Want to know which Xbox One games you should buy and which ones you should avoid? This is what this article is all about. We've created a comprehensive list of Xbox One releases that sorts out the hits from the misses. Additionally, the USgamer team members have also posted their personal recommendations, and explain why those games are their favorites.
The Best - 5 Star Rated
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare: Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare's bright colors, cartoon graphics and humorous approach are the antithesis of most first-person shooters. But don't be fooled. It's as good as any out there - and very likely an awful lot more fun.
Need for Speed: Rivals: Need for Speed: Rivals takes some of the best features from prior franchise entries and combines them with a seamless single-multiplayer mode to create an absolutely terrific, utterly bonkers race-and-chase game that looks and sounds as good as it drives. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Highly Recommended - Rated 4.5 Stars
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: It's still not perfect because it carries the same gameplay and story missteps as its predecessor, but the graphics are much improved over the original, the storyline is more interesting, and there's a lot more depth to its locations. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Forza Motorsport 5: Forza Motorsport makes its next-gen debut in stunning style, with great gameplay and superb visuals that show off the Xbox One's capabilities in impressive fashion.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Still trying to get someone into the Marvel Universe? If they have an open mind and an Xbox One, Traveller's Tales Lego Marvel Superheroes is the perfect introduction. For families or individuals that love Marvel comics, movies, or cartoons, Lego Marvel Superheroes is the perfect pick-up. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition: Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is an excellent port for Xbox One, with some great graphical improvements. You can tell Crystal Dynamics pulled out all of the stops to make this the best version of Tomb Raider. If you've played it before, it may worth a rent. If you haven't, the Definitive Edition is great purchase that outclasses the PC edition. Unfortunately, the potential price gulf between this version and the PC version can make it a hard sell.
NBA 2K14: Xbox One launched with not one, but two basketball games. The choice between the two was made very easy thanks to the fact that there's absolutely no contest between the excellent NBA 2K14 and its comparatively weak arch-rival, NBA Live. From graphics to gameplay, NBA 2K14 comprehensively trounces it on almost every level.
Guacamelee Super Turbo Champion Edition: As fun in this beefed-up incarnation as in its original release, Guacamelee Super Turbo Champion Edition offers one of the best-designed and most original takes on the well-worn metroidvania phenomenon you'll ever find. The new material may not quite bring enough to the table to warrant a second purchase, and the game doesn't exactly push PS4 or Xbox One to the ragged edge of their capabilities, but once again excellent game design has less to do with technical specs and more to do with creativity and thoughtfulness: Features Guacamelee possesses in spades. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Recommended - Rated 4 Stars
Wolfenstein: A New Order: A sprawling epic that sometimes doesn't quite hit the ridiculously high bar it sets for itself, but nevertheless delivers an absolutely spectacular, supremely gory, utterly compelling experience. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Titanfall: Titanfall isn't the most innovative first-person shooter ever, but it is well-developed and quite fun. Respawn Entertainment brings back some of the high-flying shooting play that once graced titles like Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena, and marries it to the huge, lumbering mechs called Titans. Even more surprising, the game is still balanced no matter how you choose to play. It's multiplayer-only, so strict single-player gamers need not apply, but if you're open Titanfall has a lot to offer.
Just Dance 2014: This highly entertaining party dance game takes full advantage of Kinect. Just remember that if a bunch of you playing at the same time, make sure you're doing so on a concrete floor. You really don't want to be literally bringing down the house.
Call of Duty: Ghosts: If you can't get enough of Call of Duty's multiplayer action, Ghosts certainly delivers the goods. The more casual players might be disappointed at its incremental refinement and spectacular, but all-too-short single-player campaign. Squads and Extinction, however, are a breath of fresh air offer a tantalizing taste of where the series may go. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Dead Rising 3: The graphics don't provide as much of a next-generation leap as we'd hoped, but the atmosphere and huge number of zombies more than make up for any other visual shortcomings. The weapon and vehicle customization options and the addition of Nightmare Mode give Dead Rising 3 the legs it needs to stay in constant rotation on your Xbox One.
Killer Instinct: Killer Instinct's fighting mechanics are top notch. You can't argue with how easy the game is to pick up and play, and you'll have a ton of fun in the process.
