The best Xbox One games might seem like relics from a last-generation console, but thanks to backward compatibility these games are all playable on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, some with a suite of improvements and frame rate boosts.
And the list of games is substantial, offing everything from tight first-person shooters to sprawling open worlds and all sorts in between. And a lot of the best Xbox Series X games are still playable on the Xbox One, so don’t ignore this list.
No matter what you’re in the mood to play, here are the best Xbox One games to play now.
What are the best Xbox One games?
Trying to pick the best Xbox One game is a tricky process. However, there are some stellar games that are well worth a look regardless, like Doom Eternal and Gears 5 on the shooter front, while The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt presents an exceptional third-person RPG and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice blends Samurai combat with a Dark Souls-esque difficulty.
Then there’s Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that is as excellent to play as it is to gawk at, particularly on the Xbox One X. We’d argue it’s an essential purchase for any Xbox gamer.
And there’s Forza Horizon 4 for driving and racing games fans, which runs very well on the Xbox One X. But if you can’t decide what to play Xbox Game Pass offers a large range of games to play for a very affordable monthly subscription.
The best Xbox One games you can buy right now
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 raises the bar for open-world action games, setting you loose in a stunning, dynamic version of the Wild West in which everything is interactive and all of your actions matter. A prequel to the original game, Red Dead 2 puts you in control of the compelling, complex Arthur Morgan, who often must choose between doing the right thing and staying loyal to his gang. As the game progresses, you’ll see more and more connections to Red Dead Redemption, most of which make the original game’s narrative even more resonant.
From its incredibly cinematic storytelling and jaw-dropping graphics (particularly on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One X) to a vast, varied game world that lets you fish, ride horses and engage in epic Western shootouts, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a once-in-a-generation experience, and easily one of the best Xbox One games available.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Is fighting mythological beasts like dragons and wraiths your thing? Do you like going on epic quests with the promise of untold riches? Do you like spending countless hours playing cards? How would you like to navigate a love triangle, star in a play, decide the fate of a nation at war, and square off against an intractable villain who’s been plaguing you for two games and counting? Then The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may be the game for you.
The third entry in the Witcher series takes protagonist Geralt of Rivera throughout the world of The Continent as he searches for his lost love and his adopted daughter. Touted as one of the largest open-world third-person action role-playing games on the market, this bombastic title is one with which players should expect to spend at least 100 hours and is easily one of the best Xbox One games for RPG fans.
Dishonored 2 is, unsurprisingly, the follow-up to the original Dishonored. But while the stealth meets magical powers and frenetic first-person action formula is intact, the game can now be played from two perspectives: that of the first game’s Corvo Attano or Empress Emily Kaldwin. Both have different powers that allow you to navigate the game’s creative mission and areas in different ways, as well as dispose of targets in all manner in interesting fashions. Or you could simply opt to not use any power or kill anyone, such is the immersive sim nature of Dishonored 2 that it lets you complete objectives pretty much in the way you see fit.
The environmental and level design was very good in the original game but Dishonored 2 simply takes it to a new level with the likes of The Clockwork Mansion and Crack in the Slab being particular highlights. Even if you don’t like stealthy games, Dishonored 2 is worth giving a go for its sheer variety, style, and creative, if bloody, fun you can have within the game’s systems. It’s also on Xbox Game Pass, along with its DLC.
Doom Eternal takes everything great about the 2016 Doom reboot and cranks it to 11. The game’s adrenaline-pumping first-person-shooting action is more dynamic and fluid than ever, thanks to a sandbox of weapons and skills that let you create a ballet of beautiful violence during every encounter. Thanks to new abilities, such as the flamethrower and all-powerful blood punch, and new platforming moves, such as the double jump and air-dash, slaying demons across a demon-infested Earth is a blood-soaked blast.
Add in a satisfying progression system, tons of secrets and collectibles, and absolutely breathtaking visuals and level design, and Doom Eternal is one of the best shooters in years. It’s a cathartic, satisfying experience, with a story that’s better than it has to be, and an incredible sense of atmosphere. It’s easily one of the best Xbox One games in a while.
Gears 5 is the biggest and most beautiful entry yet in Microsoft’s enduring third-person shooter franchise, and one of the best Xbox One games yet. Focusing this time on Kait Diaz and her quest to understand her Locust heritage, Gears 5’s ambitious campaign mixes in vehicular open-world exploration to complement the most satisfying and dynamic cover shooting the series has seen yet.
There’s also comprehensive multiplayer content, including the pick-up-and-play Arcade mode, a full competitive suite, a revamped Horde experience with character-specific abilities, and a tense co-op Escape mode. It’s also the best-looking Gears game yet, with striking, colorful environments that pop on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X alike.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Ready for a real challenge? Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest brutal action RPG from Dark Souls developer From Software, forcing you to carefully hack your way through a mythological version of 16th-century Japan full of monstrous enemies looking to kill you. Sekiro stands out from the Dark Souls formula with its sense of mobility, as you can grapple-hook from ledge to ledge and switch between stances to catch your enemy off-guard.
