Inbox: Which Xbox console is the best?

Inbox: Which Xbox console is the best?

It’s obviously not the Xbox One, which makes the only real choice the Xbox 360. That’s not a backhanded compliment either as I truly regard it as one of the best consoles ever made, with one of the best game line-ups, and a vitally important game-changer in terms of online gaming. People forget but the PlayStation 2 barely acknowledge online existed at all and had to be dragged into it by the success of the Xbox.

So it’s the 20th anniversary of the Xbox this year, except I doubt many people look back at the OG Xbox with any real sense of nostalgia. I never had one. I don’t know anyone else that ever had one and other than Halo I don’t know of any good games that were supposed to be on it. So my question is, what is the best Xbox console?

The PlayStation 3 was behind the times too, but the Xbox 360 cemented online as the most important thing about the console. It even had a great controller and apart from the Red Ring of Death no real downsides.

I do think the Xbox Series X has a chance of beating it though. Between Game Pass and xCloud we are looking at another sea change generation and Xbox could well come out on top. And even if they don’t (the Xbox 360 didn’t, it came last in its generation) they’ll still end up changing everything anyway.

Scale of the problem
Interesting article by Plato2 at the weekend, he put across some good points but missed out the fact that the Steam Deck isn’t upgradable and will be outdated in several years, or less, just like any other console. But it does have one major disadvantage: scalability.

The Nintendo Switch isn’t a very powerful piece of hardware but when developers make games specifically for it (or adapt games to it) they squeeze everything they can out of the hardware, same with any other console. Games are made specifically to get the most out of a console’s architecture. But this doesn’t happen with PCs. Developers aren’t forced to develop games for weaker hardware because they know PC owners can just upgrade.

So unless developers aim games specifically at the Steam Deck, as opposed to PC users in general, it’s not gonna be able to keep up the way the Switch has been able to. It looks tempting but I’d rather spend my money on an Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 or even an Xbox Series S, all of which are more powerful. And to be fair, I don’t like the Switch for its portability I like it for Nintendo games. Which, like Plato says, is one thing the Steam Deck simply can’t do.

Immovable object
The most common argument I see about difficulty in FromSoftware games is that a lower difficulty setting has no effect on those who don’t use it. I think this misses the point.

It might be an identical experience for those who use the higher setting, but it wouldn’t be identical at all for the person using the lower one. I get that people want to enjoy a game on their terms and don’t want to be dictated to on what would work better for them personally, but that’s not how creative experiences always work, especially ones which are so steadfast in setting their own terms. There are clearly loads of people who are convinced they know better in terms of what makes games what they are and what they will and won’t get out of a specific experience, and there seems to be absolute certainty that they definitely won’t miss anything fundamental to the From experience as long as they can dabble in the atmosphere and experience with some less critical role-playing features, etc. This completely overlooks a core element of From games, where if a problematic obstacle won’t change then it’s the player that has to.

So many seem quick to dismiss the claim that uncompromising challenge really is a fundamental feature of a From game while they’re no less keen to also disregard what an extremely talented creator’s goals and intentions are. With that in mind, the best support for From games not having multiple difficulty modes is that From haven’t put multiple difficulty modes in their games.

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