The 10 best Xbox One exclusive games
Despite its initial rocky start, Xbox One has continued to be one of the best platforms to play modern games during this current console generation. Following the colossal success of the Xbox 360 was always going to be a challenge, but by now it’s clear that it’d be one the Xbox One was always going to rise to. So much so that Microsoft’s third ever console is now the home to many great Xbox One exclusive games, covering a wide gamut of genres whether you’re into gritty space shooters or sea-faring pirate simulators.
So many great games, however, can make it tricky to know which Xbox One exclusives to play first. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 10 best Xbox One exclusive games, those that have risen to the top of the pack and our worthy of your attention. This list will be regularly updated, so be sure to check back every month. But, without further ado, let’s get into it.
10. Halo Wars 2
The original Halo Wars took Bungie’s prestigious space universe in a bold new direction, swapping out first-person gunplay for a more tactical gameplay setup that sees you command an army of Spartans from above a full two decades before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo Wars 2 took this concept even further, delivering an expert blend of story and real-time strategy to successfully carve out its own niche within the wide Halo universe.
This second game actually fast forwards events to beyond that of Halo 5: Guardians, tasking you to construct a base of operations, mine resources and just generally defend your territory from the enemy forces. It’s a stunning take on strategy that lets you experience the heat of battle from a bird’s eye view. No fan of Halo should miss out on what is one of the best Xbox One exclusive games.
9. Halo: Master Chief Collection
From one Halo game to another, this one seemed like an impossible prospect at first. All the Master Chief led Halo games, complete with multiplayer and updated visuals, all in on package? Halo: Master Chief Collection fulfilled this lofty promise, acting as the best way for any Halo newbie to experience the hallmark Xbox Series for the first time. Alternatively, though, it’s a great excuse for those that are familiar to jump back in again.
Halo: Master Chief Collection collects Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4, including every multiplayer map ever released. The result is a jamboree of Halo content that represents a staggering amount of value, with Halo 2, in particular, being the highlight. This is because Halo 2 is the game given the newest visual treatment in this compilation release, featuring updated textures and all-new cutscenes redone by renowned animation studio Blur. If you want to get started with Halo, look no further.
8. Sea of Thieves
While pirate games might largely be few and far between these days, that didn’t stop legendary game developer Rare (Goldeneye 64, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie) from taking a stab at creating their own high seas adventure. That adventure is none other than Sea of Thieves, an Xbox One exclusive that sets you and a bunch of friends off into the ocean, where you can roleplay as pirates plundering lost treasure and fighting off skeletons.
The entire game exudes this charming claymation-like art style, which works wonders in inspiring both kids and big kids alike to hop on a ship and set sail. From here it’s all about fending off invading ships, embarking on quests and unlocking new gear to become the fiercest pirate the world has ever seen. Sea of Thieves is an online multiplayer game unlike anything you’ve experienced before, and it’s one exclusive to Xbox One.
7. Forza Motorsport 7
The latest entry of Turn 10 Studios’ celebrated racing series to speed its way onto Xbox One is also one of its best. Especially if you’re someone that likes to spend the time to tweak all manner of real-life vehicles and then feel their effects on the track, Forza Motorsport 7 will wow you with its selection of 700 cars and near endless ways to customize them.
The hallmark feature of Forza Motorsport’s seventh entry is its dynamic weather system, which makes it easy to more realistically make players feel like their racing through the snow, battling against the wind or flying past naked trees in the fall. This is, however, a racing simulation game first and foremost, and as such emphasises the believable aspects of what it is to drive these incredible motorsports vehicles. You can only do it this way exclusively on Xbox One.
6. Ori and the Blind Forest
Sometimes it’s the smallest games that make the biggest impact. This is very much the case for Ori and the Blind Forest, a whimsical metroidvania that sees you venture through a magical forest under threat un search of safety. Being partially inspired by the likes of Rayman, Castlevania and Metroid, Ori and the Blind Forest is a 2D platformer that places an emphasis on finding new skills and powering yourself up, needed for accessing previously locked off areas.
Ori and the Blind Forest touts an incredibly unique colour palette, leaning into neon shades that makes the 2D adventure is otherworldly – almost like a fairytale. This combines with beautiful hand-drawn animations, which helps brings characters to life and adds more personality. It’s ultimately a coming-of-age story you wouldn’t necessarily expect from the same platform that features Halo and Gears of War, but remarkably all comes together to be one of the best Xbox One exclusives.
5. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Some franchises come and go, but in 2006 Xbox gave us a modern classic in 2006’s Gears of War. This objectively great third-person cover shooter literally changed the game back then, going onto to inspire all manner of other games in the genre ever since. This first entry to the gritty Xbox-exclusive franchise received a new coat of paint via Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, which boasted all-new textures, a higher frame rate and other appreciated visual flourishes. Game remasters don’t get better than this.
The remaster was handled by new Gears of War developer The Coalition, who were careful to leave the basic bones of the game intact while just sprinkling in a tad more extra polish. This is the same great story of Marcus Fenix taking the fight to the Locust alongside Delta Squadron, only now its look better than ever before. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition also adds in a couple extra chapters previously exclusive to the PC version, making this Xbox One rendition the definitive version.