DualShockers Definitives

DualShockers Definitives — The Top 10 Essential Xbox One Games

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

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 2020):


10. Sea of Thieves

While Rare Studios’ return to form endured some rough waters in its first year, the studio has consistently spent 2019 bettering itself, its code, and the pirate experience. Following an Anniversary Update that added standalone PvP and a Story, there is no better time to jump into this massive, open-world pirate game and live out your best swash-buckling life.

Check out the DualShockers review of Sea of Thieves; the game (alongside Limbo) is available for purchase on Amazon.

9. DOOM (2016)

DOOM holds a special place in the hearts of DualShockers staff — fast paced, high energy, and everything an FPS should be. It’s hard to argue that it shouldn’t be on a Top 10 list for any console, let alone Xbox. Despite DOOM Eternal being a terrific sequel, we think the 2016 reboot is the definitive place to start for anyone new to the console.

Check out the DualShockers review of DOOM; the game is available for purchase on Amazon.

8. Red Dead Redemption 2

There just aren’t many games this generation like Red Dead Redemption 2. While developer Rockstar tends to highlight their accomplishments with the Grand Theft Auto series, RDR2 managed to outpace the wildly popular (and critically acclaimed) Red Dead Redemption — all thanks to heavy lifting from great performances up and down the credits. Few games accomplish as much technically as Red Dead Redemption 2, and it is a game that must be played on Xbox One.

Check out the DualShockers review of Forza Horizon 4, or pick up the game via Amazon.

7. Forza Horizon 4

There simply is no Top 10 Xbox One games list if there is no mention of the Forza series, and (while it was a hard divide with the staff) our favorite in the pack is Forza Horizon 4. Cutting edge graphics meet arcade gameplay in a way that has been critically well-received by those entirely new to the racing genre, as well as the core Forza fanbase. If you’ve never been one to ‘get’ racing games, this is your entry point — enjoy the unadulterated thrill.

Check out the DualShockers review of Forza Horizon 4, or pick up the game via Amazon.

6. Gears 5

Gears 5 isn’t just another fantastic installment in one of the best shooting franchises around, it feels like a proper improvement on everything that came before it. We’ve always loved the Gears series, but it definitely needed to evolve in some way with Gears 5. Fortunately, the team at The Coalition delivered just as they needed to.

Check out the DualShockers review of Gears 5, or pick up the game via Amazon.

5. Sunset Overdrive

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. It is 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.

4. 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.

3. Cuphead

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 else like Cuphead. Grab it if you haven’t yet on Xbox One.

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

2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Moon Studios seemed to come out of nowhere at the beginning of the generation, giving one of the best platformers (as a then-Xbox exclusive) with Ori and the Blind Forest. The follow-up, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, didn’t hold back on the challenge or the charm. Moon Studios’ sequel is filled with moments of beauty both visually and in its storytelling.

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

1. 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 the addition of Halo Reach, 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 previous generation hardware.

Check out the DualShockers review of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 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.


Changes to the List

November 9, 2020: Ori and the Blind Forest (11th), INSIDE (14th), and The Outer Worlds (15th) fall out of the Top 10 list, and onto the Extended list. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2nd), Red Dead Redemption 2 (8th), and DOOM (9th) are new additions to the list.

Gears 5 has moved down the list to 5th (from 1st); Forza Horizon 4 has moved down the list to 7th (from 2nd); Sea of Thieves has moved down the list to 10th (from 7th).

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has moved up the list to 1st (from 4th); Titanfall 2 has moved up the list to 4th (from 10th).

December 17, 2019: The Outer Worlds (9th) and Gears 5 (1st) are newcomers to the list. Titanfall 2 got bumped from 8th to 10th. INSIDE advanced from 12th to 8th. Sea of Thieves advanced from 16th to 7th. Sunset Overdrive advanced from 7th to 5th. Halo: The Mast Chief Collection advanced from 10th to 4th. Cuphead got bumped from 2nd to 3rd. Forza Horizon 4 advanced from 12th to 2nd.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (11th), Halo 5: Guardians (13th), Rare Replay (16th), and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (18th) all got bumped off the Top 10 list.

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Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes 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.

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