The Xbox One was a console that could’ve been absolutely dead on arrival. Thanks to Microsoft changing many of their original stances, the Xbox One has become a great system to own. In fact, the current generation sees us playing consoles that are more similar than ever before. The Playstation 4 and Xbox One are comparable in both power and game selection. Here’s the top 10 best pieces of software for the Xbox One, in no particular order.
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
The only non-retail game on our list, Ori and The Blind Forest represents a time of gaming gone past. Ori is a side-scrolling adventure game reminiscent of games like Metroid and Castlevania. These games are inherently addictive and fun, even if they aren’t masterfully crafted. Thankfully, Ori shows us what happens when you pull it off completely. Every aspect of Ori is beautiful and ripe with creativity. The story is minimal, but somehow incredibly emotionally impacting. The main story of Ori comes out in the environment itself. The art style is beautiful, and looks like a painting in motion. The game also runs smooth as silk, which is great since the gameplay is so mobility heavy. The game is also healthily challenging, providing a steady curve of difficulty throughout the game. With a plethora of upgrades, collectibles, and even an additional prequel section, there’s tons of reasons to replay Ori as well. Since the game is also pretty cheap in relation to standard retail, Ori is an excellent deal.
- Dark Souls III
Ending the unbelievably demanding Dark Souls series, Dark Souls III absolutely kills it. Although it’s definitely not a game for everyone (read: casual action fans), Dark Souls III is the most rewarding third person action game on the system. The entirety of Dark Souls focuses on the betterment of your character and your skills in cohesion. The game accomplishes this by teaching you nearly nothing, and letting you loose in its punishing and brutal world. By learning from your mistakes and playing cautiously, the game encourages persistence and determination. Do not underestimate its difficulty, even for veterans of the series. Even though it’s not the hardest entry in the entire series, expect to die upwards of twenty times on each boss. This would be unbearable if it weren’t for Dark Souls’ ability to carrot-on-a-stick so damn well. After each accomplishment, you’re usually granted a new skill, weapon, or combat style. Experimenting and learning the power of your new skills is awesomely frustrating. The developer From Software also deserves props for somehow turning our collective nightmares into horrifying enemies. Seriously, the enemy designs are gleefully disturbing and macabre. All of these elements make Dark Souls III a puzzle worth solving.
- The Witcher 3
Hands down the best character-driven RPG in recent memory, The Witcher 3 represents everything great about the role-playing genre. The main character Geralt is scruffy, likable, and you grow easily attached to him. The world you inhabit is ripe with lore, stories to experience, and begs to be explored. In fact, the world is the best character in the game. As your job as a witcher, you’ll stare down terrifying mythical beasts with the sharp side of your silver sword. You can take on hunting jobs in addition to the plentiful quests littered around the world. These beast hunts exemplify the strategy built into The Witcher’s combat system. Unlike most third person action games, The Witcher punishes those who blindly swing into battle. Instead, it rewards a constant analysis of enemy types, balancing your inventory, and using the right weapon at the right time. This strategic combat gives weight to the battles, making the hunted monsters even more fearsome. This lends well to the insane amount of narrative content in the game. Every single quest, regardless of how small it is, contains an engaging and driving story. Some of the beast hunt stories were more engaging than the main quest line itself. This is a huge feat, considering how fleshed out the characters and story is. As you play, you’ll become attached to your party, your weapons, and your entire experience. The Witcher 3 is a time vampire hidden within a disc. It’s an accomplishment in immersion, and it’s a masterpiece.
- Fallout 4
Bethesda is known for it’s huge and engaging worlds, and Fallout 4 does not disappoint at all. Everything great about Fallout 4 spits in the face of The Witcher 3. Although Fallout 4 also contains immersive stories and great characters, the game engages you to play it how you want to. You play as anyone you want, using a highly customizable character creator. You’re thrust into the world of post nuclear Fallout, after surviving in a sheltered vault. You’re there to engage the world and enjoy its narrative, but Fallout 4 is a game that shapes around how you play. With multiple factions to join, the ability to craft and expand your own town, and the unfathomable amount of locations to explore, Fallout 4 is a game of massive content. There’s an insane amount of passion paid to the world, and it rewards the most observant players in droves. Some of the most unique and interesting content is tucked away in buildings, marked with no obvious signs on the map. This encourages players to go off the beaten path, and create their own story inside the wasteland. This is true in every seam of the game, as Fallout 4 allows you to kill nearly everyone, or complete the game with a minimal kill count. This lets you play in any way you like, from Wasteland Raider King down to Gentleman Spy. This freedom is why Fallout 4 lands on our list.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
A definite treat for Microsoft fanboys, Metal Gear Solid V is the first major entry in the series to be available on Xbox One. Besides that, it’s possibly the best Metal Gear Solid game of all time. Favoring an open world instead of the standard linear layout, Metal Gear Solid finds itself in this new environment. Although large, open areas argue against the logic of stealth, MGSV does an excellent job filling the vast landscapes with complex structures. Even the most standard helipad and guard building feel personally crafted, and this also shows through the gameplay. Metal Gear Solid V is also the most lenient of the series, allowing you to play in a diverse set of play styles. This is also complimented by the addition of a variety of recruitable companions. You can call on a dog, a dead eyed sniper, and much more that I won’t spoil. These companions also become more useful the more you use them, giving an instant bond to most of them. I found myself especially attached to my puppy, but maybe that’s just me. That’s what makes MGSV so great; the personal connection to your experience. What was once a very structured franchise has become a customizable stealth action adventure, ripe with choices and player freedom. The story is still absolute lunacy, and I gave up trying to understand it ages ago. Oddly enough, that’s part of the charm… and Metal Gear Solid V is undoubtedly charming, even to stealth newbies.