Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 9 great games for Xbox One gamers

Load up your wish list with the latest and greatest Xbox picks

04 December 2017
by Stuff Staff

Whether you’re rocking an older Xbox One, the revised Xbox One S, or the ultra-powerful new Xbox One X, you’ll surely want some new games to play on the thing this Christmas.

With a few weeks left until the big day, it’s time to start decking out your wish list with the year’s biggest games – or maybe even a few of the older favourites you might’ve missed. That’s where we come in. We’ve picked the Xbox One’s best games, with a strong emphasis on what’s especially new and exciting, and we’ve assembled them all here to make your tough task much easier than usual.

And if you’re the one planning to buy Xbox One games for someone else, well, we’ve got you covered. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these games, whether your gamer recipient is into shooters, racing games, fighters, or something else entirely.

FORZA MOTORSPORT 7

It looks more beautiful than the Mona Lisa in motion on an Xbox One X, but the seventh main entry in the Forza series is so much more than a 4K tech demo. With a garage filled to bursting point with 700 of the most iconic cars ever driven, and an all-new dynamic weather system that can see bright sunshine one lap and torrential rain the next, there’s a huge amount of variety to keep you racking up those laps.

Really though, it’s the fantastic balance between beginner-friendly arcade inspired driving and hardcore, simulation-style road battles that’ll keep you coming back for more, slowly disabling the assists until you’ve mastered the road.

DESTINY 2

Bungie’s second stab at a sprawling space shooter has learned a lot of lessons from the first Destiny. Gone are the complex, intertwined story threads, replaced with a single, overarching story that both returning Guardians and new players can get behind. The monotonous end-game grind has been streamlined and made a lot more fun, too.

Until you’ve joined up with five other players and tackled the fiendish Leviathan raid, you’ll be missing out on one of the best multiplayer experiences there is on the Xbox One.

ASSASSIN’S CREED ORIGINS

Ubisoft’s open-world historical action series had become a bit routine in its later entries, yet rather hit-or-miss in execution. Luckily, the series finally skipped a year and it’s come back stronger than we’ve seen in ages with Assassin’s Creed Origins.

As the title suggests, Origins winds back the clock further than previous entries, taking place in Ancient Egypt and telling the story of the first Assassins. But it’s also a strong nod towards this game being essentially a fresh start for the franchise, since it overhauls some of the rougher elements of the past games (like combat) while delivering a compelling new environment and hugely impressive graphics. It’s definitely an Xbox One X showcase, but you ought to be impressed with it on any version of the console.

INJUSTICE 2

Street Fighter V is the toast of the fighting game community – but the Xbox One doesn’t have it. Luckily, Microsoft’s console has something a bit more extraordinary in Injustice 2, the fantastic superhero fighter that hails from NetherRealm Studios, the team behind Mortal Kombat.

Whether or not you played the last-gen original, prepare to be impressed by Injustice 2. It’s a more compelling vision of the DC Comics world than the recent movies have mustered (aside from Wonder Woman, of course), with an intriguing single-player story mode and a beefy cast of characters, and the combat fundamentals are completely on point. Every hero and villain feels nicely distinct, but they’re all amazingly powerful and astounding to see/play in action.

RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD

The Xbox One version of Resident Evil 7 may lack the VR support of the PS4 edition, but even limited to a TV, it’s no less effective at scaring the life out of players. Capcom’s fresh start is a welcome step away from the action-centric approach of the last few hit-or-miss entries.

What’s the secret? Well, the new first-person perspective really puts you in the middle of the horror, and there’s a constant level of unsettling tension as you explore the house and come face to face with its freakish inhabitants. It has a couple missteps, especially later on as combat takes center stage, but by and large RE7 is excellent. Welcome back, old friend.

FIFA 18

Another year, another FIFA – right? Assuming you haven’t yet gotten your fill of EA Sports’ annual favourite, like so many millions of footie-hungry fans have not, then you’ll probably want FIFA 18 on your wish list this Christmas.

What makes the latest FIFA the best edition to date? Well, it’s absolutely gorgeous, particularly if you’re lucky enough to find the souped-up Xbox One X under your tree or crammed into a stocking this year. It also brings a raft of small, but meaningful enhancements to the on-the-pitch play, extends last year’s story mode with a new chapter, and has enough modes to keep you busy ’til FIFA 19 inevitably releases. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

GEARS OF WAR 4

Halo 5: Guardians might not have been the most rousing Xbox One return for one of Microsoft’s flagship shooter series, but that’s not a problem with Gears of War 4. It’s the same old song and dance, for the most part, albeit with an incredible level of polish and pure, dumb fun.

Gears 4 picks up 25 years after the last numbered entry, as new hero JD Fenix continues where dad Marcus left off, wielding the chainsaw-bladed Lancer for the future of mankind. Frantic stop-and-pop shooting paired with dazzling graphics help this old favourite feel fresh again.

OVERWATCH

Overwatch is the current breakout, must-play multiplayer smash – and Blizzard’s shooter shows no signs of slowing down even after more than a year of release. With continual tweaks, gradual new hero additions and big esports plans unfolding in the coming months, now’s the time to climb aboard.

Even with a colourful and cartoonish look, Overwatch delivers some of the most satisfyingly intense combat available today, with the team-based battles finding the sweet spot between frantic blasting and smart, strategic team play.

CUPHEAD

Brilliantly, infuriatingly, delightfully difficult – not a combination you’d normally expect, but this fantastic retro throwback manages it. Cuphead is part boss rush, part run-and-gun side scrolling shooter, a love letter to both 16-bit classics like Gunstar Heroes and the hand-drawn animation style of the 1930s.

Think Steamboat Willie meets Dynamite Heddy, where every creature has wide eyes and can’t stay in one place without bopping along to a vaudeville tune – anthropomorphic dinner sets included. The music, art and animation create something truly special, but it’s the way you have to learn patterns and adapt your play style to progress past increasingly tougher bosses that gives that warm fuzzy feeling every time you pick up the controller.

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