The wait is almost over; the new generation of video game consoles is upon us.

Microsoft‘s flagship next-generation console Xbox Series X launches worldwide on November 10th. While Halo Infinite‘s delay to 2021 may have left a hole, the Xbox Series X launch lineup boasts mega-popular franchises and hundreds of hours worth of gaming. Gamers can expect to traverse beautifully-realised worlds such as modern-day Japan, near-future London, ancient Norway and futuristic Earth.

Before getting into all that, make sure to get some Xbox Live Gift Cards to snatch up these enticing games on launch day. Anyways, here’s what awaits you on Day 1 of Xbox Series X.

Gears Tactics

No conversation about Xbox is complete without a mention of the ultra-jacked soldiers defending humanity from mutants.

Yes, the Gears (of War) franchise will make its imposing presence known at launch on the Xbox Series X, but not in the form of an official entry but the XCOM style turn-based spin-off: Gears Tactics. First released on PC in April, Gears Tactics puts you in the combat boots of Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Diaz who is building an organised force to take down the adversaries. The brutal executions, plenty of cover and waves upon waves of enemies from the third-person shooters carry smoothly into the new genre, but Gears Tactics plays more to itchy brains than to itchy trigger-fingers.

The cheap enemy spawning and diminished replayability irked the PC gamers, but the Xbox Series X version promises to be an improvement. New Deviant enemy-type will add to the longevity, while console users will also get a trusty companion in Jack: the cloaking robot from the original trilogy. The game will also run at a native 4K and at 60 FPS on Xbox Series X.

Watch Dogs: Legion

Delayed by a year thanks to developers’ Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint failure, Watch Dogs: Legion arrives on October 29 with a lot riding on it. Not only is it the third entry in a high-profile, but a critically-middling franchise, it is also the most ambitious one. Set in a post-Brexit, near-future London, Watch Dogs: Legion presents the English capital as an open-world sandbox and all its inhabitants as potential recruits. Think Pokemon, but with a lot of hacking.

Every NPC character comes with its own skills, traits, background and daily cycle, and your primary protagonist can enlist them in the resistance movement called DedSec. It almost sounds too good to be true, but early previews assure that the gameplay loop is not just functional but enjoyable and highly replayable. And with British rapper Stormzy and original Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce confirmed as post-release additions, the game will only get bigger.

Its large-scale could have an adverse effect on Legion’s graphics, which have been reported to be occasionally janky. On the Xbox Series X though, Watch Dogs: Legion will support DirectX ray tracing, which could mean a London with rich shadows and lighting.

As for us, any game that lets us play and kick ass as a posh granny is a day-one buy.

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Yakuza: Like A Dragon

The seventh entry in Sega’s acclaimed Yakuza series switches up the game in two major ways, making it controversial for longtime fans and accessible to newcomers. Firstly, the perennial leading man Kiryu Kazuma was replaced with a brand-new character, Ichiban Kasuga. The bigger change, however, was changing it from a brawler to RPG, with the series’ characteristic beat ’em up fights becoming turn-based battles.

The end result was a satisfying adventure that lived up to its Yakuza prefix. Like A Dragon’s turn-based action was still snappy, the sidequests zany as ever and the characters and plot as layered as the best Yakuza games. The overall freshness — including the new setting of Yokohama’s Isezaki Ijincho — makes it a great entry point for first-timers. While a chance to visit familiar towns and appearances from previous characters should satisfy the regulars. Along with the litany of minigames, larger maps and twice as long story, you might need to put aside close to a hundred hours to sink into Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

It came out in Japan in January, and Sega has confirmed that its Western release lines up with that of Xbox Series X: November 10. And for those on the fence about Yakuza: Like A Dragon, the game does feature the infamous Baka Mitai song, and you can Dame Da Ne to your heart’s content.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

Another entry in our list, another entry in an illustrious franchise.

After sitting out 2019, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed roars back this fall with Valhalla, an open-world adventure set in ninth-century England. You play as a Viking warrior Eivor, with both male and female playable options available. You will lead your clan’s migration from Norway to England and fend off the angry Saxons in the process.

Gameplay-wise, Valhalla looks like a by-the-numbers Assassin’s Creed title, solidly in the vein of modern predecessors Origins and Odyssey. The stealthy origins of the series have long turned into full-fledged RPG campaigns, and Valhalla continues the tradition with branching dialogue, player choices and in-depth progression systems. Layla Hassan, the modern-day character, will make her third straight appearance. Your flying companion this time around will be a raven instead of an eagle and options to tame wild beasts such as bears are also seemingly present.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is looking like another expansive, long-winded game with large-scale battles and numerous key characters. There are also rumored plans of ‘The Legend of Beowulf’ DLC means several hours will be added to an already chunky campaign post-release. And with the game slated to take full advantage of Xbox Series X power, expect a flawless 4K 60 FPS experience.

 Conclusion

An obvious problem with the Xbox Series X launch lineup is the lack of first-party exclusives. There’s a heavy reliance on crossovers: games that have already witnessed current-gen releases or games which will be available across platforms. But the console makes up for it with super-efficient third-party support, backward compatibility and powerful specifications. So while a title may run on other platforms, Xbox Series X is shaping up to be the topmost choice.

And with Microsoft‘s recent acquisition of Bethesda, the lineup will only grow bigger and Xbox Series X‘s future brighter.


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