Xbox One X Fallout 76 bundle.Credit: Microsoft

If you’re looking to buy an Xbox One X this Black Friday, it’s not a bad time to do so. It’s at its lowest base price since it debuted, though of course, that wasn’t all that long ago. The standard deal at most retailers is $100 off of any bundle, though you can check back for a complete list on those tomorrow. That price gets you the most powerful console on the market, at least until the next generation comes out either in 2020 or 2021. It’s a solid console for those with a 4K TV and the desire to see what it’s made of. That doesn’t mean I can recommend the console or the deals without reservations, however, so let’s get into why.

To start with, Microsoft dropped the ball on exclusive software this generation and buying an Xbox over a PS4 means that you won’t have access to some of the best games in the market today. That means no God of War, no Spider-Man, no Uncharted series and no Bloodborne. It’s a loss, and Redmond doesn’t have much to answer it with.

Furthermore, the bundle offerings we’ve got for this Black Friday are just not that great. There are a few options but nearly all of them come with caveats, which is a marked difference from Sony’s Spider-Man bundle or Nintendo’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle

The biggest one to avoid here is the Fallout 76 bundle, which seems to be one of Microsoft’s more prominent bundles this season. That might have looked like a good deal a few weeks ago, but it’s looking a whole lot worse now. Fallout 76 has had something of a terrible launch, and our own Paul Tassi gave it a 5/10. It’s hard recommending spending the time to play it in this current state, let alone spending money on it.

You might be better off with Battlefield 5, but that game isn’t receiving anywhere near the rave reviews of its predecessor, Battlefield 1. It’s a quixotic release with a 75 on metacritic, and it’s just not really competing with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Same goes for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is a solid action adventure title that nonetheless doesn’t quite punch up to the level of either Tomb Raider or Rise of the Tomb Raider. It’s already seeing significant discounts, and you can get it for around $30 at a variety of retailers. Those prices aren’t likely to go back up a ton after Black Friday, and I’d expect this to be down to $15 at some point in 2019.

Forza Horizon 4 is an excellent game that won’t disappoint any racing fans. The price, however, isn’t quite what it seems. Forza Horizon 4 is included in Game Pass, which will likely be a more cost-effective way of getting the game for most people. If you’re buying a console and plan on getting game pass, bundling this particular game actually doesn’t represent a value at all.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a weird one, having sparked the battle royale genre before Fortnite ran with it. And while it’s not bad, I’m not sure it represents a great value, particularly when Fortnite is free.

There’s really only one bundle that feels like it can be recommended without reservation, and that’s NBA2k19. That recommendation comes from Brian Mazique, who gave the game a stellar 9.5/10 in his review. 

Really, what I’d recommend doing is just buying the straight-up, no-frills console for $399.99. That’s a solid deal, and that $30 can be put to better use building your own bundle–even one with some of the games above–rather than grabbing any of these pre-made ones.

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