The best Xbox games to play right now

Xbox Series X is here, but you can play all of these games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

Best Exclusive
Forza Horizon 4 - Best Xbox One
Genre
Racing
Release
28/9/2018
Best for Kids
Minecraft - Best Xbox One
Genre
Sandbox
Release
5/9/2014
Best for Kids
Gears 5
Genre
Shooter
Release
10/9/2019
Best for Kids
Moving Out
Genre
Party
Release
28/9/2020
Best Freebie
Call of Duty Warzone
Genre
Battle Royale
Release
10/9/2020
November 13, 2020
19 min read
Best Xbox Games

28 of the best Xbox One games, including Xbox exclusives, kids games, free titles and co-op multiplayer.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have finally landed. Unfortunately, the big trick for both of Microsoft’s next-gen consoles at the moment is there aren’t any first-party big-name games to play. Yet. Thankfully, all of the games on this page are playable on Xbox Series X and S, and if you’ve yet to make the leap to next-gen, you can still enjoy them on Xbox One, too.

Scroll down to see our full list of the 28 essential Xbox games of the year, which includes a mix of classic must-plays and newer contenders that demand your gaming attention.

Looking for our PC picks? You can find those here.

Gears Tactics

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Strategy110/11/202034GB

It was only a matter of time before Gears Tactics made its way over from PC to Xbox consoles and, refreshingly, while being an Xbox Series X/S launch title of sorts, it’s also still available for those hanging onto their Xbox Ones. Unlike real-time strategy games, turn-based tactics games are fully playable with a controller without disclaimers, and Gears Tactics had already clearly been built with controllers in mind even for the PC release.

While it is a vastly different play style to the cover-shooting run-and-gun nature of all other Gears games, Gears Tactics is both a great entry for fans of the series and those who like tactics games. Fair warning: this game gets real tough, real quick, so don’t be ashamed to drop the difficulty for at least your first play-through, and understand that dying is about as likely as the temptation to save scum your way to success.

Also try: XCOM 2
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If you love your tactics games, then you should love XCOM 2. The Gears Tactics devs have clearly taken a lot of inspiration from the XCOM games, which isn’t a bad thing.

Bear in mind that this game is particularly punishing, which ties in nicely to the reality that you’re on the run, so you’d better hope that the dice rolls are on your side or you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Action-adventure110/11/202050.01GB

Assassin’s Creed is back with a vengeance. After veering off course with Assassin’s Creed III, swinging the wheel back on course with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, then losing the plot for a bit, Ubisoft successfully retooled its long-free-running series with Assassin’s Creed OriginsOdyssey didn’t build on Origins a whole lot, but Assassin’s Creed Valhalla feels like a confident culmination of old and new, with enough for franchise fans and newcomers alike.

You jump into the Viking boots of Eivor who you’re immediately endeared to after the tragic events of their childhood. After an extended prologue in your homeland, it’s off to England to stake your claim on a land that’s none too happy about Viking invaders. The best gameplay results come from main-pathing Valhalla for stretches before attempting side content, and it all amounts to an addictive gameplay loop and one that looks and feels stunning on Xbox Series X.

Also try: Watch Dogs: Legion
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If you’re a fan of the Ubisoft open-world formula but want a taste of the future instead of the past, Watch Dogs: Legion may be more your speed. Legion looks great on next-gen and gives you a stack of players to recruit and embody.

Though optional, up the difficulty and turn character permadeath on to add some tension to your infiltrating exploits.

Desperados III

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Action-adventure116/6/202016.33GB

There are certain genres that tend to be best played on PC, thanks entirely to the control versatility of the keyboard and mouse. Usually, any sort of real-time strategy game falls right into this, but somehow developer Mimi Games has crafted a multiplatform experience in Desperados III that plays admirably well on controller, despite not having the quick-clicking accuracy of a mouse.

Despite being a real-time tactics game, Desperados III is a game that’s best played with turn-based logic, meaning you make plans for clearing an area before executing an attack. Isolating guards or distracting goons with overlapping views of each other is part of the fun, and the option to input macro orders that play out at the press of a button adds a whole lot of complexity to your planning. If that fails, you can always rely on save scumming your way to success, or ditching stealth in favour of dishing out lead. However you play, it’s a hoot.

