The 5 Best Xbox One Games Right Now

Oct 28, 2014

So you just picked up an Xbox One, and you're wondering what to buy. That's something we can say now—the "after you bought it" thing—because with consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, every game is available through the console's e-tail store as a digital download. Or maybe you haven't bought one yet, but you're leaning in Microsoft's general direction. Either way, we think these are hands-down the best games on the platform at the moment.

Child of Light

Ubisoft's Child of Light is like platforming through a fairy tale painting, a roleplaying adventure in which you guide an Austrian girl who's died and been transported to another world through a dark fantasy landscape, battling folk creatures to restore the sun, moon and stars. The turn-based battle system and skill-based character progression are straightforward enough, but most unusual for a game: both the narration and dialogue unfurl in poetic verse.

Buy this game if... You're into modern poetry, like the earlier Final Fantasy roleplaying games, enjoy unusual settings and stories that veer from classic fantasy tropes, and love the idea of scrolling through beautifully hand-drawn landscapes.

Steer clear if... You're no fan of fairy tales, turn-based combat, side-scrolling roleplaying games or stories told as poems.

What critics said: "... riffs on beloved roleplaying tropes while serving up an evocative, hand-drawn fantasy pastiche with traces of Yoshitaka Amano and Hayao Miyazaki" (TIME); "...a memorable experience that's as fun to play as it is artistically pleasing" (Gamesradar); "... a wonderfully realized, somber adventure" (GameSpot).

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

Blizzard third dance with the devil turns out to be the series' best, with the slickest boss fights, craftable gear, legendary item sets and an emporium's worth of unlockable achievements. It's even better on consoles, where using the gamepad to dodge enemies or just stroll around feels like the more natural fit. If you're new to this installment, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions also come with the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion.

Buy this game if... Wailing on hordes of attacking enemies sounds fun, you like games with endless leveling up possibilities, you like settings steeped in Judeo-Christian demonology.

Steer clear if... You're burned out on hack-and-slash games, or you're looking for a fantasy game with a well-written story.

What critics said: "...a mediocre action-RPG [starting out] that eventually turns into a good and sometimes even great one" (TIME); "the definitive version of Diablo III" (GameSpot).

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Forza Horizon 2

In Forza Horizon 2, you can drive a gleaming 2015 Lamborghini Huracán (among other luxury vehicles you'll probably never get to in real life) through the game’s open world--a world that's three times bigger than the original Forza Horizon--while availing yourself of improved Drivatar technology (A.I. vehicles you can race against, based on the driving attributes of real players’ in your friends list) and admiring the startling visual effects, like the way light now refracts through drops of moisture, the render tech plausibly simulating something as intangible but essential as the earth’s atmosphere.

Buy this game if... You love obnoxiously beautiful cars, you love the idea of racing luxury vehicles through gorgeously photorealistic scenery (southern France and northern Italy), or you'd like to race against friends online even when they're not online.

Steer clear if... You're no fan of racing games, or the notion of playing them with a gamepad (in which case there are optional racing wheels available, but the high fidelity ones cost more than the Xbox One itself).

What critics said: "A meticulously crafted, marvelous-looking and superbly designed racer that dishes up an absolute feast of automotive madness and mayhem" (USgamer); "...Horizon 2 earns its stripes with a breezy determination to simply show you a ruddy good time" (Telegraph); "...one of the best racing-game experiences I’ve ever had" (GamesBeat).

ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive is developer Insomniac’s first try at an open world game, tapping the same screwball vein as its Ratchet & Clank series, only with a grownup twist. Imagine a punk-informed quasi-parkour game by way of a zany skateboarding simulation by way of a metropolis-sized circus playground that knowingly winks at you as it periodically deconstructs itself.

Buy this game if... Grinding, back-flipping and zip-lining on wires, cables, pipes, railings and pretty much the edge of anything while blasting lunatic mutants sounds appealing.

Steer clear if... You hate goofball humor, you're not into open-world games.

What critics said: "...you’re some kind of grind-fu god, working a style meter that requires continuously deft finger work into an acrobatic lather" (TIME); "...probably the most enjoyable game I’ve played so far this generation" (EGM); "...piles the number of options you can choose from sky-high" (Joystiq).

ESRB Rating: Mature


Titanfall covers the Xbox One's online-only angle reasonably well if you're looking for a game about shooting guns or piloting giant mechs that shoot even bigger guns and the option to alternate between both modes in a single match. The idea's simple enough: two teams of six players engage in all-out ballistic combat on multiplayer maps while attempting to complete team objectives and summoning giant, drivable mechs that periodically drop from the sky.

Buy this game if... You love the idea of being able to alternate between playing as a nimble, wall-running soldier and a giant rock-em-sock-em mech in an futuristic online gunslinging extravaganza.

Steer clear if... You find highly competitive, frenetically paced first-person shooters overwhelming.

What critics said: "...for a certain kind of highly competitive someone with more of an e-sports mentality." (TIME); "...a thunderously good time; an accessible yet skilful, hulking yet ferociously nimble shot in the arm for a well-populated genre" (Telegraph); "by reinventing the way you move, Titanfall reinvents what it feels like to play a competitive shooter" (GameSpot).

ESRB Rating: Mature

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