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Best Xbox One games 2020: essential Xbox One releases

Best Xbox One games 2020
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Looking for the best Xbox One games available in 2020? You're in luck: with years of releases on the Xbox One family of consoles – included the upgraded Xbox One S, disc-less Xbox One S All Digital Edition, and beefy Xbox One X – there's plenty of top-quality titles to enjoy.

While some may say the PS4 games library has won in the long run, the Xbox One catalogue is still full of games worth your while. From Forza and Halo to Gears and Grand Theft Auto, there are a number of great first-party and outstanding third-party titles on the Xbox One. With a number of new studios brought under the Xbox umbrella too, titles like the sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds will only get more common.

With the Xbox Series X console around the corner, there's soon to be a new fleet of next-gen games to consider alongside the list below – but for now, these are the very best Xbox One games you can play, whether that's on disc, through download, or via Xbox Games Pass.

We've tried to include a variety a genres, from shooters to RPGs to racing sims. So there should be at least one game on our list that tickles your fancy. If not then check back in with us in a few weeks – with every new release we're updating and revising our choices. But we'll only ever include the best picks.

Read on to see which titles we think are the best Xbox One games, that truly make the Xbox One shine...

Apex Legends

Apex Legends

Apex Legends (Image credit: Respawn Entertainment)

Apex Legends is another contender vying for the battle royale crown. Developed by Respawn Entertainment and set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends is a squad-based battle royale shooter where teams of three go up against 57 other players to try to gather loot and be the last person (or squad) standing.

However, unlike Fortnite and PUBG, Apex Legends sees players take on one of eight classes, each represented by a unique character (imagine Fortnite mixed with Overwatch and you’ll be on the right track.)  

Apex Legends is the perfect battle royale game for those who enjoy the genre's premise but can't get onboard with Fortnite's building or PUBG's competitiveness - and it's free. Plus, different classes and abilities make for a more dynamic experience overall. 

Not sure it's for you? Check out our full Apex Legends review.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is the most recent edition to the epic Assassin's Creed RPG franchise. Odyssey is set during the Peloponnesian War and sees you stepping into the sandals of either Alexios or Kassandra as they try to uncover the truth about their history while navigating the turbulent world of Ancient Greece as a mercenary. 

Odyssey is a graphically stunning Xbox One game which will take you to the heart of Ancient Greece – easily securing it a place in our collection of the best Xbox One games. 

Check out our Assassin's Creed Odyssey review diary for more.

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

In Battlefield 1 for the Xbox One, DICE takes players back in time to World War One and completely rejuvenates the once stagnating franchise. 

Battlefield 1's historical setting helps it stand apart from the rest of the modern military shooters on the market, with all new weapons, vehicles, and level designs that feel fresh and capture the chaos and brutality of war.

The game offers a poignant and entertaining single-player campaign that sets a new standard for first-person shooter. Broken into six sections, each following a different character and front line location, the campaign never feels dull or repetitive.

Graphically impressive, entertaining, and sometimes touching, Battlefield 1 is a return to form for the series. 

Check out our Battlefield 1 review for more information.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is something of a reset for the bestselling FPS franchise – removing the frills of zombies, jetpacks, double-jumps and futuristic gadgetry for a grounded take on what military engagement actually looks like in the 21st century. 

The name is no coincidence, either; 2007's Modern Warfare was a landmark entry in the Call of Duty series, and Activision is looking to recreate what made the game of the same name so successful.

Modern Warfare is all about the gritty realities of war this time out, with the ‘modern’ of the ‘Modern Warfare’ title referring to the gear, weapons and gadgetry being used today in the Middle East and Russia, rather than the far-flung fantasies of science fiction.

While Modern Warfare has some glaring issues with regards to its campaign, it's still the best instalation the series has seen yet - with tight shooting and more multiplayer modes than you can shake a stick at.

Read our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review for our official verdict.

Control

Control

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment/505 Games)

The dark horse of 2019, Remedy Entertainment's Control is an action-adventure with a difference. 

Control sees you stepping into the shoes of Jessie Faden, the newest director of the clandestine Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) - a Government agency which researches, and ultimately aims to control, paranormal activity. But Jessie’s new role has a few issues not exactly laid out in the job description, including the uprising of a paranormal force known only as the Hiss.

The affinity with which Remedy has courted multiple difficult genres both in film and in games with Control and still managed to deliver a mind-bending story evocative of True Detective and Twin Peaks is absolutely remarkable.

Here's what we said in our full Control review:

"Control feels like what would happen if David Lynch licked a Petri dish full of Jungian psychology and SCP entries. The resulting hallucination would be Remedy’s latest mystery. It’s the videogame that connoisseurs of absurd cinema and the surreal have been waiting for."

