Xbox One: the launch games you need to play right now

Xbox One: the launch games you need to play right now
Forza 5 makes the grade

So you've managed to bag yourself an Xbox One. Good work. But there's only so much fun you can have seeing if Kinect recognises rude words, so what are you actually going to play on the console? The One's launch lineup is pretty beefy, but once you've cut through it, which games are the essential ones?

We've narrowed down the list of big names to help you on your quest, rounding up the verdicts from some of our Future pals. You're most welcome.

Dead Rising 3

All we want to do is eat your brains

Dead Rising 3

If welding a motorbike to a steamroller doesn't sound like fun then frankly there's no pleasing you. Dead Rising 3 is set 10 years after the last game - this time you play as Nick Ramos, who must escape Los Perdidos and its population of zombies before an impending military strike.

The game has been criticised for its technical flaws - perhaps not one to showcase next-gen power, then - but there's a consensus across the board that there's still plenty of fun to be had as you decorate the streets with the entrails of the undead, turning almost any object into a weapon as you go.

Edge said:

"Dead Rising 3 is a sandbox in the purest sense, one that urges you to experiment with its innumerable toys at your leisure. The result is an open world that, in spite of its reanimated inhabitants, feels more alive than most."

While GamesRadar said:

"Dead Rising 3 has made its brand of zombie-slaying as much fun as possible, but it needs to fix a lot more than that before it becomes king of the undead."

Forza 5

Or as we like to call it: Vroom Vroom Xbox One

Forza Motorsport 5

If you're looking for something that does show off the power of next-gen though, Forza 5 is probably the best place to start. Having spent plenty of time with it in recent weeks, we can promise you that it truly dazzles running at 60fps 1080p.

But it's Drivatar that really takes things into next-gen territory as the game learns how you race and creates an online character that behaves just like you. If this is what developers are doing with Cloud power right now, just think about what else we might see further down the line.

Despite problems with car handling and the use of microtransactions, CVG agrees with most others that, flaws aside, the game is a visual feast. It said:

"Such niggles will be forgiven by many, simply because the game looks incredible. The 60 frames per second action rendered at 1080p with remarkable texture resolution is, at times, an astonishing spectacle."

GamesRadar, meanwhile, said:

"Forza Motorsport 5 prizes quality over quantity, eschewing the vehicular excess of previous entries to focus on the gameplay. The result is a leaner, more refined racer."


A lot of people already reckon this is the best AC to date

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

We tried to avoid putting any cross-gen-platform titles in here but it's impossible to ignore Assassin's Creed 4. The new game, which lets gamers explore pirate-infested waters, is being hailed as a return to form for the series and one of the most impressive games of the year.

Given its availability on the Xbox 360 and PS3, it might not justify picking up an Xbox One alone, but you could do a lot worse than grabbing this if you're looking to pad out your next-gen collection.

GamesRadar said:

"An ambitious start for Assassin's Creed on next-gen. The vibrant Caribbean world and bloody piracy shine brightest, while the only sour notes come from contrived series story beats and repetitive missions--both need rethinking for AC5."

While CVG said:

"Much like the first Assassin's Creed, Black Flag isn't perfect. But the treasure trove of memorable experiences on offer here put all but the very best open worlds to shame."


Let's just talk it out, yeah?

Killer Instinct

Rare's original Killer Instinct is almost 20 years old but its legacy is still alive and kicking, surfacing as a free-to-play game for Xbox One launch day. We heartily recommend this for anyone looking for a pick-up-and-play title that's easy to dip in and out of.

You'll only be able to play as the character Jago without putting down any cash, but you can choose to buy more characters individually or pay for the whole lot at once.

GamesRadar said: "Excellent mechanics and incredible playability make up for Killer Instinct's shortage of single-player content. Franchise fans and fighting game junkies will be most please."

Edge said: "There's a fantastic combo system at Killer Instinct's core, but right now it feels like half a game – one full of promise, certainly, but not an especially next-gen one either. The cascade of particles may not be enough to retain player interest until the rest of the game arrives."

Let's hope there's more to come.


You've gotta NEED it, not want it

Need for Speed Rivals

Another racer to round off our list, but how could we forget Need for Speed Rivals? It might be the twentieth episode in the franchise but it's back with a next-gen vengeance and we couldn't be more pleased.

With Hot Pursuit's cops-vs-racers setup placed in an open world in the style of Most Wanted, Rivals really throws all its best ideas into the pan and then makes it look as stunning as possible. If you want adrenaline-pumping car chases, Rivals is your ticket.

CVG said:

"Rivals is gorgeous, invigorating, progressive and anything but a makeweight in the next-gen launch line-up. It's the strongest NFS in an age and a cheeky right-hook to the jaw of the likes of Forza Horizon, Gran Turismo and Grid 2."

GamesRadar said:

"Need for Speed: Rivals is a wholly enjoyable open-world racer. The driving is solid, its streets are a joy to explore, and its racing assignments--though a bit repetitive at times--are incentive enough to keep you coming back for more."

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.