The top Xbox One titles are a compelling tribute to Microsoft’s last-gen gaming system. Regardless of how old the library may seem, it continues to be playable through Game Pass and the backwards compatibility of the Xbox Series X and S. There still are quite a few new Xbox One games to look forward to, even though we’re here to list out some of the finest titles the console has seen so far.
Our picks, listed below, include games spanning across genres with Xbox exclusives and noteworthy third-party titles.
Gears 5 (2019)
Often considered to be the poster child of Xbox exclusives, the Gears series offers action-driven storytelling with a lot to keep you hooked. Gears 5 tells an intriguing story that develops its new lead character, Kait Diaz, by pushing the narrative’s limit and crossing the boundaries of what solid gameplay can do.
The Coalition’s third-person game incorporates open-world style hubs, different upgrading systems, and other contemporary cliches that works in its favor. At its core, it is one of the best cover-and-peak shooters. Gunfights are still exciting and chaotic, and Lancer’s chainsaw adds gory excitement to the adrenaline-fueled gameplay.
It Takes Two (2021)
It Takes Two takes you on a journey through familiar spaces. For instance, shrinking down and discovering beauty in unassuming locations, such as your own garden or attic. In a blatantly romantic way, it is also about finding love in place of little hope. The story revolves around Cody and May, a couple who are thinking about getting a divorce since they can see their marriage fading away.
We all know that it takes two to tango, and the co-op aspect of the game proves it. When the couple’s daughter, Rose, wishes nothing more than their parents to be happy together, things take a turn. As miniature (as if something right out of a Pixar movie) versions of Cody and May, players must solve challenges together to progress through the story.
Additionally, the game is stunning and does a fantastic job of capturing each sequence’s imagination.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020)
With its first game, Ori managed to tie our hearts to the well-crafted world and characters brought together by some fantastic art direction. The sequel is no different- a brief but perfect action-platformer with a wonderful soundtrack that will surely please your eyes and ears.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps lets its core gameplay loop rely on 2D Metroidvania mechanics to flesh out its clever platforming, even though its predecessor is still among the most gorgeous Xbox One experiences. The game’s adorable protagonist is a joy to handle and introduces beautifully crafted powers and new interactions within its captivating world.
Hi-Fi Rush (2023)
The unexpected, unusual, and bright new rhythm-action game on Xbox Game Pass surprised everyone earlier this year. It takes on the role of a young man who has been transformed into a rock superstar despite being utterly cringy and far from talented. Yet, the game has a bewildering charm to it, simply because of how beautifully all of its elements play out.
The game features many licensed rock-n-pop tracks, but its authentic soundtrack stands out. How the world syncs into rhythm while you land heavy hits and combos to the beat keeps the gameplay fresh.
It’s a manifestation of rockstar fantasy, when one enjoys music while playing about with all the mechanisms that make it function.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017)
Hellblade’s genius resides in the fact that it does more than just convey complex ideas via auditory and visual components. The mechanics of the game drip with unrelenting stress, despair, and mental exhaustion.
You play as a troubled woman trying to piece together her broken psyche. In doing so, she wants to rescue her lover’s soul from the clutches of goddess Hela. No battle against her demons is ever pointless. Sometimes, these battles seem incredibly challenging, and you’ll come out feeling grateful that it’s over.
Even though the overall theme and mechanics of the game leave you uncomfortable at times, Hellblade weaves together a journey that makes it one of those games you’ll never forget.
No Man’s Sky (2016)
We all remember the disastrous launch of No Man’s Sky. Few believed the game could make up for all the lies and unmet promises it made to fans before the release. It made magnificent promises: a virtually infinite cosmos with many different planets, all procedurally generated. Sadly, none of that happened at launch. However, the game in its current state delivers more than what we initially expected.
No Man’s Sky has grown well beyond the initial commitments made by Hello Games. It could seem overwhelming to start playing at this point, but the game allows you to pursue whatever you want and be whoever you want to be in whichever galaxy you traverse. The list is endless, whether that be base-building and development, exploration, or journeying with other players.
It’s the perfect comfort game you can always return to without worrying about meeting goals and all that ‘you’ve not done yet’. There’s always more to do and lots to discover, and the game’s evolution shows no signs of stopping.
Elder Scrolls Online (since 2014)
Since its debut in 2014, ESO has shown a side to Tamriel that players never witnessed before. At least, not in the Massively Multiplayer Online sense. Elder Scrolls Online is essentially something that can be played solo – brilliantly written quests, several character arcs and types, mystifying dungeons, and loot to unravel – it’s the MMO experience that’s made with a lot of heart.
