We’re three years into the eighth console generation, and there’s never been a better time to buy a console. After some lackluster launch line-ups and a series of much-needed firmware updates for both consoles, both the PS4 and Xbox One provide a great gaming experience at a fair cost.
For the past few months, Microsoft’s Xbox has been outselling Sony’s PlayStation. If you’ve followed the trend and just picked up a new Xbox One S (our review) and need to load it up with some games, look no further! We’re here to share the must-have games for every new Xbox One owner.
There are a few collections for Xbox One that offer several games for not much money. Unless you hate the genres represented within, these compilations offer a lot in one package.
Rare is a fantastic developer with a lot of history; they’re responsible for some of the best platformer games ever. This collection of 30 games runs from their early 1980s home computer games like Jetpac to their Xbox 360 titles like Viva Piñata.
Aside from the games, Rare Replay contains behind-the-scenes interviews with the developers and special challenges for the arcade games. If you’ve never played Rare games, this is the perfect chance to check out Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and more.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo is one of the Xbox’s premiere franchises, and if this is your first Xbox, The Master Chief Collection is the perfect way to get acquainted. Comprised of the campaigns of the first four Halo games and multiplayer featuring maps and modes from all four games, there’s a ton of content here.
The collection unfortunately had some nasty connection issues at launch, but they’ve all been fixed. Players who already know Halo won’t find much new here, but $30 for four full games is hard to beat.
If you have an Xbox One, you’ve got to play the exclusives, right?
One of the first third-party hits exclusive to the Xbox One, Sunset Overdrive is an open-world action game that doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It’s developed by Insomniac Games, legendary for PlayStation franchises like Spyro and Ratchet & Clank.
The game takes place in a dystopian near future, when people turn into mutants after drinking a beverage from FizzCo. It’s fast, fluid, and just a lot of fun.
Halo 5: Guardians
Playing The Master Chief Collection will prepare you perfectly for enjoying the newest game in the Halo series. Guardians, released last year, continues the sci-fi story with the power of the Xbox One.
Most Halo games are equally lauded for their single-player campaigns and multiplayer modes, but critics weren’t as pleased as usual with Guardians‘ campaign. The all-star multiplayer more than makes up for it, though, and makes Halo 5 a must-have for any Xbox One owner.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Though it’s technically not an exclusive anymore, Rise of the Tomb Raider was only available on Xbox One for a year, so we’re including it here. Following 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, Rise takes everything that made the first awesome, strips out the parts that made it feel like an Uncharted clone, and produces a fantastic adventure.
Rise is more open than the first game. It features larger tombs with more intricate puzzles, and plenty of exploration and treasure finding. Top it all off with gorgeous visuals, and you have an action-adventure game for the ages.
Forza Horizon 3
The Forza series contains the premiere racing games on Xbox. The franchise is split into two parts: the Forza Motorsport games contain standard track racing, while the Horizon titles are open world.
Horizon 3 provides an awesome time for driving fans. A huge world to take in, coupled with over 300 vehicles and gorgeous graphics, make this the perfect way to get your race on.
Ori and the Blind Forest
One of genres that’s gotten a lot of love in recent years is Metroidvania, and Ori is one of the best examples of a Metroidvania game done right. Gorgeous hand-drawn visuals in the style of the newer Rayman games and a fantastic soundtrack mean the aesthetics are just right.
On the gameplay side, you’ll find plenty of exploration, neat upgrades, and organic puzzles. Ori and the Blind Forest stands in stark contrast to the mature-themed games on this list, and should not be missed.
These games aren’t exclusive to the Xbox One, but if you’ve just entered the eighth console generation, you won’t want to miss them. Check out the games we were excited for in 2016 and must-have franchise games for more.
Overwatch is one of the best first-person shooters in years and is a must-have. Eschewing the overt seriousness of most shooter franchises, it instead features Pixar-style graphics with a varied cast of characters to match.
While it’s only playable online, Overwatch will pull you into the “one more game” loop quickly. Every character has totally different abilities and skills, the mechanics are polished to a tee, and there’s a deep competitive scene. If you were disappointed by Infinite Warfare and need a new shooter, look no further.
Grand Theft Auto V
The Grand Theft Auto series is known for having tons of ridiculous action, plenty of missions, and a cast of zany characters. 2013’s GTA V didn’t disappoint, and the game got a remake on current-gen consoles in 2014 that’s even better.
This enhanced port includes a first-person mode, totally changing how you play the game. If you never played GTA V on release, get ready to explore a massive sandbox world. GTA Online, which is included, takes the antics into multiplayer.
Battlefield is a long-running shooter franchise, but it cut out a lot of the fluff this year to produce one of the best installments in a long time. While most rival franchises have you fighting in sci-fi locations, BF1 takes the action back to the Great War.
With a solid campaign, beautiful maps, and plenty of polish, BF1 is a great choice for shooter fans this season. The multiplayer is a blast, and scales back Battlelog and some of the other annoyances from previous games.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV has been a long time coming. Now finally released, it’s a great entry in the series for veterans and first-timers alike.
A gorgeous landscape, great banter between the party members, and plenty of sidequests make this an easy pick for RPG fans. If you’re looking for a game you can enjoy solo for dozens of hours, FF XV is for you.
Bonus: Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility
Aside from the awesome games above, Xbox One can play a growing number of Xbox 360 titles. Plenty of these are available digitally via the Microsoft Store, so they’re worth checking out if you didn’t play them upon release.
- Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are two of the best Fallout games, and provide a better RPG experience than the more action-oriented Fallout 4. ($15 each)
- Portal and Portal 2 are phenomenal first-person puzzle games, boosted by great humor. ($15 and $20)
- Burnout Paradise is the final entry in the explosive racing series, featuring an open world and tons of action. ($15)
- Bayonetta is an action game with a satisfying battle system and crazy monsters to battle. ($20)
- Red Dead Redemption features Rockstar’s GTA formula taken into the Wild West. ($30)
- Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 are the classic zombie survival games, perfect for co-op with friends. ($20 each)
- Super Meat Boy is a tough-as-nails platformer with tight controls and fair level design. ($15)
What Will You Play First?
No matter what kind of games you like, you’ll find something to love on your new Xbox One. Whether you want to buy the latest AAA hits or start cheap with a few budget purchases, you can’t go wrong with any of these games.
With so many great games, you’re going to need more storage space on your system. Check out everything you need to know about Xbox One external hard drives.
What games are you looking forward to playing on your Xbox One? Add your must-play titles to the list below, and let us know what you’re playing!