Microsoft’s Xbox One console might be lagging behind Sony’s Playstation 4 in the console race, but that doesn’t mean its library of game exclusives should be ignored. With games like Halo 5: Guardians, Ori and the Blind Forest and Forza Horizon 4, the console boasts a variety of great experiences that you can only get on Xbox One, as well as PC, thanks to Microsoft’s Play Anywhere program.
Games on Xbox One are also more accessible thanks to Microsoft’s Netflix-style subscription service called GamePass, where gamers can experience all of the best exclusives that the console has to offer in addition to over 200 hundred other titles for just $10 a month. It’s the best deal in gaming and a great way to experience what the console has to offer.
So which Xbox One exclusives should be at the top of your list? Here’s 11 of our favourites.
Crackdown 3 might be mindless and a little on the repetitive side, but there’s something strangely satisfying about being an overpowered superhero flying from building to building collecting orbs to level up your character while causing complete and utter mayhem in an open world city.
Is Crackdown 3 shallow? Sure. Does it evolve the formula that the first game started 12 years ago? Disappointingly, no. However, it still makes this list because there’s nothing quite else like it. Crackdown 3’s 15-hour long campaign is a fun, entertaining romp that doubles in enjoyment if played through with a friend online. It also happens to have some of the best use of HDR (high dynamic range) we’ve seen in a game to date, making it a great showpiece for your 4K television.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 is quite possibly one of the finest arcade racing games released to date. The vast open world is packed full of fun racing challenges from racing a train across a wintery landscape to racking up a huge number of skill points by hitting big jumps. Meanwhile the ever-changing weather system add a new dynamic to races be it street races, rally racing, cross country drives or one of the many story missions.
Simply the prettiest and most content-filled arcade racer around that will hook both diehard and casual racing fans alike.
Forza Motorsport 7
For those who desire a realistic racing sim, look no further than Forza Motorsport 7. Racing diehards will be floored by the more than 700 impressively rendered cars available in the game and the equally impressive car customisation options that enable players to tune every aspect of their car to their liking.
Forza Motorsport 7 also offers a staggering amount of content that is likely to keep racing fans busy for a long time to come.
Ori and the Blind forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is a captivating 2D platformer that will draw you in with its sheer artistry and keep you hooked with its wonderfully tight platforming, light RPG elements and moving story that will pull at the heartstrings.
You play an adorable character named Ori who is accompanied by a watchful spirit as you embark on a journey through a lush forest to revive her adopted mother. Ori offers a wonderful blend of story, graphics and gameplay that is as challenging as it is satisfying.
Cuphead is a tough 2D platformer that looks and sounds like you’re playing a 1930’s cartoon, specifically in the style of early Disney. The fact that it nails its aesthetic so well makes it a sight to behold and a joy to play.
The classic fighting series from the 90’s received a stellar reboot to coincide with the Xbox One’s console launch and since then the game has received a number of characters, stages and story modes that make it hard to pass up. The roster of fighters includes a mix of recognisable characters from other famous franchises such as Rash from Battletoads along with the best characters from Killer Instinct’s history including Jago, Cinder, Orchid and Fulgore.
Killer Instinct also offers the most extensive training mode ever seen in a fighting game, enabling newcomers to learn the ropes while allowing veterans of the genre to learn the intricacies of the game’s elaborate combo system.
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 builds on what made the series great with a thrilling campaign filled with intense set-pieces that can be played either solo or two-person co-op (local split-screen or online).
Once the 12-hour long campaign is over, there’s an extensive suite of multiplayer modes to dig into including a revamped Horde mode which introduces buildable structures that adds a tower defense style mix of gameplay on top of the usual stop-and-pop gun combat Gears is known for.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Many gamers rank the first three Halo titles as among the finest first person shooters to ever grace a console and with the Master Chief Collection you get a complete remaster of all those titles plus Halo 4. Owners of the Xbox One X receive a native 4K resolution output along with HDR support for all four games and it looks spectacular. Improved textures, higher resolution cutscenes and frame rate boosts means the most popular Halo titles have never looked or played better.
All four Halo games also support couch cooperative play via local split-screen (as opposed to just online) which is a rare feature in games nowadays.
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5 shook up the series with new movement mechanics, the ability to aim down sights to better locate shots, an emphasis on verticality, a split narrative for the main campaign along with the addition of new special moves and weapons that combine to deliver an experience that feels fresh, fluid and fun.
The developer might have dropped the ball by omitting splitscreen functionality entirely from the game, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that is still one of the best shooters available on Xbox One.
One of the most experimental shooters in recent memory, Quantum Break is a time-bending third person action game that uses live action scenes played by a star studded cast to deliver the game’s multilayered and compelling storyline. However, where Quantum Break truly excels is in its gameplay, particularly during firefights where you have access to protagonist Jack Joyce’s temporal powers to help you clear out rooms of enemies.
The game isn’t without its flaws, namely the platforming segments feel clunky and the cover mechanic is less than ideal, but these are mere blemishes in an otherwise standout gaming experience and arguably Xbox One’s best exclusive.
If you were a console gamer in the 90’s then chances are you have played a game from iconic British game developer, Rare.
Rare Replay is a ‘best of’ compilation of thirty games that span decades from the studio’s earliest 2D classics to its more recent output on Xbox consoles. This includes titles like 1983’s Jetpac to Rare’s prolific output in the 90’s with landmark platformer Banjo Kazooie, console-defining shooter Perfect Dark and the combo breaking arcade fighter Killer Instinct. It’s a testament to the studio’s talents that most of the games included in the collection have stood the test of time.
Rare Replay is also loaded with amazing extras and fascinating documentaries on the making of classics like Conker’s Bad Fur Day. The level of detail and quality on show in Rare Replay is something you don’t often see in compilations like these.
Rare’s most famous games such as the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and Goldeneye 007 is noticeably absent, though that it is to be expected given those titles were originally published by Rare’s former owners, Nintendo. Still even without those classics, there is plenty here to keep players entertained for hours on end and shouldn’t be missed by any Xbox One owner.