FIFA 14: This represents a placeholder entry into the FIFA series. It does everything you want it to, and offers plenty of high-quality footballing action. But the problem is that it's a port of the previous generation version, and not a made-for-next-gen game. So unless you really must have a soccer game, we'd recommend waiting until the next version.
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is what the original game always wanted to be: a truly cinematic platformer. It looks fantastic, sounds brilliant and is great fun to play, despite its occasionally clumsy controls. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Zumba Fitness: World Party: If you want to dance your way to fitness but feel all self-conscious at the prospect of shaking your booty down your local Casa de Zumba, this is a good substitute. It has some good songs and routines, and makes the whole thing rather fun.
Outlast: A genuinely disturbing and terrifying game that'll have you jumping out of your seat in fright. It's a little short at around six or so hours, but the experience Outlast delivers is well worth the price of admission.
The Rest - Rated 3.5 Stars or Less
Battlefield 4: Battlefield 4 is a beautiful game and if you want something to show off that next-generation power to your family, this is up there with Killzone. It's not up to the PC's level, but it's close enough. The campaign is very impressive at times, but mostly it's the same boring cover shooting you've come to expect from AAA FPS games. Multiplayer is the game's big draw, but it doesn't stand on its own until the battles get real big on the larger levels. Using server filters should keep your multiplayer game exciting. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Crimson Dragon: Many of the USG team members who fondly remember the Panzer Dragoon series had high hopes for what was looking like the spiritual successor to that classic series. But they were soon dashed. Despite some nice-looking graphics, the gameplay just isn't interesting.
Lego Movie Video Game: The Lego Movie Videogame is the latest title in TT Games' long line of great family-friendly games. The developer has turned out another rock-solid gaming experience here, but how much you love it depends on how much you love the source material. I thought The Lego Movie was a great film, so I like the game, but your mileage may vary.
LocoCycle: This off-beat racing game was perhaps the biggest Xbox One launch dud. It doesn't really make much sense, and it's not much fun to play. Spend your money elsewhere.
Madden NFL 25: Outside of instant replays, Madden NFL 25 won't impress the average player on Xbox One, as the game's normal play mode doesn't always show off the next-generation graphics. Improved physics and player AI change how the game is played on a fundamental level, making it more realistic, so veteran players will need a period of adjustment. Unlike previous console launch versions of Madden, Madden NFL 25 on PS4 keeps all the extra modes you've come to expect from the series.(PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes: Ground Zeroes is definitely fun while it lasts, and it offers an interesting taste of what is to come in Phantom Pain. As appetizers go, it's terrific. Just don't expect a full meal. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
NBA Live 14: The weaker of the two Xbox One basketball launch games, Electronic Arts' effort simply isn't as polished or rewarding to play as NBA 2K14. Buy that one instead.
Peggle 2: It's not like Peggle 2 is bad, but the question is WHY? Why do you need this on Xbox One when it's far more suited to phone or tablet gaming.
Powerstar Golf: This cheap and cheerful casual golf game can be a little frustrating to play at times, but it still manages to provide adequate entertainment for its fairly meager price tag. Just don't expect it to keep you entertained for long.
Ryse: Son of Rome: RYSE's stunning visuals, solid story and a nearly unmatched cinematic flair, are unfortunately offset by simple and repetitive combat, and gameplay that offers little challenge.
Skylanders: Swap Force: This is very much a kid's game. While you'd doubtlessly find it absolutely super if you haven't yet celebrated your 12th birthday, if you have passed that milestone, you really should be looking elsewhere for your gaming kicks.
Strider: Sadly, Strider falls somewhat short of the original. Despite its failings, though, it manages to be the best Strider game since that old coin-op. With a little more polish and creativity, this could be the start of something great.
Thief: Thief will almost certainly frustrate fans of the older trilogy, but it suffers shortcomings on a more objective level as well. Though solidly made, it never challenges the well-worn conventions of stealth action. In short, it lacks a certain spark of inspiration. It's good, yet it falls short of "future classic" status. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Zoo Tycoon: While Zoo Tycoon is rather simple and lacks depth, younger players might well like it. Just make sure you sit down and play it with them at first, because the initial setup might be a little complicated for the littler 'uns.
