Xbox One users may want to think twice before buying Elden Ring on their aging console, as it’s by far the worst version of the game.
Digital Foundry recently analyzed Elden Ring running on all four versions of last-gen hardware - Xbox One (or Xbox One S), Xbox One X, PS4, and PS4 Pro - and the verdict is that the base Xbox One is “the worst of the four” to play FromSoftware’s open world opus on, with issues compromising both visuals and performance.
This won’t have come as much as a surprise for the select Xbox One users who were able to sample the game earlier during last year’s Closed Network Test, as performance remains largely the same.
When compared side by side with the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X running the game in Quality Mode, the differences between visual quality and overall detail is stark. The Xbox One is like a PC on the lowest settings, paring back environmental shadows, grass density, and ambient occlusion. A lot of this is noticeable very early on in the game’s starting area Limgrave, which is supposed to be covered in grass, but ends up feeling barren on Xbox One.
It gets worse, however. The video shows a later section where you’re confronting a horde of skeleton enemies, which due to limited shading and low-grade shadows, makes the game look like a scene from Jason and the Argonauts.
In terms of resolution, Xbox One typically renders the game at 900p, compared to the dynamic 1800p on Xbox One X, while the base PS4 can at least output at full HD 1080p resolution. The Xbox One version also targets 30fps, but Digital Foundry’s analysis shows that it rarely manages to hit that target, often dipping into the low and mid-twenties when you go from small dungeons into the open world.
In-game animations are also heavily compromised in the Xbox One version of Elden Ring. Enemies viewed from a distance are animated at an extremely low frame rate. While this is not unheard of in other games, the low frame rate animations in Elden Ring on Xbox One take it to an extreme we haven’t seen before, and it’s horribly jarring, to say the least.
The only test where the base Xbox One doesn’t completely lag behind is in loading times, where it narrowly beats PS4 when loading back to a nearby site of grace. That’s still a loading time of around 29 seconds, though, far from ideal in a game where death comes easily. We should point out that Xbox One does once again come last when testing fast-travel loading times, although only marginally worse than the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Considering all the rave reviews that proclaim Elden Ring is a masterpiece (including our own Elden Ring review), it’s certainly not a game you want to be spoiled by underperforming hardware. While you shouldn’t expect something broken like Cyberpunk 2077, Xbox One owners who want the best first-time experience in the Lands Between should wait until they can upgrade to Xbox Series X/S or play the game on a different platform.
- Elden Ring trophy guide: all 41 achievements revealed
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Alan Wen is a freelance journalist writing about video games in the form of features, interview, previews, reviews and op-eds. His work has appeared in print including Edge, Official Playstation Magazine, GamesMaster, Games TM, Wireframe, Stuff, and online including Kotaku UK, TechRadar, FANDOM, Rock Paper Shotgun, Digital Spy, The Guardian, and The Telegraph.