As the next generation of game consoles ramps up, it means we’re nearing the end of the Xbox One era – so we thought it was high time to take a fresh look back at its vast library of games and narrow down our favorites. This list was compiled by the entire IGN content team and – after plenty of internal debate – represents what we believe to be the very best that the Xbox One has to offer.
The goal of this list is to offer up the games we Xbox fans here at IGN would recommend right now, today, if you’ve just picked up an Xbox One or you’ve had one for a while and are just looking for something new to play.
The Best Xbox One Games (Fall 2020 update)
Check out the video above, click through the gallery or scroll down for the full list!
The 25 Best Xbox One Games
Click on the name of a game below to jump to its description and find out what makes these games the best Xbox One games so far.
25. The Outer Wilds
Release Date: May 28, 2019 IGN’s The Outer Wilds Wiki
Outer Wilds may be a sci-fi game, but it has a strange sort of magic to it. Its open-ended nature could leave you drifting through space (and often into planets at literal breakneck speed) without much idea of what to do, but this handcrafted solar system is filled to the brim with enticing breadcrumbs, tantalizing story teases, and some downright incredible sights that constantly draw you into one breathtaking moment after another.<br><br>It’s a world begging to be explored, and the time loop mechanic at its core both consistently leaves you wanting more and adds a terrifyingly tense pressure to its otherwise serene exploration. It may take you a moment to get your space legs, but Outer Wilds is a trek absolutely worth taking for yourself.
From IGN’s 2019 The Outer Wilds review: “Outer Wilds’ tricky exploration and puzzle solving is definitely an acquired taste. Its very specific brand of active storytelling differs wildly from highly guided open-worlds that many of us think of when we talk about non-linear gameplay. Though it can be confounding at times when events don’t unfold in precisely the right way, the feeling of discovering something new about the story, or following a couple of facts to something totally unexpected on a faraway planet far outweighs those hiccups.”
24. The Witness
Release Date: January 26, 2016 IGN’s The Witness Wiki
The Witness is more than just a gorgeous island littered with hundreds of puzzles — it’s a labyrinth of mysteries waiting to be solved as you discover more and more about the enigmatic island. Seemingly confounding puzzles challenged us to take a step back and explore the world to understand new rules, and when we did, we always found something new to enjoy. The Witness’ cleverly designed puzzles are more than just a checklist, though. They create an adventure that constantly challenges you to learn new rules in order to find all of the island’s awesome secrets.
From IGN’s 2016 The Witness Review: “The Witness has a power and pull that carried me throughout the more than 40 hours it took to complete it for the first time, and that, even now, beckons me back to confront the mysteries I left unsolved. Its graceful combination of tangible goals, obscurity, and freedom creates ample opportunity for small victories and grand revelations alike. For the most part, its themes weave themselves beautifully throughout the gorgeous world and wide variety of puzzles, but even when it breaks subtlety in favor of a more heavy-handed approach to exposition, it never detracts from the truly fulfilling moments The Witness offers in terms of solving its physical puzzles and unlocking its deepest mysteries.”
23. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Release Date: August 8, 2017 IGN’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Wiki
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a masterclass of atmosphere, storytelling, and the marriage of mechanical and conceptual design. The care and attention Ninja Theory has clearly poured into Senua and her story has created something amazing. Hellblade’s beautiful presentation and dense story reinforce its serious subject matter in this vivid tale of harrowing darkness.
From IGN’s 2017 Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review: “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a masterclass of atmosphere, storytelling, and the marriage of mechanical and conceptual design. While there are moments that feel shoehorned in to remind us we’re playing a video game, the care and attention Ninja Theory has clearly poured into Senua and her story has created something amazing. This is a game everyone should play, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have lived inside the mind of Senua, however briefly.”
22. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Release Date: September 1, 2015 IGN’s Metal Gear Solid 5 Wiki
Metal Gear Solid V – both The Phantom Pain and its precursor Ground Zeroes – is, without question, the most ambitious entry in the Metal Gear series, both in terms of its gameplay mechanics and scattered (some might say incomplete) story. Featuring what is undoubtedly one of the most complex sandboxes in gaming history, The Phantom Pain gives players a huge arsenal of weapons, vehicles, gadgets, and AI companions to approach missions creatively. As always, stealthy tactical gameplay is rewarded heavily, but if a mission goes sideways (or if you’re feeling squirrelly) the game doesn’t punish you for getting loud and messy. While the full scope of Hideo Kojima’s ultimate vision may have been stymied by creative differences with Konami, Metal Gear Solid 5 is still an absolutely worthwhile adventure for open-world stealth fans.
From IGN’s 2015 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain review: “The Phantom Pain is the kind of game I thought would never exist – one where every minute gameplay detail has true purpose. Its lack of story focus is sure to be divisive for the Metal Gear faithful, but the resulting emphasis on my story, my tales of Espionage Action, easily make it my favorite in the series. There have certainly been sandbox action games that have given me a bigger world to roam, or more little icons to chase on my minimap, but none have pushed me to plan, adapt, and improvise the way this one does. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain doesn’t just respect my intelligence as a player, it expects it of me, putting it in a league that few others occupy.”
21. Devil May Cry 5
Release Date: March 8, 2019 IGN’s Devil May Cry 5 Wiki
It had been more than a decade since Capcom’s last in-house developed Devil May Cry game, and with Devil May Cry 5, they proved that they haven’t lost their touch. No game series is better at giving you the tools to be creative with how you dispatch enemies than Devil May Cry, and DMC5 is the best yet. It’s quite simply one of the deepest combat systems you’ll ever find, and the addition of the Devil Breaker mechanic, along with a new character in V who offers a wildly different experience than Nero and Dante, only serve to sweeten the pot.
From IGN’s 2019 Devil May Cry 5 review: “The question of which Devil May Cry game is the best has gotten much easier with Devil May Cry 5. The combat is the strongest the series has seen to date, the story does a great job of balancing all three of its main characters and doling out rewarding bits of its mysterious story at an enticing pace, and the unlockable difficulties, sheer number of techniques to earn, and the upcoming free Bloody Palace DLC will provide a ton of incentive for replayability. It’s good to have you back, Dante and Nero.”
Still, great games like this should never die. This collection delivers more than a huge Halo fan like myself could have reasonably imagined and, even with its (hopefully temporary) online issues, it packs an insane amount of first-person shooter greatness onto one disc. Here’s to reliving old memories and creating new ones, because maybe in 10 years from now, this Master Chief Collection will mean to some of you what Halo 2 meant to me a decade ago.”
20. The Outer Worlds
Release Date: October 25, 2019 IGN’s The Outer Worlds Wiki
Ask gamers what their favorite of the modern, first-person 3D Fallout games are and a lot of them would probably say Fallout: New Vegas. That’s because Obsidian’s 2010 follow-up to Bethesda’s Fallout 3 had an even richer story packed with intriguing player choices. The Outer Worlds is, in everything but name, New Vegas’s spiritual successor. The Outer Worlds spins a heck of a yarn in a new sci-fi universe – one with a more vivid color palette – and puts a greater emphasis on role-playing than more recent Fallouts have done. You can play your hero any way you want, from action-tastic stud to sweet-talking stealth mastery to a dimwitted idiot savant.
From IGN’s 2019 The Outer Worlds review: “With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian has found its own path in the space between Bethesda and BioWare, and it’s a great one. And considering that new RPGs from either of those influential developers are still years away, this game couldn’t have been timed any better. It’s not as explorable as one big open world but it still packs in a large portion of flexible quests and conflicts within its series of smaller ones. And the combat, character, and companion systems have enough new spins on existing ideas to make it feel like an homage with its own personality rather than a copy.”