Bound By Flame: Bound By Flame is a number of good ideas poorly crafted into a final product. The story itself is rather generic, with poor dialog and voice acting preventing you from getting emotionally invested in the world. The core combat is good, but once it meets with the larger game, it begins to break down. Even an excellent crafting system can't save Bound By Flame from being a budget RPG. If you can find it for $15-20, it might be worth a go for action-RPG fanatics. (PC review: Xbox One version is the same)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Beenox latest Spider-Man game is a swing and a miss. The developer has improved the web-swinging mechanic and getting around Spider-Man's Manhattan has never been better. Unfortunately, the rest of the game drags it down. A schizophrenic story, a lifeless New York, and boring villains are what you can expect for the price of entry. The game's Hero/Menace system even takes all the fun out of just randomly swinging around the city. Beenox can do better, so I'm hoping the developer's next outing results in something truly "Amazing". (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Lego The Hobbit: Lego The Hobbit brings the first two Hobbit films to life in TT Games' great, family-friendly style. On PlayStation 4, the game looks absolutely amazing, especially in the cutscenes and major battles when it matters most. Unfortunately, the source material lets down TT Games here; the dwarves just aren't very distinct when compared to the cast of Lego Marvel and The Lego Movie. All told, Lego The Hobbit is very good, but it doesn't reach the best of those previous titles. (PS4 review: Xbox One version is the same)
Valiant Hearts: Valiant Hearts works from a novel concept, and is loaded with brilliant ideas—hell, it's great just to see a war from the perspective of a country other than America—but Ubisoft's lack of self-control ultimately makes it less impactful than it should have been. It's still a worthwhile experience, though it could have been so much better if Valiant Hearts left us wanting more. (PC review: Xbox One version is the same)
Murdered Soul Suspect: I really wanted to like Murdered: Soul Suspect, but -- like L.A. Noire -- it's a detective game that manages to gets its most essential quality absolutely wrong. The backdrop of Salem lends a lot to its central mystery, but at no point will Soul Suspect ever put your deductive skills to work. That's fine if you're indulging in an episode of CSI, but I like my thinky games to require more than just passive interest. (PC review: Xbox One version is the same)
Super TIME Force: Capybara has designed a devastatingly complex game that manages to feel wholly intuitive and approachable in practice; I just wish it explored more of its potential. If ever a game begged for a sequel to fully realize a great concept, Super T.I.M.E. Force is it.
The preceding games are what we believe represent the best that Xbox One has to offer right now. But which ones are our own personal favorites? Over to Team USG to reveal all.
Titanfall is a new addition to my favorite games list, and it's here because it's responsible for more hours of lost sleep than I care to mention. It's without doubt my most-played game this generation - and really, that's my highest possible recommendation. With all the choice of games we have to play, Titanfall is the one I keep going back to.
Although we reviewed Titanfall at launch, after playing it for a month and putting many, many hours into the game, I decided to write a second, long-term test review.
I've been going on and on about this for months, so it's no surprise Forza 5 sits at pole position on my must-buy Xbox One launch games list.
When I played it at E3, I was very impressed. Not quite blown away, but definitely impressed. This is largely due to the narrowing technical gap between generations that we've been seeing since the 90's. While we will eventually see a clear and significant difference between the incoming generation and the outgoing one, it's going to take some time. Until then, to the untrained eye, many games will look very similar.
Forza 5 is such a game. On the face of it, it's not a huge step up from Forza 4. There are differences, however – it's just that they're in the details. The richer level of atmospheric effects, the more complex lighting, the slightly more convincing interiors, and minutiae like leaves that swirl as you drive past them. The backdrops are more sophisticated too, and draw distances have been pushed way out. It's difficult to appreciate them when you're driving down a narrow road at 125 mph trying to overtake an opponent, but they're there if you look.
The new and much-heralded AI system is a little hit-and-miss. It's supposed to be based on real people's driving, but it sometimes does some really dumb things - like braking ridiculously early, or freaking out on a straight. Perhaps that's what some people do, but sometimes it just seems a bit off. Ultimately, if you spend more time competing with other players, it's all moot anyway.
We'll have to wait and see whether Gran Turismo will catch up when it finally arrives on PS4. If its recent performance is anything to go by, it'll likely arrive around the same time we'll be expecting Forza 6. Until then, Forza 5 sits atop the podium as greatest racer out there.
