2017 was a banner year for Xbox gaming, with plenty of amazing new games released including Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin's Creed Origins and most other major games. And who can forget the introduction of the 4K-enabled Xbox One X?
2018 promises to be equally as interesting in the game world with upcoming releases including Far Cry 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 and more - we’ve listed some of the most anticipated games of 2018 if you’re looking ahead - we'll be adding some to this list as we get the chance to play them.
Still, now’s the perfect time to catch up on the best Xbox One games you missed the first time around - and remember to check for some of the best games deals around if you’re planning to pick anything up.
If you’re not too much of a platform loyalist, we’ve rounded up the best PS4 games and the year's best PC games, and you should also check out our round up of the best games deals out there right now.
Forza Motorsport 7
Forza 7 is the ultimate driving game for Xbox and PC gamers. It adds realistic elements to the game without making it as punishing as the majority of driving sims, providing the perfect balance for gamers. It’s a stunning game not only in terms of the cars but the weather system, environments and even the tracks themselves, and the built-in photo mode shows it all off perfectly.
Combine that with perfect handling, even when using a controller, and you’ve got a racing game that you’ll sink a lot of time into.
Find out more in our Forza Motorsport 7 review.
Assassin's Creed: Origins
Following a 'year off' after the release of AC: Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Origins was released in late 2017. We think it's hands-down the most in-depth and enjoyable title in the Assassin’s Creed series so far, and ancient Egypt is the perfect location to showcase it.
The redesigned combat mechanics make battles fun while still providing a challenge and a tactical element for those that want to exercise their minds. Senu, the Eagle, is a fantastic Egyptian take on Eagle Vision and compliments gameplay perfectly.
Combine that with a detailed and vibrant environment and a storyline that Hollywood writers would be proud of, and you’ve got one of the best games of 2017.
Find out more in our full Assassin's Creed Origins review.
Battlefield 1 sees the iconic FPS series go back to basics. Worlds away from the modern, gadget-filled battles of recent franchise entries, or the cops-versus-robbers shootouts of Battlefield Hardline, BF1 instead takes the First World War for its setting.
The historical theme is no gimmick either, and developer DICE makes the most of the unique opportunities it offers for both storytelling and gameplay.
Battlefield 1’s single-player is split up into six separate War Stories’, each of which follows a different protagonist and explores a different element of WWI combat, from trench warfare to tanks and early airships. There’s an emphasis all the way through on the horrors of war, backed up by sobering statistics and facts about the real-life conflict.
The historical weapons also have their impact on the game’s multiplayer, encouraging close-quarters and melee combat, subtly shifting the tactics needed to win. There’s limited weapon customisation though, and the vehicles are as primitive and simple as the period requires.
Stunning graphics and expansive, detailed maps seal the deal, making Battlefield 1 one of 2016’s best games on any console.
Final Fantasy 15
The quality of a game should no doubt be measured by more than just how long it takes to complete it, but even so, there's something to be said for a game that could give you hours of entertainment for each pound you spend on it.
On that basis alone, Final Fantasy XV alone is worth a purchase. The main story alone could take you 40-50 hours, but if you throw in all the side quests you're looking at 200 hours in all, which should keep you busy for a good while.
The game shakes up the traditional Final Fantasy formula, not least in the real-time combat, which has proved divisive among long-term fans. It takes a little getting used to, but we found it to be extremely effective and intuitive once you do.
The open world is the franchise's biggest yet, and the game lets you visit just about everything you can see from your car, making it feel more lived in and real than ever before. Throw in cooking, photography, and a host of other activities, and you can quickly see how the game could run up to 200 hours.
FFXV sees the franchise moving in a bold new direction, and between the engaging story, dynamic battles, and vast open world, we can't wait to see where it goes next.
Reviving the long-dormant XCOM strategy series with 2012’s Enemy Unknown was no easy feat, so there were always high hopes for 2017's sequel, the more simply named XCOM 2, but it’s hard to imagine anyone was disappointed by it.
Set years after the first game, in a world in which humanity lost its initial war against the alien invaders, the XCOM team is no longer a massive interplanetary defence force, but instead a small band of renegades and outlaws.
That changes the scope of many missions, which are now built around a new stealth mechanic that allows you to move your team into an optimum position and launch an ambush on the first unsuspecting enemies you find.
Missions are also likely to boast secondary objectives, and some set strict time limits, forcing you to abandon the safety of cover and dash forward across the map in order to succeed in time.
Maps are generated procedurally, meaning there’s more variation than before, and they’re packed with new enemy types - including a few re-purposed from the original ‘90s series like the Viper.
XCOM 2 is the rare sequel that feels better than the original in just about every way - and the original was already fantastic, so that’s really saying something.
With its first game, Limbo, developer Playdead proved it was at the top of the puzzle-platformer genre. Somehow, against the odds, it’s done one better with the impeccable Inside.
Things kick off with you controlling a young boy trying to sneak into some sort of dystopian factory/facility/lab. As you sneak from left to right in an oppressive dark world you have to evade guards, dogs, and a particularly aggressive pig until you make your way inside and it all gets a lot weirder.
Saying too much would spoil a lot of the game’s best surprises, but the plot is gradually (and wordlessly) revealed as you best the game’s intricate physics puzzles and escape various threats, all building towards a final act that’s just, well, insane. Utterly insane.
The puzzles are smart and challenging, but rarely frustrating, holding you up for just long enough to satisfy when you figure them out, without ever becoming an irritation.
The game is also visually stunning, adding more detail than Limbo’s stark silhouettes. It still keeps things simple though, bolstered by impressive lighting effects and characterful animations.