Cuphead

Cuphead

Cuphead (Image credit: Studio MDHR)

After a long development and lots of anticipation, Xbox indie exclusive Cuphead finally released in 2017. Was it worth the wait? It certainly was.

With visuals and a soundtrack inspired by 1930s animation and gameplay inspired by the platformers of the 80s, this game has had us torn since we first tried it. It's lovely to look at but its gameplay is challenging and you're going to find yourself frustrated... and dying a lot.

We enjoyed Cuphead so much we named it Best Xbox Exclusive in our 2017 Game of the Year Awards. It's an indie experience that shouldn't be missed and you'll only find it on Xbox and PC.

DOOM

Doom Eternal

Doom (Image credit: id Software)

Take our word for it: DOOM is very, very good. Not in a "wow, that’s good for a remake" kind of way, either. It's genuinely a great shooter – so much so that we gave it a Game of the Year awards 2016.

While Overwatch reinvented the wheel for first-person shooting games, DOOM impresses us by bringing us back to the time where dial-up internet was the only way to access AOL email: DOOM is, in so many ways, an excellent evolution of what the series was 20 years ago.

It’s brutal. It’s bloody. It has devilish, frightening creatures that bleed when you slice them in half with a chainsaw. It’s the experience we wanted two decades ago but couldn’t articulate it because of the limitations of technology, and it's one of the best games for Xbox One.

We are also very excited to see what id Software have in store for us with sequel Doom Eternal.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition (Image credit: BioWare)

Inquisition is the proverbial RPG banquet – a 200-hour array of quests, magic-infused scraps, postcard landscapes and well-written character interactions that's perhaps a bit too familiar, at times, but makes up for it with sheer generosity.

It puts you in charge not just of a four-man party of adventurers, but also a private army with its own castle and attendant strategic meta-game, tasked with defeating a mysterious demon menace.

The choice of Unreal Engine makes for vast open environments and sexily SFX-laden combat – fortunately, you can pause the latter to issue orders if the onslaught becomes overwhelming. It's a genre giant and easily one of the best Xbox One games.

We can't wait to see what BioWare has up its sleeve for Dragon Age 4.

FIFA 20

FIFA 20

FIFA 20 (Image credit: Electronic Arts) (Image credit: EA)

FIFA is, for many console owners, a highly anticipated annual event. The latest and arguably greatest instalment in the football sim series has arrived in the form of FIFA 20, and it's straight into our list of the best Xbox One games.

With this year's iteration of the stalwart series, EA appears to have made some bold strides in the right direction, especially when it comes to giving players what they’ve been asking for in terms of game modes and statistical tinkering. 

Add to that a fantastic new way to play in Volta, a light-hearted set of modes for couch co-op and some clever, nuanced gameplay tweaks that coax out a more fair and rewarding game of soccer, this is definitely not an in between year or an easy skip if you’re a franchise fan. In fact, it might be the best FIFA game in a good few years, achieved mainly by responding to fan feedback with healthy design decisions. 

You can read our full review of FIFA 20 right here and make sure you're the best on the pitch using our tips and tricks guide

Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite

Fortnite Battle Royale (Image credit: Epic Games)

Fortnite Battle Royale has had a meteoric rise since its release in 2017, and it's not hard to see why. The free-to-play battle royale Xbox One game offers players an energetic and enjoyable online multiplayer experience , with a concept that pretty simple to get to grips with: just be the last person standing. 

Constant content updates keep Fortnite feeling fresh over a year since its launch so it easily gets a place on the best Xbox One games list.

You can check out our definitive Fortnite Battle Royale review here.

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 (Image credit: Playground Games)

While the original Forza titles were about pristine driving skills around perfectly kept tracks, the Horizon series has a penchant for trading paint and isn't afraid to have you get down and dirty with off-road races from time to time. 

Forza Horizon 4, the latest game in the series, carries that tradition forward by taking us to the rolling hills of the English countryside and spoiling us with some of the most exotic cars on the planet.

Like any good open-world game, it rewards exploration and offers both a structured campaign mode and plenty of distractions around the campaign. And the new setting feels like something of a love letter from Playground Games to rural Britain; charming, idyllic and made for cross-country road trips.  

It's really good fun, and well-worth buying.

Don't miss our full Forza Horizon 4 review.

Gears 5

Gears 5

(Image credit: The Coalition)

We've been waiting a while to see a new Gears title, and Gears 5 certainly didn't disappoint. 

Players step into the shoes of Kait Diaz for the first time who, following the events of Gears of War 4, is trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, unravel the twisted roots of her family tree and deal with her own personal baggage. Meanwhile, humanity is being threatened once more - this time by the Swarm, the successor to the Locust horde.

Check out our full Gears 5 review for more.

