DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

DualShockers ranks the Top 10 essential games for every Xbox One owner in the Fall 2018 DualShockers Definitive series. Did your favorite make it?

on October 17, 2018 4:31 PM

Welcome to the first official Xbox One DualShockers Definitives list! This week has been a hard one for DualShockers staff, thanks to much arguing and nit-picking over which games in the amazing Xbox One library make the Top 10.

If you missed the original post, here is a quick TLDR on what this is all about:

The DualShockers Definitives series is a living list, updated seasonally, where we hash out which ten essential games are must-buys for each platform — the ones we would put in a time capsule today if we were making one. The list is intended to grow over time as new releases take the spotlight or older games age like fine wine.

With all of the introduction out of the way, here are the Top 10 Essential games for the Xbox One (as of Fall 2018):


10. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo: The Master Chief Collection may not be the only remastered compilation on the list, but it surely stands out as one of the best. With Microsoft recently breathing new life into the title thanks to an Xbox One X update and inclusion on Game Pass, The Master Chief Collection is still the definitive way to play all the mainline Halo games—along with all the online maps and modes that you thought were doomed to die on a previous generation hardware.

Check out the DualShockers review of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, or pick up the game via Amazon.

9. Rare Replay

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

Sporting the number nine slot is Rare Replay, yet another fantastic addition to the Xbox One line-up – this time focusing on developer Rare versus a game series. Drawing on titles from as early as 1983 (Jetpac, Lunar Jetman, and Atic Atac), the compilation has 30 games with notable bangers like the Banjo series, Battletoads, Viva Pinata, and Perfect Dark Zero. Microsoft consoles may not have an equivalent to Nintendo’s previous “virtual console,” but this is the closest you are going to get, and it is an essential pick-up.

You can pick up Rare Replay via Amazon.

8. Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 may be a third-party, multiplatform game but it just feels at home on the Xbox One. Maybe because there is an enthusiastic online community, given the series initially started as an Xbox console exclusive. However, Respawn Entertainments Titanfall 2 was able to answer most of the concerns of its predecessor: including an engaging, heartfelt offline campaign, a return of the gunplay that made the original so addictive, and level design that wrapped the package up in a neat bow. There are plenty of excellent FPS games on Xbox One, but Titanfall 2 is one of the games that tops the list.

Check out the DualShockers review of Titanfall 2, or pick up the game via Amazon.

7. Sunset Overdrive

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

While Marvel’s Spider-Man takes a top honor on the Top 10 Essential PS4 Games list, Insomniac wins another place on the Xbox One version – this time with Xbox One-exclusive Sunset Overdrive. Filled to the brim with crazy weapons (befitting Ratchet & Clank), a colorful and interesting open-world, and an irreverent attitude that is reminiscent of Bulletstorm or Borderlands. Mix that in with the verticality of a skating game, and the result is a concoction as iconic as the in-game FizzCo brand.

Check out the DualShockers review of Sunset Overdrive, or pick up the game via Amazon.

6. Ori and the Blind Forest

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

Developer Moon Studios is still a relative freshman developer as far as releases go, but their first release – Ori and the Blind Forest – was impeccable. The game debuted with a Pixar-esque story and tight Metroid-vania combat that would make Samus proud. When paired up with a beautify, cartoony artstyle and difficulty that would make a veteran gamer blush, it fits the mold for another essential Xbox One title.

Check out the DualShockers review of Ori and the Blind Forest, or pick up the game via Amazon.

5. Gears of War 4

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

Gears of War 4 has made a lot of changes from its root series. While the original was an over-the-top machismo war story, Gears of War 4 and developer The Coalition were able to work in nuance and passion to notably rigid characters. The game (along with the series) are iconic staples of the Microsoft brand, with the option to take on The Swarm in single player or co-op. There is also the tried-and-tested PvP formula which follows an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Gears of War 4 is a third-person shooter powerhouse for Xbox One, and is easily an essential purchase.

Check out the DualShockers review of Gears of War 4, or pick up the game via Amazon.

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

So what if you get lost in the twisted and crazy story that is Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series. It doesn’t matter – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain remains one of the best open-world sandbox titles of the generation. Whether your MO consists of sneaking or blasting everyone off the map with rocket launchers, Snake is (yet again) the perfect conduit to live out your gameplay fantasies. Playing off fantastical weapons and Hideo Kojima’s patented creativity, the game is a wellspring of innovation within the open-world setting that many other games are learning from to this day.

Check out the DualShockers review of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, or pick up the game via Amazon.

3. Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians Is Free This Weekend for Xbox Live Gold Members

The flagship series for Microsoft has always been Halo – the space-heavy military drama of Master Chief and the rock-solid gameplay attributed to developer 343 Industries. Halo 5: Guardians picks up the mantle from what was a luke-warm Halo 4 reception and runs away with it, offering one of the strongest Halo titles since the original trilogy. While reasonable minds will differ on how they enjoyed the shift in story, Halo 5: Guardians is easily the finest FPS on Xbox One.

Check out the DualShockers review of Halo 5: Guardians, or pick up the game via Amazon.

2. Cuphead

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

Cuphead may not be for everyone, but everyone will be impressed by it. The project, which is a labor of love from StudioMDHR, is the now-iconic hand-drawn run and gun with art style pulled out of 1930’s animation. Every single boss battle, song, and character in this game is memorable in a way no other games have been able to achieve. While the notable difficulty will likely keep more than a few from actually beating the game, there is just nothing like Cuphead on any other console. Grab it if you haven’t yet on Xbox One.

Check out the DualShockers review of Cuphead, or pick up the game via Amazon.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

The only game to make it onto both the PS4 and Xbox One Top 10 Essentials list is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The game set the bar early this generation on what Western RPGs should be. Filled to the brim with gameplay, story, and heart, it isn’t out of the question to spend well over a hundred hours in the Content. However, the game is still unsurpassed by RPGs that have come after it, mainly thanks to CD Projekt Red’s dedication to world-building, fleshed-out side stories, and open-world game design. Without a doubt, Xbox One is the best console to grab this tremendous game, especially if you can take use of the Xbox One X enhanced support.

Check out the DualShockers review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, or pick up the game via Amazon.


As it stands, that is our current DualShockers Definitives ranking of the Top 10 games for Xbox One; for an extended rankings chart, make sure to check out our dedicated page.

Next week, check out our list for the Top 10 PlayStation Vita games — meanwhile, we will be revisiting this list and re-assessing come Winter 2019.


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 /  Editor-in-Chief
Lou Contaldi is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers, specializing in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.