The Xbox Series X|S has delivered some big innovations for console gaming. Lightning fast SSD speeds have vastly improved the user experience, while features like VRR and Quick Resume put Xbox in pole position regarding new, high-end feature support. However, there's one Series X|S bonus that sits right atop my list: FPS boost.
FPS Boost is a program that enables certain Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles to support much higher framerates than on native hardware. Some games, like Mad Max, are quadruple the framerate on Series X, while others provide a more subtle boost. In both cases, its reignited my quest to look back and fully appreciate Xbox's back catalogue.
Take Gears of War 3 for instance. This is one of my favourite games of all time, certainly of the Xbox 360 era. However, as The Coalition pushed the franchise towards higher framerates, 30fps in an online shooter just couldn't cut it. Gears 3 multiplayer felt unplayable to me after many hours logged on Gears 4 and 5, which ain't great when it's one of your absolute favourite games ever.
Now though, the entire Gears series is 60fps, and wow, it's transformative. Gears 3 looks and plays like a modern game as a result, and I've been back online poppin' domes and capturing rings. Sure, its dedicated servers are no more, but there's still a small, dedicated playerbase and this game is still fun to hop on, at 60fps no less.
It isn't just multiplayer games that see big boosts either. Far Cry 3 is again, up there as one of my favourite games of the generation. When it launched on Xbox 360, it could bare hit 20 frames per second, never mind its 30fps target. In the latest batch of supported titles, that target was upped to 60 and again, FPS Boost just makes it so nice to go back and spend time with some older classics.
Now, I'll openly admit the program isn't perfect. First off, only a small portion of the Xbox library actually supports the feature, and for now at least, that list isn't growing. You also get some odd visual bugs in certain games, and often you'll have to drop resolution to enable higher framerates.
And yet, this thing is kind of magic. No developer input has been required to boost these games, none of them have been 'patched' as such. The program just works on a system level, and it hugely enhances the older titles it works with. Gears 3 has become a regular in my online shuffle once again, along with the likes of Titanfall, Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V, which all now hit 120fps on Series X.
I really hope the engineering wizards at Microsoft can find a way to expand this program. Don't get me wrong I'm really happy after the latest round of FPS Boost additions but man, it feels like the whole Xbox 360 library could do with a boost. Imagine that, an entire generation — where games often ran at sluggish framerates — transformed to 60fps+. A man can dream...
What's your favourite Xbox feature? Let us know in the comments.