The joy of Auto HDR on the new Xbox

I was listening to a recent Giant Bomb podcast where the team discussed how much they were digging through their old Xbox games to see improvements and Geometry Wars come up as a good example of how well the new Auto HDR feature, which magically applies HDR features to old games, works and so I downloaded both games (Geometry Wars Retro Evolved and the sequel) to see for myself.

While the original game runs perfectly fine on the Series X, it’s lower resolution and detail let it down and the impact is lost somewhat. However with Retro Evolved 2 (that runs at 1080p) it’s a whole different matter and the game looks freaking spectacular with Auto HDR really bringing out the visuals. So good in fact it doesn’t come across as an “old” 360 game at all… I was genuinely astonished with how well it turned out. There’s been some impressive updates I’ve seen so far with old games in the last few weeks:

  • Elite Dangerous gets a boost in framrate stability and speed, as does Call of Duty Modern Warfare which even slipped in a 120fps mode as a bonus. I recently picked up Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition in a sale and to have it run perfectly smooth from start to finish is a huge benefit.
  • The draw distance in the X/S upgrade to Sea of Thieves is has been increased substantially plus improved frame rate and load times make it by far the best way to play it on console. Forza Horizon 4 has similar benefits in its upgraded version with it’s 4K mode now able to hit 60fps.

… but Retro Evolved 2 with the addition of HDR really impressed me A LOT. Both this and the performance boosts help give a lot of games a second chance to win over gamers and hopefully help achieve longer tail in sales too. Having a platform holder so willing to commit to making old games look better than ever is definitely a first and it’s making me feel much happier in going back through my pile of shame too so I guess it’s succeeded. 🙂

Anyone else found games that have shined thanks to the upgrade?

1 reply »

  1. Even PGA 2k 21 (which doesn’t have a specific enhancement patch) looks and runs amazing on the Xbox Series X. The Auto HDR really deepens the colours and the game has the benefit of different anti aliasing settings. Setting it to TAA on the XSX is amazing.

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