Have you just got an Xbox One or a new Xbox One S, getting one soon or are you simply looking for something to play? Well, you've come to the right place.
It's been a busy time for gaming since the Xbox One first launched in November 2013, with a stack of amazing titles being released throughout. And now that the Xbox One S is available, an all-new wave of gamers could be joining the scene. And they'll want something to play.
Thankfully, you don't have to wait for forthcoming blockbusters, there are plenty in the back catalogue that fully deserve your attention too.
That's why we've put together our favourite games for the console from the last three years of its life. And they are all available to buy through the Xbox Live store so you can download and play them immediately rather than having to trudge down the shops or wait for them to be delivered.
- How Xbox One backwards compatibility works: The Xbox 360 games list and more
- Xbox One S: Release date, specs and everything you need to know
- Xbox One S vs Xbox One: What's the difference?
Of course, we don’t expect you to buy and download all 37, not at full price anyway – it’d cost you well over £1,000 to do so. Instead, we’ve ensured there’s something there for everyone so you can pick and choose based on your gaming tastes.
Just flick through the gallery above to see our 37 favourite Xbox One games and our reasons why we chose each one. They are presented in no particular order to prevent arguments.
Remedy's long-awaited action adventure has a stellar cast and incredible character modelling to look just like each and every one of them. The time-travelling sci-fi plot is engaging and the gameplay mechanics are innovative and interesting enough to keep you gripped to the end. Your time manipulation abilities are especially fun to use. However, the biggest elements to Quantum Break that make it stand out are the several 20 minute long TV episodes that punctuate the action and further the story. They will divide opinion but are well-worth sticking with.
Read more: Quantum Break review: All in good time
Dark Souls 3
As anyone who has played a Dark Souls game would expect, Dark Souls 3 is huge, gothic, creepy, studded with bosses which, when you first encounter them, seem impossibly daunting, yet irresistibly addictive. At times, you will curse the impulse which propels you back into its fetid world, as you struggle to advance even a couple of hundred metres. But the pay-off is that any small triumphs you manage to pull off will be so hard-won that they feel like mighty victories.
Tom Clancy's The Division
The massively multiplayer world of The Division has had its issues in the past, with some strange gameplay decision present on release. But through numerous updates and patches, it is becoming the game it promised from the beginning - an excellent role-playing shooter that can be played in groups or on your tod just as capably. The Dark Zone also throws something fresh and interesting into the mix. Yes, you can just take on and take out other players for the fun of it, but the weapon-fuelled game of tag increases the tension and pleasure.
Star Wars Battlefront
The force is strong with this one. As the first major Star Wars console release since Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the rights to the franchise, lots of eyes were on Dice’s reimagining of the multiplayer fight fest. Thankfully though, not only did it craft one of 2015’s most spectacular releases, it set a new stall for in-game graphics. Every level and map in Battlefront looks like it has been lifted straight from the movies, even the cast. It is, quite simply, stunning.
It's clear even from playing just the first episode of Hitman that the move to an episodic structure has proven a liberating experience for Io Interactive. The whole exercise would not have worked if the missions themselves had been in any way half-baked, but they have turned out to be the richest, most detailed ones ever seen in any Hitman game.
Read more: Hitman review: Agent 47's regaled return
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The second outing for the rebooted Lara Croft is bigger than the first but is still restricted to a single-player experience – and is still a little short in play time to boot. However, that’s because once you start the adventure mainly set in Siberia you’ll not want to put the game controller down. Developer Crystal Dynamics ensures that the gameplay mechanics do not get in the way of the story or side missions, and the return of tombs and puzzles are the icing on the cake.
Halo 5: Guardians
The fifth instalment of Master Chief’s adventures adds an all-new game style to the proceedings in the form of co-operative play during the campaign mode. You are always accompanied by three other characters for each mission, whether that’s with Master Chief’s team or a new team of Spartans led by Jameson Locke. And don’t worry if you can’t find three friends to play along with, Halo 5 does a very good job with artificial intelligence to give your companions life. There’s also the excellent new multiplayer mode to provide plenty of fun: Warzone. It can lead to some seriously bonkers battles.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Not just one of the best games on the Xbox One, The Witcher 3 can lay claim as being one of the best of all time. It is an extraordinary feat in game design, where it seems that every action undertaken in the massive third-person RPG has an effect on the game world. Save a merchant from some bandits in a random encounter, for example, you might meet him again many hours later in a city, where he gives you a massive discount on items he has for sale. The world itself also seems alive and vibrant while the game is also capable of testing your skills so you don’t just blitz through it. Superb.
