Yes, Microsoft released three Xbox One iterations this console generation: The base Xbox One, the mid-tier Xbox One S, and the top-of-the-line Xbox One X$483.00 at Amazon . The original box was available in several bundles, and you could purchase the console with or without the now-unsupported Kinect motion-sensing bar. The enhanced Xbox One S, which debuted in 2016, boasts 4K streaming video and Blu-ray playback, HDR capabilities, and the muscle to power virtual reality. The new Xbox One X, which was once spoken of under the Project Scorpio moniker, promises true 4K gaming.
The Questionable Start
It’s amazing that Xbox One is one of PCMag’s recommended gaming platforms when you consider it endured an extremely rough start, thanks in no small part to Microsoft’s confusing messaging. Vocal members of the video game community took Microsoft, and the console itself, to task for a highly questionable (and confusing) DRM scheme that would’ve radically altered how people played and shared video games. Microsoft eventually reversed its DRM tactic, and went on to sell more than 20 million units.
Best Xbox One Games
Fortunately, a steady supply of solid games helped raise Xbox One’s public profile. Not only does it boast highly sought-after third-party, multi-platform games, but also several noteworthy exclusives that you won’t find on the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4. Even better, a handful of the Xbox One exclusives are a part of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere initiative, which lets you buy an Xbox One game and get a free Windows 10 version. The unification of the Xbox and Windows platforms is one of the best things that happened this console generation. It’s those excellent, unique titles that make the Xbox One family shine. The games you’ll find in this list are titles that will let you: engage in hyper-violent combat; race fast cars down beautiful, winding roads; solve murders; and more. Microsoft’s console has a little something for nearly every type of gamer—as you’ll see below.
Cuphead is a charming run-and-gun, shoot-’em-up that channels Konami’s iconic Contra series, while also taking heavy inspiration from the rubber hose animation style that was prominent during 1920s- and 1930s-era cartoons. If you’re familiar with the Contra series’ fast-paced gameplay, Cuphead should feel right up your alley: the titular protagonist and his brother Mugman must best a wide variety of perilous stages and bosses to complete their quest. Cuphead lacks the expansive level design featured in Contra and other genre classics, but the hardcore action game gives you a beefy list of complex and satisfying boss fights to overcome, a la Treasure’s Alien Soldier.
2 Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct isn’t a title that many gamers expected to be an Xbox One launch highlight, but it’s one of the gems in Microsoft’s next-generation lineup. The revived series adheres to the original game’s unique blend of manual and auto-combos, which casual and hardcore players use to rack up ridiculous hit totals with a few well-timed controller or fight stick inputs. Sporting a novel (for fighting games, anyway) limited free-to-play and season-pass structure, Killer Instinct is a one-on-one fighter that developer Double Helix has continually improved with new characters, accessories, and gameplay tweaks. Recently, Killer Instinct made the jump to Windows 10 PCs as a Play Anywhere title. It can also be purchased in the Steam store.
3 Tekken 7
Tekken 7, like the main-line Tekken games that came before it, is a tale of fathers and sons attempting to murder each other to purge the Mishima clan from the Devil Gene, a magical DNA bit that transforms certain people into hell spawn. Touted as the conclusion of the Mishima drama, Tekken 7 reveals secrets and leaves cliffhangers, thus simultaneously answering long-standing questions and prompting the fan base to ask new ones. But at its core, Tekken 7 is an incredibly tense game of jabs, feints, and sidesteps, as any hit may lead to a long combo sting. Factor in characters with move sets that emulate real martial arts, interactive stages that let you knock people through floors and walls, and terrific slowdown effects that happen when both fighters’ health bars are in the red and they perform close-quarter melee attacks, and you have a fighting game that’s essentially an interactive martial arts flick.
4 Forza Horizon 3
Forza Horizon 3 is this generation’s definitive racer. It’s a graphical undertaking, filled to the brim with an assortment of beautiful cars to drive, a multitude of customization options, and thrilling racing action. Its open-world game design offers different environments to whiz through, ranging from tree-filled forests, sun-soaked city streets, and breathtaking off-road countrysides. If you’re looking for the perfect marriage between arcade and simulation racing, with an emphasis on fun, you can’t find a better car experience elsewhere.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s answer to Valve’s classic Team Fortress 2. Boasting multiple game modes, maps, and versatile characters, Overwatch builds upon TF2’s established hallmarks and adds a few MOBA-like mechanics to the gameplay. Like most online-only games, the story is bare, but that doesn’t make the cast of characters any less charming or charismatic. Just don’t get caught up in the trappings of this game’s annoying microtransactions.
6 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The final installment in the marvelous The Witcher series once again sees Gerald of Rivia slaying beasts and collecting bounties, but this time set in a massive open-world environment. The combat and alchemy mechanics are improved, but it’s the gorgeous graphics that make this action-RPG the talk of the town. With a rich narrative, engaging characters, and well-crafted lore, The Witcher 3 is a must-have title for the Xbox One.
7 D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
D4, the oddball point-and-click adventure game from the ever-bizarre Swery, is the reason to own an Xbox One. This beautiful, cel-shaded murder mystery features numerous memorable characters, strong voice acting, and plenty of reality-bending, David Lynch-like absurdities.
8 Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V was originally released in 2014 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms, but it’s back—and polished to an extreme shine—on the Xbox One. The gangster game has a first-person mode, thousands of new animations, improved graphics, more than 150 new radio station tracks, an expanded online mode, and 1080p visuals that run at 30 frames per second.
9Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
What exactly is the source of the phantom pain that permeates this game’s multi-layered, but incomplete narrative? Snake’s lost forearm? Mother Base’s destruction? Creator Hideo Kojima’s separation from the franchise that he transformed into a AAA display of excellent game design and ingenuity? Regardless of how you view Metal Gear Solid V, The Phantom Pain’s open-world stealth, army-building, and compelling mysteries, it all adds up to an absorbing experience that will be spoken about for years to come.
10 Sunset Overdrive
Sunset Overdrive puts you in the role of a downtrodden garbage collector who works for Fizzco, a corporation that launches an energy drink that ultimately turns its customers into mutants. It’s up to you to grind rails, fire wacky weapons, and take down the evil, Umbrella-like company before the mutant-filled awesome-pocalypse becomes the regular, bad kind of apocalypse. This Xbox One exclusive game delivers good, old-fashioned fun filled with fast-paced action, lots of rock and roll, and some good-natured jabs at the video game industry.