The Best Xbox One Exclusives

Xbox Serie X|S launch day is here so we thought we'd take a look back at this past generation's best exclusives that released on the Xbox One. In compiling this list, we did not count remasters so The Master Chief Collection and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will not be listed. And no timed exclusives (for the most part) so Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dead Rising 4 are also off the table. With that said, before we dive into the main list of 7 amazing games, here are a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions | Cuphead is a painstakingly animated and tough as nails platformer that was originally released on the Xbox One on September 29, 2017, before releasing on other platforms.  This indie-darling is a great game for anyone wanting a fun challenge with friends. Grounded would have made the list if it was a finished game. However, the game is only in early access via Game Pass and updates are still being rolled out by developed Obsidian Entertainment. The game, in its current state, is a fun "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" take on video games. Click here to read our first impressions on Grounded. We'd also like to add a cursory mention to Titanfall, although the game itself wasn't amazing, it paved the way for one of the best games of the generation, Titanfall 2.

Sunset Overdrive | Insomniac Games, the studio who more recently is known for its PlayStation exclusive Spider-Man series, created this chaotically beautiful and fun video game back in late 2014. This game, similarly to the Spider-Man series, nailed the gameplay mechanics to the point where you do not want to fast travel because you enjoy the thrill of grinding throughout the city killing mutants and picking up side quests whenever they are near. Throughout the game, you meet and team up with new and fun characters to attempt to defeat FizzCo, a soda company that is responsible for the creation of these mutants, and escape from Sunset City. The game does also have a horde like multiplayer that is also playable, but the pop-culture filled single-player campaign is where you will find your love for this Xbox exclusive.

Gears 5 | Originally released on September 10th, 2019, Gears of War 5 is a key part of Xbox's next-gen marketing. Gears 5 upon its release was met with an overwhelming amount of positive reviews thanks to its continued excellence as a third-person shooter. This game focuses on a new character, Kait Diaz, who is a descendant of the Queen of the Locust horde, Myrrah. Kait along with returning characters Delmont “Del” Walker, Marcus Fenix, and JD Fenix (son of Marcus) are reinstated into the COG and form the new Delta squad, and throughout the course of the game, you uncover and learn more about Kait’s family history and more about the origins of the locust. The multiplayer for Gears 5 is just as great as the others in the series and continued to be a very bright spot on an already fantastic addition to the series with the competitive and cooperative online game modes making their return. Gears 5 brought in over three million players in the first weekend, which doubles the same figure for Gears of War 4, and marks Microsoft’s most successful first-party launch since Halo 4 on Xbox 360.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps | Yes, technically, this isn't wholly an Xbox One exclusive because it did recently release on the Nintendo Switch but Will of the Wisps and Ori and the Blind Forest are both published by Xbox Game Studios. This colorful platformer from Moon Studios is one of the smoothest games on consoles and thanks to the next-gen power, it runs at a buttery smooth 120fps on Xbox Series X|S.

Forza Horizon 4 | Racing games don't get much prettier than the Forza Horizon games. Forza Horizon 4 takes you across the beautiful streets of England as you race your way through the various events, perform PR stunts to gain more fans, and compete in multiplayer games. Whether you're in the mood to race, just cruise, or unlock your inner photographer in photo mode, there is something for everyone in this open-world racer by Playground Games. The game was originally announced at Xbox's E3 2018 conference, and an enhanced version of the game was just launched alongside the new Series X|S consoles so the game looks better than ever. 

Quantum Break | From the team behind Alan Wake, Quantum Break is somewhat of a AAA narrative experiment. Following Jack Joyce and Paul Serene, the game is a sci-fi third-person shooter that's core mechanics and plot that revolves around time. While the gameplay has small, relatively easy to solve, puzzles that require you to use your time powers to progress to the next area, what makes the game so different from other narrative-driven games is its structure. At the end of every chapter, Quantum Break plays an episode of a TV show that was written and produced just for the game. Thanks to a voice cast of live-action actors like Shawn Ashmore and Aidan Gillen, Quantum Break requires you to put down your controller for about two hours, across 4 episodes, of its total ten hours run time. This, along with the fact that a good bit of narrative depth being hidden in long email files on computers found throughout the game, means Quantum Break is not for everyone. But with a story that mostly comes together by the end thanks to solid performances, visuals, and writing, this is at least worth a shot for fans of single-player experiences.

Killer Instinct |  Back after a 15+ year hiatus, the Killer Instinct reboot on Xbox One was a glorious return for this classic fighting series. A large roster of fighters including Microsoft crossover characters like The Arbiter from Halo, a fantastic soundtrack by Doom 2016 composer Mick Gordon, flashy visuals, and deep fighting mechanics make this Xbox One launch title a no brainer for this list.

Halo 5: Guardians | Halo 5 is the ninth game in the Halo franchise. Originally showcased at E3 2014, the fifth installment in Master Chief’s storyline enjoyed a good opening week grossing more than $400 million beating the previous series record of $300 million set by the previous installment, Halo 4. Throughout the course of the game, you play as two protagonists, Master Chief, who is the Blue Squad leader, and Jameson Locke, a legendary man-hunter that is the leader of Fireteam Osiris. Locke is on a mission to find Master Chief after the Blue Squad goes missing and several colonies are unexpectedly attacked. Master Chief on the other hand has not gone AWOL, but is rather looking for answers as he is going through the equivalent of a spartan supersoldier's mid-life crisis. The gameplay is very familiar and similar to past games with enhanced spartan abilities and improvements to the online play that saw the addition of 12 vs 12 Warzone matches.

There are our picks for the best Xbox One exclusives of this generation. Let's be honest, it's no secret that PlayStation really ran away in the exclusives department this generation, but as we head into next-gen with Microsoft recently having acquired ZeniMax Media, a lot of big and exciting franchises now lay under the Xbox roof including Elder Scrolls, Doom, Dishonored, Fallout, just to name a few. It's unclear if any and/or all of these games will be console exclusive to Xbox but having them release on GamePass day and date is a huge boost for Xbox players.

But that is a discussion for another article. What did you think of our list? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments. For more Xbox coverage check out our list of 7 scary games on Xbox Game Pass and for more next-gen, check out our subscription service comparison between Game Pass and PS Now. Also keep in mind that if you are an Xbox Game Pass member, a few of the games on this list are on the service so you can try them with no extra cost.

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