This article was last updated by Digital Trends editor Matthew S. Smith on 10/2/2020.
The Xbox One might not have the same selection of exclusives as the PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch, but the handful it does have is worth checking out. Some of the best Xbox One games are first-party titles, but you’ll find loads of other quality games from the likes of Electronic Arts, Bethesda, and Ubisoft that comprise a huge library of games worth playing. In addition, many of them look the best on Xbox with the power of the Xbox One X.
Thanks to a strong lineup of shooters and racing games, fans of those genres needn’t look any further than Microsoft’s Xbox. It also boasts many great platformers you aren’t going to find on other consoles. Whether you’re looking for a lengthy single-player game with a great story or an online world to get lost in with friends, there is something for you.
might be the one since it has a variety of difficult levels that you won’t get sick of.
From Control to Rocket League, these are our picks for the best Xbox One games.
Here’s a quick-jump menu if you’re looking for a specific genre:
- Survival Horror
- First-person shooters
- Sandbox/building games
- Puzzle games
- Role-playing games
The other three Horseman of the Apocalypse use melee weapons in the Darksiders universe, but Strife prefers his handguns. In the prequel game Darksiders Genesis, developer Airship Syndicate turned the series into an isometric dungeon-crawler, and Strife’s attacks are reminiscent of twin-stick shooters. He’s joined by the melee-focused War, and the two can swap at any time when playing solo.
Remedy Entertainment fans got a taste of the studio’s potential with the Xbox One game Quantum Break, but Control is a much more refined take on the third-person shooter genre. Set in the morphing headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Control, Control is a “paranatural” mystery that starts weird and only gets weirder.
As protagonist Jesse Faden, you’re given the role of director upon your entry and must work to purge the Hiss enemies from the Bureau. You do this with the help of your unique superpowered abilities, which include telekinesis and mind control. Alongside these, you have the Service Weapon, a unique handgun that shifts forms and functions like a shotgun or even a machine gun. It makes
’s combat satisfying and encourages experimentation.
Read our full Control review
From Software had the option to release another Dark Souls game. Instead, the legendary studio created an entirely new franchise with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This action game takes plenty of inspiration from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but the addition of a Posture system for deflecting attacks — along with a resurrection mechanic — help make it feel like a distinct game in its own right.
Read our full Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review
After taking a darker direction with DmC from Ninja Theory (more on that developer in a bit) back in 2013, the original series returns with Devil May Cry 5. Set after the events of the four other games, Devil May Cry 5 puts you in control of three different characters, each with unique weapons and abilities to master. Nero’s brutality contrasts Dante’s flashiness, and both are about as different from V’s demon-spawning style as possible.
Read our full Devil May Cry 5 review
The Coalition outdid itself with Gears 5, a third-person shooter that improves on its predecessor in nearly every way. Combat feels just as perfect as ever, with intense shootouts against both Swarm and robotic DeeBees. More open-ended areas feature side missions that add additional context to the game’s world.
Read our full Gears 5 review
The most commercially successful video game — or media product — of all time, Grand Theft Auto V deserves its popularity. The open-world criminal action game builds on what Rockstar Games has done well for decades, with a staggering number of side activities to complete and locations to visit.
Its three-protagonist main story is both emotional and hilarious, with the psychopathic Trevor often stealing the show with his violent and over-the-top outbursts. It only gets better when you enter Grand Theft Auto Online, which allows you to gain influence in Los Santos and show the world why you deserve respect.
Despite being nearly five years old,
continues to get new content updates. We anticipate it will live on for at least another five years.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
A stunningly well-realized version of auteur director Yoko Taro’s vision, Nier: Automata is a depressing and existential action game that avoids many of the narrative traps associated with android stories. There are no questions regarding what it means to be human, but rather what it means to be yourself. Protagonists 2B and 9S struggle to accept reality, making for some of the most emotional moments we’ve ever experienced in a game.
With Platinum Games handling the combat, the
is also a flashy and tight action game complete with twin-stick shooter segments to break up the monotony.
Read our full Nier: Automata review
It’s rare that a AAA open-world game can surprise us, but Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 manages to do it regularly. The western is a prequel to the 2010 game Red Dead Redemption, but it is far more than a simple retread of that title’s themes.
As a member of the Van der Linde gang, protagonist Arthur Morgan must wrestle with his past and his uncertain future as the government hunts down the remaining outlaws in a rapidly changing Wild West locale.
Every story mission is absolute gold, never falling into a pattern of repetition. The emergent activities you’ll discover in the open world are engaging enough to keep you busy for hours. Want to cause chaos or just hunt game? You totally can, or you could try your luck at a few hands of poker. The
is also available on Xbox Game Pass, sweetening the deal for the subscription service.
Read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review
A charming addition to the world of Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons provides a new type of gameplay to the series for those looking for a more focused game.
Dubbed a family-friendly Diablo,
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t exactly the most original or innovative game we’ve played. It’s a blend of elements from big-name game franchises like Uncharted and Dark Souls, but with all the classic Star Wars tropes. Despite this, it excels because it so smartly pulls mechanics and structural pieces that fit the Star Wars formula well.
Split between exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat, Fallen Order never feels like it’s wasting your time. When you finally get protagonist Cal Kestis outfitted with his best Force powers and a customizable lightsaber, he feels like an unstoppable warrior who can take on waves of Stormtroopers without issue.
With brilliant performances and a mesmerizing score, the
is one of the best Star Wars games since BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic series.
If you ever wanted to sail the treacherous seas roleplaying as a pirate with a group of your friends, Sea of Thieves is the Xbox One game for you. Embark on voyages, discover treasure, raid enemy ships, customize your rig, and be the best scallywag this side of the sea has ever seen!
feels like a lighthearted pirate simulator. You and your friends go on adventures but also work together to accomplish menial things like putting up the ship’s sails and navigating through dangerous waters. The best part? The entire game is cross-platform, so you can play with your friends on PC. Over time, it has grown into a respectable online service game with more content to pursue than ever before, despite its really rough launch.
Resident Evil 2 Remake raised the bar for what a remake could be when it released in 2019. Just a year later and Capcom wowed fans of the series again with its follow-up in the form of Resident Evil 3 Remake. This iteration takes place right around the same time as Leon and Claire’s tale in the previous game, but with Jill Valentine returning as the main character.
The same survival horror elements are all here as players have to contend with limited resources and terrifying creatures that are stalking the gorgeously-rendered streets of Raccoon City. That isn’t even taking into account the relentless, gruesome Nemesis who stalks you with some serious firepower. With a bit more action thrown into the mix, you can’t go wrong playing the
Read our Resident Evil 3 Remake review
After over two decades without an entry, Streets of Rage roars back to life with its excellent fourth entry, one that provides a gorgeous visual makeover.
Streets of Rage 4 remains true to its roots with sticky combat but modernizes the gameplay by adding features such as special attacks and juggling enemies. The story is paper-thin, as all good beat ’em ups should be, but the game more than makes up for it with addictive mechanics set to a brilliant soundtrack. It also provides quite the challenge, with several levels giving players a run for their money, and forcing them to strategically manage the game’s offensive and defensive systems.
Depending on the player’s ability, the
‘s story can be completed in a matter of hours. However, unlockable characters and hidden easter eggs offer tons of replay value as fans of the franchise eagerly await the fifth entry.
Some game franchises suffer from fatigue after their first few entries, with later games paling in comparison to the originals. NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat is not one of those series.
