The Best Xbox One Games So Far
24. Dead Cells
22. Ori and the Blind Forest
21. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Still, great games like this should never die. This collection delivers more than a huge Halo fan like myself could have reasonably imagined and, even with its (hopefully temporary) online issues, it packs an insane amount of first-person shooter greatness onto one disc. Here’s to reliving old memories and creating new ones, because maybe in 10 years from now, this Master Chief Collection will mean to some of you what Halo 2 meant to me a decade ago.”
20. Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 continues down the trail its predecessors blazed with its exacting combat and oppressive air of danger, but it reaches beyond that familiar identity with a flair for making the destroyed and desolate feel absorbing and magnetic. The Kingdom of Lothric elicits a sensation of curiosity just powerful enough to overcome the dread of what could be waiting around the next corner though; the rewards of exploration, both material and experiential, make Dark Souls 3 difficult to pull away from. Since Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice just came out, we had a tough time deciding which FromSoft game to recommend. Both Dark Soul 3 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice scored a 9.5 from us, but we gave the edge to Dark Souls 3 thanks its dark-gothic atmosphere and its grand sense of scale.
From IGN’s 2016 Dark Souls 3 review: “If Dark Souls 3 truly is the last in the series as we know it, then it’s a worthy send-off. Weapon arts allow stylish and versatile new moves without tarnishing the purity of the combat system. Lothric’s awe-inspiring locations provide visually stunning arenas for rigorous exploration and fierce face-offs with hosts of deadly enemies and even deadlier bosses. While not all the risky changes land as neatly as others, Dark Souls 3 is a powerful journey and the sequel the series truly deserves.”
19. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a masterclass of atmosphere, storytelling, and the marriage of mechanical and conceptual design. The care and attention Ninja Theory has clearly poured into Senua and her story has created something amazing. Hellblade’s beautiful presentation and dense story reinforce its serious subject matter in this vivid tale of harrowing darkness.
From IGN’s 2017 Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review: “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a masterclass of atmosphere, storytelling, and the marriage of mechanical and conceptual design. While there are moments that feel shoehorned in to remind us we’re playing a video game, the care and attention Ninja Theory has clearly poured into Senua and her story has created something amazing. This is a game everyone should play, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have lived inside the mind of Senua, however briefly.”
18. Monster Hunter: World
It’s not hard to see what makes Monster Hunter World so alluring. Against imposing, fantastical monsters of staggering stature, you slowly gain the knowledge, skill, and equipment needed to topple them all. That core loop is so engaging, and so rewarding, as you discover each new beast more complex and mystifying than the last. This is a masterclass of action-RPG design and presentation, with a world that feels alive thanks to the incredible attention to detail in the environments and the many creatures that inhabit them. If you’re looking for an experience to get lost within as you slowly ascend each link of the food chain, look no further.
From IGN’s 2018 Monster Hunter: World review: “Whether or not it’s the best, this is certainly the most audacious Monster Hunter game. World takes a dramatic leap into a look, feel, and size that feels truly new, simultaneously staying true to the series’ ideals by maintaining the addictive loop of combat, intimidating monsters and meaningful upgrades that fans love. The sheer depth and commitment required is still intense, but it clearly isn’t Capcom’s aim to court a casual crowd. This is as all-consuming and incredible a ride as ever.”
After years in development hell – not to mention being a reboot of the actual greatest first-person shooter of all-time – the 2016 edition of Doom has absolutely no business being as good as it is. Thing is, it’s not just good: it’s one of the best single-player shooters in years and one of the best Xbox One games, period. It successfully modernized the fast-paced carnage of the original game without losing its spirit. Its character upgrade system miraculously doesn’t feel forced and instead has you gleefully ripping into massive mobs of monsters by the end of the meaty campaign. Multiplayer is a bit of a mixed bag, but think of it as the optional side to a glorious main course.
From IGN’s 2016 Doom review: “Doom is a tale of two very different shooters (and one quirky creation tool). The single-player campaign’s reverent worship of the series’ roots results in an old-school run-and-gun shooter which feels like imitation Doom, a cover of an old hit which nails all the right power chords but isn’t exactly transformative. The multiplayer’s attempts to borrow from the new to reinvigorate the old results in an experience which won’t satisfy either school of thought. SnapMap, meanwhile, is a blend of weird and simple and endearing.”