19. Monster Hunter: World
Release Date: January 26, 2018 IGN’s Monster Hunter: World Wiki
It’s not hard to see what makes Monster Hunter: World so alluring. Against imposing, fantastical monsters of staggering stature, you slowly gain the knowledge, skill, and equipment needed to topple them all. That core loop is so engaging, and so rewarding, as you discover each new beast more complex and mystifying than the last. This is a masterclass of action-RPG design and presentation, with a world that feels alive thanks to the incredible attention to detail in the environments and the many creatures that inhabit them. With the newest Iceborne expansion that already great experience is elevated into a cool new climate with a ton of new abilities to employ as you hunt down beasts bigger and badder than ever.
From IGN’s 2018 Monster Hunter: World review: “Whether or not it’s the best, this is certainly the most audacious Monster Hunter game. World takes a dramatic leap into a look, feel, and size that feels truly new, simultaneously staying true to the series’ ideals by maintaining the addictive loop of combat, intimidating monsters and meaningful upgrades that fans love. The sheer depth and commitment required is still intense, but it clearly isn’t Capcom’s aim to court a casual crowd. This is as all-consuming and incredible a ride as ever.”
18. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Release Date: November 15, 2019 IGN’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Wiki
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order does an amazing job making you master the art of combat with perfectly timed parry’s that you can follow up with a flourish of your lightsaber or the force power of your choosing. This is especially rewarding on the harder difficulties as you’ll need to master all of your abilities to conquer the many foes after Cal Kestus. In addition to superb gameplay Fallen Order adds a cherry on top in the form of a memorable story that will have you travelling across the galaxy far far away with a band of misfits by your side. A great story, stellar gameplay, and plenty of Empire baddies to slice away at await you on this adventure.
From IGN’s 2019 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order review: “It’s been ages since we got a great single-player Star Wars action game, but Jedi: Fallen Order makes up for a lot of lost time. A strong cast sells a dark story while keeping things fun and loyal to Star Wars lore, and fast, challenging combat mixes with energetic platforming, decent puzzles, and diverse locations to explore for an all-around amazing game.”
17. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Release Date: October 5, 2018 IGN’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Wiki
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey picks up (mechanically) where Origins left off, continuing the series’ evolution from stealth-sandbox to action/RPG. Taking place roughly 400 years before the events of AC Origins, Odyssey’s rendition of Ancient Greece is as gorgeous as the series (or games in general, quite frankly) has ever been. Traversing its verdant forests and rocky hills or sailing shining seas of the Mediterranean always offers something new to find or an ancient ruin to explore, and its combat is equal parts arcadey fun and ARPG-style strategy. The new skill trees offer dozens of abilities useful both in and out of a fight, though the combat-centric ones like the 300-inspired Spartan Kick and brutally satisfying Shield Breaker often steal the show. While it may not feature the best voice acting the series has ever seen, the main campaign succeeds at offering a compelling story with characters we found ourselves genuinely invested in – although its 50-60 hour critical path does feel a bit bloated with errands and fetch quests. That said, with all there is to explore beyond the confines of the core adventure (historical inaccuracies notwithstanding), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey stands out as a must-play title of the current generation.
From IGN’s 2018 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey review: “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a resounding achievement in world building, environment, and engaging gameplay with occasional problems throughout. Its incredible recreation of ancient Greece is something I’ll want to go back to long after I’ve finished its main story, and its excellent systems mesh together in a way that’s hard to beat. While there are definite rough edges, Odyssey sets a new bar for Assassin’s Creed games and holds its own in the eternal debate over the best open-world roleplaying games ever.”
16. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Release Date: November 10, 2015 IGN’s Rise of the Tomb Raider Wiki
Lara Croft’s first post-reboot sequel raises the bar for the entire action-adventure genre. Freeform exploration sections plus a thorough crafting and XP system mean you’ve always got a new goal in mind. Combine it with Rise’s gorgeous set pieces and compelling human story and you get one of the most complete, top-to-bottom excellent games on Xbox One.