Mortal Kombat 11 is a fighting game designed by masters of the genre. It offers brutal and complex combat while also including tutorial and practice systems so newcomers can enjoy the game. The addition of the Fatal Blow system makes every second of a fight suspenseful, even if one player has a huge advantage. Not to mention,the infamous Fatalities are gorier than ever.
is also, hands down, one of the prettiest games on the Xbox One. Animations — both for faces and attacks — are stunning, and there’s a sense of fluidity that we rarely see outside of NetherRealm’s work. With a ton of different modes to choose from and an over-the-top story to play through, Mortal Kombat 11 is well worth the price of admission.
Read our full Mortal Kombat 11 review
There have been dozens of Dragon Ball Z games produced over the years, and nearly all of them are poor or just decent at best. Arc System Works managed to not only set a new standard for the series with Dragon Ball FighterZ, but it also managed to create one of the best fighting games of all time.
The tag-team fights look like they were pulled directly from the anime, with crisp animation and all the classic series attacks you can think of. But
is also one of the most accessible fighting games around. Even someone who has never played a fighting game can get the hang of it quickly, but its remarkable depth has made it the new favorite of the fighting game community.
Read our full Dragon Ball FighterZ review
Few first-person shooter franchises are as big as Borderlands, and its numbers-based approach — as well as its heavy emphasis on looting new weapons — helped to make it a hit for shooter fans and role-playing fans alike. Never before had a game felt like Diablo with guns, and Borderlands 3 delivers on the all-out action, goofy humor, and bizarre characters we’ve come to expect from the series. Gearbox didn’t reinvent the formula after all these years, but the studio didn’t need to.
The Metro series breaks from the trend of most post-apocalyptic shooters’ “fun during the end of the world” themes for a bleak and borderline nihilistic story that underscores the horror of nuclear war. Metro Exodus, the third game in the series, is 4A Games’ most ambitious project, moving much of the action out of the titular subway system and onto a diverse landscape filled with various mixes of sand, trees, and snow.
Read our full Metro Exodus review
343 Industries wasn’t content to deliver exactly what fans expected in Halo 5: Guardians. Longtime protagonist Master Chief largely takes a backseat to newcomer Spartan Locke on an adventure that hops across multiple planets and features a favorite supporting character in a very different role.
It’s a gorgeous game full of jaw-dropping moments, but multiplayer is where
Read our full Halo 5 review
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is the perfect introduction for Xbox One owners new to Microsoft’s console family. Containing the first four numbered games in the series — as well as their prequel, Halo: Reach — it’s enough content to keep you busy for weeks and months on end. Halo 2: Anniversary is a highlight of this package, a remastered classic with new cinematics and sound effects, that even shows up Halo 5.
As you may have heard,
Read our full Halo: The Master Chief Collection review
Bungie seemingly rushed the original Destiny to release, offering a campaign mode that didn’t make much sense and a surprising lack of endgame content. Destiny 2 aimed to right these wrongs and its campaign is everything we expect from developer Bungie – loud, fast, funny, and a whole lot of fun.
Now more than a year after launch, Destiny 2 has evolved in surprising and great ways. While the first two smaller expansions didn’t add much in terms of depth, Forsaken, the most recent and largest DLC, gave the experience a welcome makeover. Rife with new endgame content, missions, and areas to explore, Forsaken changes the identity of Destiny 2 and will keep Guardians busy (and happy) for the long haul.
With Shadowkeep and more now out as well, there is more than enough reason to dive into
Read our full Destiny 2: Forsaken review
A sequel that is even better than the 2016 reboot, Doom Eternal is a confident and lightning-fast first-person shooter from the masters at id Software. It expands on its predecessors’ movement-centric combat with Glory Kills providing health when performed on staggered enemies, and there are more than twice as many types of demons ready to tear the Doom Slayer limb from limb. They’ll have a hard time doing so, as he’s packing a spring-loaded arm-blade, powerful chainsaw, and a huge arsenal of guns.
Read our full Doom Eternal review
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare defined the Xbox 360. Its intense single-player campaign played out like a blockbuster film while it’s competitive multiplayer kept the disc in players’ consoles for years.