What ESO excels at isn’t just its excellent patches and updates every now and then, it also allows for the complete experience whether you’re playing with others or solo. In fact, if you walk into any direction within Tamriel, you’ll come across a main/side quest. There’s a plethora of content, and the game will likely turn into your hobby once you’re hooked.
Titanfall 2 (2016)
Titanfall came into the limelight for being an engaging first-person shooter that allows wall-run and double-jump into a massive mechanical Titan. With Titanfall 2, they worked on a sentimental story between a Pilot and his Titan, while building on the game’s core mechanics that felt just right when executed properly.
There are so many parts to Titanfall 2 that make it one of the most memorable single-player campaigns. For instance, there’s a time-traveling level where you can simply press a button to shift between the past and the present. Even better, you can use this as a mechanic to improve your gameplay. Crazy, right?
An honorable mention – Titanfall 2’s multiplayer is still one of the best in the industry. Unfortunately, developers stopped supporting it some time ago. Regardless, you’ll still find players hopping into matches every now and then.
Forza Horizon 4 (2018)
Forza Horizon 4 is available to Xbox Games Pass subscribers, and it stands firm in the collection of some of the greatest racing games available on modern consoles. Horizon 4 forgoes several exhilarating ‘formal’ races by improvising its sandbox gameplay model. The changing seasons in Forza Horizon 4 bring different jaw-dropping environments into the mix.
Whether you’re racing through lush, autumn-woven landscapes or harsh snowy mountain terrains, this is one of the visually diverse Xbox One racing games.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019)
Unlike FromSoftware’s previous games, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice asks players to build their raw skills – reflexes and timing. “Hesitation is defeat” is perhaps the truest line delivered in the game, and it brings out the games core skill ceiling. The game is ferociously challenging, but it never feels unfair because of its impeccable balancing.
Sekiro puts you face-to-face against some of the deadliest boss fights in FromSoftware history. However, mastering Sekiro’s intelligent, quick combat and taking out the game’s toughest foes gives cathartic highs that are hard to match.
Control is a classic example of everything that has more to it than you think. See a fridge? It’s probably possessed. How about those boxes? Yeah, they fly. Those people? They’ll try to kill you, anytime now.
The Oldest House is the most intriguing video game setting of the current console age, throwing you into a contorting, completely bewildering government complex.
Control puts you in weird spot. The story makes little sense. Your powers are beyond supernatural. And every moment of the game, you can’t wait to find out more. It places you in difficult battles where you can test Jesse’s telekinetic talents in ever-new ways while the walls and ceilings of this labyrinth twist around you. It’s the definition of strange.
Hitman 3 (2021)
The Hitman series puts you in the shoes (and suit) of one of the deadliest assassins in gaming history. Agent 47 can easily assume a disguise and dispatch a target using virtually any object in the room. The games have always been about locating your target, killing, sneaking around everyone in the way, and dressing up to blend in. Hitman 3 adds more flavor to the franchise with some incredibly crafted scenarios for you to infiltrate.
The fundamental design of the developer IO Interactive is the same as it was in the prior two games. There are still six major scenarios, some more expansive and sophisticated than others. These lavish and exotic settings have sharp and eccentric personalities that you need to “take care of”. And every mission has a familiar combination of stories that passively take place in the background, giving you useful information.
No matter how you choose to go about your assassinations, Hitman 3 is all about its replayability. One time, you’d want to take out that mean socialist with rat poison. Another time, they simply fall off a tall building. Oops. Go ahead Agent 47; the world is your hunting ground.
Quantum Break (2016)
This gem is clearly a gaming success of the sci-fi genre. Quantum Break’s narrative beats around an experimental bush – humanity, mystery, and scientific wizardry. The jaw-dropping visuals and game mechanics outdid Xbox One’s capability in every way possible.
In Quantum Break, time travel dominates almost all of the action, yet you don’t role-play eccentric scientists. Instead, you play as a young man, Jack Joyce, who got in the middle of a time-travel demonstration that went awfully wrong. Remedy Entertainment does an exceptional job at using the story’s elements as gameplay mechanics, building on the things that work well with the overall gameplay.