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA 5

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Not only is it one of the best sandbox games on the Xbox One platform, GTA V is also the best golf game, the best tennis sim, the undisputed virtual yoga champ, one of the best racers... it's even a pretty serviceable MMO.

We're used to scale and scope from Grand Theft Auto, but what Trevor, Franklin, and Michael bring us is a staggeringly well-realised city seen from three entirely different perspectives.

Trevor, the maniacal rampage killer whom we discover to be in all of us when we play a Rockstar game; Franklin, the classic rags-to-riches character with street smarts and the ability to pull off a bandana; and Michael, the troubled criminal with a dysfunctional family and a beer gut to show for his life of violence.

However you play GTA V – a multiplayer muckabout, a story-driven third-person actioner, a flight sim – it reveals itself to be the best game on both this generation and the last. One of the very best Xbox One games.

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians (Image credit: 343 Industries)

A franchise that has defined Xbox as a platform for a long time is of course Halo, and Halo 5: Guardians is a worthy addition to the series and our list of the best Xbox One games. With both a single-player campaign and the usual thrilling multiplayer combat, this is the Halo game for Xbox One you don't want to miss. 

Though its single-player campaign isn't the best in the franchise in terms of story, this is Halo multiplayer combat at its most fun, and anyone that loves playing online with friends will enjoy what the various modes have to offer.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (Image credit: Ninja Theory)

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is developer Ninja Theory's first attempt at publishing its own game and it's quite an achievement. The game follows Senua, a Celtic warrior suffering from psychosis who travels to Hell to rescue her lost lover.

The game uses an interesting mix of binaural audio and innovative visual techniques to communicate Senua's experience with her psychosis to the player, resulting in a game that's likely to be quite different from anything else you've played recently. 

Disturbing, insightful and extremely enjoyable to play, this is a game worth taking a look at if you're interested in the best Xbox One games.

You can read all about our experience with the motion capture tech behind Hellblade

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Image credit: Monolith Productions)

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is the sequel to the accomplished Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and builds upon all of its strengths. 

Taking up the role of Talion once more, this game takes you back to a beautifully realized world that's bursting with originality. If you were a fan of the original game, we highly recommend that you pick of Shadow of War as it's an improvement in almost every way – and well worth a place on our best Xbox One games list.

Read our full review here and check out our handy tips and tricks guide.

Minecraft

Minecraft

Minecraft (Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft released ten years ago, but it's still as popular as ever with adults and kids alike. The sandbox survival game allows players to build with blocks in a 3D-generated world, providing a perfect creative outlet for those artistically inclined.

If you're less creative, there's also the option to explore the world, harvest resources, craft items and square-up to enemies. 

How did a sandbox game about blocks become a worldwide phenomenon? Check out the history of Minecraft.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest (Image credit: Moon Studios)

Although Ori was released early on in the Xbox One's life cycle, it remains one of the best platformers on the console, bar none. Shockingly beautiful and ultra-deadly, the world of Ori and the Blind Forest inspires and impresses in equal measure. Add to that the game's phenomenal, easy-to-learn-hard-to-master control scheme and light RPG elements, and you have the recipe for a timeless classic.

Sure, there are some sequences that aren't as enjoyable as the rest of the game (we're looking at you, timed post-boss fight sequences) but ultimately this is a series that continues to enthrall long after you put the controller down.

Not had enough Ori in your life? The game will be getting a sequel later this year called Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It will pick up where are story left off (no spoilers, please!) and will see Ori platforming his way through the eponymous forest for a second run. 

Overwatch

Overwatch

Overwatch (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Overwatch has without a doubt been one of our favorite games to come out in the past few years.

It's a classic team arena shooter from Blizzard, setting two six-person teams of wildly different characters against each other in a bright and cartoonish science fiction universe. 

Great graphics, tight maps, and a good roster of characters to enjoy playing. Overwatch is good old fashioned fun and we thoroughly recommend it as one of the best Xbox One games out there.  

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 took 2018 by storm, giving us the gun-toting, western open-world we were hoping for. You play as Arthur Morgan, a gunslinger in the notorious Van Der Linde gang as he navigates the trials and tribulations of the changing west. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly game which will keep you busy. Between story missions, mini-games, activities and side quests, you will find yourself sinking plenty of hours into this title without even noticing it. And with Red Dead Online, you can team up with a posse of friends to play.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake (Image credit: Capcom)

Capcom's remake of survival horror classic Resident Evil 2 has gone down a storm with fans and newcomers alike, and it's no surprise. With gorgeous new graphics but the same brain-scratching puzzles and terrifying zombies, Resident Evil 2 is definitely a remake done right.

