The best Xbox One games remain highly playable to this day, regardless of whether you’re playing on Microsoft’s 2013 machine or the 4K Xbox One X. The company has continued to be a firm advocate for backwards compatibility over the years; an approach that’s in stark contrast to Sony’s approach to digital preservation.
As a brand, Xbox remembers its history, which is why all of the titles below are playable on modern hardware. From open-world epics to one of the best arcade racing games ever made, the best Xbox One games have effortlessly endured the test of time.
The best Xbox One games you can buy right now
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
To some Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games ever made, and we find it hard to disagree. A sprawling open world set in the tail end of the Wild West, where industrialization is encroaching upon ranging and gun-slinging is mixed with a story that would suit an HBO adaptation.
Not only does Red Dead Redemption 2 look stunning it also feels great with subtle extra interactions making gunplay feel more real; you need to cock a single-action revolver before you fire it. While some of this can make the game feel a little clunky at times, it can encourage you to take your time and absorb the world you're in. And with all manner of activities, from card games and fishing to horse grooming and drinking, Red Dead Redemption 2 is flush with things to do and see. It's a must-play on any console.
Read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review.
2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The first two Witcher games from CD Project Red were great but may not have been for everyone. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has their DNA but polishes it to a gleaming shine, and throws in a detailed and realistic open-world.
To many, including us, The Witcher 3 is one of the best games ever, masterfully combining a gripping story that you can shape with your choices (these can be carried over from previous games) with cities, bogs, forests, mountains and more to explore. Combat isn't as perfect as that of Dark Souls or Elden Ring, but it's not terrible either. You won't mind as there's so much to stumble across in Wild Hunt, including some utterly engrossing side quests. And as an added bonus, the game has been patched to look even better on modern XboxSeres X and S hardware as well as powerful gaming PCs.
3. Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2 is, unsurprisingly, the follow-up to the original Dishonored. But while the stealth meets magical powers and frenetic first-person action formula is intact, the game can now be played from two perspectives: that of the first game’s Corvo Attano or Empress Emily Kaldwin.
Both have different powers that we found enable players to navigate the game's creative mission and areas in different ways, as well as dispose of targets in all manner in interesting fashions. Or you could simply opt to not use any power or kill anyone, such is the immersive sim nature of Dishonored 2 that lets you complete objectives pretty much in the way you see fit.
The environmental and level design was very good in the original game, but Dishonored 2 simply takes it to a new level with the likes of The Clockwork Mansion and Crack in the Slab being particular highlights. Even if you don’t like stealthy games, Dishonored 2 is worth giving a go for its sheer variety, style and creativity, if bloody, fun you can have within the game’s systems. It’s also on Xbox Game Pass, along with its DLC.
4. Doom Eternal
Doom Eternal takes everything great about the 2016 Doom reboot and cranks it to 11. The game's adrenaline-pumping first-person-shooting action is more dynamic and fluid than ever, thanks to a sandbox of weapons and skills that let you create a ballet of beautiful violence during every encounter.
Thanks to new abilities, like the flamethrower and all-powerful blood punch, and new platforming moves, such as the double jump and air-dash, slaying demons across a demon-infested Earth is a blood-soaked blast.
Add in a satisfying progression system, tons of secrets and collectibles, and absolutely breathtaking visuals and level design, and Doom Eternal is one of the best shooters in years. It's a cathartic, satisfying experience, with a story that's better than it has to be, and an incredible sense of atmosphere.
Read our full Doom Eternal review.
5. Gears 5
Gears 5 is the biggest and most beautiful entry yet in Microsoft's enduring third-person shooter franchise, and one of the best Xbox One games yet. Focusing this time on Kait Diaz and her quest to understand her Locust heritage, Gears 5's ambitious campaign mixes in vehicular open-world exploration to complement the most satisfying and dynamic cover shooting the series has seen yet.
We enjoyed the comprehensive multiplayer content, including the pick-up-and-play Arcade mode, a full competitive suite, a revamped Horde experience with character-specific abilities and a tense co-op Escape mode. It's also the best-looking Gears game yet, with striking, colorful environments that pop on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X alike.
6. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Ready for a real challenge? Then dive into this samurai/Shinobi-inspired brutal action-RPG from Dark Souls developer From Software. It forces you to carefully hack your way through a mythological version of 16th-century Japan full of monstrous enemies looking to kill you. Sekiro stands out from the Dark Souls formula with its sense of mobility, as you can grapple-hook from ledge to ledge and switch between stances to catch your enemy off-guard.
Sekiro is already being hailed as one of the best (and hardest) From Software games yet, as there's no real way to grind for better stats -- only your skill will get you through. Still, there are ways to mitigate the game’s challenge, through careful observation of your environment and smart management of your limited skill set. Sekiro isn’t impossible; it only seems that way at first glance.
7. Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is the biggest, bloodiest and best Mortal Kombat game yet, packing tons of spine-ripping content for casual and competitive combatants alike. The game's epic story mode celebrates the series' past and present through a delightfully off-the-wall time travel adventure, the rotating Towers of Time offer a constantly fresh set of challenges, and The Krypt is a fan service frenzy filled with neat unlockables.
We particularly like the game's custom variation system lets you craft a truly unique version of characters like Liu Kang, Cassie Cage and Scorpion, from their outfits and gear pieces to their individual moves. But most importantly, Mortal Kombat 11 is simply a great fighting game, with the most balanced, rewarding combat mechanics the series has seen yet and excellent online netcode for taking on the world. Test your might, indeed.
Read our full Mortal Kombat 11 review.
8. Forza Horizon 4
While it may have been succeeded by Forza Horizon 5, the fourth game in Forza's more arcade-like racing series is still fantastic and feels like an essential Xbox One game. Forza Horizon 4's combination of frenetic racing condensed U.K. and countryside of a condensed U.K. prove compelling.
Forza Horizon 4 looks gorgeous too, with all four seasons on offer for you to tear around in, as well as quite the selection of cars to drive. These range from powered-up hot hatches to pure supercars that wouldn't look out of place on a bedroom poster of a teenage piston head. What's more, simply driving around is a joy as Forza Horizon 4's open world is populated with the cars of fellow players, so you can expect to trade paint with people on your Xbox friends list. And if you have an Xbox Series X, Forza Horizon 4 looks sharper and plays more smoothly on Microsoft's high-end hardware.
Read our full Forza Horizon 4 review.
Cuphead marries brutal 2D platforming with a gorgeous hand-drawn art style inspired by 1930s cartoons, resulting in a package that’s equal parts charming and challenging. This captivating bullet hell sidescroller is defined by inventive, punishing boss fights that are complemented by a handful of platforming levels, all of which you can enjoy either solo or with a friend. (Bring a friend, if you can; the game is difficult, no matter what, but it can be absolutely brutal by yourself.)
As was the case in our Cuphead experience, you might find the challenge of the game makes you want to throw your controller at times. But overcoming each unforgiving encounter provides some of the most satisfaction you’ll find from any action game. It's easily one of the best Xbox One games for folks who can handle a challenge, not to mention one of the most eye-catching titles from recent years, period.
10. Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is a superb return for Capcom's over-the-top action series. You play as franchise icons Nero and Dante as well as mysterious newcomer V, each of who can put together ridiculously stylish and satisfying combos using all manners of swords, guns and spells. The game's bombastic, unapologetically ridiculous story will please longtime fans, while its striking art style make it the best-looking Devil May Cry game to date.
If you're looking to spend a few afternoons slicing up demons as stylishly as possible, Devil May Cry 5 will scratch an itch like no other. If you have an Xbox Series X, the game can look even better, as it’s possible to reach 4K resolutions and 60 frames-per-second frame rates. For a game where split-second combos are in high demand, the latter, especially, can be pretty useful.
Read our full Devil May Cry 5 review.
How to choose the best Xbox One games for you
If you're looking at this list then you pretty much can't go wrong with any one of these Xbox One games. But ultimately, picking the best one for you will all come down to your personal gaming tastes. There is no one best game overall.
However, if you have a wide range of gaming tastes then we'd suggest you give as many of the games above a go, especially as plenty of them are available on Xbox Game Pass. So really, other than a bit of downloading and storage space, you can't really lose when it comes to picking the best Xbox One game.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.