Grand Theft Auto V
It took a while to get GTA V onto the current generation consoles but nobody can complain considering how much extra the improved game offers over the original version. For a start, Rockstar added a whole new first-person mode, which enables the player to experience the game from a different perspective, even if completed before. Plus, the graphics were given a tasty overhaul to make San Andreas look more spectacular than ever. And let’s face it, GTA V was always one of the best games available anyway.
Sprawling and vast, Fallout 4 is trickier to get into in comparison with the previous chapters on former generation machines, but it rewards stoicism with one of the biggest role-playing adventures of all time. It also adds a base building mechanic to the gameplay, where you can construct your own villages for fellow survivors, so adds something new to the first or third-person shooting and looting action of before. There are few games available today that were as long awaited as this one, and even fewer with such scope.
Game of Thrones
Telltale Games has shaken up the adventure gaming genre in recent times, most notably with its episodic series based on The Walking Dead comic books, and now its the turn of Game of Thrones to get the treatment. The last episode (of six) is now available to complete the set, and the inclusion of TV show faves Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, plus Margaery Tyrell, all voiced by the regular cast members sets the stall for an ideal accompaniment to the superb TV series.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Remarkably, Syndicate is the third Assassin’s Creed game that has been released for Xbox One yet is the first we’ve truly been wowed by. Black Flag was a simple port of the previous generation version and was more a pirate simulator if truth be told, and Unity’s co-op gameplay took something away from the series rather than add – it was also riddled with bugs, which didn’t help. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate though invokes memories of the fantastic years of Ezio Auditore and its Victorian London playground is a splendid set for plenty of parkour shenanigans.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Kojima’s last Metal Gear Solid game for Konami also happens to be his grandest moment. Taking the franchise into the realms of open world seems to have been an inspired decision, with so much to do and missions to complete that you will be playing for hours. We know, we’ve still not seen everything there is to see in the game. We also love the way you can tackle just about everything in multiple fashions – run and gun or sneaking around are just two ways you can complete objectives, each causing different reactions.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
With Halo: The Master Chief Collection Microsoft, which came out at the end of 2014, 343 Industries put together an amazing package of the four best Halo games remastered for the current generation console. We now have Halo 5: Guardians of course, but the previous four are a worthy set of games regardless. The Xbox One version Halo 2 is such an amazing upgrade to the Xbox original that it's almost worth the money on its own.
There are some that didn't get on with Destiny after its initial release, but we thoroughly recommend they give it a revisit. The multiplayer first-person shooter rewards persistence in spades and the Taken King expansion redefined the entire experience, making it one of the best shooters around. To be honest, even without that paid-for update we're more than happy to blast our way across the landscapes we have on offer already.
Read more: Destiny review
Forza Horizon 2
There have been plenty of driving games released on the Xbox One in its relatively short lifetime, with several others on this list too, but we still return to Forza Horizon 2 often for madcap fun. While it's a capable racer on the road, it really comes into its own when you are hurtling across fields and through the gardens of farmhouses - often leaving you wanting more off-road challenges. It also helps add to your driving style to your specific Drivatar AI clone that others will be racing in Forza Motorsport 6.
Read more: Forza Horizon 2 review
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition
The continuing success of Minecraft might come as a surprise to some but with each new release a new generation of fans is born. The current generation console versions might not look that different from the previous gen (or PC) iterations but the draw distances afforded on Xbox One helps make the most incredible constructions look even more spectacular when viewed from afar. Microsoft has also been swift in releasing new skin packs, such as complete packs for Doctor Who and Star Wars.
