PS5 and Xbox: time for some fun

After a week of intense political anxiety, take a break read about fun things

[Hi, I’m Chris Plante, and you’re reading Postgame, a weekly newsletter collecting the best games, stories, and videos in the video game community into a fun, digestible package on Sunday mornings. Learn more on the Postgame About page. Postgame is usually edited by Stephie Grob Plante, but she’s on a road trip so I’m all alone this week! Want to support Postgame? Please share it with a friend! Or even better, visit my work-home at Polygon.com!]


What a week.

I imagine y’all are fried from days of refreshing election news. Hopefully, you’re waking up from your first restful sleep in days, rejuvenated, ready for something fun. Remember fun?

I come to you from the future, having played the next-generation of consoles for the past month. And let me tell ya: I found fun.


Xbox Series X/S

On the Xbox Series X:

On the Xbox Series S:

  • If you’re like I was at age 19, you have a decent laptop, a friend’s hand-me-down monitor, and a desire to play the next Halo on the next Xbox, if only it didn’t cost so much. You care about frame rates and resolution, but mostly, you want a fun toy that lets you play a lot of cool games (including new and upcoming ones). Maybe you can afford to pay $299.99 right now, and after several months of saving up, you’ll grab the $219.99 extra storage — but you can’t justify spending $499 on the bigger Xbox right out of the gate. Especially if you want to be able to afford an ongoing Xbox Game Pass subscription. If that all sounds like you — and you also can’t remember the last time you needed a disc drive — then you’re the target market for the Xbox Series S.” (Maddy Myers, Polygon)

  • The Series S shares most of the same internal components as the larger Series X. That means you get load time improvements, games that run smoother, and the promise of up to 120fps in certain titles. The big difference is the GPU power involved, which, in reality, means most people will need to pair this tiny Xbox with a 1080p TV or monitor. This is a console for those who don’t care about 4K, but questions over its capabilities still remain for me. Will this console hold back next-gen games? Will it do ray tracing well? Will it hit 1440p?” (Tom Warren, The Verge)

  • The Xbox Series S has some serious performance firepower in a small, budget-friendly box. It’s perfect for casual gamers who aren’t 4K obsessed to jump into next gen game play and just have fun! It’s perfect for people or families who are on a strict budget. It’s even perfect for people who own a PlayStation 5 but still want to keep a bit of Xbox in their lives.” (Robin Gray, Gayming Mag)


PlayStation 5


Three games to play

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be the latest entry in the Yakuza series, which spans seven mainline entries and numerous spinoffs. Since the release of the first title in 2005, Yakuza has been a mainstay for the Japanese gaming audience, providing an experience akin to a playable crime drama; in recent years, the franchise has also found a new breath among the Western audience. Like a Dragon seeks to appease old fans and capture a new audience with a daring new combat system and a different protagonist who is both earnest and charismatic. […] To my surprise, Yakuza: Like a Dragon has managed to create an entirely different experience from previous Yakuza games, reinvigorating the series in ways I didn’t think were possible.” (Kazuma Hashimoto, Polygon)

  • Like a Dragon grapples with the series' own potential obsolescence the way yakuza do with theirs. While it's never been a main focus, each game has been good at charting actual yakuza history - whether it's breaking into real estate management or using legitimate businesses as fronts, yakuza had to adapt several times in the face of legislation fighting organised crime. Like a Dragon's story has arrived in the present, and thus focuses on the present state of the yakuza with unexpected candour - at its core, it's a story about yakuza making headway into politics, rather than infighting between fictional clans.” (Malindy Hetfeld, Eurogamer)

  • As the game executes on a melodramatic, multi-faceted conclusion typical of a Yakuza game, you're encouraged to reflect on the hardships and tragedies Ichiban had to endure. It's rare, however, to also see the protagonist of a Yakuza game also do the same. You can see the journey, the struggles, the challenges, the growth, and the friendships worn plainly on his face. Yakuza has a penchant for exaggeration, this game really goes for it, and it works. Ichiban is an expressive character, sometimes to the point of parody, but it's endearing and often inspiring. Ichiban is an idealist and a bit naive, but he's also what his friends have made him through their own personalities and their sense of justice: a hero.” (Michael Higham, GameSpot)

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Astro’s Playroom


Three stories to read


Five videos to watch

Digital Foundry tests Xbox Series X backward compatibility and finds great results.

Digital Foundry tests PS5 backward compatibility and ALSO finds great results.

The Gorillaz go machinima in the year 2020.

I know it’s a week after Halloween, but y’all deserve one more joyfully ghastly video.

Jarvis Johnson has become one of my favorite YouTube creators. This video on the Great Pokémon Card Debacle will show you why.

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The best of the rest


Ephemera


But what do you think?

Send links, tips, comments, questions, games, and favorite Thanksgiving recipes to @plante.

That’s a wrap. See y’all next time. Wear a mask!