Best Xbox One games 2018: T3's top picks of AAA giants and indie darlings to play in 4K

No more mixed messaging, no more Kinect, just top Xbox One games running on supercharged hardware

TODO alt text

If you've been looking for the best Xbox One games to play on your Xbox One, Xbox One S, or Xbox One X then you're in the right place.

That's not only because Microsoft has started to bring gamers what they actually want, top Xbox One titles across genres and price points. From the battle royale phenomenon that is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds to the open-ocean co-op of Sea of Thieves, Xbox has an impressive mix of exclusive titles and multi-platform delights.

Naturally, all of these games will look and perform most admirably on Microsoft's Xbox One X, the most powerful video game console in the world. However, all that horsepower isn't necessary, with these great Xbox One games delivering on the original Xbox One, as well as the Xbox One S, too.

So without further delay, here are T3’s top picks for the greatest Xbox One games you can play right now.

Best Xbox One games

Forza Horizon 4

The open-world racing spin-off tops the podium yet again

Reasons to buy
+Dynamic seasons look incredible+Huge garage of cars to buy and collect+Graphical powerhouse
Reasons to avoid
-Long loading times

While Sony has been having an incredible year for exclusives, Microsoft is finally showing its own trump cards with the release of Forza Horizon 4. The open-world racer continues to balance arcade fun with precision mechanics, filling its sandbox version of the United Kingdom with challenges, races, collectibles and set-piece events to keep you coming back for more. With a huge roster of cars to unlock and customise - and a dynamic set of seasons that drastically alter the environment and driving conditions. 

Best Xbox One games

Madden NFL 19

Virtual gridiron keeps getting better

Reasons to buy
+Best-looking Madden yet+MUT is the most comprehensive version in years+One-cut ball carriers move are a revelation
Reasons to avoid
- Longshot is the weakest instalment yet 

The latest instalment in EA Tiburion's long-running American football series looks to make up the ground lost by last year's uninspiring Madden NFL 18 with - shock horror - Madden NFL 19. 

The introduction of Real Player Motion (which gives certain athletes the same physical mannerisms and behaviour traits of their real-life counterparts) brings a little more realism to on-field play, but it's the new one-cut offensive moves that transform running backs and wide-receivers. The Longshot narrative-driven mode is a little underwhelming, but MUT continues to be one of the best versions in all of EA's annual sports titles.

Best Xbox One games

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The raider of tombs returns with her biggest adventure yet

Reasons to buy
+Best Tomb Raider since Underworld+Combat finely tuned to stealth+Far more elaborate tombs and crypts
Reasons to avoid
-Lara is still a blank slate

Gaming icon Lara Croft is back in what's billed as the final instalment in the origin trilogy started by the 2012 reboot. While the story takes a very bleak turn for the most part (and Lara remains something of an undeveloped character), Shadow of the Tomb Raider makes up for it with combat that's been refocused around hunting and stealth and some of the biggest and most elaborate environment's the series has ever boasted. Sprinkle in some big tombs and crypts to explore and all manner of outfits to craft and you've got an action-adventure hit you need to own right now.

Best Xbox One games

State of Decay 2

Base building and zombie slaying

Reasons to buy
+Improved base-building mechanics+Plenty of variety to the zombies

The suitably-named Undead Labs is back with another round of zombie-slaying exclusivity on Xbox, bringing together that familiar mix of resource gathering, base-building and good fashioned horror survival. 

It’s basically Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead, where you and up to three other players can work together to explore an open world, fight off hordes of the undead and fortify entire settlements. 

You can use stealth, level up your character and base and even go solo if playing as a team isn’t your thing (although trying to battle the dead on your own can be a tricky business at the best of times).