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
This particular slot in my top three Xbox One games has been occupied by both Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 since the Xbox One launched last year. But now it's time for an update, and the game replacing them is something very similar - but with a far bigger sense of humor. I reviewed Pop Cap's Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare a while back, and I'm still playing it on and off. You can read my review if you want to find out exactly why I enjoy it so much, but if you want the cliff notes: it's stupid, it's fun, and the team multiplayer action is thoroughly enjoyable.
PvZ isn't necessarily better than either Battlefield 4 or COD: Ghosts. Each game simply offers its own unique take on the multiplayer shooter. The militarized pair are obviously more serious. COD delivers some great multiplayer modes, intelligently-designed arenas and the very best gun-oriented action. Battlefield is a huge open space filled with mayhem that gives you tons of options, from driving tanks, flying plans and using all manner of weapons. PvZ is more laid back, is more accessible and easier to play than the other two, but it still offers some intense, utterly bonkers multiplayer team battles. All three are winners, so pick whichever one suits the way you like to play.
Me? I'm going on a killing spree with a happy smiley sunflower. Prepare to die.
While I didn't find the game completely above reproach, Capcom's revisiting of one of my all-time favorite arcade games generally did the trick. I loved how it combined the manic action of the coin-op classic with the more adventuresome structure of the uneven NES game... and hero Hiryu even managed to pick up a few tricks from his tenure as a "Vs. Capcom" series fighting character. A little more time in the oven (no fast travel!?) would have made this platformer truly extraordinary, but even so there's a lot to love about Hiryu's high-definition action debut.
Dead Rising 3
I've said before that I have a hard time getting stoked about launch lineups, and Xbox One really drives that fact home. It's not that the system's debut titles don't have promise. Fortunately, Dead Rising 3 embodies the shining exception to my launch blues rules: At once a substantial adventure, a sequel to one of the definitive titles for Microsoft's previous system, and an ambitious open-world action thriller. The previous Dead Risings have been full of interesting ideas and systems that never quite gelled to perfection, but the third entry feels... well, "polished" isn't the right word, but more seasoned. I'm not enamored with the second-screen elements (which basically amount to "use a tablet for an instant win"), but such is life in our modern world. Plus, the Capcom fan service DLC material — no, don't ask me to recite the name — released a few months ago makes a good game even better.
Guacamelee Super Turbo Champion Edition
Falling into a similar niche as Strider, Drinkbox's Guacamelee did a much better job of winning my heart with its tighter level design and glorious fighting game-inspired brawling mechanics. Excellent music and truly lush Mexican-inspired visuals round off a fun and inventive package.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Yes, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was also on my list for PlayStation 4 and I loved it when I reviewed it on that platform, but I'm a bit of a rebel. If I was only getting one console and that was the Xbox One, ACIV would still be at the top of my list. Did the navel-gazing of Assassin's Creed III's Connor bore you at times? ACIV's protagonist - 'hero' is a bit strong - Edward Kenway is far more charismatic and in tune with exactly what he wants from the world.
Did you hate the naval combat in ACIII because it never felt tied to the main game? Good, because now it's an integral part of the experience! Did you love the naval combat in ACIII? Great, because now there's a ton more of it!
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a big badass open-world and Ubisoft has had another year to hammer out the bugs in its new AnvilNext engine. While the game will still probably look good on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it looks goddamn gorgeous on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even though it's coming to current-gen as well, it's still my next-gen title to beat. Either way, it's a great game to tied you over until Assassin's Creed Unity comes out this year.
It looks like 2013 is where Double Helix breaks out of its shell of mediocrity. Killer Instinct by all rights should be horrible; fighting games are hard to make and balance. Instead, it plays well; it's fast, bright, and fun. The team has clearly looked at what works in the current fighting game market and updated the classic Killer Instinct gameplay accordingly.
The updated designs for the original cast have all been superb, even if Glacius' new look will have to grow on me. Even more surprising, is that each character has clearly been pushed in different direction to allow for different playstyles. It's impressive work, and it all comes together. The roster is a bit sparse, but this isn't a fire-and-forget release. Microsoft and Double Helix intend to support the game with more characters and a story mode coming next year. I've been wanting a new Killer Instinct since 1996, and someone finally delivered.