Infinity Ward returned to the sub-series with the reboot Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a game that understands what fans loved about the original game without feeling trapped by its legacy. This time around, the story is told in a more grounded and realistic way, with disturbing content that is not included for mere twists or shock value.
Competitive multiplayer has also been refined in the recent release of Warzone battle royale, there is even more to love about this game.
Read our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review
With a consistent stream of content updates always giving players something new to do or see, the player-count remains high while some parents even buy tutoring sessions to improve their kids’ skills — and their own.
Read our full Fortnite Battle Royale review
With deep customization options, a surprising amount of lore, and engaging moment-to-moment gameplay, Warframe doesn’t feel like a free-to-play game. The many quests and activities you’re required to complete can keep you playing without regard for any other game for weeks.
The parkour navigation and a mix of third-person shooting and melee combat will take some time to master, but having a solid team by your side will make the experience much less daunting. Its cooperative missions make it a great choice to play with a group of friends online.
Apex Legends is a squad-based battle royale from Respawn, the studio behind the excellent Titanfall series. While it doesn’t have the Titans or the awesome wall-running, Apex Legends is a refreshing entry in the battle royale genre. The 60-player format splits players up into teams of three, with each contest choosing from a pool of eight legends with unique abilities.
Apex Legends has the best nonverbal communication system we’ve seen in a multiplayer game. The ping system lets you place markers on weapons, enemies, and other points of interest to help you keep your teammates informed. There’s no need to even speak through a mic. It’s that good.
The spacious sci-fi map is full of surprises and little details. The gunplay is as good as Titanfall and feels great in the battle royale format thanks to varied options and a bunch of cool attachments. And in a change from other battle royale games, you can bring teammates back to life after a bit of recon work.
The best part about
One of the most popular games of all time, Mojang’s Minecraft was a hit on Xbox systems long before Microsoft bought the developer. Its nearly endless creation tools allow players to make unique and impressive structures, and its simple survival gameplay offers a challenge for those looking to venture into the unknown and slay the monsters they find.
The Xbox One version is one of the best, as the recent Bedrock update enabled cross-play with other platforms like iOS, PC, and Nintendo Switch. No matter where your friends are playing
It might have begun its life as a spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon series, but Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone’s Stardew Valley has arguably become more influential and revered than the series it tried to emulate. A farming adventure styled after classic 16-bit games on the Super Nintendo, Stardew Valley packs full of charm and character, and in addition to offering a variety of different crops to plant on your farm.
Xbox One fans had to wait more than two years to get their hands on Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, but the game they eventually received was far better than the one released back in 2016. Multiple updates have overhauled many of the game’s systems, resulting in more engaging adventures that no longer felt like blind busywork. Improvements like base-building allow you to feel like you’re truly living in the game’s enormous universe, rather than merely looking at it from a distance.
The biggest addition to the
Read our full No Man’s Sky review
Firaxis Games managed to revive a long-dead strategy series in 2012 with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and things only got better from there.
XCOM 2 is a harder, more diverse, and more engaging game than its predecessor. It requires players to master both turn-based strategy and resource management as they attempt to overthrow alien occupiers before they unleash a mysterious weapon.
Read our full XCOM 2 review
Who would’ve thought that the strategy genre would work wonders with the Gears of War franchise? Well, Microsoft did, and the resulting Gears Tactics is one of the finest games in the series and easily the best spin-off game. It takes the traditional third-person action and translates it to a top-down, turn-based environment.
Battles here are a bit slower than what most Gears fans might be used to, as players have to navigate environments one turn at a time to take down swarms of Horde enemies. While it feels very different from a normal entry in the series, it does retain the beloved gameplay of hiding behind cover and thinking about your next move.
With a new take on Gears lore and a strong campaign, this is worth checking out for Gears and XCOM fans alike.
Following the underwhelming Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Konami placed the series on the back burner. Former Konami producer Koji Igarashi had no interest in letting spooky action-platforming die, however, and created Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night so that the spirit of the classic “Metroidvania” could live on.