The first great exclusive game to be released on Xbox One in 2014 was Titanfall and it still holds its head up high today, especially amongst the more competitive gamers. Unlike Destiny, which is also a persistently online multiplayer shooter, Titanfall pretty much dispenses with storyline and sticks to what it's good at - giving you enormous guns and mechanoids with which to blast the kingdom come out of friends and foes. An intelligent ranking system means that even if it's your first time playing today, you will be pitched in even battles that you can cope with, rather than against people that have been playing it for the best part of two years.
Read more: Titanfall review
Winner in the best game category at the O2 Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2014, Alien: Isolation maybe took many by surprise with its adherence to the tone of the first Alien movie, both graphically and thematically. Rather that arm you with hefty weaponry and send floods of xenomorphs in your direction, the name of the game is survival as you are hunted through a destroyed space station by just the one Alien. Cue some pant-wettingly scary moments.
Read more: Alien: Isolation review
Far Cry 4
Released last year but still one of our favourite games, Far Cry 4 has everything a modern game should offer. At its heart it's a first person shooter, but there are role-playing game elements, driving challenges, wonderful co-op play and one of the largest open world maps we've seen in such a game. The mission structure is excellent, while the amount of side missions and other things you can do is almost overwhelming. But perhaps the best thing about Far Cry 4 is the superb villain in Pagan Min. Evil and funny in equal measure and the closest you'll get to a truly realised Bond-style foe in gaming.
Read more: Far Cry 4 review: A shooter like no other
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Although it sets the action even further into the future and is more science fiction-oriented than Call of Duty games before it, Black Ops 3 stands out as one of the best in the series. That’s partly down to the bombastic, fast-flowing single-player campaign and fun and frenetic multiplayer matches, but the return of zombies to the franchise are almost worth the cover price alone. CoD is back to its best, hurrah!
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Although it helps to have played the previous Dragon Age games on older consoles beforehand – at least to follow the plot – Dragon Age: Inquisition is a mighty role-playing game from Bioware that deserves inspection regardless of whether you are a fan of the genre or not. Its storyline is broad and far reaching and the game has perhaps the most side missions and other things to do off the beaten path as any we can remember. You certainly get your money worth – even before downloading any of the DLC.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
Finally, there is a PES game worth talking about. The franchise might have lost its way over the years, but 2016’s entry reminds us of why we played it religiously to begin with; it is so much fun. The action is faster than on rival FIFA games, while scoring goals seems a little more superhuman than realistic. And that’s what any Pro Evo fans want. Fast, frantic footy to play against your mates. Welcome back PES, welcome back.
Forza Motorsport 6
Although Forza Motorsport 5 was the first Turn 10 game to hit the Xbox One it was criticised for being, well, a little boring. Forza 6 is the opposite. Although the instant gratification will come from seeing some incredible rain effects and puddles on tracks that can even cause aquaplaning, it is the depth in its game modes and the vast library of cars available to drive that will racing fans coming back time and time again.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Bigger than the other Batman games before it and stunningly beautiful to boot, Arkham Knight wraps up the trilogy in spectacular fashion. Without giving away too many spoilers, the use of the Joker throughout the game is inspired and we think the inclusion of the Batmobile – which hasn’t gone down well with everybody, admittedly – adds variety to missions and the overall gameplay. Plus, the playable areas of Gotham City are so big this time around that it’s a thrill racing around them in the superpowered vehicle.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Strangely not including the original Borderlands, you can’t really describe The Handsome Collection as being the definitive package but the remastered versions of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, plus all DLC previously released are plenty enough to warrant a purchase. Part role-playing game, part first-person shooter, each Borderlands game holds enough action and humorous adventure to keep you going long into 2016. And the original Borderlands can be played through backwards compatibility now, so you could always start with the Xbox 360 version of that.
Project Cars: Game of the Year Edition
The Forza series might be the best known in the simulation driving game genre when it comes to Xbox One, but the community created Project Cars matches it for realistic driving experiences. Indeed, it could be argued that much of what makes Forza Motorsport 6 so good was inspired by it. Where Project Cars takes the idea a little further is in offering the most amount of customisation for races you are likely to see in a racing game, even down to the ability of choosing how the weather will change with each lap.
