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The best Xbox One exclusives you need to own

(Image credit: Microsoft Xbox)

The best Xbox One exclusives is not only a list of the best Xbox One exclusives, it's also a list of some of the best PC games. Thanks to Microsoft's cross-platform ecosystem, many Xbox One 'exclusives' are also available on PC through Xbox Game Pass. Better still, many of these games can be played through Game Pass on Xbox One as well, making them much more accessible. Game Pass is an incredible value on both platforms, so if you aren't subscribed to it already, you owe it to yourself to pick it up. 

Plus, it sounds like a lot of these titles will also be available on Xbox Series X too, with plenty of the upcoming Xbox Series X games also available to play on current-gen as well. It's one big, happy, Xbox family! 

If you're looking for more recommendations that include multi-platform releases, check out our list of the best Xbox One games. If you're short on hard drive space or in need of add-ons, have a gander at our roundup of the best Xbox One external hard drives and the best Xbox One accessories. But if you just want the best Xbox One exclusives, read on for 10 unmissable classics. Be on the lookout for upcoming Xbox Series X pre-orders too.

10. Ashen

Ashen

Release date: 2018
Developer: A44
Genre: Adventure
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes 

Ashen makes no attempt to hide the fact that it's closely modeled after FromSoftware's Dark Souls, taking inspiration from that distinct brand of challenging combat, punishing deaths, and expansive world design. But for everything Ashen borrows from the Souls series, it lovingly adds its own spin, like a gorgeous minimalist art style, a base camp that you can improve over time, and NPC companions that will join you on your adventures. Ashen's dungeons can get a bit frustrating if your determination starts to waver, but it's a worthwhile love letter to FromSoftware's formula for grandiose, intensely difficult RPGs. 

9. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

You can't really say you've owned an Xbox unless you've played at least one Halo game. It's the series that cemented the console's gaming credentials, and for that reason Halo: The Master Chief Collection is pretty damn near essential. Not only does it include Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4, but also optionally remasters the earlier games so you can enjoy them as they were originally created, or in a spruced up high fidelity version. There's even multiplayer although that had a rocky start and, a few years down the line, isn't as busy as it used to be. No, the main draw here is the chance to play through four of the Xbox's most formative games in their best possible versions - the early games are remade with improved graphics, there are frame rate boosts, re-done hi-res cutscenes and more. Everything's brought up to a modern standard, remastering and reinvigorating the classics. 

8. Quantum Break

Quantum Break

Release date: 2016
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Genre: Action
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes   

It might've overextended a bit with its experimental TV tie-in elements, but Quantum Break from Remedy Entertainment (makers of Max Payne and Alan Wake) has moments where its mix of third-person shooting and temporal powers really soars. As Jack Joyce (played by Shawn Ashmore, the lead in a relatively star-studded cast), you've stumbled into time-manipulating godhood and must use your newfound superpowers to wipe out waves of armed goons and prevent the cataclysmic End of Time. It's worth playing Quantum Break just for those moments when you've trapped enemies in a prism-like stasis bubble, peppered them with soon-to-be-unfrozen bullets, then warp-dashed over to another baddie for a melee takedown, all in the span of a few seconds.

7. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

(Image credit: Moon Studios)

Release date: 2020
Developer: Moon Studios
Genre: Platformer
Xbox One X Enhanced? No   

 Only one game could replace Ori and the Blind Forest on this list, and that's its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Both games are worth playing, but Moon Studios' latest action-platformer improves on the original in every way, from its fluid platforming to its gorgeous world to its heart-breaking story. It's more inventive, more challenging, and thanks to its totally revamped combat and RPG-lite customization systems, much more involved. It's among the best-feeling 2D platformers ever made, it's one of the finest Metroidvania games of this generation, and it's the perfect send-off to one of the most touching stories available on Xbox One.  

6. Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

Release date: 2014
Developer: Insomniac Games
Genre: Action
Xbox One X Enhanced? No   

Insomniac Games made a name for itself with the beloved Ratchet & Clank series, famous for their varied assortments of outlandish weaponry - so the studio decided to take that expertise in crafting absurd artillery, build an open-world, Jet Set Radio-style metropolis bursting with color around it, and infuse the chaotic proceedings with a healthy dose of punk rock attitude. Sunset Overdrive lets you pull off some spectacularly absurd feats of mass destruction, where you can launch bowling bowls, fireworks, explosive teddy bears, and more, mowing down hordes of mutants, robots, and bizarre gang members while you grind along telephone poles with your physics-defying sneakers. Its attempts at edgy humor constantly fall flat, but the sheer fun and freedom of grinding, flipping, and air-dashing around Sunset Overdrive's urban playground make it well worth a go.

5. Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4

Release date: 2018
Developer:
Playground Games
Genre:
Racing
Xbox One X enhanced?
Yes

It wouldn't be an Xbox games list without a Forza and the latest, Forza Horizon 4 is a worthy addition. Everything you love is back and this time placed in a beautiful, race ready rendition of England. The location is the real star as ever, full of amazing landscapes to test your driving skills and impossible to hit magic sheep (go on, just try. Plus there are the exciting Showcase Events to really focus the experience and add thrills like the chasing the Flying Scotsman locomotive, and watching a giant hovercraft that smashing through country ahead. And, if you want to get all the cars  we've got the Forza Horizon 4 Barn Find locations to help you along. 

4. Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians

Release date: 2015
Developer: 343 Industries
Genre:  Shooter
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes   

It's nowhere near the best Halo game, but as sci-fi FPS adventures go, Halo 5: Guardians makes for a solid system exclusive. Master Chief shares the spotlight with newcomer Spartan Jameson Locke, leader of the four-strong Fireteam Osiris. Halo 5's campaign is best enjoyed in online co-op (supporting up to four players, though sadly there's no splitscreen option), and though the plot itself lacks sufficient oomph, the new focus on verticality in the level designs keeps the tense, tactical firefights feeling fresh. Meanwhile, the multiplayer is as exciting as ever, especially in the large-scale, multi-objective skirmishes of the 24-player Warzone mode. As for all the other tried-and-true modes, you really can't go wrong with Halo multiplayer in any capacity.

3. Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7

Release date: 2017
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Genre: Racing
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes   

After a questionable previous installment, Forza Motorsport 7 finally perfects its racing game. Everything is as flawless as those 4K visuals with better AI, improved handling, more substantial collisions - everything you need to make the cars all feel superb. The precision of the controls creates some great moments as you push cars to their limits - screaming around corners on the edge of the tyres grip. It all combines to deliver an experience that's both realistic and fun, as long as you don't mind working for it as some of the progression can be a little demanding as you try to collect cars and win events to get ever further. But, even though there's a hint of grind, this is still one the greatest racers currently available.

2. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Release date: 2018  
Developer: Rare
Genre: Adventure
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes 

Possibly the biggest boon for Xbox One owners is the fact that Sea of Thieves is all theirs. Rare's emergent pirate adventure sees players sailing across the big blue, finding treasure where the X marks the spot, defeating hordes of skeletons and undead sea captains, and even collecting chickens and other items to sell to travelling merchants. Of course, you're doing all that in between swigging grog, singing sea shanties and having a laugh with your mates. Because, if you know nothing about Sea of Thieves, all you need to know is that's it's the best game to play with your friends. 

1. Gears 5

(Image credit: Microsoft Xbox)

Release date: 2019
Developer: The Coalition
Genre: Shooter
Xbox One X Enhanced? Yes   

Following straight on from the events of Gears of War 4, Gears 5 – as it is now simply called – focuses on the story of Kait Diaz. Struggling to comes to terms with the death of her mother, Kait is now focused on finding out more about her past after in her mother's last moments she's passed a necklace that bears the Locust Horde icon. All the old favourites are back too of course, from Marcus Fenix to his son JD, and it's all in for a brilliant Gears experience. It's not just limited to single-player, or brilliant co-op, story moments though, as there's an extensive multiplayer component to the game too, ranging from PvP frays to a glorious horde mode that literally keeps on giving. 

Need more Xbox? Here are the best Xbox One X deals for anyone looking to go 4K and make the most of these games