When a slime showed me the power of the cloud

For those who love video games, few things can be more frustrating than wanting to play something and finding out that the title won’t be available on the console they own. This recently happened here at home, while my son was anxiously awaiting the release of Slime Rancher 2.

cloud games

Credit: Reproduction/macrovector/Freepik

A fan of the predecessor, he was always talking about what he expected from the new chapter of the series and how excited he was for its release. To my delight, the creation of Monomi Park being present in the Microsoft subscription service would save me a few reais, but what we didn’t realize is that, contrary to what happened with the first game, the second would not have a version for the Xbox One.

It was only on the eve of launch that we realized this important detail and since purchasing an Xbox Series was out of the question, I could only think of two options. The first would be for the kid to play on my computer, but since it’s the machine I work on, it would depend on whether the PC is free. The other possibility appeared in my head as something that I considered a bit radical, almost a desperate measure: to face the so-called Slime Rancher 2 over the cloud, leveraging Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Although I had heard some praise about the service, due to the many games that are already in the queue waiting to be enjoyed, I never stopped to test it. However, even knowing the risk of frustrating my son (and later having to give up the PC), I decided that it was worth giving a chance to something that promised to be the solution for those who don’t want to invest in the acquisition of a console.

Slime Rancher 2 and the Cloud: Making a Child’s Joy (Credit: Disclosure/Monomi Park)

With the game released, we turned on the Xbox One X and accessing the game was extremely simple. After finding it in the Game Pass catalogue, all we had to do was click on a cloud icon and a few seconds later we were in the menu. I confess that what happened next left me a little surprised.

At least as a spectator, the impression was that the game was running locally, with a good resolution and no drops in frames. As at that moment I had other things to do, I let him enjoy the long-awaited game and started to hope that the good initial experience would be maintained.

As the days went by and I noticed that my son was still dedicating some time to Slime Rancher 2, it was clear that no matter how bad the experience Xbox Cloud Gaming was providing him, it was worth it. When I asked him if the game was running well, he always responded positively and that convinced me that I should give the technology another chance.

Cloud Games: From Gambiarra to Official Support in Brazil

OnLive home menu (Credit: Playback/Youtube)

The first time I had the opportunity to experience a cloud game was over 10 years ago, with OnLive. Although the test carried out at that time went relatively well, it had some delays in response to commands, but as the service was not available here, given the enormous distance to the servers in the United States, I considered the problem to be understandable.

However, in the case of Microsoft streaming games this would not be a valid excuse, but I needed to see the real viability of the service, to feel that there was no delay in responses that compromised the experience. It was time to turn on my eighth-gen console and see if, with the help of the cloud, it could “pass” as an Xbox Series or something close to it.

For the first test I decided to raise the bar a lot and went looking for the Halo Infinite. As it is an FPS, a genre that requires so much precision from the controls, a bad impression left by Xbox Cloud Gaming could have spoiled the whole experience, but what happened was just the opposite.

Just like watching my son play something that was running hundreds of miles from my house, being in control had the same feeling that the new Master Chief adventure was running locally. If there is any delay in the responses, I confess I didn’t notice, with the game presenting a good visual quality and without a drop in the frame rate.

But I needed more proof that playing this way was just a hallucination, so I opened the Serious Sam 4. unlike the Halo Infinitethis FPS does not have an Xbox One version, being another good chance to run on the old console something that is only available on its successor.

cloud games

Credit: Reproduction/macrovector/Freepik

After setting the graphics to quality mode, I started the campaign and again I got a good response. There it was possible to see some instability in the frames, which was solved when I switched to performance mode. From that moment on everything became more fluid and pleasant.

Even because there was no need to download the games and with the loading time being very low, I started jumping from one title to another, always with a very good impression. But I wanted to see how a racing game would behave this way and the chosen one was the Forza Horizon 5.

However, as I had already downloaded the version of it for Xbox One, the option to enjoy it through the cloud did not appear. The solution was to remove the game from the HD and as soon as I entered the remote version, what a disappointment! With a very low frame rate and fluctuating absurdly, playing like that would be impossible and then I started to think that Xbox Cloud Gaming wasn’t as good as I imagined.

My first idea was to open the menu to see if there was an option that privileged frames and it was there. After asking me to restart the title, within seconds I was back on the streets, with the difference being stark. O Forza Horizon 5 started to run smooth and except for an artifact in the image here or there, it was more of a title that gave me the feeling that it was my video game that was running it.

Substitute? No, but a nice addition

Xbox Cloud Gaming in the browser (Credit: Playback/Dori Silver/Half Bit)

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to cloud gaming is selling technology like the one that came to replace consoles. It may even happen in the future, but for now, I still prefer to have the game running locally, with it delivering the maximum possible visual quality and without relying on an internet connection.

However, even today the idea of ​​cloud gaming is already viable, being a great alternative for those who do not have a console or a high-end computer. For most of the time, playing like this won’t be much different from the traditional way, it only takes a few minutes to forget that our machine is just reproducing the image of something running far away from our homes.

For me, the question we should ask ourselves here is: as much as a game enjoyed in this way doesn’t reach the visual quality of an Xbox Series X, which would be better, playing like this or not being able to play at all?

There is even the case that we have access to a visually enhanced version of a game, as I did with the Aliens: Fireteam Elite. When I first tested it on Xbox One X, it performed so badly that I ended up giving up on continuing. Then I even considered buying its version for PlayStation 5, but if I can face the Xbox Series version thanks to the cloud, why spend money on an average title?

I understand that certain games may not work very well over the cloud, especially those aimed at competitive multiplayer and there is still the problem that only part of the Game Pass catalog is available that way. However, except in these cases and for people who like to squeeze frames on a computer or who could invest a few thousand reais in a console, something like Xbox Cloud Gaming seems to me to be an excellent alternative, as it facilitates access to games its main quality.

It may seem contradictory what I will say, but despite the great experience I had with Xbox Cloud Gaming, I admit that I still intend to acquire a Series X. However, in the meantime, my intention is to take better advantage of this idea of ​​cloud gaming, a feature I had access to and didn’t even know it worked so well.

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