It was little over 2 years ago when Microsoft walked out of its worst ever E3 press conference. Little more than a week later it reversed all of its Xbox One policies over DRM, online connectivity and game sharing. Fast forward 2 years and the ramifications of those initial blunders are still being felt by Microsoft. But the Xbox team, including its head Phil Spencer, deserves a ton of credit for the way it's turned the ship around.
But alas we're not here to dwell on the turbulent life of the Xbox One, we're here to celebrate the awesome games on the console. We've compiled a list of the highest rated Xbox One games to date, as rated by Metacritic. It's worth noting, however, that remasters and games that were released on Xbox 360 first, will not be counted.
The games on this list show the diversity of not just the Xbox One's library but the games industry as a whole.
One final note: games that have the same score are in descending order of user score on Metacritic. And with that out of the way, read on and find out what Xbox One games are the highest rated!
We begin our list with an EA Sports staple and the best football/soccer series ever to hit consoles. Coincidentally at number fifteen on the list, Fifa 15 is the second in the series to make it to current-gen consoles, and the little tweaks made the beautiful game even better.
Improved player memories and emotions make for a more realistic football simulation, in which players' body language and facial expressions change as each match progresses. Additionally the fans, managers and bench players react for the first time. And commentary was refined yet again, continuing to improve the Fifa series. And yet, Fifa 15 is not the highest ranked football game on Xbox One. Regardless, here's what The Guardian had to say about the game:
If this is your first Fifa game on the new gen consoles then you will be blown away by all the little details that together contribute to an overall experience not too dissimilar to watching football on live television.
Much like the original game, Stealth Inc. 2 has you play as a clone attempting to escape a research facility. With over 60 levels of sneakiness, Stealth Inc. 2 is one of few real stealth games on the market.
The levels increase in difficulty as you progress and can become truly challenging. But similar to the Souls games, death is almost encouraged as a learning tool.
"With some planning, a little patience, and a plethora of ruthless death animations, Stealth Inc. 2 is a fun and rewarding experience." - DarkStation
As one of the most beautiful, elegant and memorable RPGs in recent memory, it's no surprise Child of Light features on this list. It might not be a 100+ hour RPG like every other that comes out nowadays, but Child of Light is exactly what it needs to be. It's a 2D side-scrolling RPG with elements of MetroidVania. It's RPG-lite and very accessible, but nonetheless memorable and polished.
The turn-based gameplay is incredibly well thought out. It plays simple enough for those not accustomed to the style, and is nuanced enough for those who do. The story is truly emotional and touching and the whole game looks like a Studio Ghibli movie, as was the inspiration. Put simply, there are few games like this out there and there needs to be more!
"...perhaps the best thing I can say about Child of Light is that I was often unsure as to whether I was headed in the direction I was supposed to, and I never once cared. I just wanted to fly to every corner of the world, take it in, and smile." - IGN
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions blends together everything players loved about previous games in the series, and new elements that fit like a glove. Online co-op and leaderboards are definitely the best additions to the series that make this game much more tense and exciting than it ever was playing against the AI.
Fans of multidirectional shooters, i.e. Asteroids, Dead Nation, Super Stardust, should definitely check out Dimensions, the latest in a long-running series that helped define the genre.
"Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions takes everything that worked about its already-great predecessors, and brings them together into a new dimension of awesomeness."
- Arcade Sushi
Despite being the most divisive Batman game from Rocksteady Studios, Arkham Knight is still a shining testament to world-building, characters, graphics and core gameplay mechanics. Whether you like the Batmobile and the story or not, Arkham Knight is far from a bad game.
While the wound of this one may still be fresh for some, the fact is that in a few years we won't see Arkham Knight as the tainted experience we currently do. It will just fit nicely into the trilogy and be remembered as part of one of gaming's greatest achievements.
"Rocksteady ends the Arkham trilogy with a real masterwork: a game full of dramatic turns of events, highly polished, with a varied gameplay and rich of things to do. It will be hard to be disappointed with it." - MondoXbox
Rising from the ashes of a series that seemed doomed to be abandoned, Inquisition became the amazing RPG we always wanted from the Dragon Age series. With a huge, sprawling world that changes as you play, fantastically detailed graphics, and a great cast of characters, Inquisition became the benchmarks for RPG games on Xbox One.
One really impressive aspect of this game is the way in which it continues to surprise you and fill you with awe. Despite being over a hundred hours long, Inquisition is constantly throwing new challenges your way and making you change your style of playing, as well as your views. It reinvigorated a series and now stands in an echelon occupied by few other games.
"There’s no hyperbole when I say that Dragon Age: Inquisition is the best RPG I’ve played in a long time. Hell, it’s the best game of any genre I’ve played in a long time."
- NZ Gamer
Despite there having been two installments in the series since 2K's NBA franchise debuted on Xbox One, it's 14 that received the best scores. The graphics alone wowed everyone when it debuted on next-gen consoles. I mean, just look at the court!
But on top of the insane graphics, 2K implemented a fun career mode that featured cutscenes and post-match interviews, making you feel more like a true pro-baller than ever before.
"Visually the game is stunning, and at times can be mistaken for an actual game of basketball. The gameplay is as solid as ever and is great fun, whilst still being a first class simulation of the sport."
- God is a Geek
As one of only two Xbox One exclusives on this list, Titanfall stands high as the consoles highest rated AAA game to date! It may surprise you, considering few talk about the game anymore, but Titanfall was incredibly well-received when it was released.