In addition, Season 2 is starting this Fall. If you're just getting into Killer Instinct, you can pick the Combo Breaker Pack up at retail, which includes all of the Season 1 characters - Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Sadira, Orchid, Spinal, and Fulgore - and TJ Combo from Season 2. The Combo Breaker Pack will be available on September 23 for $19.99.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Yes, the Xbox One version of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition doesn't fare as well as its PlayStation 4 counterpart, but if this is your system it's still a great game. It features the new the origin of Lara Croft, showcasing her journey from college student to the mythic Tomb Raider.
Definitive Edition starts with the same story, great gameplay, and DLC from the original game and improve upon it with a brand-new graphics engine. Lara's enhanced hair, better textures, better lighting, and additional foliage that actually sways in the breeze; they all come together to create a great experience.
It is enough to double dip if you played the PC version? Probably not, but Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is worth every penny if it's your first time around on Xbox One.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Dismissed as a failure and a stale retread by some before it was even release, Assassin's Creed IV proved to be a surprisingly successful comeback for the series after the disappointing Assassin's Creed III. The shift in focus in pirates, not to mention the unexpected joy of captaining your very own ship, was largely what did it. It also didn't hurt that it was one of the best-looking next-generation games at launch, not to mention the fact that it did away with the rather unpopular Desmond Miles. It's a stretch to call it a comeback, but it certainly did its part in saving the series from a prolonged decline. As of right now, it's one of the handful of launch games that really does it part in showing off the power of the Xbox One. If nothing else, buy it as a showpiece and wow your friends.
Though it didn't last me quite as long as I was expecting, Titanfall is still an extremely impressive multiplayer shooter. The asymmetric nature of the mech vs human combat, the extreme speed of the battles, and the high degree of customization are all major pluses. Also, nothing can beat rodeoing a Titan and watching it go down. Hard. As of right now, Titanfall is easily the best game available on the Xbox One. That might change later this fall, but right now it's the best thing Microsoft has going over the PlayStation 4. If you like shooters even a little bit, then it's worth picking up Titanfall.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
As mash-ups go, it doesn't get much weirder than Plants vs. Zombies and the competitive shooter genre. Nevertheless, it makes for a surprisingly successful mix, owing in large part to its consistently hilarious art, beginner-friendly gameplay, and wide range of customizability. Its secret are the comparatively sturdy characters, which gives newer players the breathing space to learn how to actually play the game without dying every five minutes. It all adds up to an enjoyable distraction worth having on your Xbox One's hard drive for the odd 3am session when killer plants look more appealing than giant robots.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
As multiplayer games like Titanfall and Destiny slowly take over the single-player FPS experience, it's nice to know there's still a market out there for something like Wolfenstein. MachineGames sprawling take on id's classic franchise jumps to a Nazi-occupied future, and gets a lot of milage out of exploring just how terrible that could be. The New Order excels in more areas than setting, though: Along with the expected firefights featuring inventive takes on classic killing machines, Wolfenstein offers a variety of challenges in its sprawling environments that put more than just your reflexes to the test. After the forgettable 2009 reboot, it's refreshing to see an interpretation of the series that's so damned inventive.
Dead Rising 3
The latest iteration of Capcom's open-world zombie game might not differ dramatically from what's come before, but Dead Rising 3 at least dials back on the restrictions that irritated players in the first two games. You no longer have to fully divert your attention to ringing walkie-talkies, for instance, and unlike Chuck Greene from DR2, protagonist Nick Ramos no longer has to stop at a workbench to craft his newest piece of improvised weaponry. These and a collection of other minor improvements make Dead Rising 3 the most playable game in the series to date, even if you've basically been doing the same things in each one. Still, Capcom manages to come up with a seemingly unlimited number of ways to slay the undead, and the DLC (Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha) even lets you do it with Street Fighter and Breath of Fire references!
Super Time Force
If I had to guess, you probably didn't buy an Xbox One for the processing power needed to run Super Time Force—even though its chunky pixels look great, Microsoft's new console is capable of a lot more. But, even if this version remains identical to what Capybara Games released on the 360, it remains a highlight of the Xbox One's library. And if you think it's just a simple throwback to Contra and Gunstar Heroes, prepare to be pleasantly surprised: Super Time Force mixes run-and-gun side-scrolling with time manipulation pulled straight from Braid—except that guy wasn't friends with a sunglasses-wearing dinosaur. Capybara's creation offers an experience you won't find anywhere else, an achievement that's increasingly harder to come by these days.