Xbox One X: Latest Reviews for Forza 7, FIFA 18, Madden 18 and NHL 18

If you are a long-time Xbox and sports gamer, the Nov. 7 launch of the Xbox One X was likely circled on your calendar so that you could get the most out of your marathon gaming sessions.  Microsoft has positioned the Xbox One X as the most powerful console ever, and one made for a hardcore gamer who wants to maximize their setup, including 4K picture and high-end audio, thanks to Dolby Atmos sound. I've had an Xbox One since launch back in 2013. When hooked up to a 4K television, the d

If you are a long-time Xbox and sports gamer, the Nov. 7 launch of the Xbox One X was likely circled on your calendar so that you could get the most out of your marathon gaming sessions. 

Microsoft has positioned the Xbox One X as the most powerful console ever, and one made for a hardcore gamer who wants to maximize their setup, including 4K picture and high-end audio, thanks to Dolby Atmos sound.

I've had an Xbox One since launch back in 2013. When hooked up to a 4K television, the difference between the original Xbox One and the Xbox One X is night and day. Even if you don't have a 4K television, the Xbox One X will still give you improved picture quality and performance over its previous counterparts.

Once you get it out of the box, it's hard not to marvel at the size of the console considering the amount of power it can generate. It's dwarfed by the original Xbox One and light as you pull it out of the box, which is impressive enough, given the amount of horsepower under the hood compared to previous generations.

However, it doesn't stop there, as the Xbox One X continues to outperform previous consoles from the second you boot it up.

The system itself is almost silent, no matter what I was doing. I downloaded games, played games, ran a game while downloading another and not once did I ever hear anything from the console. On my old Xbox, downloading games while playing could result in drops in performance, including an issue where in-game audio could sound warbled or delayed.

On the Xbox One X, I was downloading a large game file, playing online and listening to music through the system at the same time and didn't notice a single issue. The Xbox One X is a workhorse.

After set up, I loaded up Forza Motorsport 7, FIFA 18, Madden 18 and NHL 18 for this review to put them through their paces and see how they performed on the improved technology.

          

Forza Motorsport 7

If you are looking to show off the capabilities of the Xbox One X, look no further than Forza 7.

Arguably the flagship game of the Xbox One X launch, Forza does not disappoint. You will find yourself lost in all of the details the game has to offer. Cars are lovingly crafted, and each track gives you something new to let your eye linger on as you rip through each turn.

Even the driver models look excellent, to the point where I found myself watching my driver celebrate longer than I normally would just to appreciate how his suit reflected the light around him.

Beyond all of that, where the game shines is how it handles weather. When rain comes into play, you can watch the storm roll in front of you, warning of trouble ahead. Once the rain starts to fall, reflections and light bounce off of the slick track as you watch beads of water roll up the hood of your car or TV based on your camera view.

Driving in the rain from the driver's seat camera added to the intensity of the experience, as you hear the engine roaring while your wipers wildly fly across the windshield. It was an intense ride and one that keeps you coming back for more.

During multiple races, I flipped between different cameras repeatedly and saw no visible issues in terms of a dip in performance, with the console more than able to meet the challenge.

However, with all of this detail did come some lengthy load times, especially in Free Race mode. During the Forza Driver's Cup mode, these load times were smartly hidden by a customization screen where you can add mods and tune your car.

Overall, if you own or are looking to own an Xbox One X, Forza 7 is an essential addition to your library. It stands apart in terms of visuals and performance as a display of the power of the Xbox One X.

       

FIFA 18

As an obsessive FIFA player who has already logged over 325 games of Ultimate Team since its release, playing FIFA 18 on the Xbox One X created the best visual experience of any FIFA installment in the series' history.

You immediately notice the increase in performance in the menus. Everything is crisp and the menus are snappy, even in Ultimate Team, where on my original Xbox One there could be noticeable lag. Load times also moved at a quicker pace, as I was able to hop from mode to mode with little downtime.

Once you get into the game, you can't help but become more immersed in the environment. Crowds feel more alive and you can pick out more detail at a distance. As you look around, it's easier to pick out the fan celebrating in the second deck and see his or her approval compared to previous Xbox generations.

However, where the improvements really shine is during close-up shots of your players. As you celebrate a goal, you watch the light dance across your players, and everything is crafted more delicately with richer colors.

FIFA was already a great visual experience, but with the Xbox One X, it takes it to another level.

           

Madden 18

Having spent a fairly high percentage of my youth playing countless hours of Madden, booting up Madden 18 on the Xbox One X was the most fun I've ever had with any of the game's titles.

As with FIFA 18, the load times were brief and you were able to jump right into the action with little down-time.

Immediately, I selected the Longshot story mode. Actor models were rendered beautifully, and you zipped from cutscene to cutscene with no lag-time at all. I only encountered an issue once during a cutscene where the audio was delayed behind the visual for a second or two, but the console quickly caught up.

After moving on from Longshot, I switched to some Franchise and Ultimate Team, which is where the enhancements truly shined.

Normally, I'm one to skip the cutscenes in-between plays, but it was impossible not to watch the lighting change across a player model throughout the course of the game and marvel at the game's ability to create an immersive, broadcast-like experience through the power of the Xbox One X.

         

NHL 18

NHL 18 stands out as it was the only game that was not patched with enhancements for Xbox One X. Enhancements are in development and will be added, but the Xbox One X still took the game to another level.

With the game running behind the extra horsepower, you couldn't help but notice more details. In my Franchise mode, where I brought the Hartford Whalers back into existence, my custom arena felt brighter and more vibrant.

If there were any concerns about a noticeable drop in performance or graphics, they were easily put to bed and will get you excited for the experience once the Xbox One X enhancements are added.

         

Conclusion

As with NHL 18, not all of your sports titles will be fully optimized to take advantage of all that Xbox One X has to offer. However, numerous titles have upgrades coming soon or in development, including F1, Need for Speed Payback, Project Cars 2, Rocket League, Rugby 18, Steep, Tennis World Tour and more.

Enhancements will vary on the game, but expect upgrades such as 4K support, High Dynamic Range (HDR10) and support for Dolby Atmos sound.

This will allow for improvements such as richer textures and better shadows in games like Gears of War 4, enriching the experience over previous Xbox consoles.

NBA 2K18 and NBA Live 18 have already been upgraded for Xbox One X, so that you can dive right in and start cooking with Stephen Curry under the best performance possible.

Beyond the stellar in-game performance, the system is also an incredible addition to your home theater setup. As I went deeper into the second season of Stranger Things, I found myself marveling at the fantastic picture quality.

The same goes for broadcast television as well. I noticed less issues with motion and the picture was much more crisp, even though the broadcast was not 4K.

Overall, if you're a gamer looking to upgrade your home entertainment system and you want the best performance and best graphics, it's hard to look past the Xbox One X.