I have a confession to make - the Xbox Series X has been the first Xbox I've owned.
Like many brave keyboard-warriors before me, I've fought hard in the trenches of the Console Wars. I've proudly defended Team PlayStation since 1997 (sometimes as strongly as Chad Warden). So you can imagine the cynical smirk on my face as I powered up Microsoft's new console, looking for a glimpse of inferiority I could smack them around the head with.
That didn't happen.
My first impressions are that the Xbox Series X is an incredible gaming console, with hardware powerful enough to push the boundaries of what's capable in gaming for years to come. For starters, loading times have been almost entirely eliminated. Xbox's new 'Quick Resume' function allows you to pick up your game exactly where you left off after starting the console. This also means you can swap between games in your library in under ten seconds, and pick those up from your pause point too.
It's hard to overstate just how intuitive an experience like this is. It could well be the kind of thing we'll take for granted in future, but by removing the barriers to playing games they've made it much more fun and straightforward to flit between them. I remember times when I just wouldn't be arsed starting up 'The Witcher 3' on a Saturday morning because I knew I'd be staring at a loading screen for the first minutes.
With this removed, you can swap effortlessly between your RPG, your FIFA menu and back to Netflix without the console's cooling fans even hinting at a whisper of CPU stress. You can do this starting from a powered off console, meaning that your gaming within seconds of deciding to pick up the controller. It's empowering and fun, and takes an element of stress out of gaming that I didn't even really know I was suffering from.
The processing power and graphical speed mean that you can play graphically demanding games without any frame drops or graphics degradation. Games look incredible and run as smooth as butter. Think of your typical 'Fast Travel' option in any open-world game you've played. Now, the travel is actually fast.
I've been lucky enough to play in 4K 120fps as well, and I openly gasped at my telly a few times. This even goes for some older games, which have seen upgrades in performance and resolution.
If you already own a powerful PC with an SSD, some of these improvements might not be new to you. And it's fair to say that the Xbox Series X handles a lot like a PC anyway, with even the Home menu looking closer than ever to its Windows counterpart. The fact that Microsoft have been able to cram all that power into an incredibly sleek and easy-to-use machine is what makes this console so impressive, and will move the next generation of games forward at pace. Not to mention that you can opt for its little brother, the cheaper (but lower memory) Xbox Series S.
As for games, we'll be diving into more releases for Xbox Series X in the coming weeks, and we've just published a video review of 'Watch Dogs: Legion' as well.
The Xbox Series X is available in Ireland for €499.99 from November 10th.