10. Rare Replay (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: August 4, 2015
Rare Replay is exactly what I wanted from Microsoft when they acquired Rare Studios back in 2002, coming only a little late when it released. Rare Replay is a definitive collection of Rare Studios’ thirty most spectacular titles in one package with exclusive features included such as a “rewind” feature and autosave. Some of my favorite titles included in this package are Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata and Killer Instinct. The classic title that people often meme, Battletoads, was one of the true gems of the package but most gamers will get the biggest nostalgia trips from the Banjo & Kazooie games or Conker’s Bad Fur Day from the N64 generation of Rare titles. I never realized just how diverse the Rare Studios catalogue was until I tried Rare Replay and it’s definitely a title that has something for everyone and any occasion. Check out our review for Rare Replay here!
9. Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: October 3, 2017
Forza Motorsport 7 is the definitive simulation racing game as it evolves the already highly advanced Forza Motorsport formula while bringing stunning 4K visuals to the race track. While each Forza Motorsport seems to look more realistic than the last, Forza Motorsport 7 has a shocking attention to detail that’s fully recognized when observing beads of rain water trickling down a windshield or a reflective puddle glistening in the sunshine. Each car can be tweaked and adjusted to any racers content to speed across over 200 courses in 32 locations. You can supercharge any car you want to invest in to create your dream car or you can try the vanilla model of each car to see how they compare with each other. Turn 10 Studios continues to perfect the simulation racing formula and Forza Motorsport 7 is an essential play to any car aficionados. Check out our review of Forza Motorsport 7 below:
8. Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) – Original Release Date: September 20, 2011
Gears of War 3 is the culmination of the original Gears trilogy in what gamers in 2011 thought was the end of the Gears of War series. Like the first two Gears of War games, GoW 3 was developed by Epic Games and it follows Marcus Fenix and his team to Azura which is where Marcus finds his dad Adam who’s being held captive in what is a very bitter sweet reunion. The combination of Lambent and Locust swarms forming most of the assault on Marcus and his team offer similar challenges to previous Gears of War titles but the combat was further refined while still focusing on the cover-based strategy. Epic Games did a great job making sure Gears of War 3 was the culmination of everything they did with the first two games and the end of the trilogy was a great way to open things up to The Coalition with their sequel, Gears of War 4. Check out our review for Gears of War 3 here!
7. Halo: Reach (Xbox 360) – Original Release Date: September 14, 2010
Halo: Reach is the definitive Halo spinoff title which has finally been added to the Master Chief Collection. Reach is a prequel that follows Noble Team which is essentially sent on a suicide mission by the end of the game, becoming heroes in their sacrifice. The experience can be played solo or through co-op, including couch co-op which was still an appreciated feature when it launched. The campaign is second only to that of Halo 3 in my eyes but the multiplayer found ways to change up the Halo formula that are still implemented today such as detailed loadout systems. There’s no question that Halo: Reach is one of the best Halo titles but it’s definitely the definitive spinoff title. Now that it’s available on Halo: The Master Chief Collection which is available on Game Pass, I implore any Halo fan to give it a try.
6. Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: September 28, 2018
Forza Horizon 4 is what I’ve been waiting for from the Forza franchise since the first Horizon. Each title reflects a certain part of the world such as Horizon 3’s Australia or Horizon 2’s Northern Italy and Southern France. Forza Horizon 4 features Great Britain. Each Forza Horizon game offers open-world driving through various landscapes and Great Britain is the most beautiful map so far with rolling hills, dense forests and wheat rich farms. The changing weather is a great feature of Forza Horizon 4 that will keep you on your toes as you change your driving style and/or your vehicles as seasons change. There are many instantly recognizable landmarks such as the Edinburgh Castle, Chesterson Windmill and the Scott Monument which are stunningly realized in what is easily Playground games’ most graphically impressive title to date. Check out our review below: