Grim Dawn on Xbox Series X: A dated classic on consoles

These are Grim Dawn screenshots from Xbox One

Grim Dawn: Definitive Edition is a Diablo-like action role-playing game (ARPG) that originally launched on PC in 2016. The title garnered stellar reviews from critics and has received strong post-launch support over the years. The Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods expansions not only add more items and weapons, but also bring new environments for you to explore. All of this content is available in the Definitive Edition of the game.

A few years ago, developer Crate Entertainment announced that it was working on an Xbox One port of the popular ARPG. Development hasn’t been smooth, and since then the Xbox Series X|S have launched around the world. Now that Grim Dawn is finally available on Microsoft’s consoles, how does it hold up?

I was provided early access to the game and played it on Xbox Series X. The title runs at 1080p and 30 frames per second (FPS) on the powerful machine and features no optimizations for current-generation hardware. This is disappointing, to say the least, but I contacted the developer and a spokesperson told me that the team didn’t receive an Xbox Series X Developer Kit from Microsoft in time. However, what about Xbox One X enhancements? Surely more could’ve been done for that.

Grim Dawn costs $54.99 on the Microsoft Store so it’s competing with AAA games. The fact that it lacks Xbox One X or Xbox Series X|S optimizations will not only hurt sales, but also hurt the reputation of the game and Crate Entertainment. Maybe delaying it would’ve been a better option, but I think if Grim Dawn had included Xbox One X enhancements, many gamers would’ve been pleased with the results.

These are Grim Dawn screenshots from Xbox One

Since the performance and resolution targets are so low, the game runs smoothly no matter what’s happening on-screen. It plays exactly like an ARPG should with the controller. You directly controller your character with the left thumbstick and use a variety of attacks by pressing buttons like X or Y. My only real complaint would be that the text is too small in the inventory, but that can easily be fixed with an update.

Grim Dawn is a fantastic experience on PC. It’s one of the best ARPGs out there in my opinion, but on Xbox One, it’s a letdown. It looks like an Xbox 360 title to be honest, even though the content is absolutely stellar. The game is complex with a lot of mechanics, features an excellent story, amazing continuous loot drops, and much more. It’s a shame that the title doesn't shine on consoles.

These are Grim Dawn screenshots from Xbox One

Hopefully, the developer will at least issue an Xbox One X patch while it waits to receive Xbox Series X|S units from Microsoft. Unfortunately, the market has moved past Grim Dawn because we’re in a new console generation. Despite whatever problems Crate Entertainment experienced, the team has to take into account that the asking price of $54.99 puts their title in a highly competitive league where there are plenty of other options like Diablo II: Resurrected.

Until Grim Dawn receives an update that overhauls the visuals and frame rate on either Xbox One X or Xbox Series X|S, I simply can’t recommend it. It doesn’t matter how good other aspects of the game are. With that said, the exemplary post-launch support Grim Dawn has received over the years is a testament to the developer’s commitment to its titles. However, it all depends on when those patches are released. Let’s hope it’s soon and not in a few years when there’s even more competition in the ever-growing ARPG genre.

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