Check out our full Resident Evil 2 remake review.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Image credit: Crystal Dynamics)

Despite being the sequel to a prequel about the young life of the Lara Croft, this still feels like a Tomb Raider game that has grown up. The reboot which saw a brave new direction for the franchise seemed a lot of the time to be little more than a bit of light Uncharted cosplay, but Rise is a far more accomplished game - and we prefer it to the final instalment, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

There are also tombs: yes, that might seem a fatuous thing to say given the name, but the previous game gave them short shrift. In Rise though they are deeper and more plentiful. Rise also has one of the best narratives of any Tomb Raider game, penned again by Rhianna Pratchett, it's sometimes rather poignant.

So come on, ditch Fallout 4's wasteland for a while and give Lara some love. It's undoubtedly one of the best Xbox One games you can get.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves (Image credit: Rare Ltd)

Rare's swashbuckling adventure Sea of Thieves lets players to take on the role of a pirate sailing the seas of a fantastical world – either alone or as part of a crew of up to four members. It's up to you whether you choose to focus on trading, treasure-hunting or plundering the loot of others.

This is a great title for those who enjoy playing with others in an open-world environment, plus it doesn't look too shabby at all. In addition, a new Anniversary Update has breathed new life into Sea of Thieves. Definitely one of the best Xbox One games of recent times.

Here's all the latest Sea of Thieves news and updates.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Image credit: FromSoftware)

FromSoftware's latest offering is not to be scoffed at. If you thought the Dark Souls series was hard, then Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is extreme mode.

Sekiro is more punishing than any title we've seen from FromSoftware before, but actually achieving those rare moments of success is extremely rewarding. Set against a background that balances brutality and beauty, Sekiro is one of this year's must-have titles – if you have the patience for it.

Check out our full Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review.

Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

The original Titanfall was a great game and its sequel, Titanfall 2, improves on it every conceivable way: the motion is more fluid, there are more distinct titans to choose from and, hold onto your hats here, there's actually a single-player campaign that might take the cake for the best first-person shooter story of the year. 

This game's pedigree is inherited from one of this generation's smartest and most unusual shooters. The original Titanfall married ninja-fast on-foot combat to the gloriously thuggish thrill of piloting giant mechs, which are summoned from orbit a few minutes into each match.

The skill with which Respawn has balanced this mix of styles in the sequel is remarkable – Titans have firepower in excess but they're easy to hit, and maps offer plenty of places for infantry to hide. 

Make sure to check out our Titanfall 2 review here.

The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds

(Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Disappointed by Fallout 76? Don't worry, Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds is here to scratch your Fallout itch. 

Set on the frontier of space, The Outer Worlds sees you awakening from hibernation amidst a conspiracy to destroy Halycon – a colony residing at the edge of the galaxy driven by big-brand corporations. What follows is a wacky, satire-rich RPG that injects loads of fun into the classic Fallout formula we've grown to love.

Don't take our world for it, check out how The Outer Worlds escaped the shadow of Fallout, according to its creators.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Geralt didn't have the smoothest of entries to console but after some heavy patching and a lot of angry words about visual downgrades, we're left with an RPG boasting tremendous scope and storytelling.

You're rarely short of things to entertain yourself with in The Witcher 3's quasi-open world, then, and all the better that you're in a universe that involves the supernatural without leaning on the same old Tolkien fantasy tropes. It's invigorating stuff.

Netflix has announced it's working on a Witcher TV series with Henry Cavill taking on the role as Geralt, so if you haven't jumped into the fantasy RPG then now is the perfect time.

Best Xbox One games FAQ: quick questions answered

best Xbox One games

Xbox One. (Image credit: Microsoft)

What is the best game on Xbox One? Well, it depends what types of games you're into. We've tried to put together a collection that covers a variety of genres, so there should definitely be at least one that suits your taste.

What is the most played Xbox One game? The most played Xbox One game is constantly changing but currently battle royale Apex Legends is extremely popular, as is open world adventure Red Dead Redemption 2 and sandbox Minecraft

Which Xbox is best? The next-generation of Xbox, in the form of Xbox Project Scarlett, is right around the corner, but if you don't mind sticking with the current generation then your main options are the Xbox One S, Xbox One S All-Digital Edition and the Xbox One X. We've put together a handy Xbox One X vs Xbox One S guide to help you decide which is best for you.

Is Xbox better than PlayStation? Good question. And it depends what your habits are and what you're looking for from a console. We've put the two consoles head-to-head in our PS4 vs Xbox One: which console is best comparison, where we cover everything you'd need to know about each console – though you can also see if our round-up of best PS4 games tempt you over the Xbox One titles listed here.

Best Xbox One games at a glance

  • Apex Legends
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey
  • Battlefield 1
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
  • Control
  • Cuphead
  • DOOM
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • FIFA 20
  • Fortnite Battle Royale
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gear 5
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Halo 5: Guardians
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • Minecraft
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Overwatch 
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Titanfall 2
  • The Outer Worlds
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt