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The 20 best games on Xbox One

·6 min read

Forza Horizon 4

Explore an astonishingly beautiful re-creation of Britain in an impressive roster of cars, taking in everything from rally racing in the Lake District to street races in a wintry Edinburgh. The ultimate driving game on Xbox One (or anywhere).
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Ori and the Blind Forest

Visually luscious and accompanied by a stirring orchestral soundtrack, this ecologically minded 2D platformer is brimming with soul. Don’t expect an easy ride: developer Moon Studios has crafted a complex and challenging journey through a danger-strewn forest.
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Red Dead Redemption 2

A stubbornly slow-paced, obsessively detailed American epic, placing you in the spurred boots of outlaw Arthur Morgan in the dying days of the wild west. Its creators’ determination to immerse you in the incredible world it has created means that this is not the kind of game that slips down easy, but it is so lifelike, well-written and beautifully shot that it is well worth the time and attention it demands. A true landmark game.
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Titanfall 2

The sequel to Respawn’s multiplayer-focused giant mech shooter adds a turbo-charged single-player story, tweaks a lot of the systems and provides a more varied array of mega-robots to cause havoc with. An under-appreciated blaster that brilliantly exploits its David v Goliath setup to create a fulsome and fulfilling ride.
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The Witcher 3

Monster slayer Geralt of Rivia returns with gruff panache in a truly epic open-world adventure that leavens its rather po-faced fantasy with humour, poignant story moments and sexy relationship-wrangling. A state-of-the-art game in the truest sense.
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An abstract, threatening short story about a lone boy navigating a nightmarish laboratory filled with dark, threatening figures. It sounds about as far from Super Mario Bros as you can get, but thanks to developer Playdead it has a similar way with puzzles, level design and challenge, making it an evocative, tense and thoughtful masterpiece.
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Nier Automata

Designed by idiosyncratic genius Yoko Taro, Nier Automata is ostensibly a sci-fi action RPG set on a post-apocalyptic Earth occupied by warring androids. But thanks to its genre-hopping structure, breathtaking landscapes and moving narrative, it is as much an exploration of humanity, memory and experience, designed to be replayed over and over again.


The greatest team-based multiplayer online shooter since Counter Strike, Overwatch presents a colourful sci-fi world and an array of memorable, differently skilled characters and lets players just get on with the fight. The result is a beautiful, bright and diverse challenge to the dour grey-brown world of military gun games.
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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Hideo Kojima’s final Metal Gear instalment is his weird, wonderful, eccentric, controversial magnum opus. An open-world stealth adventure set in 1980s Afghanistan and Angola, it is a complex labyrinth of classic character rivalries, emerging mercenary squads and intense resource management. Whatever happens, you won’t forget it.
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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Senua is a Pict warrior who must journey into the Norse underworld to save the soul of her slaughtered lover. Her quest involves fighting demigods and solving cunning environmental puzzles, but the unforgettable beauty of this game is as much about the hallucinatory visual style, the incredible central acting performance, and the simulation of Senua’s psychological trauma, as it is about the action.
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Gears of War 5

The super-macho, musclebound sci-fi blaster takes a surprisingly thoughtful turn in this iteration, with Kait Diaz leading the cast as she seeks the origins of the alien Locust horde. The open campaign environments, new weapons and fresh multiplayer options are all welcome additions, but veterans will be at home with the thundering gunplay.
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Halo: The Master Chief Collection

This huge anthology of six classic Halo titles (numbers 1-4 as well as Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach) got off to a bug-ridden and laggy start, but developer 343 Industries dug in and patched the problems, and this is now a vibrant nostalgic treat. All the missions and multiplayer maps are here, visually updated and loaded with memories.
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Nier: Automata

It looks like your average dystopian sci-fi RPG, following disillusioned androids trapped in the middle of an intergalactic proxy war. But Nier: Automata is also a cunning essay on the nature of games, requiring multiple playthroughs to fully unlock the self-reflexive story. An offbeat masterpiece.
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Rainbow Six Siege

Ubisoft’s answer to Counter-Strike is a fraught and compelling tactical shooter, where teams made up of differently skilled spec-op soldiers fight it out in cleverly designed locations, from beautiful mansions to presidential jets. Crammed with gadgets, explosives and destructible environments, each bout becomes a tense trade-off between guns and guile.
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Outer Wilds

A lone alien explorer trapped in a strange solar system has to solve the mysteries of a long dead civilisation before the universe explodes. The thing is, you only have 22 minutes to do it – but in this time-loop puzzle game, you get those minutes repeat over and over again, allowing you to pick up new details each time. The result is a clever, rewarding, transcendental experience quite unlike anything else in the sci-fi adventure oeuvre.

Yakuza Like a Dragon

Sega’s acclaimed gangland series continues with a hapless new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga trying to make a life for himself on the violent streets of Yokohama. Swinging wildly from genuine drama to weird, hilarious mini-games, and featuring a new turn-based combat system, Like a Dragon is a blast from the start to the distant finish line.
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Doom Eternal

Players are taken straight to Hell (literally) in the latest blood-splattered Doom incarnation, where shotgun-blasting demons into gooey slabs of meat is the aim of the game, and the dizzying dismemberment never lets up. Add in fun multiplayer modes and you have the ultimate in space-marine combat carnage.
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Psychonauts 2

After a long hiatus, Double Fine finally returns to its cult classic platformer – in spectacular style. Lead character Raz is now a trainee psychonaut and must rummage through a new series of mindscapes, each filled with surreal, psychedelic characters and challenges. A confidently weird, effortlessly funny adventure.
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Apex Legends

The battle royale genre dominated the later days of the Xbox One era, and if there’s one title from that onslaught that counts as a genuine shooter classic, it’s this one. Respawn Entertainment’s immense skill with fluid action and brilliant controls, together with great characters and power-ups, made this the Fortnite-beater for people who actually care about gun-feel, balance and strategy.
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With a host of new blocks, mobs and narrative features, the 200m-selling construction game came into its own on Xbox One. Ten years on from its debut it remains an essential experience, offering unique experiences to every player, whether their aim is creation, exploration or just messing about in a big blocky world.
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