From IGN’s 2015 Rise of the Tomb Raider review: “Rise of the Tomb Raider raises the bar set by Lara’s last outing with a rollicking adventure story, strong villains, gorgeous vistas, and smart puzzles – go off the main path to find the best stuff in dastardly optional tombs. Though the mandatory combat doesn’t distinguish itself with challenging enemies unless you crank up the difficulty, Lara’s newfound versatility on the battlefield makes fighting a lot more fun. Once again it’s Lara herself, however, who steals the show, her complex ambitions and hardened resolve showing new sides to a character who has well and truly grown from survivor to the most fascinating action hero in video games today.”
15. Titanfall 2
Release Date: October 28, 2016 IGN’s Titanfall 2 Wiki
The original Titanfall was great, but the sequel delivered everything the first game failed to: an outstanding single-player campaign and some meat on Titanfall’s strong but otherwise skinny multiplayer bones. The multiplayer part was obvious: more Titans, more game modes, more maps, etc. And Titanfall 2 delivered there. But that campaign almost came out of nowhere. It may not have had much of a story, but it’s one of the best shooter campaigns of this generation on the back of its smart, variety-is-king design. You’ll see when we mean when you get to *that* gameplay twist.
From IGN’s 2016 Titanfall 2 review: “It’s rare that a sequel evolves on every part of the original concept so consistently for the better, but Titanfall 2 is that exception. Its feelgood movement is the foundation for both the engaging action and platforming gameplay of its strong campaign and its over-the-top competitive multiplayer. With bolstered progression, customization, variety, and a fleshed-out story, Respawn has made good on its original vision with Titanfall 2. And bottom line, it’s just damn fun to play.”
14. Apex Legends
Release Date: February 4, 2019 IGN’s Apex Legends Wiki
As the battle royale genre grew and evolved, Apex Legends developer Respawn was clearly watching. Its take on the hugely popular mode improves upon standard battle royale mechanics to make this shooter one of the best – if not the best – in the growing arena. As with all battle royale games, Apex Legends challenges you to be the last squad standing on its singular map as a wall of energy forces players closer together. The loop of dropping quickly, looting, and then outsmarting and outshooting opponents is incredibly fun, regardless of whether or not you win. Apex Legends’ maintains the stellar shooting we saw in Titanfall 1 and Titanfall 2 – save for the Mozambique, but even Respawn is in on that joke. And as part of the Titanfall universe, the lore behind Apex Legends and its characters are a neat way to flesh out the identity of the game series further. Its charming and unique characters are an excellent spin on the blank canvases we usually have jumping into an arena. Their abilities allow for players of all skills to contribute to their team, and regardless of who you’re playing with, the innovative ping system makes communicating important information to teammates far easier. Respawn’s good communication and game updates keep us excited to see how it’ll continue to grow Apex Legends’ exciting gameplay.
From IGN’s 2019 Apex Legends review: “Apex Legends makes squad-based battle royale work better than thought possible, even when playing with a randomly matched team. Its intuitive communication system makes strategic teamplay achievable without a word, and the eight unique legends each have cool abilities that are rewarding without feeling like restrictive roles. It all takes place in Kings Canyon, which is a fascinating sci-fi map that leads to tense encounters filled with all of the pristine gunplay and polish from the Titanfall series, and its free-to-play setup doesn’t pressure you to pay to keep up. Apex Legends has the goods to be a true challenger to Fortnite’s dominance.”
