October 23, 2021

Xbox One X

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Forza Horizon 3’s Xbox One X update is a true showcase for console 4K

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Forza Horizon 3 gets an enhanced Xbox One X patch this week, adding a 4K presentation plus other extras to an already visually arresting title. Developer Playground Games has justifiable confidence in this update – to the point that we were invited to its Leamington Spa office for a rundown of the benefits, and handed footage ahead of time. This X patch won’t satisfy those looking for a 60fps version of the game – the lock remains at 30fps – but what it does bring to the table in terms of 4K support does impress.

What you get with Horizon 3 on Xbox One X is a true 3840×2160 rendition of the game with no dynamic scaling or checkerboarding in play. Fixing it to 4K is an incredible feat in itself: a quadrupling of pixels rendered compared to a base Xbox One’s 1080p, in effect mirroring the efforts Turn 10 made with Forza Motorsport 7. The good news continues when it comes to how that 4K image is presented. Surprisingly, there’s enough GPU overhead to retain the taxing, 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing we had on the regular Xbox One, running in tandem with that 4K resolution.

The final image quality when combined with motion blur is superb, and really it’s hard to criticise a graphics engine firing on all cylinders in this way. Even so, PC running at 4K and max settings does highlights a few interesting contrasts. In that case you have the option of FXAA on top of the 4x MSAA – which can refine the stair-steps even further compared to Xbox One X. However, on the whole it’s only a marginal change, and Microsoft’s console pushes a beautifully crisp and clear frame that’s a near pixel-match for PC at 4K. It’s a phenomenal effort, and the only console title we’ve seen this generation to apply 4x MSAA to such a high resolution image. For anyone buying an ultra HD TV today, Forza Horizon 3 has immediately become great showcase material.

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