It's true that despite the many positive attributes of the Xbox One, exclusive content isn't one of its strong suits. Even when disregarding PC multiplats/Play Anywhere, there's a rather short list of exclusives compared to Sony and Nintendo. Still, you've got a number of terrific games that are at least home console exclusives.
These games offer tons of action-packed thrills - and they look particularly slick while doing it; allowing you to experience high-end gaming without the sky-high costs of gaming PCs. Of course, there are still some duds even within this relatively small pool of software; games that prove to be style over substance, sequels that fell short of their predecessor, or are otherwise bland.
With that said, let's hone in on these Xbox One exclusives and pick out the best of the best, along with some that should be skipped. Keep in mind - these are mainly Microsoft exclusives, as most can be accessed one way or another via PC/Windows 10.
10 Skip: Sea Of Thieves
Outside of the novelty of sailing the open seas with your buddies over Xbox Live, and some pretty aesthetics, there's not a ton that's redeeming about this pirate fantasy game. And besides engaging in occasional exciting cannon-blasting ship combat or unearthing awesome loot, the bulk of the experience is dull and empty.
The initial scenes of setting sail for the first time and venturing out to find loot is somewhat thrilling, but it all starts to feel like cumbersome busywork. While Rare has been known for their emphasis on fetch quests with past games, at least they didn't take forever, and there was ample action in-between. This just feels hallow and unfinished, which begs the question - what's Rare been doing all these years?
9 Best: Sunset Overdrive
It's tough to even categorize this wacky Xbox One launch title by Insomniac. It feels like a thrilling extreme sports game ala Tony Hawk or Jet Set Radio fused with an insane action shooter. Sunset Overdrive further differentiates itself with a cheeky dystopian premise involving a toxic energy drink, along with a colorful array of characters and monsters.
The pummeling of action bits - where you wipe out waves of baddies with crazy weaponry - is simply a blast. But even the act of just getting from A to B can be a thrill, as you can bounce, grind, and dash across just about everything in Sunset City. Sunset Overdrive stands out in an Xbox One library full of standard brown and grey shooters with its colorful environments and nutty themes, and it's got the fun gameplay to back it up.
8 Skip: Crackdown 3
Crackdown 3 stands as a prime example of how less is often more. Despite some slicker, more polished graphics and most vast environments, this game falls flat in a number of areas. Whereas the first two games on the Xbox had a sense of depth and methodical gameplay to the campaign, everything here just feels random, stock, and uninspired. Though this series has seen a steady decline since the first entry in 2007.
Missions are mostly repetitious - often boiling hunting down enemy leaders or hacking various points of interest. It all just feels dated and bland for an exclusive that's supposed to showcase modern-day gaming. Crackdown 3 also just feels off with its wonky physics, and, despite enduring a delay, still has bugs that rear their ugly head.
7 Best: Rare Replay
Those who value games from Rareware or even appreciate retro-style classics in general should get a lot out of this one. This robust package contains a whopping 30 games, of which roughly 80% of them are more than worthy of revisiting.
This compilation is a celebration of Rare in its glory days, and offers a variety of hits that span multiple genres. Even sans the Nintendo properties, there's a nice and healthy variety here. From the 3D platforming gems of Jet Force Gemini and Conker's Bad Fur Day to the oldschool throwbacks of Jetpac and Battletoads, there's something for just about every breed of gamer. This delightfully colorful collection certainly helps round out Xbox One's otherwise grittier lineup of shooters and action games.
6 Skip: Halo Wars 2
This one was somewhat set up to fail, given that elaborate RTS games and their heavy micromanaging don't typically mesh with a game controller. And for a console-based real-time strategy, Halo Wars 2 certainly tries its best. It isn't a terrible experience for those who have the patience to learn its cumbersome, complex controls.
It's also an improvement over its predecessor on the 360; though this isn't saying much. At the end of the day, this Halo spin-off leaves a lot to be desired; largely feeling like a "lite" version of a PC RTS experience. Juggling tasks is still tough, AI can be spotty, and the campaign feels like a glorified, uninspired tutorial most of the way.
5 Best: Halo 5: Guardians
The debut of this classic franchise sequel comes out firing on just about all cylinders for the Xbox One - it still offers that solid online FPS gameplay, and it looks as pretty as ever. And while it's no Halo 3, this anticipated follow-up proves that Master Chief and company still got it.
While Halo 5's campaign narrative leaves something to be desired, the game nails it where it really counts - with its robust and addictive multiplayer. Still, even the campaign mode provides plenty of thrills if you gather some fellow Spartans for some exciting 4 player online co-op.
The introduction of the multiplayer Warzone mode also makes for some of the most epic and exciting showdowns in the series. This mode adds an interesting new dimension to the gameplay with new objectives, along with larger maps and 24 players.
4 Skip: Super Lucky's Tale
Props to developer Playful Corp. for at least trying to make a memorable Rare-style platformer. Unfortunately, there's little substance behind this charming style. This is certainly no Banjo Kazooie, despite its seemingly polished exterior or visually pleasing colorful themes.
Super Lucky's Tale is at least a competent 3D platformer, but it contains a myriad of issues that keep it from getting anywhere near Super Mario 64 levels of greatness which it seems to desperately try to do. There's an abundance of busywork in solving puzzles and collecting clovers and coins, which is only made more aggravating by a wonky camera and shoddy mechanics.
3 Best: Gears Of War: 4
Much like Halo 5, this 4th main entry in the Gears series doesn't quite hit the levels seen in this iconic franchises' peak, but still stands as one of the best games on Xbox One. Gears 4 revs up the epic themes and aesthetics offering thrilling cinematic qualities of a story that follows a far older, more grizzled Marcus Phoenix, and a new cast of COG soldiers.
The game looks absolutely gorgeous, further immersing you into the post-apocalyptic, locust-infested battlezone, while adding new elements and crazy new weapons to keep things feeling fresh and fun. At the same time, it relies on the solid foundation built by the first 3 entries, and thankfully does away with most of the weird quirks of Judgment. Online play has been further refined and fleshed out as well, with a smooth 60 FPS to further enhance the experience.
2 Skip: Ryse: Son Of Rome
One would think it'd be tough to crank out a dull, uninteresting game that runs with such cool themes involving legions of Ancient Roman, but unfortunately, that's largely the case with this hack 'n' slash. There certainly are some awesome environments and gorgeous visuals here - but behind the flashy exterior is a pretty mediocre action title.
For a game that emphasizes action so heavily, the combat falls flat with its repetition and lack of depth. These mechanics remind one of Assassin's Creed or the Batman: Arkham games; just a hollow, unfinished version of it. Ryse: Son of Rome is yet another example of style over substance on the Xbox One. Much like a defeated gladiator, this gets a thumbs down.
1 Best: Forza Horizon 4
This open-world racer is so dynamic, so pretty, and so vast, that it seems almost futile to attempt to do it justice in just a handful of sentences - though it doesn't hurt to try!
Forza Horizon 4 has done the seemingly impossible - which is build even further on the already rich and robust formula of this solid series' foundation. The scope is massive and the gameplay is more appealing than ever, with its endless offerings of singleplayer missions, stunts, co-op, and competitive multiplayer events.
The driving mechanics are oh-so-satisfying with the rewind function and points system, and Playground Games again does a fine job in rewarding skilled drivers while making everything accessible. This also might be one of the prettiest games ever, and the sights of Great Britain - in all 4 of its colorful seasons - will blow your hair back.