Best Xbox One games

Sea of Thieves

A pirate’s life for us

Reasons to buy
+A dynamic open-ocean+Co-operative multiplayer

When we say there’s nothing out there quite like Sea of Thieves we mean it - from starting out on a tropical island to setting out a giant galleon, it’s one of the strangest yet most involving experiences you can have on console (and on PC) right now. While you can steer a ship solo, it’s the experience of teeming up with three other sea dogs and taking to the ocean together, battling skeletons, kraken and more as you search for buried treasure (or board the ship’s of fellow player-controlled crews). Just don’t die, or you’ll end up down in Davy Jones’ Locker...

Best Xbox One games

Fary Cry 5

Start a revolution in Hope County

Reasons to buy
+A visually stunning Montana setting+A new set of memorable villains

The latest Far Cry trades tropical jungles and snow-swept mountains for rolling fields and valleys of Montana, where a cult of drug-fuelled religious radicals have taken an entire chunk of the state hostage. 

With all manner of vehicles and sidekicks at your disposal (there’s support for two-player co-op and AI assists), you’ll be able to explore every corner of its visually impressive setting right from the off. It’s still got plenty of Ubisoft tropes, but with some memorale foes and the occasional segue into horror, it offers a far more confident addition to the series. 

Add in the map-building potential of Far Cry Arcade and all manner of live events, and this package is an easy sell for shooter fans.

Best Xbox One games

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

A psychological trip like no other

Reasons to buy
+Engrossing melee combat+Deeply affecting psychological story

Originally released on PS4 and Windows 10 in 2017, the recent acquisition of British studio Ninja Theory by Microsoft sees its latest award-winning title finally makes its way to Xbox One. 

Inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology, the guide the titular heroine as she fights her way through a fantastical realm filled with all manner of dark and deadly entities. It also serves as a metaphor for her descent into psychosis, her mental health blurring the line between real foes and those conjured by her mind. 

It’s one of the most intriguing and experimental games out there, and it’s absolutely worth your time.

Best Xbox One games

Minecraft: Xbox One Edition

Start thinking with blocks

Reasons to buy
+Cross-platform with PC and Switch+The ultimate creative suite

Whether you’re a young gamer looking to find a new creative outlet, or an older player looking to try something new, few games come as vast and rewarding as Minecraft. The upcoming Bedrock Edition update will unify the Xbox servers with those on PC and the Pocket Editions (including mobile, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch). With all manner of official texture packs to download and extra modes to play when you’re not building something impressive in Creative mode (or attempting to fend off zombies in Survival mode), Minecraft offers one of the grandest gaming experiences there is on Xbox One.


Join the multiplayer game everyone is playing

Reasons to buy
+Team-based shooter action+40 million players and counting

With news that Overwatch has reached a whopping 40 million registered players, there’s never been a better time to join Blizzard’s smash hit online shooter. If you’re tired of the same old team deathmatch rounds in the likes of Call of Duty then it’s high time you gave an objective-based shooter a go instead. With a roster of memorable characters - each with their own unique weapons, abilities and support powers - and a community of dedicated players, you’ll find all manner of seasonal events to keep you playing to up your level in ranked mode.

Best Xbox One games

EA Sports UFC 3

Ruthless combat in the ring is more refined than ever

Reasons to buy
+A seemingly endless amount of playable characters+Graphics so detailed you'll be able to make out a fighter's individual beats of sweat

EA Sports UFC 3 takes the series’ signature combat to new heights with revamped combat mechanics and a roster of over a 200 characters that brings legends of the sport new and old together.

Being able to throw Bruce Lee and Conor McGregor in the same ring together and watch them both punch, kick and throw each other to the ground is a treat for fans of the series.

The graphical fidelity of the game is incredibly surreal and will surely be mistaken for a real match from a distance. Character models are detailed down to the colour ink of a player's tattoo. You can even see spills of blood gush from a fighter after receiving a fist to the face.

The game also includes a lengthly story mode that provides a number of choices that help to shape your character as you take them on the path to becoming a UFC champion.

Best Xbox One games

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Perfect for Dragon Ball aficionados and entry-level players alike

Reasons to buy
+The art style replicates the show remarkably+Ability to choose between Japanese and English voice acting

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate renaissance for the series created almost 30 years ago by Akira Toriyama. The first thing you’ll notice about FighterZ is its incredible attention to detail - the 2.5D art style recreates the look and feel of the show perfectly.

The pedigree of fighting game developer Arc System Works alone is reason enough for fans of the genre to pick this title up while the story mode serves as an awesome 10 hour plus episode for Dragon Ball Z lovers.

The hectic three versus three gameplay is reminiscent of Marvel vs. Capcom but includes a dense multiplayer suite and arcade mode to keep players coming back to dish out more intricate and deadly combos.

The game shows off the unique cast of characters that graced the show and will surely serve as an introductory point to an entirely new generation.

Best Xbox One games

Assassin's Creed: Origins

The greatest Leap of Faith the franchise has ever taken

Reasons to buy
+Addresses a plethora of criticisms from previous entries+The sprawling open-world of Egypt is visually impeccable

It was clear that the Assassin’s Creed series was tired after almost a decade of annually released titles. The extra time Ubisoft gave its Montreal team to marinate the tenth major installment allowed for the biggest change in the series since the fan favourite Assassin’s Creed II.

In addition to giving the player one of the biggest and most detailed open-world’s ever created, Assassin's Creed: Origins is the first of its kind to offer an incredibly addictive levelling system and nuanced RPG elements.

Origins trades tedious tailing missions for engrossing quests that each provide laudable narratives — this is exactly what Assassin’s Creed needed. The world of Egypt looks best on Xbox One X too with every pyramid, grain of sand and character model utilising the added horsepower of the mid-generation behemoth.

Best Xbox One games

Call of Duty: WWII

The World War II renaissance has arrived

Reasons to buy
+A visual showpiece that recreates WWII battlefields impressively+The campaign, multiplayer and Zombies will keep you hooked for hours

Call of Duty WWII embraces its return to the Western Front by drastically improving upon each of its staple gameplay modes. The campaign throws you into the boots of Ronald Daniels who lacks the health-regenerating ability of previous protagonists — instead he relies on scavenging health packs from fallen Nazis and handouts from his squad to keep him alive.

The game visits signature moments in the war such as D-Day but covers them in their most detailed coat of paint yet. The well-honed shooting mechanics are back and is one of the reasons you’ll be spending time in the multiplayer suite and Nazi Zombie rounds long after the credits roll. The established multiplayer formula hasn’t lost any of its appeal with new mode War adding just enough to differentiate it from previous titles.

David Tennant is the highlight of zombies with the actor’s rendition of Scottish thief Drostan Hynd proving funny moments in an otherwise dark take on the cooperative killing spree.

Best Xbox One games

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

MachineGames has done B.J. Blazkowicz proud once again

Reasons to buy
+Incredibly satisfying shooting mechanics+Solidifies Wolfenstein's place as a AAA franchise

Wolfenstein II builds on everything that made 2014’s New Order one of the best shooters in years. It once again pulls off the impossible task of humanising B.J. Blazkowicz, an age-old character that is fleshed out through the 14-hour campaign.

What’s more, Developer MachineGames somehow manages to justify him killing thousands of Nazis with flashback scenes showing child abuse, monologues highlighting his internal conflict and confrontation with the terrifying villain Frau Engel.

Despite throwing the player into an incredibly desperate world, the game consistently has you grinning thanks to its hugely satisfying combat system. The new cast of characters are more memorable than ever and play a pivotal role in a story that veers in unexpected directions.

Whereas the previous game was hamstrung by its adherence to last generation consoles, The New Colossus has no such problems with textures, character models and cutscenes looking excellent.

Publisher Bethesda is continuing the fight against the Nazi regime with four additional DLC packs that can be obtained as part of the game’s season pass. A prologue entitled ‘Episode Zero’ will be joined by three other packs that will throw you into the shoes of different resistance fighters.

The third piece of DLC, The Diaries of Agent Silent Death, was released on January 30 and tells the tale of Jessica Valiant as she slides, crawls and stabs her way through an army of Nazis to avenge the death of the man she loved most.

Best Xbox One games

Star Wars Battlefront II

The Battlefront game fans have been crying out for

Reasons to buy
+Sprawling multiplayer maps+Heroes vs Villains is awesome frantic chaos

Star Wars Battlefront II’s controversial launch hasn’t stopped it from becoming a love letter to fans of the franchise. The tweaks made by EA post-lunch ensures that anyone can attain all heroes in multiplayer without having to spend an extra penny.

The game offers a satisfying story mode that shows Iden Versio’s turn from Imperial commander to fighting alongside Princess Leia. However, multiplayer has always been the Battlefront series’ bread and butter — fans will find well-crafted and balanced online modes that take place in iconic and incredibly detailed maps.

From hearing the iconic noise of a TIE fighter’s blaster, to hurling your double-edged lightsaber at a band of enemies as Darth Maul, the game is unabashedly devoted to giving fans an authentic and laudable Star Wars experience.

Best Xbox One games

Forza Motorsport 7

The best Xbox One X showcase and an expertly crafted racer

Reasons to buy
+The best looking racing game around+Runs at a buttery smooth 60 fps

The Forza series is the genie lantern that keeps on granting car enthusiasts their wishes. Forza Motorsport 7 was pitched as the showcase example of what the Xbox One X is capable of and it delivers on every front. Whether you’re manning the cockpit of a roaring V8 or an exhaust popping twin turbo, this game has every car that you’ve ever wanted to own.

The title is its very own car collect-a-thon, too, with over 500 models ready to skid, downshift and collide with your Drivatar rival. Motorsport 7 is proof that Turn 10 Studios have truly shoved Gran Turismo off the first-place podium.

Best Xbox One games

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Janky? Yes. The most addictive multiplayer in years? Yes.

Reasons to buy
+Set a precedent for an entirely new multiplayer genre+Hundreds of players can compete on a single map

What do you get when you throw 100 players into a huge map and force them to gather supplies while also hunting each other down? You get PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. While it’s still in the Xbox Game Preview program, the title provides some of the greatest moments of hilarity and satisfaction on the system. 

The only caveat to all of this is that the game can be a janky mess at the best of times. However, developer Bluehole has put the battle royale genre on the map and is insurmountably popular for a reason — PUBG shows the player how unforgiving and incredibly addictive it is in a matter of seconds. Grab the game and get a bunch of your friends together and wave goodbye to hundreds of hours.

Best Xbox One games


The most unique and inspired art style in years

Reasons to buy
+Meticulously detailed 1930s inspired animation+Co-op is masterfully implemented

You only need to take one look at Cuphead to know it’s something special - the 1930s inspired animation style is its greatest achievement and one that developer StudioMDHR should be applauded for.

But behind one of the best looking games this generation is a nuanced and brutally difficult run and gun action game that doesn’t even think about holding a gamer’s hand. 

Gameplay is king in Cuphead and has been nailed perfectly —dying is an expectation, but it rarely causes frustration. Instead, the game serves death as a means to learn from your mistakes and understand each boss battle and platforming sequence better.

The bosses are a clear demonstration that StudioMDHR wasn’t afraid to flex every one of its imagination muscles.

Best Xbox One games

Injustice 2

Brutal superhero pummelling action

Reasons to buy
+A substantial and enthralling story mode+An incredibly diverse range of characters

Injustice 2 is one of the few fighting games ever made that simultaneously gets genre enthusiasts and causal players drooling. The title intricately weaves deep and satisfying fighting mechanics with insane super moves and stage transitions that makes anyone who picks up a controller feel unstoppable.

Characters and levels look photo-realistic and the sound design is unparalleled. Most importantly, this game delivers an engaging story mode that isn’t afraid to take dark twists and turns with established DC characters.

Injustice 2 introduces new and strategic uses for its super meter that mean fights aren’t just a race to performing a special move. The system can be used as a saving grace if you’re being juggled in the air or pinned against a wall — this adds vital depth to a game that will surely be adopted by masses of professional players and casuals alike.

