The best Xbox One games stand the test of time.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)
The best Xbox One games are brilliant even now that the console has been overtaken by the Xbox Series X and Series S. That’s in part because the current-gen consoles offer backwards compatibility, but also because many of the games of Microsoft’s console looked astounding when they were originally released.
With how Xbox One games released simultaneously on PC and how games produced by Xbox Studios drop on Xbox Game Pass for PC and console on release, there is lots to play. Often, you get the best version of a game on the Xbox, and since console exclusivity isn’t a large concern anymore, you can also find games on it that you wouldn’t have expected a few short years ago, such as Nier: Automata.
In short, the Xbox One is still the perfect allrounder, and if you don’t own an Xbox one yet, you can go the affordable current-gen route by getting an Xbox Series S.
Best Xbox One games
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Control (Image credit: Remedy Entertainment/505 Games)
A bizarre adventure wth metroidvania elements
Remedy Entertainment’s Control is an action-adventure with a difference. Stepping into the shoes of Jessie Faden, we play as the newest director of the clandestine Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) – a Government agency that researches, and ultimately aims to control, paranormal activity.
There is no game quite like Control, thanks to the Bureau itself. It’s a place that keeps opening up in a variety of ways as Jesse explores it, granting her new powers that help her get to new parts of the maze-like building. The gameplay may not be as mind-bending as the setting, but if you want to dive headfirst into a very different kind of world, the Bureau is one to experience. Our full Control review agrees. If you’re hoping to get the option of a free next-gen upgrade with the game, then you’ll need to make sure you buy the Ultimate Edition of Control.
Forza Horizon 4 (Image credit: Microsoft Studios)
Forza Horizon 4
Open-world racing never looked this beautiful
If games are wish fulfilment, then Forza Horizon 4 is the ultimate game for giving us a Britain you can race along, or so our Forza Horizon 4 review says. As much as it is a love letter to the beautiful country side, making the best out of the Xbox hardware, it is also an exclusive that promises unparalleled driving fun, thanks to a large variety of vehicles, a track creator, and plenty sidequests and showcases.
Like any good open-world game, it rewards exploration and offers both a structured campaign mode and plenty of distractions around the campaign. The new setting feels like something of a love letter from Playground Games to rural Britain; charming, idyllic and made for cross-country road trips. It’s really good fun and well-worth buying. Forza Horizon 5 may be the latest entry in the series and easily sits on our list of best Xbox Series X games, however, we don’t feel its performance on Xbox One earns it a place on this list.
Gears 5 (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)
Shifting Gears for a new generation
the Gears series has been around for a long time, and it’s always stood for big, burly dudes saying big, burly dude things and shooting monsters before ducking behind cover. Cover shooters have become a lot rarer since then, and so have games with Gears’ tone, so the Coalition decided to refine both elements in order to create a game that would appeal to long-time fans and newcomers alike. The plan certainly succeeded, according to our Gears 5 review.
From large, over the top setpieces to new open world elements and a great multiplayer, Gears 5 does the Xbox-exclusive series proud. This is one of the best Xbox One games, and the kind that as a cover shooter fan you may want to pick up the console for.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Image credit: 343 Industries)
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
An unmissable classic for shooter fans
The Halo series catapulted developer Bungie to world fame, and if you want to experience why, either again or for the first time ever, the Master Chief Collection is not to be missed. These remasters with mildly remade elements show you where it all began – a lot of the things we now take for granted, such as vehicle combat or great enemy AI where first exhibited to astounding levels in Halo, all wrapped in a world you couldn’t wait to discover for yourself.
The Master Chief Collection includes six Halo games in total, including every single multiplayer mode. That means you get Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo: ODST and Halo Reach.
NieR: Automata (Image credit: Square Enix)
NieR: Automata – Become As Gods Edition
Nothing comes nier this distinctly Japanese action RPG
For a long time, Xbox and Japanese games went together like tuna and marmalade – which is to say not at all, just so we’re clear. Nowadays, you can get anything from the Final Fantasy games to the Yakuza series. there’s nothing quite like being able to enjoy Nier:Automata, though, especially when it comes in the Become As Gods edition in 4k, with extra costumes and DLC.
