5. Ori and the Blind Forest (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: March 11, 2015
Ori and the Blind Forest really surprised me. It came out in 2015 which was during a time where I was getting bored of 2D platformers. Ori and the Blind Forest felt like the perfect blend of 2D platforming and metroidvania. Any skepticism I felt when spending the money to buy it was completely unfounded within a couple of hours in the Blind Forest. The progression system of Ori and the Blind Forest felt like an evolution of the genre and it seemingly sparked dozens of indy titles which continued improving on certain aspects that released since. The story of Ori and the Blind Forest was tragic at times and heart warming at others and the environments reflect these emotions brilliantly. The depth of the gameplay and story make Ori and the Blind Forest unforgettable. Check out our review of Ori and the Blind Forest here!
4. Alan Wake (Xbox 360) – Original Release Date: May 14, 2010
Developed by Remedy Entertainment, Alan Wake follows the titular protagonist, Alan, as he explores the mysterious Bright Falls. Alan is a novelist and slowly his most intense stories come to life before his eyes while he’s trying to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance. The game is categorized as an action-adventure title but it almost rides the line of survival horror with the suspense and thriller aspects to the story. Like some of the best films, Alan Wake becomes even better the second time you play it, uncovering new elements of the story on other playthroughs. The replayability of Alan Wake is similar to the reason why people re-watch films: to go back and see where the first warnings signs were or to see what’s real and what was imagination. Check out our review of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare here!
3. Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: November 11, 2014
Every Xbox fan is familiar with the Halo series. Although The Master Chief collection released in 2014, the newest installment in the franchise, Halo 5: Guardians, released just the next year. Something interesting happened as the years passed, Halo: The Master Chief Collection was slowly patched to fix the multiplayer experience and slowly but surely the collection of games became this gen’s console selling Halo game. Halo 5 felt like a step down from Halo: The Master Chief Collection which includes Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4 and Halo Reach which all have online multiplayer functionality that’s nearly flawless. Although this collection had a rocky start, with only the campaigns being completely playable, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is the definitive Halo experience on the Xbox One. Check out our review of the Master Chief Collection here!
2. Cuphead (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: September 29, 2017
StudioMDHR was a studio with a dream. When Cuphead was being conceived, the small team invested everything they could into an ambitious little indy title that combined the most difficult run and gunning as well as difficult and memorable boss fights. The team’s ambition paid off when the game released to critical acclaim in 2017 with the game acting like a benchmark of videogame skill for many. The best aspects of the game beyond the gameplay are the 1930’s inspired cartoonish artwork with bouncing orchestral music that would’ve been familiar to the time as well. Another key feature that drove sales of the game is the ability to play co-op with another gamer, having someone to lean on when you’re struggling. StudioMDHR had a dream and they not only achieved it, they exceeded it. Check out our review for Cuphead below:
1. Gears 5 (Xbox One) – Original Release Date: July 19, 2019
Gears 5 was The Coalition’s attempt to shake up their Gears of War franchise which had gamers captivated since 2006. The title wasn’t only a sign of things to come from The Coalition when it launched earlier this year, setting themselves up for future Gears titles, but it also showed the capability and promise of the Xbox One and set a new bar for the series. Gears 5 was a more open experience than previous Gears of War titles, encouraging exploration in some places while utilizing the familiar corridor, cover-based shooting that the franchise is known for in other segments. Gears 5 flawlessly blends elements of previous Gears of War titles with new systems that compliment the experience. Check out our review for Gears 5 below: