With today’s launch of the Xbox One S, the console space welcomes a new piece of hardware from Microsoft. Smaller, sleeker, and slightly more powerful than its predecessor, the Xbox One S is easily one of the better looking consoles to date. While its debut is made less exciting thanks to the looming arrival of Project Scorpio, the new hardware still comes with value to certain audiences. If the Xbox One S is your first purchase into the current generation of Xbox, you’re in for quite the backlog. However, we’re not here to run down every great experience to hit the ecosystem in recent years, rather to take a look at five incredible games–exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem–that you can play right now.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Despite a rocky release and continued multiplayer issues, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still an important and enjoyable history lesson. Including Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, alongside all their respective multiplayer maps and modes. The sheer content within the package is commendable, offering memorable campaigns, refined visuals, and nostalgic multiplayer battles. The Master Chief Collection is a flawed title, but it’s one that comes with a great deal of value, nonetheless. It’s a reminder of the legacy Halo carries with it into battle, transcending years of experiences that have had their fair share of influence on the industry. For those reasons, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a no-brainer recommendation.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is an emotional, gorgeous, and wondrous experience akin to a great Pixar movie. Clever in design and stunning in visual fidelity, Ori and the Blind Forest is among my favorite games on the Xbox One. Narratively touching, the tale behind Ori’s world is one of loss and hope. Reaffirming its impact, the nature of the story is significantly enhanced by a smooth, assertive pace and emotionally evocative musical score. Exploring the world is a joy, for the aesthetic of the environments and intricacy of enemies creates for encounters that never grow dull. It’s a small game with lots of heart and surprises. Ori is superb and shouldn’t be missed.
The level of care and character behind Rare Replay is consistently impressive. Packed with an anthology of 30 games, spanning 30 plus years, Rare Replay captures the weirdness and forward thinking of the iconic developer’s unique catalog. Whether you’re revisiting childhood favorites like Banjo-Kazooie or discovering classics for the first time, the charming in-game menus and overall design lend a great deal of personality to the package. Rare Replay is a terrific way to explore the legacy of Rare, encompassing much of their best work. The collection is a must play for anyone with an interest in video game history, as well as those simply looking for a solid bang for their buck.
Acting as the most recent release on this list, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2010’s excellent Limbo, is a smart, subtle, and excellent game that learns from its spiritual predecessor’s strengths and weaknesses. While the comparisons between Inside and Limbo are easy to make–as both titles share a great deal of polish, emphasis on atmosphere, and nonverbal storytelling–Inside is a different, more complex beast entirely. It’s a unique project dripping with atmospheric style and thought-provoking messages that will surely provoke passionate discussion regarding its true intentions. The tenants of Limbo’s magnificence are all here, just better, leading to one of the best games money can buy on Xbox One.
There’s so much to love about Sunset Overdrive, but what I love most is that it’s uncompromisingly a video game. It knows exactly what it is, offering players a pleasure-packed open world to explore and silly story to get lost in. Colorful, crude, and over-the-top in defying logic, Sunset is unapologetic in everything it does. In the act of doing so, the project develops a unique personality that garnered a massive amount of respect from me. It pridefully embodies some of the most enjoyable gameplay, stylistic tone, and world design on the Xbox One to date, making it an absolute must play. Fun is the name of the game, and Sunset Overdrive knocks it out of the park.
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