When the Xbox One first launched two years ago it was at a severe disadvantage when compared to the PS4. That year’s E3 hurt the Xbox brand in many ways, causing a number of gamers to jump ship to PlayStation, even after Xbox reversed its stance on the controversial used games policy and always-online requirement.
Shortly after switching gears, Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Don Mattrick left for Zynga, and Phil Spencer was put in charge. Since then, Spencer has aggressively attempted to close the sales gap between Xbox One and PS4 by making sure Xbox has the better exclusives, a goal that has arguably been accomplished at this point.
To that end, these five exclusives are the cream of the crop when it comes to the Xbox One, and all of them just might make the console worth buying.
Forza Motorsport 6
After Forza Motorsport 5‘s microtransactions and general lack of content resulted in the lowest-rated game in franchise history, fans were waiting for Forza Motorsport 6 to return the series to its former glory. Many would agree that Turn 10 accomplished that goal with Forza Motorsport 6, and as we noted in our Forza 6 review, the game could be the best Forza to date.
Halo 5: Guardians
Delivering perhaps the strongest multiplayer experience on Xbox One – despite its lack of split-screen – Halo 5: Guardians is the biggest exclusive across any platform this holiday season. The game has proven to be a big hit for the system, dominating sales charts since release, and helping the Xbox One beat the PS4 in hardware sales for October. Halo has long been the reason to pick up any Xbox system, and Halo 5 has apparently convinced many gamers to finally take the plunge on the Xbox One.
Before Rare Replay, the only legitimate way to play Conker’s Bad Fur Day was by picking up the Nintendo 64 version, which goes for a whopping $80 on eBay. Rare Replay features Conker and 29 other titles from Rare’s past for a mere $30, which illustrates the collection’s value when compared to similar compilations. Rare Replay is a celebration of the history of Rare, and it even has exclusive footage of some cancelled titles, making it a must-buy for any fan of the British developer.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Like the 2013 entry that rebooted the series, Rise of the Tomb Raider has seen near-universal praise, with many reviewers highlighting the game’s story, gameplay improvements over its predecessor, and the performance by Camilla Luddington as Lara Croft. While Rise of the Tomb Raider is only a timed Xbox exclusive, the fact remains that anyone that wants to experience Lara Croft’s latest critically-acclaimed adventure right now can only do so on Xbox 360 or Xbox One.
Boasting fast-paced action and a hilarious script, Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive was arguably the premiere Xbox One exclusive of last year. Its unique combat and traversal system combined to create one of the more unique gameplay experiences available on the system. While its sales were reportedly not as strong as either Insomniac or Microsoft would have hoped, there’s a reason we named it one of the best new gaming IPs of 2014, and hopefully a sequel to the game is eventually developed.
Phil Spencer promised that this holiday season would be the strongest lineup of games in the history of Xbox. And when one considers that four of the games on this list released after Spencer made this promise at E3 2015, it’s hard to argue with him.
There were numerous other games considered for this list as well, which further solidify the Xbox One as a console worth the investment. From remastered versions of Xbox’s greatest hits, like Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Halo: The Master Chief Collection, to strong new entries in classic franchises like Killer Instinct, the Xbox One has certainly come a long way from its troubled start. Moving forward, the Xbox One’s library will only continue to grow, and there’s plenty for the Xbox faithful to be excited about on the horizon.
Which Xbox One games are your favorite? Is the library strong enough to convince you to pick one up this year, or are you waiting for a price drop? Talk to us about the Xbox One and its library of exclusive games in the comments below.