Devil May Cry 5 (2019)
Action/Adventure/Hack and Slash
There’s no denying that Devil May Cry 5 is a masterpiece from Capcom, building on all the best visual and stylistic elements of Ninja Theory’s excellent DmC series. It brings out the best in what makes DmC stand out – combo-heavy action and a cast of fan-favorite characters.
Nero, Dante, and a charming newcomer V, each have their own outrageous combat tactics. They also make use weapons that are straight out of fantasy fiction. And, it perfectly suits their trance. It looks good, it plays well and it’s one of the better, addictive hack and slash games we’ve tried. Oh, and we’re never getting over Dante’s Michael Jackson reference.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)
Rockstar’s Wild West opera may just be one of the best open-world games ever created. It brings to life a world of characters in a changing era and takes you on a trip with them as they struggle against the old world that don’t want ’em no more.
You play as Arthur Morgan, a gruff, complicated man who struggles with his moral compass. Along with the greatest highs and lows in gaming, there is a plot to follow, but there is also just a large, vibrant world to inhabit and live in. You can go hunting, have a drink or two at the local bar, watch a magic show at the theatre, become a bountry hunter- the list goes on. RDR2’s world is a seductively lonely place to be in, but everything feels alive thanks to its thoughtful NPC and AI systems.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
Witcher 3 is one of the most engaging role-playing games ever built, with a unique, adaptable plot. The game’s world evolves with its richness in writing and character arcs. You play as Geralt, an experienced Witcher who hunts monsters and men and, occasionally, other living beings that need to be killed. As a Witcher, you may not receive a lot of love from local townsfolk, but Geralt’s tale is the work of a living legend.
The Witcher 3’s realm is one of the few video game settings that merits that title; it’s packed with legend, political intrigue, and vile creatures to obliterate. To add to the already lengthy campaign, two DLCs make the game feel richer – Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. We’ll remember this game for a very long time because it’s lovely, satisfying, and essential to the genre.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The third game in the series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PC, PS4, Xbox One), introduces us to an experienced and deadly Lara. A Lara who isn’t hesitant to go guns-blazing and explore long-forgotten crypts the moment she gets a chance. The explorer and her world—a beautiful jungle—have never looked finer because of Crystal Dynamics’ attention to detail. For better or worse, Lara’s experience warns about what happens when passion turns into obsession.
The game brings us a deeper look at the franchise with new locations to uncover and understand the inner workings of Lara’s motivation to shuffle between life and death scenarios. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a thrilling, exhilarating ride with refined gameplay that builds on the solid foundations of its predecessors and takes ideas from its contemporary rivals. I’m quite eager to read the upcoming installment of Ms. Croft’s travels.
Battlefield 1 (2016)
When you have a franchise that focuses on modern-day battles and shifting perspectives toward the idea of war, it’s easy to get mundane and repetitive. The Battlefield franchise was about to hit this fading point, until Battlefield 1 gave the franchise a fresh look and feel. After a string of lackluster modern-day campaigns, Battlefield 1’s stories of war took a new tack by focusing on the characters on each side of the battle in a series of isolated vignettes, which paid off immensely in terms of pace and drama; everything within the context of World War 1.
While Battlefield 1’s multiplayer was somewhat of an apparent success, the game’s reputation came to light through its focus on deeper narratives. With each death, you witness a soldier’s story and the harshness of a time its gamers found compelling.
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
This game was the easiest sequel to surpass the original. The first game had many problems that BioWare addressed and fully resolved while creating the follow-up, even though it was adored for its own reasons and remembered fondly despite itself.
Mass Effect 2 played to the initial game’s strengths – this time, you have complete control over how the plot develops. There are several opportunities to make significant and minor decisions that will drastically alter the course of the series. Which personalities you support will change how the galaxy views your Shepard, and what you say to different people can influence how they regard you in the future. Knowing how much control you have over a game’s happenings is empowering.
It’s the space saga you get to write without being the one who created this game in the first place.
NieR Automata (2017)
The game, during its legendary narrative, takes on several philosophical issues and ideas that have confounded humanity’s most learned brains for centuries. Automata expresses its themes in a way that everyone can understand, so long as you pay close attention to what’s going on. While NieR Automata’s story content has the potential to be a “a bit too much”, the game never honestly bores you thanks to its epic sequences, camera work, and dialogue.
The fact that the gameplay involves more than just hacking and slashing is what makes it truly original. The game frequently switches from being a platformer, and occasionally even a text-based adventure. These gameplay changes may initially appear unusual, but they are masterfully executed, and the way they are handled makes them feel like quick but welcome diversions from melee fighting rather than abrupt anomalies. Additionally, the gameplay is integrated into the narrative in a variety of innovative, even ground-breaking ways, which unifies the entire experience.
