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The Best Xbox One Exclusives to Buy Before the Series X/S

Gameplay images of Forza Horizon 4, Halo 5: Guardians, and Sea of Thieves with the Xbox One logo.

The Xbox Series X/S is right around the corner, but before the Xbox One is officially a last-gen console it’s time to look back at its library and pick out the best exclusives released for the system during its nearly seven-year-long lifespan.

While the Xbox One wasn’t known for its exclusives, it definitely has a few worth pointing out. And regardless if you’re going to be sticking with your Xbox One for a while or are planning to upgrade to the Series X immediately, it’s going to be worth your time checking these out. After all, all of these games will be playable on the Series X with higher resolutions and frame rates.

One final thing: All of these games are available on Xbox Game Pass—Microsoft’s monthly game subscription service that starts at $10 a month. So if you’re a Game Pass subscriber, you can play all these there without needing to buy them individually.

Halo 5: Guardians

The latest Halo is always an attraction to the current-gen Xbox, and while Halo 5 didn’t wow people as much as some of its predecessors, it’s still a great FPS in both singleplayer and multiplayer. The visuals are better than ever, there are new game modes to play like Warzone (large-scale multiplayer battles), and the story-mode even features four-player online co-op. If you enjoy a good FPS, it’s hard to go wrong with this sci-fi series in general, and Halo 5 is no different.

And if you’re planning to get a Series X, then you’ll want to play Halo 5 so you’re ready for Halo Infinite when it comes out in December of this year.

Forza Horizon 4

Get ready to tear through the United Kingdom with reckless abandon in Forza Horizon 4. See the sights, deeply customize your car both functionally and visually, and race against others online in this massive and beautiful open-world racer. There are hundreds of cars available, and the scripted missions in the game give you a reason to try out a large variety of them as you tackle street, track, and off-road racing.

Forza Motorsport 7

If you’re more interested in the simulation side of racing games, Forza Motorsport 7 is more likely your speed. Here, accuracy is prioritized above all else and you’ll spend your time racing in one of over 700 vehicles through a variety of different tracks and locales from around the world. The options available for tuning your car are in-depth and means you can create a ride that feels exactly how you want it to.

Gears 5

Gears 5 is a gritty third-person shooter set in a fictional future where humans fight for survival against enemy armies. That’s the basis of the campaign anyway, but on top of that is the multiplayer modes where you play a variety of objectives in both co-op and versus modes. So, you can work with your friends or defeat strangers in this high-thrills shooter.

Sea of Thieves

Set sail on the open sea, fight other players, and gather vast amounts of treasure in this swashbuckling adventure. Sea of Thieves is an open-world pirate game with great stylized visuals, immersive gameplay and an always-online world. You can queue with some friends or random players (or by yourself) on a boat and explore the world and complete missions or events. There’s also the constant threat of PVP as you can run into other players at any time giving everything an added degree of risk. After all, if you get sunk it’s the enemy ship that will reap your spoils.

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive is a game unlike any other. This third-person shooter features fast-paced movement, loads of different weapons, and highly stylized graphics. The game is great to look at and feels even better to play as you hop, grind, and wall-run from area to area destroying enemies.

Quantum Break

Quantum Break is a heavily story-based experience, but the inclusion of decisions to be made within the story and thrilling shooter gameplay sequences makes it a great one. This isn’t your standard shooter either, as the characters have unique abilities that manifest as interesting combat mechanics. There’s plenty to see here, and if you enjoy story-based games, then you’re sure to love Quantum Break. 

Deep Rock Galactic

You’re gonna want to grab some friends for this one because Deep Rock Galactic is an inherently multiplayer experience. Here you play as dwarves exploring asteroids and planets to uncover valuable ores. With multiple classes to play as such as a gunner and scout, everyone can pull their weight in a different field, and the constant threat of enemies makes this a sit on the edge of your seat and yell at your friends type of game—the best kind of co-op game.

Rare Replay

This is a collection of studio Rare’s titles for the Xbox 360 and before. These games date back to the Nintendo Entertainment System, but while some of them may be old, they’re all still high quality—or at the very least, interesting games. Even at full price, you’re getting great bang for your buck here—especially considering many of the games have been visually improved as well in terms of resolution and frame rate.

This is probably best seen with Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie.  Both of these games were originally released for the Nintendo 64—not exactly a console known for holding up visually. However, with Rare Replay bringing these games to widescreen HD, they now look impressively clear on modern displays. That added touch of polish to the collection really makes it worth owning, and a great inclusion to any Xbox One library.

Eric Schoon Eric Schoon
Eric Schoon is a writer for Review Geek and has spent most of his life thinking about and analyzing products of all shapes and sizes. From the latest games to the hottest smartphones, he enjoys finding the greatest strengths and weaknesses of everything he gets his hands on and then passing that information on to you. Read Full Bio »