13. Resident Evil 2 Remake
Release Date: January 25, 2019 IGN’s Resident Evil 2 Remake Wiki
Resident Evil 2 has set the bar impossibly high for remakes and remasters of classic games by reimagining the 1998 original. But more importantly, it’s become the gold standard of survival horror in 2019. The derelict corridors of the Racoon City Police Department are brimming with both tension and action, which is a difficult balance to achieve in and of itself, but is just the beginning of Resident Evil 2’s triumphs. Each item, weapon, and enemy is part of a brilliant ecosystem that either hastens or hinders your progress through it. Even your run-of-the-mill zombie presents a unique obstacle in the sense that the ones you’ve already “killed” sometimes come back “life.” It’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it to expend valuable resources like shotgun shells or plywood boards to deal with them for good. As new elements are introduced old ones gain new meaning, and the bigger picture becomes a bit more clear. Throw in an excellent narrative, brilliant level design, and a wealth of addition modes and playthrough options, and Resident Evil 2 is more than worthy of your time.
From IGN’s 2019 Resident Evil 2 Remake review: “Capcom did a fantastic job of resurrecting all the best parts of the classic Resident Evil 2 and making them look, sound, and play like a 2019 game. If you’re of the mind that the series had lost its way for a while there, this game is very much a return to form. The zombie combat is satisfying and exploring the dilapidated ruins of Raccoon City is a thrill. The one big letdown is that the two characters’ stories aren’t different enough to make the second playthrough as rewarding as the first, even after unlocking the 2nd Game mode. But whichever you choose to play as, the experience of playing through the new Resident Evil 2 for the first time establishes a new standard for remaking classic games.”
Release Date: June 29, 2016 IGN’s Inside Wiki
We define a 10 out of 10 as a “masterpiece,” and Inside is every bit of one. The non-sequel follow-up to the sublime Limbo took six years to make, and it looks like five of those were spent on polish. Every pixel, animation, ray of light, and audio cue feels considered – not to mention the puzzles themselves. Inside won’t strain your brain too hard, but its impactful non-verbal story will leave you contemplating what it all means for days after you finish it. Inside is simply unforgettable and should not be missed.
From IGN’s 2016 Inside review: “Inside very clearly builds upon what made Limbo great, and in fact builds something greater. Its unimaginable twist may leave you dumbfounded, confused, and quite possibly speechless, but it will fuel heated discussion with your friends about its meaning, its message, and its intentions. It’s a short ride, but one I felt compelled to take again – including a search for its mysterious hidden orb collectibles. Play it soon before anyone spoils a single big moment for you.”
11. Gears 5
Release Date: September 10, 2019 IGN’s Gears 5 Wiki
Gears 5 loses the “of War” part of its title but absolutely none of its third-person cover-based shooter gameplay excellence. The chainsaw gun-wielding soldiers return and it’s finally time to uncover the mystery of Kait Diaz’s past and resolve the cliffhanger from the end of Gears of War 4. The story of Gears 5 is heartfelt, personal, and engaging, while multiplayer is once again a blast, too. The staple Versus and Horde modes are joined by the interesting new Escape mode that challenges a team of three to get the heck out of a map before a lethal poison cloud envelops them. Bring on Gears 6!
From IGN’s 2019 Gears 5 review: To be clear, it’s not surprising at all that Gears 5 is an excellent third-person action game. This iconic series has never really had a misfire, even when changing hands from original developer Epic to The Coalition, and the hot streak remains unbroken. What was unexpected is just how effectively it doubles down on story with a character-focused, consequence-filled tale that plays to one of the franchise’s most underappreciated strengths and backs it up with fun, welcome additions to both its gameplay formula and flow. And that’s just the campaign: add in a heavy-hitting multiplayer lineup of Versus, Versus Arcade, Horde, and Escape and it makes Gears 5 one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory.
10. Sunset Overdrive
Release Date: October 28, 2014 IGN’s Sunset Overdrive Wiki
Sunset Overdrive could’ve easily gone wrong at so many points. Instead, it lands on the right side of all of them, making for one of the most unique – and fun – experiences you can have on the Xbox One. Its colorful in-your-face art style is gorgeous, its sense of humor hilariously self-aware, and its traversal trumps almost every other open-world game on the platform even six years after its original release. In short, Sunset Overdrive is pure concentrated fun, all bottled up in a neon-tinted splatterfest that, despite being one of the console’s older games, remains one of its best.
