We're in the quiet before the storm for the best Xbox One games at the moment, as everything prepares for that October/November 'launch for Christmas and make all the money' bit of the year. While carefully avoiding Red Dead Redemption 2's October 26 date, of course.
Recently we've had Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Strange Brigade and PES 2019 all arrive. All good games but not best Xbox One games level, which is what you need to get in this list. Next up is Crackdown 3 for February next year. Maybe. Who knows? That game's release date has been all over the place.
Next year's where it should get interesting with Gears of War 5 pencilled in there somewhere, and further afield Halo Infinite, which doesn't have a date and 2019 might be a stretch but we know it's coming.
Whatever we get in the future, this is our list of the best Xbox One games as it stands now; the greatest the console has to offer and a library every Xbox owner should consider very seriously.
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30. Final Fantasy 15
The Final Fantasy name isn't exactly synonymous with Microsoft's console, but we're happy just the same as Final Fantasy 15 is easily one of the best RPGs of the year, and one of the best Xbox One games. It blends the vast open-worlds of Western RPGs with Final Fantasy's hallmark over-the-top anime absurdity to great effect, crafting a world based on the highways and byways of Middle America while filling that world with ferocious monsters, massive crystals, and powerful magic. There are times when Final Fantasy 15 feels like an idiosyncratic mishmash of ideas, but when you throw everything together - the strange world, the thrilling, real-time combat, the lovable characters who stick with you for your entire journey - it becomes something much greater than the sum of its parts. It becomes one of the best Final Fantasy games in ages; a game well worth the wait.
After delays that led to maybe just a touch of apathy, Cuphead is here and has instantly become one of the best Xbox One games of all time - especially if you like shooters (according to our review). While the presentation is crafted beautifully from 1930 cartoon art - things like Betty Boop shorts and Disney's Silly Symphonies - this takes gameplay cues from sources like Mega Man, Contra, Metal Slug, and Gunstar Heroes. The levels aren’t huge but it’s the challenge, not the size that matters here as you dodge bullets and learn enemy patterns. Everything tests your skills and reactions in a range of interesting ways and, most importantly, are a joy to beat.
28. Halo: Master Chief Collection
*braces for complaints* Yes, we are well aware of the problems that plagued this particular entry, but now that it works, there's no doubting the craftsmanship here and its place in our best Xbox One games list. Bungie's genius meets 343's love in a package that truly does justice to an industry-shaking legacy. Buffed-up, revarnished and back in the shop window, The Master Chief Collection leaves us to wonder if Halo always looked so lovely. And you know what? It more or less did.
27. NieR: Automata - Become as Gods Edition
It's a little late to the Xbox One party but a wait that's been worthwhile as Nier: Automata - Become as Gods Edition, brings a 4K edition of Platinum's esoteric action adventure complete with DLC and extra costumes. It's a strange and unusual game about androids questioning the nature of existence via beating up robots and cleverly crafted homages to other games - when you're not mastering the acrobatic gunplay, the camera plays with angles that turn this into things like a topdown shooter, or aside scrolling brawler. Other interesting ideas see things like a chip system that lets you automate parts of the game you might struggle with. For example, if you're not great at dodging, an auto-evade chip can take care of that for you, while leaving every other facet of combat under your control. It's odd, inventive and fascinating game hitting Xbox in its most definitive edition.
26. Rainbow Six Siege
The first few minutes of a Rainbow Six: Siege match feel more like a slasher film than an all-guns-blazing FPS. The pitter-patter of combat booted feet sounds through the roof. Defenders erect Home Alone defences. Was that the whine of a rappel buckle? It's a sense of tension that beats most horror games. And once all hell does break loose, you're suddenly thrown into the midst of deep, strategical, brutally unforgiving warfare. Ripe with tactical options and built for "one more go" appeal, this is by far Xbox One’s smartest multiplayer shooter.
