20 best Xbox One games

Every month, new games are released for the Xbox One—and if you're like us, you probably don't have the budget to buy them all. Never fear, Looper is here! We've compiled a master list of the 20 best games for Xbox One, and we'll update it monthly for you as new titles make their way into the rankings. Now, the games on our list aren't always going to be the newest releases. We want to make sure that the titles we recommend have good critic and user reviews, and are still timely and relevant enough to deserve your precious gaming time. So without further ado, here's Looper's list of the top 20 Xbox One games as of February 1, 2017. Games released within the last week won't be included, so check back here in a month, and we'll let you know if and how our lineup has changed!

Final Fantasy XV

Spoiler-free synopsis: You are Noctis Lucis Caelum, heir to the Lucian throne. After Lucis and its magical crystal are seized by the Niflheim empire, you must go on a quest across the world of Eos with your companions in order to regain the crystal and your birthright, whilst also facing the threat of mysterious demons which threaten to overrun the entire world.

Why you'll like it: Final Fantasy XV manages to capture the spirit of older Final Fantasy titles, while still exploring a futuristic new direction for the franchise and experimenting with new features—like the action-based real time battle system. The story is interesting and engaging, if a little unbalanced in places. Fans of Square Enix's MMOs will enjoy the open-world environment, even if some of the side quests get a bit repetitive. All in all, a solid entry in the Final Fantasy family, and one worthy of a place in your game library.

Metascore: Critics – 84/100, Users – 6.7/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Type-0, Kingdom Hearts I

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Spoiler-free synopsis: You are the dragonborn, a mortal with the unique ability to use the dragon language to defeat your enemies. Alduin, the ancient dragon who once ruled all of Tamriel, has returned to try and make his empire anew. Only you are capable of stopping him.

Why you'll like it: By now, you've probably played Skyrim in some form or another. If you haven't, then this remastered and updated edition of the game is a perfect introduction to the world of The Elder Scrolls. An open-world format and gameplay style means that you can play however you choose—be a chaos-sowing agent of stealth and deceit, wield magical powers as a mage, use a bow to pick off enemies from afar, murder everything that crosses your path, or play as a complete pacifist. For fans of the original Skyrim, this remastered edition features impressively updated graphics and includes all three DLC packs: Dragonborn, Dawnguard, and Hearthfire.

Metascore: Critics – 82/100, Users – 6.9/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Any of the other Elder Scrolls games, Dragon Age, Dark Souls

Watch Dogs 2

Spoiler-free synopsis: Grand Theft Auto meets movies like Enemy of the State and The Net with Watch Dogs 2. You're 20-something hacker Marcus Holloway, and you've been accused of a crime you didn't commit by an artificially-intelligent operating system which controls everything in San Francisco. You must now use your unique skillset to not only clear your name but to bring down the operating system and the conglomerate that created it.

Why you'll like it: Except for the name, Watch Dogs 2 is completely different from the original game. The sandbox-style world and unique gameplay abilities add up to a richly fun experience in both singleplayer and multiplayer mode. While the plot and characterization may be a little too juvenile in some places, the game makes up for it with beautiful graphics and an occasionally hilarious storyline.

Metascore: Critics – 81/100, Users – 7.5/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Grand Theft Auto franchise, Watch Dogs, Sleeping Dogs, Red Dead Redemption

The Witness

Spoiler-free synopsis: You wake up alone on an island, with no memory of who you are or how you got there. As you explore the island and delve into the mysteries it holds, you will find clues that may help you regain your memory or get you back home.

Why you'll like it: The Witness is a fairly new Xbox One title which resides firmly in the same vein as Myst, Riven, and other such PC puzzle games of the '90s. If you enjoy solving puzzles for the sheer satisfaction of it, then The Witness is for you. With an open world filled with over 500 puzzles and dozens of locations, you can spend hours playing and still have plenty of mysteries to solve. Cerebral and challenging, The Witness brings back the nostalgia and allure of Myst, with a fresh look for 2016.

Metascore: Critics – 86/100, Users 6.9/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Myst or any of the Myst sequels

Dying Light: The Following

Spoiler-free synopsis: An expansion to the survival horror game Dying Light, The Following expands the story of protagonist Kyle Crane with a large new section of the map to explore, along with new gameplay mechanics, capabilities, weapons, and play modes to choose from.

Why you'll like it: While The Following is an expansion, it packs enough new content into Dying Light to be worthy of this spot on our list. The story is immersive, but won't exclude players who are new to the Dying Light franchise as long as you've completed the prologue of the base game. The new driveable and customizeable dune buggy adds a fun new aspect, and the various play modes are each very enjoyable in their own, blood-soaked ways.

Metascore: Critics – 86/100, Users – 8.0/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Dying Light, Resident Evil, Dead Island, Borderlands 2, Dishonored

Titanfall 2

Spoiler-free synopsis: Titanfall 2 revisits the original Titanfall with an updated and fresh look. The first-person shooter puts you in the shoes of Jack Cooper of the Frontier Militia as you face off against aliens and human enemies fighting for control of a system of planets known as the Frontier.

Why you'll like it: Titanfall 2 offers up a satisfyingly solid single-player campaign with an enjoyable offline experience, although some players have wished the storyline was a bit longer. The multiplayer experience is also rich and engaging, with plenty of new Titans available to pilot. Despite the game running on the decade-old Source engine, Titanfall 2 offers stunning graphics and fast gameplay to keep you on your toes.

Metascore: Critics – 87/100, Users – 8.0/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Titanfall, the Halo franchise, Call of Duty

DOOM

Spoiler-free synopsis: A reboot of the classic first-person shooter series, 2016's DOOM reinvents the franchise as you play a nameless Marine on Mars in the distant future, who must battle demons unleashed from Hell by the Union Aerospace Corporation.

Why you'll like it: If you were a fan of the original DOOM series, this installment hearkens back to the fast pace of the first two games in the franchise while updating the title for 2016. It has a diverting and intense campaign mode along with several multiplayer modes to give you hours of fun. Perhaps the coolest part of DOOM is the inclusion of the new SnapMap level editor, which allows you to create or edit levels on the fly, with assistance from the in-game AI if you desire. Completed levels can be tested and then shared with other users for free with online publishing.

Metascore: Critics – 87/100, Users – 8.1/100

Play this if you enjoyed: Other DOOM games, Duke Nukem, Half-Life, Halo, Quake

Rocket League

Spoiler-free synopsis: Drive rocket-powered vehicles around an arena with your teammates, with the objective of pushing a ball into your opponent's goal to score points. Simple concept, lots of fun.

Why you'll like it: It may sound silly at first, but Rocket League is probably one of the most entertaining co-op games on the market, and it finally came to Xbox One in February 2016. Customize your vehicle and strap in for an amazing single-player, multi-player, or even cross-platform experience. Soccer meets the demolition derby in Rocket League, and it's every bit as awesome as it sounds.

Metascore: Critics – 87/100, Users – 8.3/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, any co-op racing, demolition derby, or soccer games.

Dishonored 2

Spoiler-free synopsis: Fifteen years have passed since the events depicted in the original Dishonored. The throne of Empress Emily Kaldwin—leader of the Empire of the Isles—has been seized by a mysterious witch, aided by an unfaithful Duke and his men. You can play as either Emily or her father Corvo Attano, and then you must do your best to expel the usurper and reclaim the throne.

Why you'll like it: Dishonored 2 lets you affect the world of Karnaca and the characters with via every choice you make. Play from the shadows or unleash chaos in the realm in every mission. The levels and missions are thoughtfully designed and the graphics are stunning. The "choose your adventure" gameplay lets you customize your experience with each playthrough, which adds considerable replay value. We're pretty sure once you play Dishonored 2, you'll definitely be wanting to play it again and again, exploring every angle possible in this immersive story.

Metascore: Critics – 88/100, Users – 6.8/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Thief, Bioshock series, Hitman: Absolution

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

Spoiler-free synopsis: Spirits Ori and Sein pair up to traverse complicated levels in a "Metroidvania-style" puzzle platformer. Ori must obtain and replenish the elements of Waters, Winds, and Warmth if he wants to save his beloved Nibel forest and restore it to what it once was.

Why you'll like it: The Definitive Edition adds new areas, puzzles, and gameplay options to an already awesome game. Both long-time Ori players and those new to the franchise will find something to love, with new fans discovering the title as it was meant to be played, and seasoned vets discovering the magic of Nibel all over again.

Metascore: Critics – 88/100, Users – 7.3/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Shadow Complex, Castlevania, A Boy and his Blob

Dark Souls III

Spoiler-free synopsis: Swordplay and magic return in the latest Dark Souls RPG title, this time set in the Kingdom of Lothric. Play through a series of interconnected challenges and locations as you attempt to locate the Lords of Cinder and bring them to the Firelink Shrine. What happens after that is completely up to you.

Why you'll like it: As moody and atmospheric as other Dark Souls titles, this third installment will impress with its gameplay, music, and graphics. Your actions throughout the game have an effect on how it ends, which gives you many options for replay value later. Don't expect an easy time—the challenges are actually challenging, and will keep you occupied for hours.

Metascore: Critics – 87/100, Users 8.6/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Other Dark Souls games, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher 3, Morrowind, Gothic

NBA 2K17

Spoiler-free synopsis: Like previous titles in the series, NBA 2K17 is a basketball simulation game in which you play with real or fantasy players/teams. There are several modes of gameplay to choose from, and the game also boasts other features to make it more realistic, like commentators, crowd animation, halftime shows, camera angles, lighting, and custom player animations.

Why you'll like it: One of the best sports simulator game franchises on the market got even better, with enhanced music, graphics, and gameplay. Realism has obviously been tweaked, and the multiple game modes give everyone something to their liking. NBA 2K17 is be a staple entry for every basketball fan's Xbox library.

Metascore: Critics – 90/100, Users 5.9/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Any other NBA 2K title, the movie Space Jam

Overwatch

Spoiler-free synopsis: In the near future on a dystopian Earth, join up with a diverse cast of characters in a cooperative multiplayer FPS against a hostile team of enemies. Choose your favorite team-player archetype (offense, defense, tank, support), then customize your character with fun cosmetic skins and items.

Why you'll like it: Overwatch does one thing extremely well: polished and engaging team-based multiplayer battles. It doesn't bog things down with a bunch of storylines, modes, or extraneous garbage. A fun way to get into online shooters, it does its best to keep you hooked with fun cosmetic upgrades, replay shots, and a hero of the match voting system. Some people might see the lack of other modes as a drawback, but Blizzard knows how to focus on what it does well instead of ten things it doesn't.

Metascore: Critics – 91/100, Users – 5.6/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Call of Duty, Team Fortress 2, Paladins, Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Forza Horizon 3

Spoiler-free synopsis: Forget just being a driver. Now you're the director of the Horizon Festival, and it's your job to make it bigger than ever before. Explore the cities and wilds of Australia with over 350 vehicles and hire or fire racers as you organize races and events to make your festival simply amazing.

Why you'll like it: Possibly the most perfect Forza title to date. The map is huge, yet there's always something to do. There are tons of cars to choose from and customize, and you can even buy cars from other players as they're put up for auction online. As always, the graphics look stellar, and the music is solid—with an option to create your own soundtrack from your personal music library. Cross-platform play offers another layer of cooperation that adds even more fun.

Metascore: Critics – 91/100, Users – 7.6/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Any Forza title ever, Burnout Paradise, Roller Coaster Tycoon (or other festival simulator games)

INSIDE

Spoiler-free synopsis: A young boy must navigate a dark, surreal and unsettling landscape, while manipulating his environment in order to progress through obstacles and avoid or conquer enemies. Complete puzzles to unlock new areas, and try not to die—which can happen in any number of unpleasant ways.

Why you'll like it: Simply put, INSIDE delivers some powerful emotions for what seems to be a spare and stripped-down package. The story is brief, but sucks you immediately in, and the conclusion (and alternate ending, if you unlock it) will leave you scratching your head for days pondering the true meaning of it all. Another amazing indie title, one that we wish was longer—so we could spend more time in the world the developers at Playdead have thoughtfully created for us.

Metascore: Critics – 92/100, Users – 8.0/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Limbo, Trine, Braid, A Boy and His Blob

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Spoiler-free synopsis: Although this is the most recent entry in the Metal Gear franchise, chronologically it occurs in 1984, nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes and the destruction of Militaires Sans Frontières. Returning protagonist Big Boss awakens after a nearly decade-long coma, and immediately has to escape an assassination attempt. He adopts the codename "Venom Snake" and makes his way to join the mercenary group the Diamond Dogs. From there, Snake and his team will go through hell and back to find those responsible for the destruction of MSF and stop them before they can start a massive epidemic and nuclear cold war.

Why you'll like it: The newest installment in the Metal Gear series is a triumph of gameplay, graphics, and storyline. Utilization of the Fox Engine make the game lightning fast and extremely robust, which is necessary in the open-world environment used for The Phantom Pain. With hours and hours of gameplay at your fingertips, you'll never run out of things to do in Metal Gear Solid V.

Metascore: Critics – 95/100, Users – 7.2/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Other Metal Gear Solid games (particularly Ground Zeroes), The Witcher 3, the Splinter Cell series, Far Cry 4

XCOM 2

Spoiler-free synopsis: It's 2035, 20 years after aliens defeated humanity. You are the commander of XCOM, which is now little more than an underground resistance against the extraterrestrial invaders. After some of your old comrades rescue you from an alien stasis chamber, you must take up the helm of XCOM again and unite the scattered forces of the resistance in order to strike a major blow at the puppet ADVENT administration and the aliens.

Why you'll like it: The story of XCOM 2 is much deeper and more nuanced than previous games in the series. You have the ability to customize nearly everything about your base and your squad, allowing for nearly infinite replayability. If you love turn-based strategy games, XCOM2's upgraded graphics and story will keep you happy for a long time.

Metascore: Critics – 87/100, Users 8.1/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Other titles in the XCOM franchise, Xenonauts, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Fire Emblem: Awakening

SUPERHOT

Spoiler-free synopsis: A friend sends you a new and mysterious indie game file called "superhot.exe" and challenges you to try it out. After some strange glitches and developer "updates," you relaunch the game and find that not only are the levels increasingly challenging, but it seems someone is observing you as you play, responding to your every move. Actions in the game begin to affect your character outside of the game. Is this just a game, or is it something much more dangerous?

Why you'll like it: SUPERHOT is a minimalist take on the first-person-shooter genre that feels new and old at the same time. With the best elements of strategy and puzzle games added to plot points straight out of TRON, this may be one of the most innovative entries in the FPS genre in a long time. Add in "bullet-time" pauses as you contemplate your next move, and SUPERHOT is a real winner that any gamer will appreciate.

Metascore: Critics – 83/100, Users – 7.9/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Games based on The Matrix movies, Max Payne, Braid

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Spoiler-free synopsis: You are Ethan, a regular guy trying to reunite with his wife Mia, who's been missing for three years. Along the way, you encounter the aggressive and dangerous Baker family, who are infected with a mysterious ailment. Will you be able to save your wife and unravel the mystery of the Bakers and the Umbrella Corporation's involvement in this new epidemic?

Why you'll like it: A switch to first-person perspective and a greater emphasis on exploration over action make this the moodiest and most foreboding Resident Evil title in years. Powered by the new "RE Engine," it boasts great graphics and gameplay. It feels like a return to Resident Evil's roots, and will make you fall in love with the franchise all over again.

Metascore: Critics – 86/100, Users 7.1/10

Play this if you enjoyed: Other Resident Evil games, Alien: Isolation, Outlast, Pathologic HD

Stardew Valley

Spoiler-free synopsis: Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game in the vein of Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons. Your grandfather has left you the family farm, and it's up to you to bring it back and make it productive again through lots of hard work and tender loving care.

Why you'll like it: Let's get this straight. Stardew Valley doesn't put you through the mindless harvesting cycles of Farmville. And even though it's heavily inspired by it, it isn't Harvest Moon, either. Stardew Valley is in a league of its own. The developers have taken the time with the game's mechanics to make you actually care about your farm, the characters, and even the animals. Cultivate relationships with neighboring NPCs while you cultivate your crops, then sit back and enjoy the nostalgic graphics and charming personality of this indie game.

Metascore: Critics – 88/100, Users 7.3/10

Play this if you enjoyed: any of the Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons games, Animal Crossing

Changes from last month

Update 1/1/17: There's only one new game on our list for January. FRU drops off of the list after two months, which makes room for the newly-released Final Fantasy XV.

Update 2/1/17: Due to popular demand, we've expanded our list from 15 to 20 Xbox One games, to give you even more choices for your next gaming experience. This month, we added Stardew Valley, Resident Evil 7, Superhot, XCOM 2, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. We also updated Metascores for INSIDE, Forza Horizon 3, NBA 2K17, Dark Souls III, Watch Dogs 2, Skyrim Special Edition, and Final Fantasy XV.

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