From IGN’s 2014 Sunset Overdrive review: “Sunset Overdrive is big, gorgeous, and a hell of a lot of fun. Never has getting from point A to point B in an open-world game provided so much enjoyment. It provides some of the most fun, frantic, and fantastic gaming I’ve had on the Xbox One. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to once-again adorn my wolf mask, leap off the highest ledge I can find, and fire an explosive stuffed animal at that group of angry robots.”
9. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Release Date: November 11, 2014 IGN’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection Wiki
This collection of six Halo games stands tall for the campaigns alone – particularly the completely remastered Halo 2 Anniversary – but now that developer 343 has updated the once-maligned multiplayer suite along with new features, enhancements, and an overall level of polish, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an absolute must-own that just keeps getting better year after year. This is the quintessential Halo experience that has finally fulfilled all of its massive potential. If you’re a longtime fan of the Halo universe or a newcomer who has no idea where to start in the long saga of the Master Chief, you can’t do better than this.
From IGN’s 2019 Halo: The Master Chief Collection review: “Overcoming its deserved reputation after a notorious launch, today the Halo Master Chief Collection is a polished, super-deluxe package of content that successfully links three generations of amazing Halo games together in a way that feels like it was made by and for people who care deeply about this legendary shooter franchise. The enhancements to the campaigns make it a joy to replay Master Chief’s story (and two other UNSC tales as well), but it’s the now-smooth multiplayer that’s worth coming back to over and over again. It’s not just a collection of some of the best first-person shooters ever made, it’s a great redemption story, too.”
8. Forza Horizon 4
Release Date: October 2, 2018 IGN’s Forza Horizon 4 Wiki
Forza Horizon 4 isn’t just the best Forza game ever made, it’s the single greatest car game of the last decade, and maybe of all-time. With its four-season fictionalization of beautiful Great Britain and focus on socially fueled fun rather than hardcore simulation racing, it’s the equivalent of a perfect, breezy, 72-degree summer day distilled into video game form. It has a gigantic, diverse selection of cars , its seasons change the look and feel of the experience, and its soundtrack is bright, cheery, and bound to put you in a good mood. Somehow, Forza Horizon keeps getting better, which seemed all but impossible after the sublime Forza Horizon 3.
From IGN’s 2018 Forza Horizon 4 review: “I’ll always have a massive soft spot for the down under delights of Forza Horizon 3, but open-world racing has never looked as good as it does in Forza Horizon 4. It combines a beautiful world that’s really four hugely distinct maps in one with a constantly rewarding and self-renewing racing experience and I really can’t tear myself away from it. Playground Games hasn’t just upped the ante once again; it’s blown the bloody doors off.”
7. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Release Date: March 11, 2020 IGN’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps Wiki
Ori and the Will of the Wisps picks up the torch that Blind Forest lit in 2015 and carries it to new heights. The foundation was already there, but Moon Studios spent the five years between games building out a livelier world, a fully-loaded moveset with a new emphasis on combat, and another helping of bittersweet story. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the best platformers you will find on any platform thanks to its creative puzzles and periods of racing platforming punctuated with soulful moments that give its characters a chance to breathe and shine.
From IGN’s 2020 Ori and the Will of the Wisps review: “In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Moon Studios has taken an excellent foundation and made even more out of it. Its many new elements expand on and add to the first game’s fun without bogging it down or becoming overcomplicated. And that’s really the best praise you can give a sequel – it stays true to the spirit of the original, doubles down on what made it great, and gives you more stake in the world and options to navigate it. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an excellent heartfelt follow-up that pushes the series to new heights.”
6. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Release Date: March 22, 2019 IGN’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Wiki
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice offers an exhilarating dose of what FromSoftware does best with new, skill-heavy combat systems that require precision and perfection to master. The supernatural take on Japanese history makes Sekiro’s obligatory moody atmosphere and cryptic story stand apart from its Souls-Borne siblings, and the new additions to traversal and combat offer unique and welcome updates to the already-excellent playbook of fighting tooth and nail for every inch of progress. Its specific brand of action may not be for everyone, but those who stick it out will find Sekiro to be an immensely rewarding journey.
From IGN’s 2019 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review: “Sekiro evolves From Software’s formula into a stylish stealth-action adventure that, naturally, emphasizes precision and skill in its combat. It walks the line between deliberate and patient stealth and breakneck melee combat against threats both earthly and otherworldly. Its imaginative and flexible tools support a more focused experience that shaves down some of From Software’s overly cryptic sensibilities without losing its air of mystery. Sekiro is an amazing new twist on a familiar set of ideas that can stand on its own alongside its predecessors.”
5. Doom Eternal
Release Date: March 20, 2020 IGN’s Doom Eternal Wiki
Doom Eternal is arguably the best single-player FPS campaign we’ve seen in the entire Xbox One generation. Its entire gameplay loop is built around you being a badass – complete with other characters you encounter in the game being very, very aware of your badassery – but Eternal meets you in the middle by throwing literally dozens of demons at you at a time to even the odds. As the enemies get bigger and nastier during the campaign, you get faster, smarter, and more powerful too. It’s an incredible combat dance that’s quite simply unlike anything else on Xbox One.
From our 2020 Doom Eternal review: “Overall, it’s not surprising that Doom Eternal is excellent in following up Doom (2016), but after playing its 15-or-so-hour campaign it’s delightful to see just how much better Doom has gotten just four years later. Eternal tips its cap to Doom 2 specifically while also building off of what made the modernized reboot a breath of fresh air for the genre. Whether you’ve been playing Doom for a few years or a few decades, Doom Eternal demands your attention.”
Release Date: August 27, 2019 IGN’s Control Wiki
Control won IGN’s 2019 Game of the Year award for good reason: it’s an exceptional third-person action-adventure that does nearly everything right. Developer Remedy has long been known for its storytelling prowess, and that’s on full display here. Great characters solving an engaging mystery in a beautiful brutalist-inspired setting, plus one of the best takes on telekinesis in gaming all combine to make Control a can’t-miss experience. It’s a game that keeps you guessing from the opening to the end credits, and even then you’ll be wanting to know more about its bizarre world.
From IGN’s 2019 Control review: “Control is set in an engrossingly weird paranormal world that I couldn’t help but explore. Jesse’s versatile psychic skills and main weapon make for thrilling ranged combat. And thanks to a strong supporting cast, a well-written script, and plenty of intriguing breadcrumb trails, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my adventure through the shifting rooms of Oldest House. Jesse’s personal story feels like an afterthought next to that, but there’s enough to Control’s world that I remain invested in uncovering every secret, even though the story’s over.”
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
Release Date: October 26, 2018 IGN’s Red Dead Redemption 2 Wiki
Both a stunning technical achievement and a new gold standard for video game storytelling in an open-world setting, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games Rockstar has ever made, and one of the greatest games ever, period. While its story is a complex tale of honor, loyalty, and loss woven around rich characters brought to life by nuanced performances, the real star of Red Dead 2 is its world. A sprawling and stunning recreation of the American south and west, it’s packed so full of detail that getting from A to B is virtually impossible without going off the beaten path to some other distraction. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, taking on any number of side quests for a parade of memorable NPCs, or just stopping to admire the verdant scenery, every single aspect of its world is deeply considered in its own right; providing a bespoke level of detail that makes Red Dead 2 nothing short of a masterpiece.
From IGN’s 2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 review: “Red Dead Redemption 2 stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Grand Theft Auto V as one of the greatest games of the modern age. It’s a gorgeous depiction of an ugly period that’s patient, polished, and a huge amount of fun to play, and it’s combined with Rockstar’s best storytelling to date. Even after finishing the lengthy story I can’t wait to go back and play more. This is a game of rare quality; a meticulously polished open world ode to the outlaw era. Looking for one of this generation’s very best single-player action experiences? Here’s your huckleberry.”