Sekiro is already being hailed as one of the best (and hardest) From Software games yet, as there’s no real way to grind for better stats — only your skill will get you through. Still, there are ways to mitigate the game’s challenge, through careful observation of your environment and smart management of your limited skill set. Sekiro isn’t impossible; it only seems that way at first glance.
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is the biggest, bloodiest, and best Mortal Kombat game yet, packing tons of spine-ripping content for casual and competitive combatants alike. The game’s epic story mode celebrates the series’ past and presents through a delightfully off-the-wall time travel adventure, the rotating Towers of Time offer a constantly fresh set of challenges, and The Krypt is a fan service frenzy filled with neat unlockables.
Mortal Kombat 11’s new custom variation system lets you craft a truly unique version of characters like Liu Kang, Cassie Cage, and Scorpion, from their outfits and gear pieces to their individual moves. But most importantly, Mortal Kombat 11 is simply a great fighting game, with the most balanced, rewarding combat mechanics the series has seen yet and excellent online net code for taking on the world. Test your might, indeed.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 is the pinnacle of Playground Games’ beloved arcade racing series, setting players loose in a massive, stunningly true-to-life rendition of Great Britain that’s brimming with fun things to do. Horizon 4 delivers shared-world multiplayer that populates your game world with real players and introduces dynamic seasons – meaning you’ll have to adjust your racing tactics for summer, fall, winter, and spring as the seasons shift every week.
But as with any Horizon game, the real draw of Horizon 4 is just how great it feels to drive, whether you’re performing insane stunt jumps or engaging in competitive races with your online pals. From its stunning variety of vehicles and its madcap battle royale mode to its intricate world map, everything about Forza Horizon 4 is a love letter to car culture and the drivers who love it.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is a superb return for Capcom’s beloved over-the-top action series. You’ll play as franchise icons Nero and Dante as well as mysterious newcomer V, all of whom can put together ridiculously stylish and satisfying combos using all manners of swords, guns, and spells. The game’s bombastic, unapologetically ridiculous story will please longtime fans of the series, while its strikingly photorealistic graphics make it the best-looking Devil May Cry game to date.
If you’re looking to spend a few afternoons slicing up demons as stylishly as possible, Devil May Cry 5 will scratch your itch like no other. If you have an Xbox One X, the game can look even better, as it’s possible to reach 4K resolutions and 60 frames-per-second frame rates. For a game where split-second combos are in high demand, the latter, especially, can be pretty useful.
Madden NFL 20
Madden NFL 20 is one of the most significant upgrades to EA’s long-running football series in years, introducing Superstar X-Factor abilities that allow playmakers like Patrick Mahomes and Antonio Brown to perform tide-turning feats once they get hot. This mechanic is also deeply ingrained into Face of the Franchise: QB1, a cinematic career mode in which you take your custom quarterback from college to the NFL Draft to a full-on NFL career that changes based on your actions.
Factor in improved animations, more detailed playbooks, and less dead time between plays, and you’ve got one of the best modern installments of Madden yet. The graphics portray everything clearly, the sound effects are true to life, and you’ll find all of your favorite players on the teams where they belong. You can play against the AI to bring your favorite team to victory, or compete against friends online.
Say hello to the new king of battle royale. Apex Legends stands out from the likes of Fortnite and PUBG by offering tactical team-based gameplay in which 20 squads of three battle it out using a variety of distinct characters that each pack their own unique abilities.
Apex’s brilliant Ping system makes it easy to communicate with your teammates even without saying a word, and the game delivers the distinct blend of tight shooting and smooth movement you’d expect from the makers of Titanfall (seriously, just spend a minute sliding around in this game).
Best of all, Apex Legends is completely free to play, so you have no reason not to hop into the battlefield and see what it’s all about for yourself. The developers are constantly adding new features and characters, so even if you’ve tried Apex Legends previously, it may be time for another go.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 is a brilliant re-imagining of Capcom’s 1998 horror classic, delivering tight third-person gameplay, a labyrinth of fun puzzles, and a stunningly horrific new graphics engine that makes exploring the Raccoon City Police Department more nerve-wracking than ever. It’s also a much better experience than ever since it’s hard to describe just how much better the controls are this time around. You’ll probably never want to go back.
You’ll once again play as both Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, both of whom have a unique storyline that remixes elements from the original games complete with the most immersive, cinematic cutscenes the series has seen yet. Resident Evil 2 isn’t just a great remake, it’s practically a brand new game, and one of the most delightfully dreadful horror experiences you can have on Xbox One.
