When Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order was revealed to be joining the growing list of titles optimised for next-gen, I didn't hesitate in putting it to the test. This Respawn Entertainment game still holds up as one of the finest adventures I've explored within the Star Wars universe, and I was desperate to sink my teeth into something connected to the series following the exciting announcement from Ubisoft. To really showcase the improvements, I played the game on both a vanilla Xbox One and a shiny new Xbox Series X to see whether it was worth returning to for a second visit.
Like many other optimised titles that we have seen in the past, Fallen Order on Xbox Series X has two modes: a Performance Mode (1080p / 60fps) and a Post-processing Mode (4K / 30fps). Both of these modes can simply be toggled between within the main menu and you don't need to reboot your machine to alternate between them. I found both of those modes to have their own perks, as the Performance Mode allows for a much smoother flow to those intense Lightsaber battles and Post-Processing Mode is the optimum choice for soaking in your surroundings. Just for comparison, The vanilla Xbox One and PS4 versions run at 1080p 30fps, which makes both of the modes on the Xbox Series X superior in one aspect.
Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed was how much faster it was to get into the action. On my vanilla Xbox One, it took around two minutes to get to the main menu after I clicked on the app, and on Xbox Series this same task only took 55 seconds. Perhaps this was a slightly unfair comparison as my six-year-old vanilla Xbox One is pretty much on its last legs, but the change in loading times is significant here. This isn't something that is exclusive to this update as it's due the console's SSD, but I thought that it was worth highlighting, as it is one of the reasons why it is difficult coming back to the Xbox One version.
I have to admit that I approached Fallen Order from a very unique position, as I started my journey on the Xbox Series X version. Admittedly, even with the Post-Processing Mode enabled, you're not going to see a difference in visual quality that will make your eyeballs pop out of your skull. There are noticeable improvements, but these are subtle and can be missed unless you're examining the versions side by side as we did for this article.
An issue that the Xbox One really seems to suffers with, is shadow and texture pop in. In the video above (at 2:12) you can see an example of this, as there is a delay in loading the texture of the platform that I am sliding onto. In the same scene on the Xbox Series X, this delay isn't present at all and the pools of rainwater on the ground appear to be more reflective and detailed. I noticed the pop in with the shadows when visiting Bogano earlier in the game. For a comparison, I captured a sweeping pan of the cliffs and on the Xbox One the lighting stuttered as I proceeded to spin around the camera. On Xbox Series X, this issue didn't seem present at all, regardless of which of the two modes I was playing on.
Fallen Order's choppy framerate was widely complained about at launch, as it would often dip below 30fps on the PS4 and Xbox One. This isn't an issue I experienced at all on Xbox Series X and the Performance Mode remained at an anchored 60fps throughout. The upped frame rate was something that I really appreciated in Fallen Order as your success is often hinged on how fast your reflexes are. During Lightsaber battles, for example, you have to read your opponent's movements to precisely time your swings, dodges, and parries. If you want to know how much a poor frame rate can kill your fun in a third-person game like this, try taking a visit to Blighttown in the very first Dark Souls.
The differences between these versions aren't exactly night and day unless you're staring at them side-by-side, but the Xbox Series X version still makes for an improved experience all around. The frame rate in Performance Mode provides a fluid 60fps and issues like texture and shadow pop in aren't present when playing on Post-Processing Mode. Loading times are also significantly faster with it taking half the speed to reach the main menu. If you haven't checked out Fallen Order yet and you have the money to spare, then do yourself a favour and grab a copy on Xbox Series X. It won't disappoint.
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