Call me crazy, but I think the most important part of a console is how easy it is to use. The allure of home console gaming has always been in its simplicity – the low barrier to entry it takes to put in a cartridge or disc, turn your fancy box on, and get transported to another world. I’m a PC girl, personally, but there’s no denying that simple satisfaction of a good system is what I’m hungry for sometimes.
That’s why, at the moment, the Nintendo Switch is my favorite system. It has the prettiest, most elegant UI of any console on the market. There’s none of the PS4’s ugly clutter or the One’s frame-y, chunky windows – just some pretty thumbnails, straightforward icons, and a sensible store. There’s nothing to it, and as far as consoles are concerned, that should be the point.
However, the Switch’s time on the throne might’ve come to an end today. After a few hours with my new Xbox Series X, I’m fairly blown away by how intuitive everything is. The time from unboxing to downloading something off of Game Pass is relatively low – especially if you already have an account. You just plug it in, set the region and time, sign in, and presto – you’re ready to play.
Once you’re in, the actual UI is buttery smooth and gets you where you need to be in seconds. The Series X’s home screen has adopted the One’s idea of panes and pages, but it actually feels good this time around, and far less clunky than its predecessor. This one feels less obtrusive and gaudy than the last version, and it’s way easier to figure out where you’re navigating with your stick or d-pad.
That simplicity translates to the pop-up menu, too. At any point during a game, you can still bring the overlay up like on the One, but there’s none of the chugging and sputtering onto the screen. It’s a smooth, effortless glide, and one that lets you go home, check on your friends, or go straight to the store or Game Pass with a few flicks of your analog stick.
Speaking of the store and Game Pass, by the way, both services have gotten a major facelift. I’ll go into the Series X’s storefronts a bit more in another article, but I can’t begin to impart to you how much better they are than the One’s. The Store has wisely adopted an entirely different layout, with a functional sidebar, and Game Pass no longer slows down or makes you wait for it to catch up with your scrolling. Considering that the latter is the cornerstone that Microsoft is banking on this generation, it’s great that it works so well.
Suffice it to say: all of this is what I’m looking for in a console. The Xbox Series X is a stylish, powerful box that’s easy to unpack and jump right into, and it’s one that I can’t wait to dig into more this week.
Next: Yep, The Xbox Blu-Ray Player Still Sucks
- TheGamer Originals
Bella Blondeau is a lovable miscreant with a heart of gold… or so she says.
She likes long walks in dingy arcades, loves horror good and bad, and has a passion for anime girls of any and all varieties. Her favorite game is Nier: Automata, because she loves both robots and being sad.
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