Art in motion. That’s what Cuphead, more so than any other video game, literally is. But Cuphead’s brilliance goes much deeper than its hand-drawn, 1930’s-style cartoon aesthetic; it also happens to be one of the best bullet-hell shooters in years, with precise controls, incredible challenge, and genius Easter eggs like a black-and-white mode. It manages to walk the fine line of being difficult without being sadistic. That Cuphead was done by a first-time development team and is as brilliant as it is should be viewed as nothing less than a remarkable achievement by Studio MDHR.
From IGN’s 2017 Cuphead review: “Cuphead made me feel more good and more bad than any other game I’ve played in the last several years. I swore, laughed, and hollered with delight. I hated it (and my own fingers) for long stretches but, having finished, I realize that’s more or less the point – I emerged from all that pain smiling. Rather than simply offering the player what they want, Cuphead makes them earn that right – the rewards, if you can hack the tests, are absolutely worth it. Cuphead is incredible for more than just its looks. But before you dive in, make sure you actually want a game that plays like this and not just a game that looks like this.”
15. Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil 2 has set the bar impossibly high for remakes and remasters of classic games by reimagining the 1998 original. But more importantly, it’s become the gold standard of survival horror in 2019. The derelict corridors of the Racoon City Police Department are brimming with both tension and action, which is a difficult balance to achieve in and of itself, but is just the beginning of Resident Evil 2’s triumphs. Each item, weapon, and enemy is part of a brilliant ecosystem that either hastens or hinders your progress through it. Even your run-of-the-mill zombie presents a unique obstacle in the sense that the ones you’ve already “killed” sometimes come back “life.” It’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it to expend valuable resources like shotgun shells or plywood boards to deal with them for good. As new elements are introduced old ones gain new meaning, and the bigger picture becomes a bit more clear. Throw in an excellent narrative, brilliant level design, and a wealth of addition modes and playthrough options, and Resident Evil 2 is more than worthy of your time.
From IGN’s 2018 Resident Evil 2 Remake review: “Capcom did a fantastic job of resurrecting all the best parts of the classic Resident Evil 2 and making them look, sound, and play like a 2019 game. If you’re of the mind that the series had lost its way for a while there, this game is very much a return to form. The zombie combat is satisfying and exploring the dilapidated ruins of Raccoon City is a thrill. The one big letdown is that the two characters’ stories aren’t different enough to make the second playthrough as rewarding as the first, even after unlocking the 2nd Game mode. But whichever you choose to play as, the experience of playing through the new Resident Evil 2 for the first time establishes a new standard for remaking classic games.”
14. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey picks up (mechanically) where Origins left off, continuing the series’ evolution from stealth-sandbox to action/RPG. Taking place roughly 400 years before the events of AC Origins, Odyssey’s rendition of Ancient Greece is as gorgeous as the series (or games in general, quite frankly) has ever been. Traversing its verdant forests and rocky hills or sailing shining seas of the Mediterranean always offers something new to find or an ancient ruin to explore, and its combat is equal parts arcadey fun and ARPG-style strategy. The new skill trees offer dozens of abilities useful both in and out of a fight, though the combat-centric ones like the 300-inspired Spartan Kick and brutally satisfying Shield Breaker often steal the show. While it may not feature the best voice acting the series has ever seen, the main campaign succeeds at offering a compelling story with characters we found ourselves genuinely invested in – although its 50-60 hour critical path does feel a bit bloated with errands and fetch quests. That said, with all there is to explore beyond the confines of the core adventure (historical inaccuracies notwithstanding), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey stands out as a must-play title of the current generation.
From IGN’s 2018 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey review: “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a resounding achievement in world-building, environment, and engaging gameplay with occasional problems throughout. Its incredible recreation of ancient Greece is something I’ll want to go back to long after I’ve finished its main story, and its excellent systems mesh together in a way that’s hard to beat. While there are definite rough edges, Odyssey sets a new bar for Assassin’s Creed games and holds its own in the eternal debate over the best open-world roleplaying games ever.”
