FPS Boost: brilliant for Xbox gamers but we hope to see more from Series X

Microsoft jammed its foot down hard on the accelerator pedal with the recent release of 74 (!) additional titles offering FPS Boost support, which sees frame-rate of back-compat Xbox One games doubled – or even quadrupled – for play on the new generation of console hardware. In combination with prior FPS Boost updates, we’re now looking at a total of 97 titles available for accelerated play – and the results are generally terrific. 60fps trumps 30fps after all, which can prove transformative. However, there is the sense that the 4K60 dream for Xbox One X titles on Series X remains mostly unfulfilled.

So, here’s the deal. FPS Boost works at the system level of Xbox Series consoles. Similar to a GPU control panel override on PC, Microsoft is able to remove frame-rate caps at the DirectX API layer while at the same time, the firm can enforce v-sync and engage other enhancements, such as enforced 16x anisotropic filtering. The end result is an increase to frame-rate that allows 30fps games to run at 60fps, or 60fps titles to hit 120fps. In rare cases, FPS Boost can see a game that used to run at 30fps on Xbox One hit 120fps on Series X – as we see with Avalanche’s Mad Max and select Lego titles in the latest update. Games run smoother than ever before and play better – so to see this feature rolled out on so many games with more inevitably to follow can only be a good thing.

In the video embedded above, Tom Morgan and I looked over 15 games in total and for my money, the most impressive improvement comes from Shadow of the Tomb Raider. On Series S, a 900p Xbox One game with some performance problems runs nigh-on perfectly at 60fps – its temporal anti-aliasing solution working well in delivering its exceptional visuals in a pleasing way on a 1080p screen, even if its base resolution remains at 900p. Series X is a dream though: Xbox One X’s 3584×2016 resolution is retained and the vast majority of the game plays out at 60fps or very close to it. I’m reminded of the frame-rate cap removal we’ve seen on PS4 Pro titles like God of War, Days Gone or Ghost of Tsushima: games that looked beautiful on a 4K screen but were held back by the 30fps limit see them transformed when running on the latest console hardware.

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