With the dawn of a new console generation looming on the horizon and the future of disc-based video game media in question, the age of the Xbox One may soon be drawing to a close. A system which struggled early on thanks to an obtuse title and a penchant for anti-consumer ailments, Microsoft has since ironed out the machine’s many flaws and crafted it into a true competitor to Sony’s PS4. One lingering issue, however, is the system’s relative lack of exclusive games. Yet, while it may seem like devs are shying away from the console, the Xbox faithful know that quality exclusive content can be found if you know where to look.
10 State Of Decay 2
2018’s Xbox One exclusive State of Decay 2 isn’t an amazing game by any means. In fact, many fans of the original Xbox 360 game felt that the sequel fell short of the mark. That said, players able to look past the various technical issues and somewhat stale survival crafting gameplay found an enjoyable (if formulaic) zombie-slaying title hidden underneath. Games of this type have by-and-large fallen out of favor in recent years, but State of Decay 2 is at least worth a play for those interested in fighting off waves of infected and maintaining the health of a small, disposable post-apocalyptic community.
Another title which more or less failed to meet expectations, ReCore was designed in part by industry veteran and Mega Man contributor Masahiro Yasuma. It promised a unique blend of platforming and action gameplay, and, while it did what it said on the tin, the whole experience fell a little flat thanks to a few structural improficiencies.
However, while many similar games tend to treat platforming as a half-baked afterthought, that style of gameplay is front and center in ReCore. Plus, though the narrative is a little befuddling, the ghostly, barren world in which the game takes place is as gorgeous as it is bleak, and the title is still worth most Xbox One owners’ time.
8 A Walk In The Dark
Released before the launch of the Xbox One, 2012’s A Walk in the Dark may sound like an odd choice, and, while it’s minimalist, deliberately difficult gameplay style may turn off some, it ends up being a worthwhile and engaging experience. With visuals similar to Playdead’s Limbo and tough-as-nails platforming segments similar to Edmund McMillen's Super Meat Boy or The End is Nigh games, this shouldn’t be regarded as nothing more than a disposable piece of digital shovelware. It may seem a bit ridiculous to use an Xbox One or One X to play a game which would likely operate on an old iPod Touch, but A Walk in the Dark warrants a playthrough for anyone looking to scratch a particularly niche platforming itch.
7 Gears Of War 4
Aside from the oft-criticized Gears of War: Judgement which landed on the Xbox 360 back in 2012, the Microsoft-exclusive Gears of War series of gritty sci-fi third-person cover shooters is often regarded as one of the best video game collections available on the seventh generation of consoles. Alongside the Halo series, these games were system sellers when the 360 was new. While the cover mechanics and stiff, stilted character mobility options make the game feel just a little dated, Gears of War 4 is an excellent next-generation return to a series for which longtime Xbox fans are no doubt nostalgic. It may not be the greatest in the anthology of Marcus Fenix, but it’s a pretty stellar title on its own right.
6 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Announced a mere day before it appeared for sale on the Xbox One’s digital storefront, D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is an utterly bizarre narrative adventure developed by Japanese video game auteur Swery65. Vaguely akin to something like Telltale's The Walking Dead series of games, players follow the story of David Young as he jumps through time in an effort to solve the mysterious murder of his wife. While the premise is almost too weird for words and the Kinect motion controls feel a little off, this game is a wild experience which deserved much more attention than it initially received. Now something of a cult classic, it’s a must-own for all self-respecting fans of Microsoft’s console.
5 Super Lucky's Tale
Super Lucky’s Tale is a neat little platforming title which suffered from releasing relatively close to Nintendo’s utterly-fantastic Super Mario Odyssey. While it doesn’t quite hold up when compared to that game, it wasn’t given near the same amount of resources as Mario Odyssey and released at less than half the price. Bearing that in mind, Super Lucky’s Tale is an awesome, ultra-vibrant adventure which evokes many of the retro sensibilities of games like Banjo Kazooie or Donkey Kong 64. It’s not a collect-a-thon, of course, but it’s so incredibly eye-catching and varied in terms of level design that it’s absolutely worth a look.
4 Sunset Overdrive
Initially released in October of 2014, Sunset Overdrive was by far the most unique exclusive to be tethered to the Xbox One. Though it eventually saw a release on PC four years later, Sunset Overdrive remains a must-play for gamers exhausted by the constant onslaught of live-service FPS titles on the market. A strange mix-up of third person shooting and combo-centric skating a la the Tony Hawk franchise, this title truly has very few contemporaries. Though the story is more than a little silly, the tongue-in-cheek nature of proceedings and vibrant atmosphere should keep players from taking themselves too seriously as they mow down hoards of energy drink-crazed zombies.
Xbox One owners could be forgiven for initially writing off 2018’s console-exclusive action-RPG Ashen as nothing more than a cheap Dark Souls wannabe. While it does shamelessly ape more than a few of that oft-copied game's mechanics, it does enough to differentiate itself from From Software’s franchise to warrant its own existence.
Boasting a minimalist, almost cutesy atmosphere, Ashen stands in stark contrast to the Souls series and almost has more in common with something like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker it terms of visuals. Xbox One-owning Souls fans were likely frustrated when Bloodborne launched as a PS4 exclusive in 2015, but they now have this as a consolation.
2 Forza Horizon 4
The Xbox One may have struggled to attract developers for exclusive console game production, but the platform did manage to surpass the competition in one area: racing games. Sony's PS4 may have exclusives occupying every genre under the sun, but high-octane adrenaline junkies would be remiss were they unable to play Microsoft's signature Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series. These games look downright jaw-dropping, and it's rare to encounter titles boasting such high visual fidelity on any other video game console aside from the Xbox One X. Plus, with a dynamic and ever-changing set of seasons, Forza Horizon 4 will have players coming back each week just to check what's been changed.
Cuphead may be the most ambitious and visually stunning game ever released in the entire history of the medium; with a beautiful, hand-drawn art style deliberately meant to evoke the early days of cartoon animation, the game is absolutely dripping with detail. It also holds up quite well as a platformer, too. An ultra-difficult challenge for those who were fond of games like Contra or R-Type back in the day, Cuphead pits the player against a litany of controller-shattering bosses and affords them a total of three hits throughout each of the 19 fights. An unmitigated triumph in the world of gaming, Cuphead proves that video games definitely can qualify as works of art.