13. Titanfall 2
12. Gears of War 4
You can do a lot worse than to earn parallels to Star Wars Episode 7. Check this out: Gears of War 4 switches developers, hands the keys to a new generation of heroes, and successfully reinvigorates the franchise in the process. Sound familiar? Gears 4 delivered an excellent campaign filled with variety and likeable characters, a yes-this-is-still-totally-fun Versus mode, and revamped the groundbreaking Horde mode to make it better than ever. It struck just the right balance of nostalgia and advancement.
From IGN’s 2016 Gears of War 4 review: “I never expected to compare Gears of War 4 to The Force Awakens, but I couldn’t be happier to do so. Like the latest chapter in the story from a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away, Gears of War 4 is directed by a new generation of creators, shares a lot of similar narrative structures to the beloved first piece of the trilogy it succeeds, and is an experience you’ll walk away from with a big smile on your face – in campaign, Versus, and Horde modes alike. It’s about as good of a franchise reawakening as I could’ve hoped for. J.J. Abrams would no doubt appreciate what Gears 4 accomplishes.”
11. Metal Gear Solid 5
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is without question the most ambitious entry in the Metal Gear series. So ambitious, in fact, that it’s something of an unfinished masterpiece. While a lot of hardcore fans of the series were disappointed by the game’s scattered story, it’s hard to deny that the moment-to-moment gameplay is absolutely phenomenal. On top of rock-solid movement and a huge, sometimes literal, sandbox to explore, The Phantom Pain gives players a huge arsenal of weapons, vehicles, gadgets, and AI companions to approach missions creatively. As always, stealthy tactical gameplay is rewarded heavily, but if a mission goes sideways (or if you’re feeling squirrelly) the game doesn’t punish you too hard for getting get loud and messy. Even if you’ve never played another Metal Gear game, this is a hell of an experience. If the plot leaves you with a big question mark over your head, don’t feel left out. That’s part of the fun.
From IGN’s 2015 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain review: “The Phantom Pain is the kind of game I thought would never exist – one where every minute gameplay detail has true purpose. Its lack of story focus is sure to be divisive for the Metal Gear faithful, but the resulting emphasis on my story, my tales of Espionage Action, easily make it my favorite in the series. There have certainly been sandbox action games that have given me a bigger world to roam, or more little icons to chase on my minimap, but none have pushed me to plan, adapt, and improvise the way this one does. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.”
10. Rise of the Tomb Raider
9. Sunset Overdrive
Sunset Overdrive could’ve easily gone wrong at so many points. Instead, it lands on the right side of all of them, making for the most original, fun experience you can have on the Xbox One. Its colorful art style is gorgeous. Its sense of humor is hilariously self-aware. Its traversal trumps almost every other open-world game. Its missions all feel fresh and varied even when they’re really not. In short, Sunset Overdrive is pure fun, all bottled up as a caffeinated beverage that feels so good when you drink it.
From IGN’s 2014 Sunset Overdrive review: “Sunset Overdrive is big, gorgeous, and a hell of a lot of fun. Never has getting from point A to point B in an open-world game provided so much enjoyment. It provides some of the most fun, frantic, and fantastic gaming I’ve had on the Xbox One. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to once-again adorn my wolf mask, leap off the highest ledge I can find, and fire an explosive stuffed animal at that group of angry robots.”
8. Devil May Cry 5
It had been more than a decade since Capcom’s last in-house developed Devil May Cry game, and with Devil May Cry 5, they proved that they haven’t lost their touch. No game series is better at giving you the tools to be creative with how you dispatch enemies than Devil May Cry, and DMC5 is the best yet. It’s quite simply one of the deepest combat systems you’ll ever find, and the addition of the Devil Breaker mechanic, along with a new character in V who offers a wildly different experience than Nero and Dante, only serve to sweeten the pot.
From IGN’s 2018 Devil May Cry 5 review: “The question of which Devil May Cry game is the best has gotten much easier with Devil May Cry 5. The combat is the strongest the series has seen to date, the story does a great job of balancing all three of its main characters and doling out rewarding bits of its mysterious story at an enticing pace, and the unlockable difficulties, sheer number of techniques to earn, and the upcoming free Bloody Palace DLC will provide a ton of incentive for replayability. It’s good to have you back, Dante and Nero.”
7. The Witness
The Witness is more than just a gorgeous island littered with hundreds of puzzles — it’s a labyrinth of mysteries waiting to be solved as you discover more and more about the enigmatic island. Seemingly confounding puzzles challenged us to take a step back and explore the world to understand new rules, and when we did, we always found something new to enjoy. The Witness’ cleverly designed puzzles are more than just a checklist, though. They create an adventure that constantly challenges you to learn new rules in order to find all of the island’s awesome secrets.
From IGN’s 2016 The Witness review: “The Witness has a power and pull that carried me throughout the more than 40 hours it took to complete it for the first time, and that, even now, beckons me back to confront the mysteries I left unsolved. Its graceful combination of tangible goals, obscurity, and freedom creates ample opportunity for small victories and grand revelations alike. For the most part, its themes weave themselves beautifully throughout the gorgeous world and wide variety of puzzles, but even when it breaks subtlety in favor of a more heavy-handed approach to exposition, it never detracts from the truly fulfilling moments The Witness offers in terms of solving its physical puzzles and unlocking its deepest mysteries.”
6. Apex Legends
5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Deep, lengthy RPGs are a staple of PC gaming, and very few have put a larger chunk of sophisticated content forward than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has. Its massive sandbox open-world areas impress, both in terms of scope and density; they’re generously dotted with great monsters to slay, tantalizing mysteries to solve, and personal stories to unfurl. It’s also one of the most impressive overall productions in gaming history, with reams of excellently written dialogue performed by a stellar voice cast, an incredible original soundtrack, and graphics that qualify as both a technical and artistic achievement.
From our 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review: “Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I’d start to burn out. Even if the plot isn’t terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are, and along with the excellent combat and RPG gameplay, they elevate The Witcher 3 to a plane few other RPGs inhabit.”
4. Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 isn’t just the best Forza game ever made, it’s the single greatest car game of the last decade, and perhaps of all-time. With its four-season fictionalization of beautiful Great Britain and focus on socially fueled fun and driving rather than hardcore simulation racing, it is the equivalent of a perfect, breezy, 72-degree summer day distilled into video game form. It has converted people who don’t typically play racing games into fans. It has a gigantic, diverse selection of cars (many of which are once again discoverable as hidden “barn finds”), its seasons change the look and feel of the experience, and its soundtrack is bright, cheery, and bound to put you in a good mood. Somehow, Forza Horizon keeps getting better, which seemed all but impossible after the sublime Forza Horizon 3.
From IGN’s 2018 Forza Horizon 4 review: “I’ll always have a massive soft spot for the down under delights of Forza Horizon 3, but open-world racing has never looked as good as it does in Forza Horizon 4. It combines a beautiful world that’s really four hugely distinct maps in one with a constantly rewarding and self-renewing racing experience and I really can’t tear myself away from it. Playground Games hasn’t just upped the ante once again; it’s blown the bloody doors off.”
3. Grand Theft Auto V
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Both a stunning technical achievement and a gold standard for video game storytelling in an open world setting, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the greatest games Rockstar Games has ever made, and one of the greatest games ever, period. Red Dead Redemption 2’s world is a sprawling and stunning recreation of the wild west, packed so full of detail and activity it’s almost daunting; getting from A to B is virtually impossible without going off the beaten path to some other distraction. Said distractions are incredibly accomplished, too – side quests, mini-games, hunting, and gathering are all deeply considered parts of Red Dead 2 in their own right. But of course, it’s Red Dead 2’s characters that stick in the memory most: Arthur Morgan, John Marsten, Sadie, Dutch et al are vibrant, multi-faceted characters, their complex dynamics always shifting and changing, even if their trajectories are set in stone. Red Dead Redemption 2 is nothing short of a masterpiece.
From our Red Dead Redemption 2 review: “Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sprawling Western tale of loyalty, conviction, and the price of infamy, chronicling the inevitable collapse of a motley crew of Wild West holdouts kicking against the slow march of civilization and industrialization. Set in Rockstar’s most authentic and lived-in open world ever, there are so many things to do, so many people to meet, and so many places to explore it’s giddily overwhelming. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t just Rockstar’s greatest achievement to date; it’s a game so lacking in compromise it’s tough to know where best to start discussing it.”
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