appear on PC. With few exceptions, Microsoft debuts its new games on both Xbox consoles and Windows on the same date. But in the original Xbox and Xbox 360 era, many of the best games never made the leap from consoles to computers, and so their original hardware has anchored them to the technical limitations of their time. Crackdown included.

In the middle of the Xbox One life cycle, Microsoft began to allow for greater backward compatibility with select Xbox and Xbox 360 games. The Xbox One X marked the first significant shift to replaying old games with the advantage of new console hardware: Microsoft optimized dozens of older games to take advantage of the improved computing power of the Xbox One X, bringing games like Crackdown and Red Dead Redemption into the age of 4K resolution.



If the Xbox One X was the rough draft of the potential of backward compatibility, then the Xbox Series X is the real thing. Playing Crackdown on the Xbox Series X is like playing the game as its creators had dreamt: Everything just works. Its frame rate never dips below 60 frames per second as I sprint down a highway, obliterating passing cars with volleys from my rocket launcher. More importantly, the game loads almost instantaneously.

The exhausting load times of other classic open-world games have all but disappeared on the Series X. The speed with which I can get into and out of the game with the console’s Quick Resume feature changes the way I play. With older open-world games, I lingered in them for hours on end, justifying the lengthy time it had taken just to get the game booted and a mission started. But now, I can (and do) swap back and forth between Crackdown and Hydro Thunder Hurricane, another Xbox 360-era gem.

I complete a race in Hurricane, then I take down a mob boss in Crackdown. Another race. Another mob boss. Crackdown — with all the technical boundaries removed — becomes an arcade game. And it rules.



After bouncing between two beloved games, I revisit the cult classic minigame collection Fusion Frenzy. Each game-within-the-game loads instantly, and suddenly this local multiplayer game gets a new life as I zip from one game to the next, and the next, and the next, and the next.

Like a bunch of folks, I saw the Xbox Series X as less necessary for PC gamers, who can already play lots of classic games with the advantages of more powerful hardware. But I hadn’t considered the dozens of games locked into the Xbox ecosystem. For the first time, I’m able to revisit some of my favorite games from previous consoles and really take advantage of the modern hardware, not just with improved resolution but with dramatically reduced load times.

I’ve always loved the Xbox 360, but through the Xbox Series X, I have an even greater appreciation for games that were reaching beyond their grasp. Now the Xbox 360 era has the power to achieve its potential.

Source: Polygon
 
Aug 28, 2019
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Huh.. that's actually a game I wouldn't mind replaying in BC mode.

Honestly think the tech is cool but I don't really have a backlog on Xbox.. so the BC tech is mostly useless to me. But maybe I'll think of some 360 era games to replay.
 

Ryujin

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I wonder would this finally eliminate frame drops/stutter on Blue Dragon? That was a really beautiful game graphically/art wise but the performance ruined it
 
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Spokker

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When do you think the new games will receive as much coverage and analysis as the old games? I love backwards compatibility but looking at the chatter out there, I'm not seeing much discussion of actual next-gen games, just BC, people saying how much they can't wait and wholesome social media bullshit.
 

Zannegan

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Feb 20, 2018
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Yep. It's Polygon.
I guess mild satire becomes damning critique viewed through the correct critical lens. Lol.

Polygon notwithstanding, Crackdown remains one of my favorite games of that generation. If I do pick up an XSX, I wouldn't mind playing through it again in its definitive form.
 

diffusionx

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I guess mild satire becomes damning critique viewed through the correct critical lens. Lol.

Polygon notwithstanding, Crackdown remains one of my favorite games of that generation. If I do pick up an XSX, I wouldn't mind playing through it again in its definitive form.

I loaded it up on the One X and it played and looked great, I am not sure what the Series X is doing that the One X can't for a 13 year old 360 game.
 
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MrMephistoX

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Man I hope that Mass Effect (Or any Unreal 3 engine game for that matter) sees a performance bump too.
 

MiguelItUp

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It definitely feels like the XSX is focusing more on the 360 than the One. Thank goodness for that. Still eager to see how it all pans out.
 

Mmnow

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One of the things I really love about the Xbox Series X is that there aren't BC games and next-gen games, there are just games.

If I fancy Final Fantasy X, I can download it as if it was native, I get 4k and hdr and my save travels across as well, with zero effort from myself.

Its a little thing that kept me going on PC longer than I really wanted to. I'm really happy consoles are starting to get that too.
 

LeftThumbstick

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When do you think the new games will receive as much coverage and analysis as the old games? I love backwards compatibility but looking at the chatter out there, I'm not seeing much discussion of actual next-gen games, just BC, people saying how much they can't wait and wholesome social media bullshit.
When they are ready to be shown.
 
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SirTerry-T

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I loaded it up on the One X and it played and looked great, I am not sure what the Series X is doing that the One X can't for a 13 year old 360 game.
Maybe the auto HDR stuff? If the clips of Geometry Wars are anything to judge by, any game that uses neon-like alpha and particle effects are to going to look great.
 
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SirTerry-T

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One of the things I really love about the Xbox Series X is that there aren't BC games and next-gen games, there are just games.

If I fancy Final Fantasy X, I can download it as if it was native, I get 4k and hdr and my save travels across as well, with zero effort from myself.

Its a little thing that kept me going on PC longer than I really wanted to. I'm really happy consoles are starting to get that too.
My sentiments exactly. A good game is a good game, regardless of the year stamped on its box artwork :)
 

evanft

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If the Xbox One X was the rough draft of the potential of backward compatibility, then the Xbox Series X is the real thing. Playing Crackdown on the Xbox Series X is like playing the game as its creators had dreamt: Everything just works. Its frame rate never dips below 60 frames per second as I sprint down a highway, obliterating passing cars with volleys from my rocket launcher. More importantly, the game loads almost instantaneously.

Hold on. Crackdown has a frame rate cap of 30 fps. Did it get a patch for XSX that raised it to 60?

Or is the writer from Polygon just an idiot.
 

Mossybrew

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"I am so excited that my brand new console can play a 13 year old game!" this almost reads as satire, but I guess people are into some weird shit. " I played Crackdown obsessively for a couple of years " the author says. Maybe I sound like the Fun Police but this is all pretty sad.
 
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MoreJRPG

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When do you think the new games will receive as much coverage and analysis as the old games? I love backwards compatibility but looking at the chatter out there, I'm not seeing much discussion of actual next-gen games, just BC, people saying how much they can't wait and wholesome social media bullshit.
Not sure what you mean, we had a lot of stuff shown earlier for next gen games, and stuff like Cyberpunk, AC Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion will all look and run best on Series X. We also just had a look at what’s in the first party pipeline during the August showcase.
 

evanft

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Some BC games will be going from 30fps to 60fps. MS haven't said which ones, but it looks like Crackdown is one of them.

I wonder if the list of One X-enhanced games and Series X-enhanced games will end up looking similar.
 

Kagey K

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Honestly, why the fuck would I go and play some old crappy 360 games on 2020 hardware, who cares these games run at 60 now, don't get me wrong, i think it's nice people can play bc games but c'mon who really cares about this stuff.
People that enjoy games, no matter the year they are released.

That's like telling people not to enjoy Mario 64 or Demon's Souls in 2020. :messenger_dizzy: