You’re heading to the store to get an Xbox One right now, and need to know which games to get. Or you’re at work or in school, daydreaming about what you want to play next. Or maybe you’re suiting up for a battle in the console war, cinching on your armor and trying to remember which games will best help you make the argument for Microsoft’s new console. We are here to help.

Advertisement

In the first year of its life, the selection of games on Xbox One was a bit limited. The selection of good games? Even more so. But now that we’re well past the one-year mark, there are more good games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. In fact, there are enough good games that we now think the console is worth getting.

In the list below, find a list of the games we recommend for Microsoft’s machine. We will, of course, be updating this list regularly as more games are released for the Xbox One. We’ve capped the list at 12, and in the months and years to come will remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes...

Rise of the Tomb Raider does much of what its predecessor did: It gives us a relatable, less superhuman Lara Croft and sets her loose in a hostile environment with only her wits and a pickaxe to stay alive. While the story may not be ultimately as gripping or cathartic as the first game, the full experience is knit together very effectively, with a good mix of puzzle solving, exploration, sneaking and fighting. Things get more interesting with the game’s downloadable add-ons, too, which have Lara taking on zombies and swamp witches along with a repeatable survival mode that’s so good it could be the foundation of a standalone game. All that and the game is so beautiful it’ll often have you pausing just to take in the view.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Fans of Crystal Dynamics’ 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, bow and arrow enthusiasts, anyone who really hates bears.

Not A Good Match For: Folks looking for a deep or nuanced story, people who hate collectibles.

Read our review.

Advertisement

Sponsored

Watch the game in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Grand Theft Auto V is an impressive game. Not perfect, but impressive, and it becomes even more impressive on new consoles. The open-world crime game gives players one of the richest, most beautiful worlds we’ve ever been able to play in, and the current gen versions offer an even better way to experience it all: In first-person. The landscape is a fictionalized version of Los Angeles and the California desert, and you can go anywhere. Grab a car, plane, truck, bicycle, boat or tank. Head off in any direction. You’re bound to see extraordinary sights and stumble into some sort of good (and probably violent) time. The game looked amazing even on old hardware, and it looks even better in high-definition. Have you ever wanted to steal a plane, eject mid-flight, and parachute into downtown, all in time to go play some tennis? This is your game.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Players who like to go into a game to break the rules. GTA is still at its best when it’s a playground for virtual misbehavior.

Not a Good Match For: Anyone who can’t stomach the game’s mockery of, well, pretty much everyone.

Read our review, and our take on the new version’s first-person mode.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Inside is the rare game that’s so good we don’t want to tell you anything else about it. It takes the framework of a 2D puzzle-platformer and wrings it for three hours’ worth of gobsmacking surprises. Horrifying, engrossing, brilliantly constructed and perfectly paced, Inside is one of the best games in recent memory, for the Xbox One or any other system. Just go play it.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Anyone who liked the developer’s last game Limbo, those looking for something they can finish over the course of an evening but which will stick with them for much longer.

Not A Good Match For: Those who need their games to be lengthy affairs; anyone freaked out by the monstrous and the deadly.

Advertisement

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Advertisement

Purchase From: Available on the Xbox store.

You’re an elite supersoldier behind enemy lines. Your duties include: infiltrating enemy compounds, blowing up tanks, rescuing prisoners, and using advanced balloon technology to kidnap bears for your private zoo. That’s Metal Gear Solid V, a game that manages to brilliantly mix the hard-boiled and the ridiculous. With its impressive technology, meticulous design and huge open world, The Phantom Pain is easily one of the best stealth games ever made. It’s also the goofiest. There’s nothing else like it.

A Good Match For: People who like stealth games, people who have wanted to try a Metal Gear game but have been turned off by the series’ reputation for impenetrable storytelling and endless cutscenes.

Advertisement

Not A Good Match For: Metal Gear fans hoping for a satisfying conclusion for the series. Despite being a massive game, The Phantom Pain feels narratively unfinished, and wanders through its second half before ending on an anticlimax.

Read our review.

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Advertisement

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Depending on who you ask, the city of Sunset Overdrive is either a horrible post-apocalyptic hellscape or a super gnarly, fun-filled skate park. Probably more the latter than the former. The game stars a bunch of everyday mopes who, thanks to an energy drink that turns people into gibbering mutants, find themselves leading an anti-corporate survival troupe through the wreckage of their once shining city. The story, however, is really just a setup for the meat of the game, which involves taking your highly customized hero and leaping, rail-grinding, and blasting your way through a cartoonish, carefully designed jungle gym of violence.

A Good Match For: People who hear “A combination of Tony Hawk, Crackdown, and Jet Set Radio” and get very excited.

Advertisement

Not A Good Match For: Anyone with a low tolerance for “edgy” humor and loud, self-aware video-game jokes. As fun as the game itself is, Sunset Overdrive’s aesthetic often feels like it was generated by a late 90s ad agency.

Read our review.

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Advertisement

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Know what’s more fun than playing as one deadly, building-climbing assassin? Playing as two deadly, building climbing assassins. 2015’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate keeps things close to the series’ roots: There’s a big city, a lot of famous historical landmarks to climb, and a bunch of hapless jerks to stab. It also shakes up the formula in some cool ways: The new grappling hook makes getting around a lot more fun, and the two protagonists—twins Jacob and Evie Fryeallow players to experience the game in two slightly different, similarly enjoyable ways.

A Good Match For: Fans of stabbing, fans of leaping, fans of ziplining, and people who hate cartoonish factory owners who exploit child labor.

Advertisement

Not A Good Match For: Those who haven’t liked Assassin’s Creed’s controls in the past: Syndicate improves quite a few things about the series’ gameplay, but controls are still inconsistent and artificial intelligence is still weird.

Watch it in action.

Advertisement

Read our review.

Study our tips for the game.

Advertisement

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

There’s no shortage of ambition in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Geralt of Rivia’s latest adventure is massive, a world you can get lost in for hours and still have plenty to do. And while many games these days have sprawling landscapes, The Witcher 3 is utterly dense. Every nook and cranny is filled with memorable characters, clever writing, and rewards for curious players. The main story is as thrilling as it is emotionally draining, and the side quests are actually worth doing! Best of all? You don’t need to have played a Witcher game to enjoy the heck out of the third.

A Good Match For: Open-world fans, especially those who enjoyed Skyrim but were disappointed by the combat. In The Witcher 3, fighting is nearly as enjoyable as exploration.

Advertisement

Not a Good Match For: People who value their time and social life, or those who prefer their games hyper-polished without any framerate drops or other nagging technical flaws.

Read our review, and thoughts on the game’s (excellent) free DLC.

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game, and catch up on The Witcher lore.

Don’t let the lovely music and gorgeous Ghibli aesthetic fool you—Ori and the Blind Forest is a challenging, demanding game. It’s also a very good one, a precise platformer that mixes elements of Super Meat Boy (no, really) with classic 2D Metroid. And, okay, while you shouldn’t let the lovely music and gorgeous art fool you into thinking the game will be easy, you can still enjoy how lovely and gorgeous it all is.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Fans of tough, old-school platforming.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who wants something relaxed and easy.

Read our review.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the Xbox One store.

Yes, Dark Souls games are often challenging. Yes, you feel like a lord when you take down a difficult boss. But that’s not what makes these games great. It’s the constant sense of awe and exploration, the way every level gets under your skin as you meticulously work your way through it, unlocking secret passages and gradually growing more powerful and more aware. Dark Souls 3 remixes elements of its predecessors along with the PS4’s Bloodborne to create the most comprehensive Souls game yet. You will enter this lonely, daunting world and you will master it. Believe in yourself.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Fans of Souls games (obviously), people who are curious about Souls games and are willing to put in some focused time, anyone who’s ever wanted to punch a thirty-foot gargoyle in the face.

Not a Good Match For: The easily intimidated, anyone bothered by some jankiness and frame-rate issues (the Xbox One version is playable but crusty in places), those who prefer games that tell them what to do.

Read our review.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Study our tips for the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Last year, we couldn’t stop complaining about Destiny, even as we couldn’t stop playing it. Despite that, the fundamental strengths of Bungie’s online shooter kept it as a regular presence on this list. This fall, things are different. With theTaken King expansion, Bungie has addressed or improved almost everything we didn’t like about Destiny while adding a ton of interesting new stuff to see and do. The Destiny of today is richer and more purely enjoyable than ever, and thus even easier to recommend.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: People who like shooting aliens, people who like shooting aliens with a couple friends.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who really just doesn’t want to play with others, people who can’t commit to a game that doesn’t let you pause during intense battles.

Advertisement

Read our review of The Taken King.

Watch it in action.

Advertisement

Study our tips for playing the game post-Taken King.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

It’s a fan-art generator. It’s pure cosplay fodder. It’s a meme machine, a water-cooler mainstay, and a cultural obsession. Overwatch is all of those things, but above all else it’s a finely tuned competitive video game that manages to encourage pitted competition and enthusiastic teamwork while ensuring everyone is having a good time.

Advertisement

A Good Match For: Team Fortress 2 fans, people who liked banging action figures together as a kid, people who’ve wanted to try a competitive first-person shooter but haven’t yet found the right fit.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to play offline, or who is hoping for a substantial single-player story campaign. Overwatch is strictly multiplayer-only.

Advertisement

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Advertisement

Read our review.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Few modern games have more baggage than Diablo III. If Diablo III were a houseguest, it would be the sort of houseguest that arrives with half a dozen suitcases and their own washer and dryer. But put the last two years aside, look past the troubled PC launch, initially lackluster endgame and failed real-money auction house, and you’ll find Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, a console port that is in many ways the game’s best version.

Advertisement

The PS4/Xbox One versions look as sharp and play as snappily as the PC version running on high settings. The controls are a natural fit for a controller.Local co-op is great fun. The games work fine offline, because the game never needed to be always-online in the first place. The single-player campaign is meaty, each of the six playable classes offers a distinct experience, and once the four acts and bonus expansion are complete, there’s an enjoyable adventure mode to look forward to. When it was released on PC in 2012, we never would have guessed thatDiablo III would end up making a list of the best games on a console. Sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.

A Good Match For: Those who like watching tiny people destroy tiny monsters, co-op fans, people who hate goatmen.

Advertisement

Not A Good Match For: Goatmen advocates, those looking for an RPG with tactical combat, a strong story or deep, interactive conversations.

Watch it in action.

Advertisement

Read our review of the original game, and thoughts on the console version.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

Advertisement

Advertisement

Update 7/21/2016: Goodbye to Batman: Arkham Knight and Forza Horizon 2; hello to Overwatch and Inside.

Update 2/27/2016: Fallout 4 and Dying Light come off the list, while Dark Souls 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider make it on.

Update 11/26/2015: Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate make their way onto the list, edging out Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed IV. We’re still keeping an eye on Halo 5’s to see if it’ll earn it a spot on the strength of its multiplayer.

Advertisement

Update: 10/15/2015: We’ve added Metal Gear Solid V to the list and taken off Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. We’ve also updated our entry for Destiny to account for the Taken King expansion and cleared out old comments to make room for new ones.

Update 7/16/2015: These swaps are getting harder. After much deliberation we cut Wolfenstein: The New Order, despite our affection for the surprisingly good story-driven first-person shooter. We’re also saying goodbye to another over-achiever, Shadows of Mordor, whose best trick, the Nemesis System, isn’t enough to keep it on our ever more competitive top 12.

Update 5/5/2015: We’ve taken off Super Time Force, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and Rayman Legends to make room for Dying Light, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. Nearly half of the games on this list now begin with “D.” Mission accomplished.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Update 11/25/2014: Three new games make their way onto the list: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Grand Theft Auto V and Sunset Overdrive edge out Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3 and Titanfall.

Update 10/17/2014: We’ve cleared out Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Need For Speed: Rivals to make room for Destiny, Forza Horizon 2, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Update 8/29/14: Strider hops out of the way to clear space for Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition.

Advertisement

Update 6/17/2014: The list continues to mature, as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Peggle 2 leave to make room for Wolfenstein: The New Order and Super Time Force.

Update 4/17/2014: Three games enter, two games leave. Our list hits its limit of 12 games, with Titanfall, The LEGO Movie Videogame and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes walking on while Powerstar Golf and LEGO Marvel Superheroes exit.

Update 3/10/2014: Four games walk on to the list: Rayman Legends, Strider, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and the newly multiplayer’d Peggle 2 bring our grand total of games up to eleven. One more and we’ll be at twelve, and will have to start cutting games to make additions.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Update 2/14/2014: Our first addition to the Xbox One Bests list is the lovely-looking Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Go, Lara, Go.

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac Games

Advertisement

Note: While some games on this list are download-only, all of them can be purchased on the Xbox One’s online store. If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.