Best Xbox One games

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Proof that the Nemesis System wasn't just a fad

Reasons to buy
+Enemies feel unique and not copy and paste designs+Intricate fighting and levelling systems

Middle-earth: Shadow of War shows that the non-canon game in the world of J. R. R. Tolkien isn’t just a wild mash-up of Assassin’s Creed parkour and a Batman Arkham combat system. Instead it establishes itself as an addictive and thrilling ride in its own right.

The Nemesis System is once again the standout gameplay element here with Orcs being given unique personalities that are displayed in full, seconds before leading character Talion tears through them with his sword. The moment the player and a legendary Orc lock eyes on the battlefield is the greatest thing Shadow of War does right - nothing provides greater satisfaction than obliterating an army of grunts to get to their ringleader.

The game world is littered with objectives that all feel important thanks to the game’s level system and main objective of creating your own devastating army to conquer the fictional land.

Best Xbox games

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Anything Nathan Drake can do, Lara Croft can do too

Reasons to buy
+A deep story that fleshes out previously underdeveloped characters+Takes full advantage of 4K and HDR

Rise of the Tomb Raider is Lara Croft’s best outing to date and shows the iconic character is not confined to video game history books.

Developer Crystal Dynamics wasn’t just content with taking everything from the 2013 reboot and upping it another notch — instead they delivered a narrative that makes its predecessor pale in comparison, introduces new combat mechanics and gives puzzle solving a pivotal role in Lara’s quest.

Rise of the Tomb Raider proves that anything Nathan Drake can do, Lara Croft can do too. The scripted moments from the game are uncannily similar to moments from Naughty Dog’s beloved franchise that sees Drake stay alive by the skin of his teeth time and time again.

However, Tomb Raider embraces its setting and gives the player more choices in how they want to navigate each open area and which order they want to tackle missions in.

The game is a visual masterpiece and takes full advantage of HDR and 4K technologies — vistas look gorgeous on the Xbox One X, Xbox One S and launch Xbox One.

Best Xbox One games

Forza Horizon 3

The best open world racing game the Xbox One has to offer

Reasons to buy
+Thrilling and diverse array of races+The open world of Australia is lush and meticulously detailed

The Forza series has traditionally been a simulation persistent in recreating the most authentic driving experience possible. However that all changed with the introduction of the Horizon series back in 2012.

Forza Horizon 3 is more forgiving and arcade-like than its realistic feeling brother — the game provides the player with the sprawling open world of Australia to burn rubber in that is absolutely gorgeous.

The game features a lengthy and rewarding career mode that can be enjoyed with friends. The racing list is diverse and will see you performing red-line gear changes to beat a litany of hot hatches, supercars, hypercars and everything else in-between.

Horizon 3’s creative design shines best in the game’s Showcase Events that will pit your hot-rod against a train, speedboat and even a helicopter…carrying a jeep. These races provide some of the most exhilarating moments that require carefully timed drifts, hand break turns and an all-out foot to the floor. 

Best Xbox One games

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Incredibly addictive cooperative chaos

Reasons to buy
+A wide variety of vehicles to navigate the vast open world+Consistent stream of additional content

Ghost Recon: Wildlands provides some of the best and most chaotic action that can be found on the Xbox One. While the huge open world of Bolivia can be explored solo, the target-based missions are best enjoyed with three friends.

Playing in a squad requires thinking and tactics to blow through a stream of guards before eventually taking out their boss. Expertly coordinating shots with friends to ensure you aren’t spotted feels incredibly rewarding.

The real reason you’ll want to keep coming back to Wildlands is the incredible amount of replayability it offers — no mission plays out the same way after things inevitably go awry and players are forced to desperately scramble through a batch of enemies.

Ubisoft have also committed to giving Ghost Recon a long tail by adding consistent DLC that hasn’t ceased to surprise with a special event featuring the Predator putting player coordination to the test last month.