The 25 best Xbox One games

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It's been a big week of releases with Far Cry 5, Sea of Thieves and A Way Out all arriving in quick succession. Far Cry 5 and A Way Out are both straight in our Best Xbox One games list, but we're holding back on Sea of Thieves for a little bit. It's great fun, but as a persistent online world we're waiting to see how it plays over time. As we mention in our review, we not sure yet about the longevity of its fetch missions and occasionally unfriendly environment. When you only have 25 places to hand out, adding a new game to this list is not a decision to be rushed in to.

The games that do make it in are a mix of superb Xbox One X Enhanced games like Assassin's Creed Origins and Wolfenstein 2, plus classics that have stood the test of time like Fallout 4 and GTA 5. Every time something new comes alone we review it, appraise it and then, if it's good enough, it's added to our best Xbox One games hall of fame.

25. 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. 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.

24. Cuphead

After delays that led to maybe just a touch of apathy, Cuphead is here and has instantly become one of the best shooters all time (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. 

23. 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. 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.

22. 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.

21. 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.

Looking for more great games to play? Check out our recommendations below:

20. 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. 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.

19. Middle-earth: Shadow of War

With a bigger, richer world and more tightly honed mechanics Shadow of War is a great sequel - the combat is more immediate and satisfying, the environments more detailed varied, and everything combines beautifully. It's also one of the best Xbox One X enhanced games if you want to show off all that power. This is a big game though - seriously, seriously huge. 15 hours or so will finish the prologue; another 25 odd will unlock the rest of the map, so don't pick this up for a quick fling - you need to commit. The series' nemesis system that defines the series has had expanded to create a twisting narrative of encounters, defeats and victories as you meet and battle various orcs - yours and their progress defined by who wins the fight. This time it's also been expanded to include castles you can storm, building and training an army up to the task. Even if you don't like Lord of the Rings, it's a massive and exciting open world to explore. 

18. 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.

17. 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.

16. 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.