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release Date: May 19, 2015 IGN’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Wiki
Few RPGs manage to put forth a larger chunk of sophisticated content than The Witcher 3. Its massive open-world areas impress, in terms of both scope and density. Each massive area is generously dotted with great monsters to slay, tantalizing mysteries to solve, and personal stories to unfurl. It’s also one of the most impressive overall productions in gaming history, with reams of great dialogue performed by a stellar voice cast, an incredible original soundtrack, visuals that qualify as both a technical and artistic achievement, and a story with more branches than you could shake David Cage at. Package all that with two of the best and biggest expansions in recent memory, and you’ve got not only one of the best Western RPGs of all time, but a game that sets the bar for open-world adventures for years to come.
From IGN’s 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review: “Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I’d start to burn out. Even if the plot isn’t terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are, and along with the excellent combat and RPG gameplay, they elevate The Witcher 3 to a plane few other RPGs inhabit.”
1. Grand Theft Auto V / GTA Online
Grand Theft Auto V’s sprawling, meticulously detailed map is still the high-water mark to which all other modern open-world adventures aspire. Not only is it huge, it’s impossibly dense with excellent content – and that’s not just the driving and shooting that make up its campaign, nor is it limited to the numerous side activities that could amount to a full game on their own – but one rich with all the sights, sounds, and bustling activity you’d expect to find in a city teeming with humans, seedy underbelly included. Its single-player story is an engaging crime epic, one that smartly conveys Rockstar’s satirical take on the 21-st century American dream through three different playable characters, and when you’ve finally rolled credits on that – after some 30-plus hours – there’s literally years worth of content to dig into in its multiplayer component, GTA Online. Featuring everything from elaborate multi-phase heists to custom high-stakes racing to flying DeLoreans and Mad Max-style vehicular deathmatches, Grand Theft Auto Online offers unparalleled variety, and with so much to do, explore, and play with, both with friends and on your own, there’s no question that GTA 5 remains the best Xbox One game ever.
From IGN’s 2013 Grand Theft Auto V review: “Grand Theft Auto V is not only a preposterously enjoyable video game, but also an intelligent and sharp-tongued satire of contemporary America. It represents a refinement of everything that GTA IV brought to the table five years ago. It’s technically more accomplished in every conceivable way, but it’s also tremendously ambitious in its own right. No other world in video games comes close to this in size or scope, and there is sharp intelligence behind its sense of humour and gift for mayhem. It tells a compelling, unpredictable, and provocative story without ever letting it get in the way of your own self-directed adventures through San Andreas. It is one of the very best video games ever made.”
Those are our picks for the Fall 2020 update! Obviously, there are more incredible games we couldn’t include, but that’s the dilemma of cutting a list down to a specific number – some of the good stuff doesn’t make the cut.
We ended up bumping nine games off with this refresh – and like we said at the top of the page, a large part of that was a refocusing of our criteria to be more about what we’d recommend you pick up right this moment, rather than games that were monumental at the time they released but may have since aged a bit.
With that in mind, here are the games that fell off with this update: Firewatch, Dead Cells, Overwatch, Ori and the Blind Forest, Doom (2016) Dark Souls 3, and Cuphead. Again, all amazing games, but some longtime Xbox mainstays like Cuphead just had to be bumped to make room for new picks while others like Doom and Ori were replaced by their sequels.
We’ll be back for another update in the future and we’ll see how things have shaken out by then. Your picks may vary of course, so be sure to let us know in the comments what your favorite Xbox One games are!
Be sure to check out our other best games lists — we update them whenever new, great games are made. And, very rarely, we add games to our best games of all time page: The Top 100 Games List, so check that out, too.