Sunset Overdrive (2014)
The game’s blatant humor and oversaturated theme (zombies, really?) made it difficult for a lot of people to appreciate. And yet, Sunset Overdrive remains one of the most fun and stylish games from the Xbox lineup. It provides a robust enough framework with great character and possibilities to have fun at the expense of anyone.
Sunset City is a crowded, uncomplicated playground that shares many characteristics with contemporary open worlds. There’s a lot of fluid movement and transitions to make the best of. It’s bright, vivid, rebellious, and drawing from many timeless works of art, and this game somehow manages to forge its own unique personality. We decided not to talk about how an energy drink turns everyone into zombies in this game because it’s… what makes Sunset Overdrive so uncharmingly fun.
What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)
To many, the game appeared to be a walking simulator.After all, much of what you entail in What Remains of Edith Finch asks you to explore your vicinity on foot. There are puzzles to solve, places to understand and stories to uncover. But more importantly, there are deaths to make sense of.
In our appreciation of the game, one thing remains true: Edith Finch may be a protagonist looking to understand her family’s history, but the player’s journey may take an emotional ride that we least expected. Whether you’re seeing the world through a cat’s eyes, or playing with your toys as baby Finch, some stories will wrap your heart. The game will try to protect you from tears, yet whisper soft and horrifying tales of death and lack of closure.
Dishonored 2 (2016)
After the success of Dishonored, Arkane brought us a game with some of the best level design, stealth, and character abilities in a video game. You can choose either of two protagonists – Emily Kaldwin or her father, Corvo Attano. Like before, Corvo can teleport, stop time, and summon a pack of vicious rats. Emily has the ability to conjure evil spirits to distract enemies, move on tendrils of pure Void energy, and even transform into a living shadow.
Dishonored 2 outperforms the original game in almost every regard, with a novel take on its storyline. Power can both protect and destroy. You must save your legacy as Corvo and Emily while learning about the nature of power and the decayed world around you. Such dark themes weaved together with solid audio and visual styles are something Arkane is known for.
Doom Eternal (2020)
The environments of Doom Eternal are fantastic, with a wonderful balance of exploration, resolution, and hazard. Doomguy is your classic ‘if it moves, I’ll kill it’ kind of protagonist. Players who want to take their time and explore a little more will be rewarded with power-ups. These change the way you use your weapons and how you take damage.
Doomguy can discover secret soundtracks and miniature toys that he collects. Yeah, Hell on Earth can be a nice place too. Players who want to speed through the campaign will have plenty of fun too, and you can always collect Doomguy’s little secrets and stories throughout the different environments.
Rip, tear, and come back to Doom Eternal until it’s done.
Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (2013)
The game feels entirely different from previous entries in the series because it is set on the Caribbean’s sandy shores. In contrast to the cramped settings of earlier games, the variety of towns keeps things interesting and varied, and the emphasis on ship-based combat is what made Black Flag genuinely special. Sailing the clear blue seas is a delight as your crew sings traditional sea shanties.
The enormous past and convoluted plot of the Assassin’s Creed franchise frequently drag it down as it attempts to fit the Assassins or the Templars into its various historical settings. However, with Black Flag, it’s amusing because of how little respect it has for its past, even if it has made compromises to the past.
Black Flag aims to maximize player enjoyment from its rich setting and colorful characters rather than catering exclusively to returning gamers. Black Flag, perhaps the best Assassin’s Creed title to date, frees itself from its history without compromising on what made AC games brilliant in the first place.
Dark Souls 3 (2016)
Dark Souls 3 had a tricky balance to find, after the wide expanse of Dark Souls 2 and fan-following of Bloodborne. Despite the vibrant fandom of Dark Souls 2, it tried to address the original fan criticism of its predecessor. The game solidified its status as significant to both the canon of the series and in the hearts of its supporters by essentially accomplishing both.
The third installment of the series sees the collapse of this entire universe. Several NPCs and equipment from Dark Souls 3 that are fan favorites make cameo appearances (including our beloved Onion Knight). Even the numerous boss music tracks in the decisive battle are a mash-up of distinct themes from the various games.
