The Xbox One might not be top dog anymore with the rise of the Xbox Series X|S but it’s left behind a legacy of some fantastic titles – both first and third-party based. Even better, if you are lucky enough to own the latest Microsoft console, you can play all the best Xbox One games in 2021 on the new system. And usually with some notable improvements to be seen, too.
The pick of the bunch from the ever reliable Xbox One catalogue
Covering a variety of different genres and tastes, the titles collected in our list suit every mood. So whether you’re looking to shoot aliens, explore mystical lands, or simply drive around Scotland at excessive speeds without any risk, you’re going to want to take a look at the best Xbox One games to play in 2021.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves though. The focus here is on taking a look at the best Xbox One games, and that means whether you own an original Xbox One, Xbox One X, Xbox One S, or one of the new-gen consoles, each of these titles are easily considered “essential” purchases.
Is it even possible to imagine the Xbox’s success without the tales of Master Chief? Possibly not and that’s for good reason. Halo: The Master Chief Collection tells a fantastic story while also offering a gripping experience. The first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, might be 20 years old now but it’s still a fantastic example of strong level design.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
That trend continues throughout the series. While certain entries (we’re looking at you, Halo 2) aren’t quite as strong, they’re still worth playing, and this collection means you get the benefit of them all, including Halo Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4. Being able to follow the story in such depth and see how the game evolves from more basic combat to dual-wielding weaponry and controlling massive vehicles (always a highlight of the series) is hugely enjoyable.
You don’t have to go solo either. Ground-breaking co-op modes and extensive multiplayer options ensure this is a rich experience for every taste. It’s a slice of history that’s genuinely aged well earning its spot amongst the best Xbox One games.
Forza Horizon 4 Fancy letting off some steam and driving through country lanes at ridiculous speeds? Forza Horizon 4 is for you. Capturing many familiar sights around Britain including Edinburgh Castle, the Lake District, and the Cotswolds, it could have all been so serene but it’s not.
Typically arcade racing in nature, Forza Horizon 4 doesn’t stop there either with its open-world environment giving rise to extensive DLC including Lego Speed Champions featuring Lego toy versions of famous cars including the Bugatti Veyron. With over 750 cars to collect, there’s certainly no shortage of content here and simply driving around is immensely relaxing and fun. Even if you’re not usually a racing game fan, you’ll find this experience is one of the best Xbox One games available on Xbox Game Pass. Give it a shot, even if it’s not your usual cup of tea. Gears 5
The Gears of War series has always been a strong franchise for the Xbox 360 and above, and Gears 5 takes it to new heights thanks to a better storyline. Following on from Gears of War 4, it focuses on Kait Diaz as she uncovers the origins of the Locust and her family history. Deep down, you don’t really need to know the lore behind the Gears series to enjoy it. The satisfaction that comes from chainsawing drones and shotgunning other enemies is always a highlight of the series anyhow, but it’s good to see the latest installment a little more character-driven than before.
Rockstar has always done a fantastic job of creating worlds you can lose yourself in and Red Dead Redemption 2 is the pinnacle of such achievements right now. Being able to live out the life of a cowboy in the Wild West is almost overwhelming at first thanks to such an extensive level of detail. It’s the little things that first captivate you like smoke rising from the barrel of a gun but it’s the powerful story that keeps you coming back for more. It’s not for the faint-hearted thanks to being incredibly long and a little slow to start, but if you’re keen to fully embrace a different way of life and history for a bit, there’s no better way of doing it than through Red Dead Redemption 2. It’s simply a spectacular place to wander and partake in missions and adventures whenever suits you.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, extensive co-op options and multiplayer ensure you’ll keep coming back for more too, even once you’ve wrapped up the story.