Also try: Frostpunk: Console Edition
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Frostpunk has a “Console Edition” subtitle because it was originally built for the PC, but its success led to a console port. Despite being a strategy game played out in real-time, Frostpunk is far less interested in a need for any immediacy in actions and is more about careful planning.You’re in charge of an ever-freezing town in a post-apocalyptic world where the apocalypse isn’t quite done with your people. You’ll need to manage their competing needs as well as plan for a final apocalyptic winter that’s drawing closer by the day.

Rainbow Six Siege

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Shooter1-101/12/201568.82GB

Even with the Xbox Series X on the way, Rainbow Six Siege is a current-gen game that’s going to be around for a long time in the next generation of consoles. That’s because Ubisoft Montreal has honed an addictive gameplay loop which, these days, is built for players of all skill levels. You can cut your teeth in limited offline modes or cooperative terrorist hunts but, really, the main game is played online.

And because Ubisoft Montreal has at least a 10-year plan for Siege, you can invest hours in it now knowing that it’s going to be around for at least another five years. There’ll be an inevitable Xbox Series X upgrade, but the gameplay is going to be the same. So jump in now to wrap your head around the ever-growing pool of Operators and get lost in intense shootouts that never feel the same thanks to different team compositions and destructible environments. Drag your buddies along for the ride, too, because Siege is absolutely best played with friends.

Also try: Battlefield V
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If you’re a fan of squad-based shooters with an emphasis on destructibility, Battlefield V is the right choice for you. It may not have the same diversity in roles as Siege, but Battlefield V ticks all the right boxes when it comes to visual beauty, immersive sound design, and next-level map destructibility.

Now that DICE has finished releasing content for it, there’s a wealth to dig into if this is your first time playing, across solo campaigns, cooperative scenarios, and competitive multiplayer. Get into the thick of things as a soldier, take to the skies as a pilot, or perfect your tanking skills.

Deep Rock Galactic

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Shooter1-413/5/20201.91GB

Co-op games are often more fun than competitive games because it allows buddies of all skill levels to come together and find satisfaction in working together against a common threat. Take Deep Rock Galactic for instance. Pick from one of four dwarven classes that best suits your play style, then descend into the depths together.

You’ll be digging for treasure in procedurally generated caves, which means no two missions are the same, all the while battling off waves of swarming threats that are best introduced to an awesome arsenal of pacifying weapons. Full level destructibility adds an extra layer of replayability, but is also a handy way for three-dimensional navigation, as well as digging out tunnels, crevices, or hidey-holes for laying ambushes.

Also try: Vermintide 2
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If you’re tired of booting up the last-gen Left 4 Dead 2Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is the next logical choice for your co-op fix. Like Left 4 Dead 2Vermintide 2 features waves of mindless foes to dispatch in a variety of creative ways.

And like Deep Rock GalacticVermintide 2 also has a bigger focus on loot. In fact, you can sink a lot of hours into upgrading the versatility of a single class before branching off into one of the others. And while you can slash through things with a mate or two, but Vermintide 2 is best played with a full four-player band of brethren.

Maneater

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Action-adventure122/5/20206.3GB

Let’s get the toothy disclaimers out of the way. Maneater doesn’t quite reach amazing heights with its simple shark-PG logic, but there’s a lot of fun to be found in smaller bites. Sink your teeth into Maneater an hour or two at a time, and there’s a satisfying bloody loop of munching on various marine life (and humans) as you level up your shark to seek revenge against the bloodthirsty bastard who killed your mum.

That all sounds a bit serious as far as a premise is concerned, but Maneater is at its best when it’s not taking itself seriously. As far as the in-game commentary is concerned, that’s pretty much all the time when Chris “Cyril Figgis” Parnell of Archer fame is delivering fast fake-news ‘facts’ about life as a shark. While the camera is more grating than great, there are plenty of bouts of bloody fun to be found in Maneater.

Moving Out

Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Party1-427/5/2020772.83 MB

If you find Overcooked 2’s kitchens too hot to handle, Moving Out is the game for you. This co-op game is a cinch to pick up and play, and while there is clock pressure, it takes the better parts of the Overcooked recipe and elicits laughter with your fellow players more so than hot-headed orders. More impressively, Moving Out makes the concept of moving somehow fun.

You really should work together in Moving Out, but once you discover the slap button, there are even more laughs to be found. If you’re in the market for a party game that players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy, Moving Out delivers the goods.

