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Load times with the Xbox Series X SSD drive are an absolute game changer. I was able to try out some pretty big current-generation titles and compare them to the most powerful current-gen console, the Xbox One X, to see how much more powerful the new machine truly is. And let me tell you, these speeds will make the world of a difference to your day-to-day gaming time.
Naturally, we had to test out the load times for Rockstars heavy hitters, the big one of course being Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that still looks and feels like a next-gen title. From the in-game menu it takes approximately 40 seconds to load into the campaign mode on Xbox Series X, whereas on the One X it takes a hefty 1 minute and 53 seconds.
Another Rockstar game that is notorious for its loading screens is Grand Theft Auto V, and this truly blew our minds. From the in-game menu to the campaign mode, loading takes only a few seconds. Some moments it would be near instant, while other moments it'd be about 3 seconds. And that is incredible.
DOOM Eternal also produced a similarly impressive result, with the Series X loading a checkpoint in nine seconds while the One X dropped me into the action at around 49 seconds.
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Something to highlight with Gears 5 is the character pop-in seen in the campaign lobby is gone on Series X, while it takes a very long time for the models to appear on One X.
I also tested out how quick it would be to fast travel in games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, where when traveling between points I'd usually just whack open Twitter and start scrolling as I had so much time to kill. Not on the Series X. When fast travelling from one end of Ancient Greece to the other, it would take merely a few seconds again. There was an instance where I went to fast travel to a location and out of habit I attempted to pull out my phone; but before I could even do that, I was already at the location. Gone are the days of doom scrolling between load screens.
Now, we all know that games are big, sometimes too big (looking at you, Modern Warfare), so only having 802GB of usable storage is quite daunting. Thankfully you can still play all your current generation (or is it the last generation, now?) games off an external USB drive, and just like it was running on the internal SSD, so Quick Resume will work too.
The only downside here is that you can't install and play any next-gen games off an external USB drive - instead, you need to use Xbox's own proprietary drives. At the moment there is only one available, the 1TB Seagate Expansion Card. At around £220 these aren't cheap - but they can run all next-gen games just like the internal SSD, and just like an external device they're entirely hot swappable.
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