Titanfall is an incredibly tight FPS multiplayer game that lets you play as wall-running soldiers, or huge mechanical Titans. It's easy to forget how hotly-anticipated it was, but Titanfall was a very big deal that just failed to keep an active player base. Despite this it is still a great game that set a solid foundation for future installments.
"Titanfall is a ridiculous amount of fun. Maybe it’ll be surpassed, but right now it’s the best game on Xbox One and one of the best multiplayer shooters ever." - Xbox One Magazine UK
NetherRealm Studios' ultra-violent fighting game made a resounding debut on Xbox One. Mortal Kombat X was every bit as gross, competitive, and fun as we hoped it would be.
After a few failed experiments from the PS2 generation, NetherRealm has really found what makes Mortal Kombat great and are doing it with the utmost style. Embracing the ridiculousness of the series and continually tweaking the gameplay has made Mortal Kombat X one of the best fighting games in recent memory, and the best on Xbox One.
"Its technically precise gameplay, lean storyline and gruesomely gorgeous graphics run circles around the previous entries in the series." - We Got This Covered
Playground Games have worked year after year to make the Forza series a worthy competitor to Gran Turismo. Even though the two series have markedly different styles, one being arcadey and the other a sim, Forza has definitely become the top racing game on the market.
Yearly installments allow the developer to make the series better with every iteration, while dominating public mindshare. But it isn't just consistency that makes Forza great, it's the graphics and the gameplay. Forza Horizon 2 exemplifies this with its open-world gameplay, dynamic weather, day and night cycles, and a huge range of cars to choose from.
"An amazing example of online and offline racing built around an engaging, satisfying handling model with the looks to match. Very, very nearly worth buying an Xbox One for alone." - GameStyle
If you enjoy old-school side scrolling games like Mega Man, CastleVania, Duck Tales, etc., then you will love Shovel Knight. As much of a love letter as any game can be, Shovel Knight is a fantastic throwback to games of yore, while adding a modern sheen to the look, mechanics, and level design.
And hey, Shovel Knight is the closest thing to a Battletoads sequel we've gotten!
"One of the best retro homages of recent years, that cleverly combines the best elements of older 2D games with plenty of new ideas of its own." - Metro GameCentral
Undoubtedly one of the surprise hits of last year, Shadow of Mordor was an excellent game with innovative features, not to mention thousands of Orcs to kill.
With a great open-world and the awesome Nemesis system, which creates rivalries between you and Orcs as well as a genuine power struggle, Shadow of Mordor wasn't the simple Lord of the Rings spin-off everyone expected. The gameplay was a mix of Batman and Assassin's Creed, the world was fittingly barren and bleak, the story simple but effective. The overall package was something special. A sequel is guaranteed!
"With a brilliant blend of silky smooth yet brutal combat and some memorable stealth sequences, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor offers up some of the best open world combat we have seen in quite some time." - Canadian Online Gamers
And here we have the second, and last, Xbox One exclusive on the list. Ori and the Blind Forest is emotional story-telling at its absolute finest and a truly awe-inspiring, albeit challenging, journey through a beautifil world.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a MetroidVania game with RPG elements, not so dissimilar to Child of Light, but it is also a deceptively tricky platformer underneath a charming and very pretty art-style. As its debut game, you can expect Moon Studios to be a major player for Xbox One going forward.
"A terrific blend of story, gameplay, and graphics, Ori and the Blind Forest is an unforgettable debut for indie developer Moon Studios."
The second entry in the Fifa series to make it on to this list, but rather surprisingly it is the older, 2014 edition that sneaks into 2nd place. Even though Fifa games supposedly get better with each iteration, a belief I too have held, critics disagreed and rank the Xbox One debut game as the best out there.
"A great demonstration of how to craft a new console launch game, leveraging the machine's strengths with a new engine capable not only of giving the game a renewed look but improved gameplay as well."
And no surprise here, we have CD Projeckt Red's RPG masterpiece, The Witcher 3. We also recently published The 15 Highest Rated PS4 Games, and The Witcher 3 was also atop that list. So it's fairly undeniable that Geralt's final journey is the best game on current-gen platforms.
With a gigantic open world that demands to be explored in the greatest depth, a myriad of side-quests that are as long and interesting as many games' whole stories, a fantastic cast of characters to meet along the way, graphics that have to be seen to be believed, and a great story to cap off the trilogy, The Witcher 3 is quite possibly the best RPG ever made.
"The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a thoughtful, diverse, and frequently awe-inspiring adventure. Its stories are deep and satisfying, unafraid to touch on themes of personal character, presenting players with choices and consequences that aren’t about turning into a hero or a villain. In the end, it’s quite simply one of the best RPGs ever made."
- Game Trailers
And there you have it, the highest-rated Xbox One games on the market. From Ori and the Blind Forest to Titanfall, and everything in between, the Xbox One is clearly a pretty great place to play games with something for everyone.
It will be very interesting to see if this list changes any in the coming months, what with Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport 6, and Fable Legends, not to mention third-party games like Fallout 4, Star Wars: Battlefront, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Mad Max, all coming out before Christmas. This list could look very different in a year's time and lets hope it does!
What games were you expecting to see? Surprised Sunset Overdrive or Dead Rising 3 didn't make the list? Think a game was rated too highly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And until next time, keep it here on GameSkinny!