Thanks to exclusives like of Gear of War 4, Forza 3, and Dead Rising 4, and buoyed by third-party developers, the Xbox One remains a must-have console for every keen gamer. Here are The Independent’s 10 best games released this year.
1. Firewatch: £15.99, Microsoft
While released initially on PS4, Firewatch finally made it to Xbox One late in the year, allowing players to finally experience the breathtaking, story-led indie game that sees you unravel the mysteries contained within the Wyoming wilderness. While only five hours in length, the first-person game’s engaging story about a man charged with looking after a forest, who ends up finding out much more than he expected, makes for a unique and brilliant experience.
2. Battlefield 1: £46, Tesco
Since the release of Call of Duty 4, the Battlefield series has remained one step behind its rival. That changed with the release of the WW1-set Battlefield 1. It’s an incredibly well-crafted first person shooter that conveys a meaningful message through six short but brilliant single-player campaigns, each one telling of different soldiers’ experiences around the world. The game’s credentials are further boosted by the breathless multiplayer.
3. Dark Souls 3: £24.38, Amazon
Playing the NES Mini earlier this year was a reminder of just how hard games used to be. Thankfully, there are some games that remain incredible challenges, primarily the Dark Souls series. Accidentally go the wrong way: you’re dead, so restart. What’s endearing in this RPG is the sense of accomplishment when you do (finally) make it through hordes of villains by slashing your way through with an oversized sword.
4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: £16.99, Amazon
Throughout the year, The Independent’s reviewers have rarely awarded five stars, with only two featured in this list. The first is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Square Enix’s breathtaking sequel in which you sneak, hack, and fight your way through a dystopian world as your character, Adam Jensen, confronts the Illuminati. The epic cyberpunk-themed aesthetic makes the whole experience an attractive prospect.
5. Dishonored 2: £42, Tesco
Our second five star release is this stealth action-adventure game, the second in the Dishonoured series. It pitches you as either Empress Emily Kaldwin or her guard Corvo, both of whom featured heavily in the first game. Like the first, players can choose whether to tackle each level using stealth or all-guns blazing, the prior being more fun than the latter. Of course, you can mix up the two, it’s all up to you.
6. DOOM: £14, Amazon
An unapologetic nod to first-person shooters of years past, DOOM acts as a love letter to everything gamers adore about the genre. The game’s creepy atmosphere mixed with fierce pace and difficultly made for one of the year’s more unique and exciting experiences. Like revisiting an old friend, if you were one of the millions who enjoyed the original DOOM, you’ll love this.
7. Forza Horizon 3: £39.89, Tesco
Has virtual driving ever looked so good? Absolutely not. Forza Horizon 3 managed to blow all the competition out of the water, making for the most realistic driving simulator ever created. The customisation available to players is unrivalled by any previous game, with 350 cars available, all of which makes for one of the most enjoyable experiences of the year.
8. Gears of War 4: £24.95, Amazon
While Sony had an incredible year of exclusives, Microsoft fell slightly behind in 2016 – Quantum Break wasn’t the Uncharted rival everyone hoped for. However, it had two trump cards: the aforementioned Forza 3 and Gears of War 4. Acting as the fifth addition to the series following Judgement, Gears 4 features a brilliant narrative, beautiful graphics, and reaffirms the series’ place as possibly the best third-person shooter available. A must-have for Xbox One owners.
9. Inside: £15.99, Microsoft
Created by Playdead, the same studio which made the hit game Limbo, puzzle-platformer Inside is another dark experience (quite literally). You play as a nameless boy, running through numerous obstacles and escaping the clutches of killer guards. The almost silent gameplay and creepy creatures make for an unforgettable experience.
10. Overwatch: £25, Tesco
Blizzard has always had a penchant for online multiplayer games (World of Warcraft) but no-one knew quite how brilliant a colourful shooter from the company could be. Overwatch pits your team of various bizarre characters against another team in numerous game modes, battling for the sake of battling. A unique multiplayer experience that far exceeds the likes of Call of Duty.
The Verdict: Xbox One games
Despite all the fantastic blockbuster releases, such as Battlefield 1 and Overwatch, it’s Campo Santo’s first and, so far, only game - Firewatch - that comes out top. Traversing the remote Shoshone National Forest while attempting to discover its secrets makes for one of the most rewarding experiences of 2016 and could not be more highly recommended.
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