This is a Japanese game that is distinctly Japanese without being a classic turn-based JRPG. Instead, Nier:Automata is a lot of things all in one, from Devil May Cry-like hack and slash to bullet hell action and back. It’s undeniably stylish, and the story is equal parts unhinged and deeply heartbreaking. Nier Automata is one of the best Xbox One games and an adventure you really need to go on.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Image credit: Microsoft)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
How can something so cute be so difficult?
Platforming used to be the genre where you’d find some of the most difficult games, and players would get their kicks out the likes of The Lion King or MegaMan. these days there are fewer games like that, and none of them combine a beautiful world and heartwarming storytelling in the way Xbox exclusive Ori and the Will of Wisps does.
You’ll enjoy this game the most if you’ve played Ori and the Blind Forest, but the two adventures work separately. This is a platforming metroidvania, and not only does the story and imagery pack an emotional punch, the world has also grown impressively this time around. Equippable abilities make it easy to find an hone your personal playstyle, and the story may drive even those who are usually scared off by a high difficulty to try again.
Psychonauts 2 (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios/Double Fine)
One of the best comedy games in the best shape
Because you can buy 2005’s Psychonauts on past and current Xbox consoles, it’s never too late to get to know Double Fine’s comedy adventure about (and in!) the mind. Especially those players who have fond memories of the first game will enjoy Psychonauts 2, as it’s just always a special treat to see a game you loved suddenly look and sound this good.
The first Psychonauts combined Tim Schafer’s trademark dry humour with 90s cartoon sytlings, and Psychonauts 2 is no different. Psychonauts 2 proves that mental health awareness can be funny. It’s truly a trip, taking protagonist Raz into fragmented minds in an attempt to repair them, leading to a fun and often contemplative adventure. This is one of the best comedy games on the Xbox, and one of the best comedy games you can play, so the fact that it’s exclusively on Microsoft’s console and PC makes it a won for every Xbox One owner.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2
the Wild West on your screen
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 took 2018 by storm, giving us the gun-toting, Western open-world we’d been hoping for. You play as Arthur Morgan, a gunslinger in the notorious Van Der Linde gang as he navigates the trials and tribulations of the changing west.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly game that will keep you busy. Between story missions, mini-games, activities and side quests, you will find yourself sinking plenty of hours into this title without even noticing it. This game is most enjoyable with a console or setup that lets you enjoy its vistas to the fullest, and among the consoles of its generation, that’s certainly the Xbox One. This is one of the best Xbox One games because nowhere but here can you find that detailed a Western fantasy to enjoy, making us say that Red Dead Redemption 2 is so real you’ll feel the saddle sores. What’s more, with Red Dead Online, you can team up with a posse of friends to play.
Sea of Thieves (Image credit: Microsoft)
Sea of Thieves
The multiplayer hit that proves a pirate’s life is forever
Rare’s swashbuckling adventure Sea of Thieves lets players to take on the role of a pirate sailing the seas of a fantastical world – either alone or as part of a crew of up to four members. It’s up to you whether you choose to focus on trading, treasure-hunting or plundering the loot of others. learn more in our Sea of Thieves review.
This is a great title for those who enjoy playing with others in an open-world environment, plus it doesn’t look too shabby at all. In addition, a new Anniversary Update has breathed new life into Sea of Thieves. Definitely one of the best Xbox One games of recent times, and another exclusive. Cross-play with Steam means you can travel the high seas even if your friends are enjoying the game on PC, and there is a lot to do. There is nothing like Sea of Thieves , at least until Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones makes it our way. Follow the latest Sea of Thieves updates to find out what’s new with Rare’s pirating sandbox.
Best Xbox One games FAQ
What are upcomg Xbox One games for 2023?
There are still plenty of of Xbox One releases to look forward to, from Xbox Studios and beyond. these include Wo Long: fallen Dynasty, a soulslike that actually does something new, Diablo 4 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage.
What is the best game on Xbox One right now?
Well, that depends on what types of games you’re into. We’ve tried to put together a collection that covers a variety of genres, so there should definitely be at least one that suits your taste. Those who enjoy racing games should definitely check out Forza Horizon 4, while Control is perfect for those on the hunt for an action-packed adventure. Looking to sail the seas in an online multiplayer adventure? Then check of Sea of Thieves., the game that’s putting other live service game to shame right now.
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Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming
Vic is TechRadar Gaming’s Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she’s also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.
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