Also try: Overcooked 2
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If you prefer your co-op with more than a pinch of competitive spirit, Overcooked 2 is your next logical port of call after Moving Out.

While simple to learn, the best success in Overcooked 2 is found in a highly focused, tightly structured co-op cooking crew.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Theives
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Adventure1-419/3/201844.34 GB

When Sea of Thieves set sail, it was a competent high-seas adventure game, albeit one hamstrung by gameplay shallower than the kind of waters that’d rip open your ship’s hull.

Fast-forward a couple of years and some quality post-release DLC releases (of the free variety) – including the seafaring stories of the recently launched Lost Treasures update – and there’s never been a better time to test the waters of Sea of Thieves.

You can do it alone, but you’re better off finding a crewmate or three of salty sea dogs to tackle the much-improved gameplay loop together. In true open-world fashion, you’ll fully intend on pursuing one particular task, only to realise hours later that you’ve been distracted by half a dozen other temptations.

Sea of Thieves manages to splice together relaxing sailing with satisfying puzzle-solving and fun combat that becomes challenging when other human pirates get involved.

Also try: State of Decay 2
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The State of Decay series has a rotten history of buggy launches, so the later you wait to play, the better the experience.State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition is currently the best version of the zombie-slaying, permadeath postapocalyptic simulator to play and, like Sea of Thieves, it’s best experienced with a friend or three.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Shooter1-319/3/202044.34 GB

It’s tricky to build on something as beloved and acclaimed as Ori and the Blind Forest, but that’s exactly what Moon Studios GmbH has done with long-gestating sequel Ori and the Will of the WispsWill of the Wisps takes the metroidvania action-platforming of Blind Forest and throws new enemy types, abilities and big boss battles into the mix. You’ll need those new abilities, too, to get around a game world that’s three times as big as the last one.

There’s more of a free-form approach to unlocks and mission structure, the latter of which can prove painful when you get stuck. But when Will of the Wisps is firing on all cylinders, it shows itself to be every bit as worthy of love as its incredible predecessor.

Also try: Ion Fury
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If you prefer contemporary shooters that fully embrace old-school roots, dive into the classically pleasing action of Ion Fury.It’s built by Duke Nukem 3D devs 3D Realms, and it feels like the kind of game that could be right at home releasing beside the classic shooter in 1996.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and The Will of the Wisps - Best Xbox One Games
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Platformer110/3/20209.6 GB

It’s tricky to build on something as beloved and acclaimed as Ori and the Blind Forest, but that’s exactly what Moon Studios GmbH has done with long-gestating sequel Ori and the Will of the WispsWill of the Wisps takes the metroidvania action-platforming of Blind Forest and throws new enemy types, abilities and big boss battles into the mix. You’ll need those new abilities, too, to get around a game world that’s three times as big as the last one.

There’s more of a free-form approach to unlocks and mission structure, the latter of which can prove painful when you get stuck. But when Will of the Wisps is firing on all cylinders, it shows itself to be every bit as worthy of love as its incredible predecessor.

Also try: Hollow Knight
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Truth told, it doesn’t really matter what platform you play Hollow Knight on, it just matters that you play it.Still, a controller is the best way to play Hollow Knight, and while this action-adventure metroidvania was initially released in 2018, it more than holds up today.

Call of Duty: Warzone

COD Warzone
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Battle Royale1-410/3/2020103.54 GB

While it may be mostly subjective conjecture that determines which current-gen console is best, you can at least show those PlayStation 4 fans who’s got the goods in cross-platform matches of Warzone. The free-to-play Warzone is a great place to start with battle royale. Find your feet in the money-chasing Plunder mode while learning the intricacies of the expansive Verdansk map that’s a mainstay across Warzone modes.

Then hot drop your way to hours of high-adrenaline highlights in the 150-player Battle Royale mode alone or with others. Both core big-player modes are updated regularly to help keep things fresh, and you should absolutely find a stable of gaming mates to play with for the most fun.

Also try: PUBG
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It may not be the first battle royale game (and it certainly won’t be the last), but it’s the one that gave the shooter subgenre the shot in the arm that has led to its popularity today.