Designed to be a very similar experience to games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,
Inside is the spiritual successor to developer Playdead’s smash-hit platformer Limbo and perhaps the strangest game available on the Xbox One. Its puzzle-solving gameplay blends elements of science-fiction with creepy, trial-and-error death traps, and emergent gameplay mechanics seamlessly into its narrative.
While just as nihilistic as Limbo,
Read our full Inside review
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the best Metroidvania games ever made, blending simple but effective combat with terrific platforming and exploration. Its sequel Ori and the Will of the Wisps took five years to release, but it was well worth the wait. The game is even more gorgeous than its predecessor, with a more refined art style and an atmospheric orchestral soundtrack. It keeps the brilliant escape sequences of the first game, and though it does away with its unique checkpoint system, it still understands what made the original so successful.
Some games are hard. And then there is Cuphead. The 2D sidescrolling game combines challenging platforming gauntlets with some of the most difficult bosses on the planet, each of which is capable of taking down the titular hero in just a few hits, and it requires some of the quickest reflexes of any game we’ve ever played.
You won’t mind dying to the same enemies over and over too much, however, as the
Puzzle and adventure games
Not to be confused with the unrelated The Outer Worlds from Obsidian Entertainment, Outer Wilds is a unique first-person adventure game that tasks you with uncovering the secret behind an endless time loop constantly threatening the galaxy. Depending on when you reach a location, it can change and offer a different experience, potentially helping you to unravel the mystery at the center of the time loop.
The Witness is a game that only Jonathan Blow could make. An atmospheric and existential game focused primarily on circuit-based puzzles, it features a familiar amnesiac protagonist element, but the world Blow has created is interesting enough to make it feel like much more than another tale about regaining your memory and uncovering some big secret.
Instead, you’ll be given philosophical tidbits that could help you in your understanding of your world as you make your way through more than 500 puzzles. If you’ve been subscribed to Xbox Live Gold for a while, you likely already have
Read our full The Witness review
Following up on the events of the previous game, The Witcher 3 follows the continuing adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter searching for his lost lover, Yennefer, and Ciri, his adopted daughter. Although its central plot offers a long and entertaining quest, there’s far more to the game than finding Geralt’s loved ones. The world is massive, dense with characters great and small who have problems they need Geralt to solve. Whether it’s exorcising a spirit haunting a village or helping a blacksmith rebuild his business, there are hundreds of little adventures to go on, and some even intersect in surprising ways.
The world of The Witcher is dark. An early scene finds Geralt riding into a war-torn province, the camera pulling back to reveal a massive tree from which prisoners of war have been hanged. It’s a grim image, and it sets the tone for much of what is to follow. Often the game will present choices that can have wide-ranging, unforeseen consequences. Not everyone gets a happy ending. Despite all the gloom, there are moments of warmth: an orphan reunited with relatives, drinking games with Geralt’s war buddies, a night of passion with an old flame, and more. Wildly ambitious and epic in scope,
Read our full The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review
It’s not exactly the most traditional Monster Hunter game but that’s what makes it so damn good. If you enjoy a good open-world RPG where you can track rare monsters, engage in tough combat, and craft awesome armor out of their remains, then Monster Hunter: World is right up your alley.
If you ever yearned for Fallout in space, this is the closest relative you’ll likely ever see. That’s because the masterminds behind the popular series, Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, are at the helm of this incredible first-person role-playing adventure.
The setting is an alternate timeline that sees corporations colonizing other worlds. Your character originates from a colony ship, The Hope, that becomes lost as it travels through space to the Halcyon star system. One-hundred years later, scientist Phineas Welles wakes you from cryosleep with a mission to infiltrate the Halcyon colonies and save fellow humans from The Board, a conglomerate of corporations.
You eventually gain a ship and travel to various settlements scattered throughout the system. As with any other modern RPG, players gain side missions alongside the main story quests. Your choices heavily dictate how the story unfolds, such as diverting power from a local colony or withholding secrets from The Board.
Overall, there’s a definite Fallout feel under all the alien landscapes and technology. What’s missing in the
The Gran Turismo series was once the king of the racing simulator, but that time is long gone. Forza Motorsport 7 is the latest in Turn 10 Studios’ stunningly gorgeous line of Xbox One racing games, with the most realistic cars and tracks ever rendered in a video game. It can be borderline car porn, but for those who fawn over the smallest details of automobiles, including the fabric of seats and the stitching on steering wheels, Forza Motorsport 7 is the game you need to play right now.
The changes in
Read our full Forza Motorsport 7 review
Playground Games has proven itself as one of the best racing game developers on the planet, and the studio has outdone itself with Forza Horizon 4. Taking the action to Britain this time around, Forza Horizon 4 is packed full of racing challenges and open-world fun to partake in, and running on an Xbox One X at 4K or 60 frames per second, it’s a stunning display of power.
A new seasons system changes the environments, as well, freezing over lakes or turning easy roads into muddy deathtraps, and with real players always racing around you in the world, the
Read our full Forza Horizon 4 review
The latest entry in Codemasters’ long-running F1 racing franchise is arguably the strongest yet. It’s not a revolution compared to earlier versions of the game, but instead refines all the game’s many elements into an excellent mix of simulation and gameplay.
On the simulation side, fans have praised F1 2020 for an excellent engine that feels smooth and offers in-depth realism without resorting to punishing difficulty or completely putting off new players. This is still a hard trick for racing games to get right, and many end up with an overly punishing model that seems skittish or lacking gravity. F1 2020 avoids this pitfall but keeps the sense of speed you’d expect from an F1 game.
Reviewers and fans have also praised the game for its wide variety of modes, which is always an important part of a racing game. Plus, the game is absolutely gorgeous, so it will give your Xbox One X gorgeous cars and tracks to make the most of your 4K HDR television.
NBA 2K20 continues to prove my 2K Games’ basketball series is the best of the best. With new physics, ball handling, defensive adjustments, smarter A.I., and another great story mode, there is enough content to keep basketball fans busy for months. This is also true for MyGM mode, which is more accessible this year and will let aspiring tacticians feel more welcome.
Not every change is universally positive, such as the greater focus on microtransactions, but
Read our full NBA 2K20 review
FIFA 20 builds on what has made the soccer series so revered for years, with improvements to its Ultimate Team mode allowing for more single-player opportunities, improvements to shooting and defending, all-new physics for the ball itself, and smoother animations. The play on the pitch isn’t drastically different from last year’s game, but it has welcome improvements for longtime fans.
Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series continues to improve over the years, rivaling Electronic Arts’ FIFA franchise with its emphasis on total ball and pass control, as well as improved animations and new strategies to help you manage your players exactly as you want to.
Using the Fox engine — the technology behind Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain — Konami can create a gorgeous soccer game, with detailed players and natural movement that make it feel like you’re watching a live soccer match rather than simply playing one on your Xbox One. The
Who could predict that one of the best “sports” games on the Xbox One would involve rocket-powered cars driving alongside glass domes as they knock an oversized soccer ball across the field?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
After over a decade of negligence, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has finally restored glory not only to the Tony Hawk video game franchise, but to skateboarding games as a whole. This remakes, which bundle in the first two Tony Hawk entries, tweak the game significantly. They seriously overhaul the graphics to put them on modern standards, while also modernizing other important areas, like menus, game modes, and characters.
What hasn’t changed? The core gameplay. The original games are still remarkably fun to play today, hampered on by their aging graphics and antiquated presentation. Enhancing the games while keeping the experience untouched automatically makes this a must-have title for both fans and newcomers. If you played Tony Hawk back in the day, you’ll love the nostalgic music. If this is your first time, you’ll love the unique skateboarding gameplay that remains without peer today.