Xbox One’s backward compatibility list has been steadily growing since the backward compatibility feature for Xbox One launched completely for Xbox One units worldwide. Just this week, Xbox One released another batch of Xbox 360 titles compatible to the Xbox One, which includes: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Sam & Max Save the World, Aegis Wing, Counter-Strike: GO, Age of Booty, Space Giraffe, Soul Calibur, Skullgirls, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad, and Small Arms.
Xbox One would be highly commended for transcending the console boundaries, porting Xbox 360 titles to their new-gen console. However, while the effort has been excitedly and graciously received by their patrons, there are some hiccups we took notice of that’s worth the second look.
The Digital Foundry has been consistent in delivering test results of games across the platforms they are available on, but this time, they compare the performance of some of Xbox’s major games that are now natively and digitally playable on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. And while they found some Xbox 360 titles are working beautifully on the Xbox One, some are just horrible, bordering on unplayable.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, Shadow Complex, and Assassin’s Creed 2 are part of the games tested, and while there are some points to be raised, they are easily playable on the Xbox One.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings just came for the Xbox One through the backward compatibility feature this week, and Digital Foundry did not waste a minute to give an update on the port. The Witcher 2, in recap, was first released on the PC and it was one of the most beautiful and advanced titles of its time. When it was ported down to the Xbox 360, the fans were anxious, but CD Projekt Red handled it beautifully. Its performance now on the Xbox One was equally satisfying, with minor frame-rate lag during combat, but overall, as good as new.
Assassin’s Creed 2 is, as of now, the only game in its franchise to reach the Xbox One via backward compatibility. Its port on the Xbox One is performing real well, considering Assassin’s Creed 2 is the best in its franchise on the Xbox 360 in terms of performance.
Shadow Complex works almost perfect on the Xbox One, with some cut-scenes even running smoother than it has on the Xbox 360.
The first three Gears of War titles now compatible on the Xbox One are all quite a success, save for some minor slowdowns. There are also cutscenes where the Xbox One port works smoother that its native Xbox 360. In terms of performance and frame-rates, Gears of War 2 soar above the rest.
However, while the first three Gears of War titles came out well, Gears of War: Judgement was deemed almost unplayable due to severe performance drops. While it was recognized as the best in its franchise on the Xbox 360, pushing the last-gen hardware to its absolute limits, its performance on the Xbox One is demeaning. Frame-rates go down below 20fps during combat, and even when enemies are eliminated in large areas. Digital Foundry notes that playing it on Xbox One is simply too compromised in comparison to the glory that it held on the Xbox 360.
The verdict for Halo: Reach has been disappointing, too, with frame-rates going as low as 15 fps. Even during its 30 fps moments, the play is still unstable. The consistent instability throughout the gameplay is heartbreaking for Halo fans who have been expecting so much from the only Halo titles on the backward compatibility list to date.
The test also put under the spotlight several titles that exceeded expectations, working even better on the Xbox One than on the Xbox 360. Condemned and Hydro Thunder were found to run smoother on the Xbox One, with consistent frame-rates and gameplay experience. At some points, frame-rates were even better on the Xbox One, garnering appreciation from Digital Foundry.
Overall, the titles released by Microsoft for the Xbox One are commendable, especially considering the amount of time they spend into porting each title to the newer console. Some titles could still be improved and some lessons learned could be implemented, but it’s undoubtedly a job well done for the Xbox One team. Check out the full verdicts of tested Xbox One backward compatible titles over at Eurogamer.