The Xbox One is one of any video game console’s most remarkable transformations – and comeback – stories. First, it started chunky, slightly underpowered, and overpriced somewhat compared to its main rival, the PS4 – with a parent company, Microsoft, that seemed to be slacking. Then, over time, it was refreshed with the neat and tidy Xbox One S and stunningly powerful Xbox One X models, while the Xbox organization under Phil Spencer set out to put gaming at the heart of everything they do, putting gamers first with an admirably open approach to things like cross-platform play.
- Sunset Overdrive
The thing about Sunset Overdrive was that it seemed exciting even before it was released. This hardware generation has gotten off to a shaky start. With its dumb jokes, bright colors, and explosions that spelled out the word “BOOM” in fireballs, Sunset Overdrive seemed to be the best of the PS2 era, a knockabout action game that was not for everyone. Unfortunately, this knockabout action game was not for everyone.
- Forza Horizon 4
What began as a spin-off to the more traditional Xbox-exclusive racing flagship, Forza Motorsport, is now arguably the best – and certainly one of the most popular – racing game series globally. With its gorgeous open-world maps and upbeat festival gimmick, Forza Horizon combines unmistakable car-nerd authenticity with a joyous, adventuring spirit that appeals to anyone who enjoys fun video games. For the fourth game, Playground brought the series back to the United Kingdom with its best map to date, which was made even more romantically exciting by changing seasons – while constant live updates made it impossible to put down.
- Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
The gorgeous and luxurious recreation of a true piece of PS1 royalty, Tony Hawk’s could teach open-world games a lot. But, unfortunately, these games aren’t quite as open-world as Ubisoft would have you believe. Still, each classic location feels like its own universe – roll around, jump, grind, and link tricks together while ticking off a series of seemingly meaningless jobs that turn out to be anything but.
Fortnite’s brilliance lies not in the fact that it’s the best battle royale game out there but in the fact that it provides players with unrivaled ways to interact with it. It can be played as a walking simulator or an exploration game as quickly as a shooter. In addition, the incremental level design – level design by midnight elves – should change how games tell their stories through their landscapes. At the same time, character and animation combine to create a wonderful playground.
- Monster Hunter: World
The care with which this game treats its animals makes you feel a little strange about wreaking havoc on them. A massive dinosaur will emerge from the swamp where it has been hiding, its massive backplates covered in thick mud. What a lovely sight! There was a strong sense of a life lived outside of the game. But what if all you have is a giant hammer? Doesn’t everything look like a giant nail when you only have a giant hammer? That’s only half the game, though, and the other half, in which you acquire increasingly fabulous trousers, is equally enjoyable. This is both gloriously superficial and dizzyingly deep in environment, animals, and loot. Enjoy it!