25. Halo 5: Guardians
Halo's always been a balance of campaign with multiplayer, but this entry's a tad lopsided. The story of Locke chasing Chief isn't quite the era-defining moment we were hoping for but, luckily, it's the series-best multiplayer that gets our visors misty. Halo 5: Guardians offers so very much to prospective online warmongers. Arena is a return to the Halo of old, tense cerebral skirmishes that are an oasis of sanity in a sea of crude shooters. If you fancy some madness, then you have Warzone - mega-battles powered by a desperately addictive card-collecting system. And more's being added - 343 just reintroduced Big Team Battles and a new version of classic map, Blood Gulch for free. We're home.
24. Ori and the Blind Forest
Imagine a lavish, beautiful storybook world… that slams shut on your stupid, bleeding fingers for seven brutal hours. This is Ori and the Blind Forest, the result of Microsoft handing a group of retro fanatics enough money (and freedom) to make a worthy successor to the platformers of old, and creating one of the best Xbox Games ever as a result. Not only is this a pitch-perfect update to the formula set up by Metroid and Castlevania, combining mechanical satisfaction with tear-jerking narrative sequences, it's also quite probably the best-looking 2D game of all time. So yeah, it's pretty special.
23. FIFA 18
It's another step on for FIFA 18 this year, with some great tweaks to the action: taking a shot from a distance now has more impact, crosses are improved with a genuine whip added to the ball. AI's been improved as well with far more individual character and personality to different star's playing styles and, while lower league team don't feels quite as good, teams do have different feeling tactics when you play them. The continuation of the single player Journey also continues to impress with an exciting and even occasionally touching campaign as you follow his career. It's this mode that gives FIFA 18 the edge over PES this year as it's leagues ahead of any comparable mode you might find in similar games. And, finally, the monster that is FIFA Ultimate Team is improved by Squad Battles which let you progress better without spending real money. A welcome addition if chasing cards and coins is big part of your life.
22. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of the most unique, brutal, brave, hilarious, and intelligent shooters of the generation so far. MachineGames' sequel, The New Colossus, confidently doubles down on all of that. Moving BJ Blazkowicz's very personal war further into the alternative-universe '60s, and transposing it to an America under Nazi rule, The New Colossus is uncompromisingly relevant. It's a smart, sensitive, and emotive discussion of callousness, prejudice, and cruelty, that nevertheless knows how to be fun at all times. A biting portrait of human failures and social horrors, that does its biting with big robot teeth and hatchet blades. It's a game that exemplifies heart and brains throughout, but never with more unremitting flair than when it comes to the noble art of tearing Nazis to shreds with bloody and balletic style.
21. The Darwin Project
Okay, battle royale games are everywhere right now but Darwin Project has been around a while and had some interesting ideas even before it went free to play. The core concept is familiar - several people enter an arena and only one can win/live. The twist this throws in is that you can track other players. For example, you have to harvest resources in order to make vital equipment, but that leaves traces that can be used to locate other players - examine a tree stump, say, and you'll be able to highlight the person responsible on the map for a short time. There are even maps in certain buildings that show where everyone is. This is also set in a freezing environment, meaning you need to make fires to stay warm, which can also be used to track you. The balance between crafting, survival and trying to avoid leaving a trace is a clever spin on the last man standing genre.
20. Battlefield 1
We were worried DICE had set themselves up for a fall with a WW1 shooter, when Battlefield 1 was announced. Taking on one of the most bloody and tragic conflicts in human history isn't typically the best starting point for a fun game. But the anthology format is a masterstroke, using different perspectives to capture the sensational action of conflict, while sensitively showing the human cost of war. The story of the British chauffeur turned tank driver alone is more emotionally nuanced than anything we've seen from Battlefield before. But this isn't some weepy drama – it's a WW1 epic, an overwhelming shooter like nothing else on Xbox One, with 64 player multiplayer mode to keep you coming back. It's a gamble that paid off. Just be careful how you Tweet about it next time, OK EA?
Click 'next page' for titles 15 - 6 in our countdown of the best Xbox One games.