The Game of the Year Edition adds all the DLC from its first year of release and extra bonuses too.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
One of the cutest yet fiendishly difficult 2D platform games on any console, Ori and the Blind Forest is a magnificent example of how cunning level design can provide hours of fun. As you progress you also learn new skills, which will be needed to get to new sections in the game, and drip feeding them to you in this way is a great concept as you never bamboozled by the control system. By the end of the game, there will be so many things you can do with Ori instinctively, you’ll be surprised at how competent you’ve become.
Both versions are great, but the Definitive Edition has more areas of the map, upgrades and difficulty levels.
Based on the original game from the 80s and already a massive success on PC, the Xbox One Elite: Dangerous is a fantastic space simulator that you will while hours away playing, often without even seeing another soul. It’s slightly trickier to control everything on your ship using a game controller rather than keyboard, mouse and, preferably, flight stick too, but once you get the hang of it a vast galaxy awaits you to explore, fight and eventually become an Elite pilot within.
One of the massive wave of games to adopt 8-bit graphics, The Escapists is a puzzle adventure game of sorts where you have to successfully escape a series of more difficult prisons. Where it succeeds is in its sense of humour and simple gameplay mechanics – a trademark of Team 17, also the creator of the Worms series. You probably won’t find many games as addictive as this little gem either.
With Mad Max: Fury Road being a critical and box office hit, the long-awaited Mad Max game needed to be every bit as good. Cleverly, the massively open-world adventure took the hand-to-hand fighting system from the Batman: Arkham series, which makes being on foot and exploring post-apocalyptic ruins more fun, while the car combat is fluid and great fun. There’s not really much of a plot – you must rebuild your car after the first one was stolen – but then there isn’t in the Mad Max films either. Doesn’t stop us loving them so much.
Read more: Mad Max first look review: Vast and furious
Life is Strange
With Telltale having so much success with episodic adventure games based on massive movie or TV licences, Life is Strange could have escaped your notice, even though it features every bit as engrossing a story as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones games. The five episodes, which follow teenage girl Max after she discovers she can turn back time, feature fantastic voice acting and twists and turns that will have you guessing until the very end. And the best part about it is that your actions determine the outcome.
Mortal Kombat X
In fighting games terms, Street Fighter has always been the most talked about franchise among die-hard fans, although we’ve always preferred the Mortal Kombat series. And Mortal Kombat X is a welcome return to the madcap, absurdly violent days of the past, with “finish him” end moves that are hilarious and gross in equal measure.
Although it takes a little more getting used to than previous iterations, FIFA 16 is the most realistic football game to date. The artificial intelligence of players has been tweaked in order to present a tougher match, where gamers can’t simply whip through balls past your defence and batter you relentlessly. Measured, clever play is now rewarded, and while that might not be for everyone, it makes for a more tactical game. There’s also women’s football as an option for the first time, which is a step in the right direction.
Read more: FIFA 16 preview: Refinement not reinvention
The toys to life genre has really taken off, with the Disney Infinity and Skylanders franchises under attack by one of the world's biggest toy brands, Lego. And considering how good the Lego Dimensions game is, it's easy to see why. For once a USB portal is used for more than just transporting characters into a game, at times it becomes an integral part of the on-screen puzzles. Plus, with the amount of licensed characters that feature, including Batman, Doctor Who and Back to the Future's Marty McFly, there's always something for everyone.
Far Cry Primal
Far Cry games have always been open-world first-person shooters, right? Well, not any more. Since Primal is set in 10,000BC, in the Stone Age, there's no way that it could have been a shooter. But the new setting proves utterly compelling – those who derived the most joy from Far Cry games by simply bimbling around its map, exploring and hunting in a deliciously aimless manner will absolutely love Primal. Its game-world is fabulous to behold and utterly believable, and it's packed with obscure places to explore and resources to sniff out.
A bizarre hybrid of footy, driving sims and Robot Wars, Rocket League in an online multiplayer team game that's become a massive cult hit. Two teams of up to eight players have to basically use their rocket-powered cars to force a giant football into their opponents' goal. Bonkers and brilliant in equal measure.