PUBG is slower-paced and decidedly more hardcore than Warzone, so pair it with a quality Xbox One gaming headset to have the best shot at a chicken dinner victory.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

Jedi Fallen Order
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Action-adventure115/11/201945.41 GB

While it took many months for DICE to right the starship after the disastrous launch of Star Wars Battlefront II, the Force was strong with Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order right from the get-go.

While the story proves to be ultimately moot in the grander scheme of canonised Star Wars stories, it’s the addictive combination of Force-fuelled puzzling and stormtrooper slicing, all atop metroidvania world hubs, that keep Fallen Order compelling from start to finish.

It’s worth returning to in 2020, too, thanks to a free May the 4th update that finally includes combat challenges alongside new cosmetic swag and a New Game Plus mode.

Also try: Sekiro Shadows Die Twice
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This is the game that most closely resembles Fallen Order, so it’s a logical next stop after you finish this particular Star Wars story.

If you’ve ’saber slashed your way through the Star Wars take on a Souls-like game (or, more accurately, Souls-lite), particularly on a higher difficulty, you’ve effectively done a wee bit of training to prep you for the punishment of Sekiro.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Platformer17/10/20193.55 GB

Another recent entry, another game that’s built with a lot of old-school charm. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the dimensionally surprising 2.5D sequel to the charming 3D action-platformer Yooka-Laylee. It’s got something for all fans of this style of game. You can play it casually and have a hoot. Completionists can agonise over the devilish requirements of 100-percenting it.

For those after a pure gameplay fix, the mix of isometric overworld and regular 2.5D platforming make for a compelling gameplay loop. Beat a level, then crack an overworld puzzle to shake it up in a creative way for clever replayability. And for fans of true punishment, jump straight to the titular Impossible Lair and try to survive more than five minutes.

Also try: Dead Cells
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For a truly punishing action-platform experience, Dead Cells is the go-to game. This indie darling is the unholy union of Dark Souls and Metroidvania design logic. The result: a punishing but satisfying action-heavy game that’s impossible to put down. You’ll die a lot, but that’s all part of the fun.

The Outer Worlds

Outer Worlds
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Shooter129/10/201937.34 GB

This is shamelessly (and beautifully) one of those glory-days RPGs that absolutely deserves attention even if you’re only a casual fan of the genre. Think Skyrim or New Vegas (see below), except with a whole lot more polish and prettier graphics out of the gate.

You play as a marooned space-farer whose job it is to navigate the many requests and conflicting politics of different factions. Play with tact, dropping points into your conversational skills to talk your way out of anything. Or quite literally murder everyone. There’s an immersive universe to explore, as well as a fantastic sense of humour helped along by the witty dialogue that’s delivered by great voice actors.

Also try: Fallout New Vegas
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Made by the same developers as The Outer Worlds (not to mention the same ones who made the original Fallout), this backwards-compatible title still stands as arguably the best Fallout game made to date. When you’re done with The Outer Worlds, this should be your next sci-fi destination.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Shooter1-412/9/201963.48 GB

Let’s address the loot-laden elephant in the room upfront. Borderlands 3 is very much a Borderlands game, which is to say there’s not a whole lot here in terms of wholly new features. That said, Borderlands 3 is the best version of the shooter-looter formula to date.

Whether you get into the zany story and larger-than-life characters is very much of secondary importance to the never-ending loot pursuit that is the moment-to-moment gameplay of Borderlands 3. Clear entire towns in pursuit of higher-tier swag, and definitely don’t get too attached to what you feel is your fave newfound weapon five minutes ago. This really is a game that’s best played in co-op, too, with great level scaling that means greenhorns can play next to legendary-orange-stacked veterans.

Also try: Destiny 2
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If you’re addicted to Destiny 2, you already know this. If you never played or tried it at launch and left, well, there are a lot of great reasons (like the recently released Shadowkeep DLC) to return to orbit in post-Activision Destiny 2. Come for the tight shooting. Stay for the stacks of loot envy.

Trials Rising

Trials Rising
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Racing1-426/2/201929.49 GB

Never before has a game been more aptly named. For those unaware, Trials is a 2.5D series where you ride a dirt bike from start to finish. Sounds easy, right? The catch is the tracks get incredibly tricky the more you play. With a robust physics engine, the titular trials feel fair, but when it takes you 100 attempts to get past one section, you feel godlike.

Those trials in Trials Rising are at peak fiend levels. Thankfully, Trials Rising’s learning curve isn’t as steep as some of its challenges. It also includes a training mode, which is appropriately spaced out with the things you need to know for the courses you’re about to face. Even if you’re not particularly skilled, it’s a hoot alone and positively hilarious in multiplayer. Play cooperatively on the tandem bike for bigger laughs.

Also try: Cuphead
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While there isn’t a dirt bike to be seen in Cuphead, this devilish 2D platformer will test your patience with its challenging levels and boss fights. The gorgeous hand-drawn art and toe-tapping music will draw you in to the pain. Bring a buddy to share the burden.

Control

Control Video Game
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Action-adventure117/8/201951.9 GB

If you’re tired of the increasing push into always-online multiplayer games, there’s a Remedy (Entertainment) for what ails you. Control is the latest hit from Remedy, and it’s arguably the studio’s best game to date.

The mind-bending sci-fi story is nutty, even by Remedy’s standards. The presentation is the most cinematic it’s been. And the gameplay builds up from a challenging third-person shooter to power-fantasy-fulfilling superhero simulator… with a shapeshifting gun (of course).

Pour upgrade points into powers and your polymorphic weapon while exploring a truly fascinating world that can really only exist in games. Then, once the credits roll, stick around to pore over the many narrative titbits that help make sense of Remedy’s method beneath all the apparent madness.

Also try: Alan Wake
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Though not as tight on the gameplay front as ControlAlan Wake is still worth a bash once you’re done with Remedy Entertainment’s latest. It’s got a weird-and-wonderful story. A solid gameplay loop. And there may be other rewards for playing both.

Gears 5

Gears 5
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Shooter1-59/9/201963.34 GB

Developers The Coalition may have ditched the ‘of War’ part from the title, but Gears 5 is very much at home in the Gears of War universe. This is the biggest Gears offering yet.

The campaign kicks off where Gears of War 4 left off, diving deeper into the increasingly interesting world of a planet that’s apparently always ravaged by war. A new game means new enemies and new ways to frag them, though, and there are lots of other little quality-of-life updates that make the gameplay best in series.

For those who don’t fancy the storyline, there’s still plenty to do. It starts with the attrition-heavy Escape mode that pits you and pals against well-armed threats. The catch is twofold: you’re not particularly well-armed and there’s a giant deadly gas cloud chasing you.

The cooperative Horde mode now supports five players and is addictive from the breeziness of wave one through to the hectic we’re-all-going-to-die madness of wave 50. If competitive is more your speed, you can try your hand against other players in Versus mode.

Also try: Far Cry New Dawn
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The post-apocalyptic fun of this Far Cry sandbox is made even better in co-op. Try stealthy incursions for ninja objective clearing. Then go loud for a Rambo simulator. Whichever gameplay approach you prefer, be sure to play with your prey for extra giggles.

What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch Xbox One
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Adventure119/7/20173.45 GB

Playing as Edith, the last remaining member of the seemingly cursed Finch family, you return to the now-dilapidated family estate looking for answers.

Through a series of flashback sequences, Edith experiences the final moments of her doomed relatives’ lives.

The game can be completed in a single sitting and contains little challenge, but the diverse vignettes of demise are so creative, poetic, and harrowing that the story will stick with you long after the credits have rolled (seriously, I can’t look at a bathtub anymore without getting a little sad).

If you’ve got a friend that doesn’t see the storytelling or artistic worth of the medium, show them What Remains of Edith Finch.

Also try: Tacoma
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From The Fullbright Company, pioneers of the “walking simulator” genre with their game Gone Home, Tacoma tasks you with discovering the fate of a doomed space station. It’s free if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends Xbox
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Purchase
Battle Royale1-34/2/201965.02 GB

Within minutes of booting up Apex Legends you’ll be asking yourself, “is this game really free?” Yes, somehow, it is. From the makers of Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment, Apex Legends is a hero-shooter spin on the industry-conquering battle royale genre kick-started by PUBG and sent into the stratosphere by Fortnite.

Players team up in squads of three, skydive onto an island, rummage for gear and weapons, shoot it out on an ever-shrinking map, all the while battling for the honour of being the last group standing.

Unlike nearly every free-to-play game out there, Apex Legends contains all the triple-A polish you’d expect of a full-priced blockbuster, making it the best free game on Xbox One. Better still, the business model doesn’t feel obnoxious, giving you the bulk of the hero characters gratis.

Apex Legends appears on our list of the most popular online games in Australia

Also try: Xbox Game Pass
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Though not technically free, or a game for that matter, Xbox One’s game subscription service is becoming fantastic value as its library increases. At AU$10.95 a month, you’ll get access to more than 100 regularly updated games. The library currently includes Metro ExodusBatman: Arkham KnightHollow KnightMortal Kombat XForza Horizon 4Gears of War 4Monster Hunter WorldRise of the Tomb Raider, and many, many more.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Night
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Action-adventure124/6/201547.15 GB

It’d be easy to make a compelling case for the tight Metroidvania trappings of the original Arkham Asylum, but if you’re looking for sheer superhero spectacle, Arkham Knight stands unopposed.

It excels in both its biffo, with an often-imitated-but-never-bettered counter-heaver combat system, and its narrative, with a clever twist that comic readers might see coming but will enjoy anyway.

Arkham Knight expands upon its predecessor’s open-world traversal with the addition of the Batmobile, which can be seamlessly incorporated into your gliding, and called to your location in just a few seconds. The rain-slicked, crime-riddled streets of Gotham have never looked better.

Also try: Assassin's Creed Origins
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If you haven’t played an Assassin’s Creed since the early days, Origins will be all but unrecognisable. Shaking up the combat, progression, and traversal, Origins is the reboot the series needed. Ubisoft Montreal’s recreation of Ancient Egypt is simply stunning.

Gears of War 4

Gears of War
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Shooter1-510/10/2016117.53 GB

Leaping forward both a console generation and an in-story generation, Gears of War 4 places you in the appropriately chunky shoes of JD Fenix, son of original trilogy protagonist Marcus.

With the time leap comes new robotic foes, the DeeBees, which complement the more traditional beasts you’re used to chainsawing in half, adding a nice wrinkle to the crunchy cover-based shooting.

The world is ravaged by unpredictable weather systems now, most often taking the form of electrical superstorms.

Best of all: Gears of War 4 features all-too-rare couch splitscreen (and online) multiplayer for its generous campaign, making it the best co-op game available on Xbox One.

Once you’re done with the story, the wave-based Horde 3.0 offers endless co-op replayability.

Also try: Sea of Thieves
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If you’re after quirkier, less violent co-op shenanigans, Sea of Thieves, an open-world pirate sandbox, is worthy of plundering. After a somewhat disappointing launch, developer Rare has continued to update the game, bringing it closer to its swashbuckling potential.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Witcher 3
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
RPG adventure119/5/201540.05 GB

Released in 2015, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt remains the most impressive role-playing game ever made. If you’re looking for a fantasy realm to absorb your every waking moment, full of beasts and warring kingdoms, cursed souls and apocalyptic spectres, mystery, tragedy and love, this is it.

As husky-voiced silver-fox and professional monster slayer Geralt of Rivia, you’ll hunt your quarry across a feudal kingdom at war, your decisions and actions shaping the land and the fate of its inhabitants to an unprecedented degree.

Developed by Poland’s CD Projekt RED, The Witcher 3 lacks none of the bleakness typical of Eastern European fairy tales, but the charming, well-rounded characters are written with just the right amount of humour to balance out the tone. A Masterpiece.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt also appears in our list of best open-world games.

Also try: Dragon Age Inquisition
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Though the world of Thedas feels less alive and more segmented than The Witcher 3’s, Dragon Age: Inquisition is nonetheless a charming RPG with a heavy focus on relationship building and choice-driven narrativeA colourful cast and an emphasis on teamplay and simplicity make this a less daunting shooter to jump into than most.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Action-adventure1-826/10/2018101.39 GB

It’s the quiet moments that make Red Dead Redemption 2 so memorable: from lone horseback rides through the most realistic digital forests ever modelled, to sitting around a campfire and celebrating all-too-rare good news with your outlaw gang. The story is propelled forward by complex, flawed characters running from both the law and the ever-encroaching modern world – a world that doesn’t have a place for outlaws (of their variety, anyway).

It’s slow, plodding, long, cumbersome and occasionally unpleasant – but deliberately so, because all the best westerns are.

Rockstar’s magnum opus is not only the new standard for video game open-worlds but a remarkable western in its own right, a genre not exactly short of masterpieces.