Overwatch is the rare multiplayer shooter that just about anybody can enjoy. Featuring over 20 colorful characters that battle in equally colorful arenas, this game is all about working as a team and tapping into your hero’s unique abilities rather than simply racking up kills. Gunning down enemies is important, sure, but so is healing your teammates, misleading your opponents, and putting yourself in harm’s way to rack up as much damage as possible. No matter what your play style is, there’s an Overwatch hero to match it.
With tons of skins to unlock and a steady flow of free content updates, Overwatch is the kind of game that could keep you hooked for months — or years. Plus, what other game lets you put a cowboy, a talking gorilla, a pop star in a mech suit, and a roller-skating medic all on the same team?
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Bigger, prettier, and more ambitious than any game in the series to date, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a massive open-world epic that pushes the series forward in some big ways. You get a choice of the main character this time around – Kassandra or Alexios, and the choices you make throughout the game’s story sequences affect the overall narrative.
But the real draw of Odyssey is its stunning take on Ancient Greece, which is packed with fun activities that set the stage for some of the best combat and exploration the franchise has seen yet. Whether you’re sailing across the Aegean Sea or going toe-to-toe with a Medusa (there are some light fantasy elements this time around), Assassin’s Creed Odyssey always has something fun to do, and something unexpected to show you. If it’s not the best game in the series, it’s at least the biggest, and possibly the most ambitious.
While it’s arguably more of a flagship Xbox Series X game, Halo Infinite works on the Xbox One, albeit with a few lesser graphical bangs and whistles. And what a game it is.
Following on from a pair of less than stellar Halo games, Infinite sees somewhat of a return to the open areas of the original Halo game, only broadening it to include a pseudo-open-world. And that means you can tear around a broken ringworld gunning enemy aliens down with a range of weapons or armed vehicles. Then there’s the grappling hook that makes the Master Chief feel much more maneuverable, swinging between chasms and scaling cliffs with ease. In short, Halo Infinite is classic Halo modernized for a new decade, and it’s absolutely glorious XBOX Series Halo Infinite
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a rather astonishing blend of classic Metal Gear stealth with a brace of open-world settings and many open-ended missions. As Snake, you can take on missions in practically any way you want, from going in guns blazing to sneaking around unseen or simply improvising on the fly. Some five years after its release, the game still looks great and plays well. From the main missions to building up your HQ on an offshore oil rig.
But it’s the systems and flexibility of the game that makes it a joy. Headshot a lot of guards and they’ll start wearing stronger helmets, sneak into a base when it’s raining and your footsteps will be muffled or use a sandstorm to run past guards without them noticing. Or knock out a lethal sniper by air-dropping a supply crate on their head. There’s a lot of scope for experimentation as well as simple gaming larks. The Phantom Pain is truly a great stealth game.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
While Halo: The Master Chief Collection doesn’t actually have an Xbox One-era Halo game, it’s still a must-have for any Xbox One first-person shooter fans. If you’re new to Halo then this is the way to experience the four main Halo games as well as the seminal Halo: Reach and the decent Halo: ODST. There are modern enhancements, notably with Halo 2 sporting a rather fine makeover, as well as the original Halo: Combat Evolved looking much better after a lick of modern graphical paint. And the combat, level design, and story tend to hold up rather well by modern standards, though some of the later missions in the original Halo can feel a little repetitive.
You also get all the multiplayer modes of the six games in one interface. That means there’s a huge amount of online combat to be had, with a myriad of game modes to choose from. Just be aware that there are some very seasoned Halo players out there and are well-equipped to trounce you if you’re lacking in FPS skills. There’s also support for classic split-screen multiplayer, which may feel novel in 2022, but is nevertheless a fun way to spice up an evening with some friends.
Outer Wilds is a low-fi space exploration game with an intriguing mystery at its heart, mixed in with a healthy dose of humor and schadenfreude. It sees you fill the shoes of a fledgling, or should that be a hatchling, aquatic bipedal creature that’s a member of the Outer Wilds Ventures, an equally fledgling space program searching for answers in the solar system.
Starting out, you take off in a spaceship that’s partially made of wood from your home planet of Timber Hearth to track down other members of Outer Wilds Ventures. Read no further if you want to experience the game with no prior knowledge. Still, reading? Ok, some 20 minutes or so into your extra-terrestrial exploration and the sun explodes. It’s game over.
But you then awake with the knowledge of everything you’ve gathered in the first bout of exploration. This loop continues until you’ve unraveled the mystery at the heart of the game. It’s simultaneously relaxing, stressful, intriguing, bewildering, and darkly amusing when you realize you’ve flown too close to the sun’s gravitational pull or exited your ship without remembering to pop on your spacesuit. Outer Wilds isn’t a game for people who want instant rewards and lack patience. But for those who are willing to persevere, it’s an intriguing game that’s available on Xbox Game Pass.