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A first look at ray tracing on the $ 299 Xbox Series S



Ubisoft gave a first glimpse of ray tracing on the next-generation Xbox console a few weeks ago, and now we have a chance to play the optimized version of Watch Dogs: Legion on both Xbox Series X and Series S. The most obvious change from the regular Xbox One or PS4 version of the game is the introduction of ray tracing for Series X and S.

On both dashboards, there are plenty of reflective windows, puddles and glowing neon signs inside London’s based world. See Dogs: Legion. All are ideal for ray tracing. These ray reflections more accurately demonstrate the normally damp and dark parts of London, and often feel as if there are puddles of water on the clear floor. Watch Dogs: Legion only ready to reflect nearby light sources.

One of the best places to prove this in the game is the Piccadilly Circus, a tourist hotspot in the heart of London’s West End theater district. There are large screens, reflective puddles, neon signs and lots of windows nearby to really show off at night tracing.

The $ 299 Xbox Series S handles most of these well, albeit running at 30 fps at 1080p. In fact, I was surprised at this early example of ray tracing on the smaller next-generation Xbox. Since the Xbox Series S can output at 4K, I played it Watch dogs is a 4K OLED TV.

While the game doesn’t render in 4K on the Series S, the console upscales the picture quality from the target 1080p to 4K. The results are sometimes a bit coarse around the edges, but the OLED TV certainly helped to hide the fact that the picture is being upgraded from 1080p for me.

The $ 499 Xbox Series X targets 4K resolution at 30 fps, and picture quality is typically close to the super settings found on the PC version of the game. I am also testing Watch Dogs: Legion on a PC equipped with a Core i9-10900K and Nvidia’s latest RTX 3090 graphics card. The PC version is clearly outperforming thanks to its higher frame rate, improved ray tracing and more detailed, but the Xbox Series X is also surprisingly close.

Ray track seems to be one of the bigger promises of this next generation console, but we weren’t able to test it fully on the Xbox Series X and S during the review period. The PS5 is also using ray tracing in many games, including Miles Morales Spiderman, including ray tracing mode at 30 fps or performance mode at 60 fps. We cannot test Watch Dogs: Legion on PS5 just yet.

We might need to wait to see a next generation AAA game run at 60 fps with lots of ray tracing effects enabled, but these early examples on Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and PS5 are very encouraging. We will inevitably see even more dramatic examples in the coming months and years.


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