Also try: Watch Dogs 2
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Underrated, largely because the original was so lacklustre, Watch Dogs 2′s San Francisco is the perfect sandbox for hacking hijinks (or “cyber crime” if you’re a cop).With a Silicon Valley tech mogul as the main antagonist and the dangers of an overly zealous surveillance state a key theme, Watch Dogs 2 actually has something to say. Welcome to the resistance, video games.

Minecraft

Minecraft screenshot
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Sandbox1-820/9/2017312.11 GB

The digital equivalent of spilling a crate of Lego on the floor and letting your imagination run wild (just without the excruciating pain of treading on a brick), Minecraft is one of the best kids games ever made.

In fact, it’s almost better to think of Minecraft as its own creative medium rather than a mere game – from working circuit boards to accurate recreations of the USS Enterprise and Game of Thrones‘ King’s Landing, practically anything can be built using Minecraft‘s pixelated building tools.

If you’re after a game that encourages creativity in your little ones, you can’t do better.

Also try: Rayman Legends
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A fairly traditional platformer, Rayman Legends oozes charm. The auto-scrolling music-themed levels are a highlight.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Platformer111/3/20169.48 GB

Don’t be fooled by the whimsy and Disney-esque art style: Ori and the Blind Forest can be a brutally difficult platformer when it wants to be.

Doing away with traditional boss fights, the game instead throws intense, checkpoint-free platforming gauntlets at you, testing all the skills and abilities you’ve acquired in the lead-up. It’s thrilling, sometimes-infuriating stuff, but Ori is so much more than just a challenge.

With each new traversal ability, previously inaccessible areas of the labyrinthine map open up to you, giving you a compelling reason to explore and backtrack looking for myriad secrets.

The fact that it’s one of the most gorgeous games on the Xbox One doesn’t hurt either.

Also try: Hollow Knight
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Hollow Knight is a brilliant Metroidvania that takes inspiration from the meticulous combat, obtuse storytelling, and ominous tone of Dark Souls. If you’re after something darker than Ori, Hollow Knight is a no-brainer.

A colourful cast and an emphasis on teamplay and simplicity make this a less daunting shooter to jump into than most.

Forza Horizon 4

Froza Horizon
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Racing1-61/10/201876.78 GB

Forza Horizon 4 isn’t a racing game – it’s a driving game. That may sound like splitting hairs, but the distinction is crucial to understanding the appeal.

Yes, racing can take up the bulk of your time… if you want it to. You’re just as well served screeching around a stunningly recreated United Kingdom, from Edinburgh Castle to the Lake District, ploughing through historic dry stone walls and launching your Lamborghini off the countless rolling hills that pepper the landscape – a landscape that changes dramatically with the ever-shifting seasonal weather.

Not only is Forza Horizon 4 the best driving game on the platform, it’s also the best Xbox One console exclusive.

Also try: Forza Horizon 3
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The Forza Horizon series’ stiffest competition is itself, such is its quality. If you want to trade miserable ol’ UK for the sandy beaches of Australia, 2016’s Forza Horizon 3 is still spectacular.A colourful cast and an emphasis on teamplay and simplicity make this a less daunting shooter to jump into than most.

Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2
Genre
Players
Released
Size
Xbox Game Pass
Purchase
Shooter1-428/10/201668.82 GB

Titanfall is based on the absurd premise that dropping giant robots at terminal velocity from space onto a battlefield would be somehow helpful to the soldiers on the ground, and not, in fact, a grievous workplace safety violation. Still, it’s one hell of a gimmick.

Unlike the multiplayer-only original, Titanfall 2′s beating heart is a spectacularly creative 6-8 hour solo story campaign, which sees you befriend one of the aforementioned giant robots, travel through time and space, all while running along walls and shooting slightly-less-giant robots in the face.

The fluidity of traversal makes this one of the best feeling shooters ever made, and it has the level design chops to match; the “Effect and Cause” mission is an all-time classic, elevating Titanfall 2‘s campaign to the giddy heights of Half-Life 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Also try: Overwatch
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If competitive multiplayer is more your jam, it’s hard to go wrong with Blizzard’s 2016 hero shooter, Overwatch.

A colourful cast and an emphasis on teamplay and simplicity make this a less daunting shooter to jump into than most.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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