Dark Souls 3 is everything Dark Souls, and you won’t stop playing this game even after your first playthrough. There’s lore to discover, move-sets to acquire and bosses to face. All of this results in a dignified conclusion to a strange, intricate plot that has spanned more than ten years.
Who hasn’t heard of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? It occasionally gives the impression that it has existed for ages. Despite being released a little over ten years ago, Bethesda’s massive RPG continues to be held in high regard and has a strong presence in the gaming culture.
The world of Skyrim isn’t absurdly large by today’s standards—it’s only around 37 square miles—but gamers are continually discovering new locations, secret Easter eggs, and inventive ways to play, thanks to its depth. Throughout your journey in Skyrim, you come across NPCs from different backgrounds and understand the world of Tamriel just a little better than you did yesterday.
In that regard, Skyrim is a game to fall in love with rather than just play. Even though it has a lot of issues, some people may find it difficult to resist the effect of its profound lore. There’s never a sense that the game is taking itself too seriously, so it’s not surprising that it has inspired a ton of memes that are now widely used in online culture. Skyrim gives gamers enough of what they love, so that its flaws and bugs simply enhance the experience rather than detract from it, like the best-flawed giants.
Don’t let that arrow to your knee stop you, adventurer.
Fallout 4 (2015)
Another Bethesda epic, the Fallout series built on the concepts of apocalypse, solitude, and technology. After the success of Fallout 3, fans had some idea of what to expect. It’s large, clumsy, and buggy. It’s Bethesda.
Fallout 4 is a logical advancement, carrying over the occasionally aimless exploration, mild humor, and moral ambiguity of the previous two installments while supporting everything with a new-gen gloss. The protagonist’s voice acting, better gunplay, and improved loot systems make this a more streamlined version of a now-classic template, even though they may not represent significant changes. There might be some frame rate dips and occasionally terrifying glitches, but they grow on you. There is so much going on that it’s hard to feel sorry for anything.
Arkham City (2011)
In every sense, it is the ideal follow-up game. Gotham suddenly opens up to the idea of Batman, who can now explore as he wishes and do what he wants to. There is a far larger area to scour and more puzzles, enemies, and infamous villains to find and defeat. Everything we could have hoped for in the sequel to Arkham Asylum is here. In addition, it’s one of the most extraordinary Batman tales ever told.
A while has passed since the events of Arkham Asylum when Arkham City takes place. Former Arkham Asylum warden turned Gotham Mayor Quincy Sharp has turned the city’s shantytown into Arkham City, a huge walled jail. And now, the relationship between Batman and the Joker is at the center of everything.
According to Arkham City, the Dark Knight will never cross that line and break his sacred ‘no-kill’ code, even to end the life of Gotham’s deadliest monster, which is a meditation on why the two need each other to live. The game’s follow-up, Arkham Knight, makes more elaborate attempts at it, but I believe that Arkham City is much more successful overall.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)
This one was a pleasant surprise to Star Wars fans craving a good game for a while now. When Emperor Palpatine issues Order 66, virtually destroying the Jedi order, Cal is just a young Padawan. Before the Empire finds Cal and sends its elite Purge Troopers to kill him, he survives for five years living a life he isn’t completely proud of.
However, things take a sharp turn and he barely manages to escape. He then joins a motley band of misfits and outcasts on a galactic mission to battle the Empire and revive the Jedi Order.
The focus of the game is exploration. Although Soulslike games inspire the combat, its primary purpose is to slow down the exploration. A significant portion of the plot is conveyed through the artifacts. You discover these while exploring different planets since Cal can touch objects and experience their history (along with emotions felt at that moment).
You also use your Force to move items in the environment and solve puzzles, as I explored by climbing structures, swinging from vines, and climbing buildings. Fallen Order frequently has the sense of a fantastic Uncharted or Tomb Raider game with lightsabers, magic, and a captivating narrative.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
To say it’s a unique Kojima game would be an understatement. It’s different, and it’s full of uneven gags, mechanical brilliance, and conspiracy theories so wacky they seem to be plucked from the dark web.
The transition to open areas with numerous missions makes this an embarrassing lesson for the other stealth-action creators in the industry. It successfully transforms each player’s experience into a unique spy movie or TV show. You can plan your attacks, place C4 across hidden bases, hide bodies in plain slight, customize your own chicken mech, and so much more. Things never stop being interesting, really.
You’re the prime architect of an insane infiltration simulator. It has long been claimed that Hideo Kojima was more fixated on imitating his beloved films than creating actual video games. This time, it’s no different.