Inside is intelligent and original, and at just £15 remains one of the most memorable gameplay experiences of the year.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
The first-person perspective may be new to the series, but most of the rest of Resident Evil 7 is a return to its roots. Creepy mansion? Check. Sparse ammo? Check. Green herbs that magically heal even the gravest of wounds? Check, check, and check.
It's not all old hat though. For one thing, there are no zombies. Instead you're up against some fungal nasties called the Moulded and some rather homicidal hillbillies. Oh, and did we mention that they're nigh-on invincible cannibals too?
It doesn't always work (the boss battles fall a bit flat, but that's really par for the course with Resident Evil games), but when it does it's fantastic. Every sound, every movement, and even every door is a fresh source of horror, making this a shoo-in for 'least relaxing game of 2017'.
Resident Evil 7 never feels quite as innovative as we thought it might be, and its influences are obvious (check out Amnesia and Alien: Isolation if you haven't yet), but it's hard to argue with the end result: unspeakable terror.
Read more in our Resident Evil 7 review.
Ever since it was released back in 2007, BioShock has basically become a genre in its own right, with countless games aping its environmental storytelling, copious audio logs, and mind-bending plot twists.
Prey is just the latest iteration in the formula, and it doesn’t do much to break out of it - you’ll explore and fight in first-person, use a mix of guns and superpowers equipped through some suspect sci-fi tech, and piece together how everything around you fell apart - in this case the Talos I space station, overrun by gloopy black aliens.
They’re the Typhon, and they’re probably Prey’s biggest innovations - not least the Mimics, small space spiders that disguise themselves as innocuous things like coffee cups and staplers right up until they transform and latch onto your face. Friendly little guys, really.
Still, even if Prey can’t quite break free from the formula, it’s a reminder that BioShock’s is still a tremendous formula, even ten years on. You can develop your abilities in myriad different ways, emphasizing stealthy sneak attacks, all-out firepower, or turn the Typhon’s own abilities against them with the later psionic powers.
None of it feels especially new or groundbreaking, but ultimately, Prey is following an old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And this definitely ain’t broke.
Dark Souls 3
By now you probably know whether or not Dark Souls 3 is for you. The Souls games quickly acquired cult status for their intense difficulty and deep fantasy lore, but they’re pretty much the Marmite of modern gaming.
Some players find themselves obsessed by the challenge, playing and re-playing segments endlessly to perfect the sequence of moves to navigate past enemies to the next all-important campfire.
Others just see it as dying. And dying again. And again. Then a few more times. Then they throw their controller at the wall and storm off, never to play a Souls game again.
Dark Souls 3 is, like the best of the series, relentless and unforgiving, demanding precision and persistence from players, but it’s worth the work.
Combat has been tweaked slightly, learning a few lessons from developer FromSoftware’s Victorian gothic adventure Bloodborne to make fights faster paced. A new magic system is also inherited from Demon’s Souls, adding a new dimension to gameplay.
As the third (and potentially final) in the series, Dark Souls 3 could never be as groundbreaking as its predecessors. But it’s as polished, satisfying, and compulsive as Souls games get.
The first thing you notice about Superhot is its striking visual style, in which the world is reduced to shades of white, broken only by black guns and bright red baddies - and bullets. The visuals are brilliant, unforgettable, and somehow the least interesting part of the game.
Superhot is a first-person shooter, but not like any you’ve played before. Time in the game only moves when you do, slowing to a crawl whenever you stand still, making each level a series of tiny strategic encounters.
You pause, evaluate the room, and plan a move to avoid incoming attackers and hopefully take a couple out. Then you pause again, re-evaluate, and form a new plan, clearing the encounter by increments, surviving so long as you master the split-second timing.
There’s a surprisingly sinister campaign, which delves into some very meta storytelling, backed up by a number of challenge modes to further test your skills.
There’s a diverse array of guns, explosive, and melee weapons, including a fair few improvised weapons you can grab to throw at enemies. One of the game’s most fun maneuvers sees you stun enemies to disarm them, stealing their weapon in the process.
Superhot is one of those rare games that feels genuinely new, and unlike anything that’s come before it.
Metal Gear Survive
Metal Gear Survive takes place following the events of Ground Zeroes, and is technically a spin-off from the MGSV timeline. Essentially, a wormhole appears and promptly sucks Motherbase into its churning maw and end up in a desolate dimension where you’re forced to survive.
You’ll find new features when compared to previous MGS games, most notably the introduction of a hunger and thirst system that really limits -ahem-, that really enhances the survival experience. Your character levels up and unlocks new talents as you progress through the game, and the growing library of things to craft should keep you busy for a while.
But while some of these activities are certainly enjoyable, there is a lot of busy work required before you can progress through the story. Finding food on top of scavenging for materials so you can actually play the game gets a lot less interesting after you’ve done it for the fifth time. And when that’s combined with oxygen consumption in the dust, you’ll find yourself heading back to Base Camp fairly often to replenish your stats.
But despite the frustrations, fans of Metal Gear V will feel right at home here with the game’s tone and feel. The wanderers being dangerous up close, and a need to be more tactical makes a nice difference to other zombie titles that encourage you to hack and slash. If you’re a fan of zombie games and the Metal Gear series, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Read more in our full Metal Gear Survive review.
Call of Duty: WW2
Call of Duty WW2 takes the CoD franchise back to its roots. During the campaign you’ll storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day before fighting your way across Europe, experiencing events of the second world war including the Battle of the Bulge and The Rhine through the eyes of a solider.
Clocking in at around six hours of play time, the intense campaign is packed with intense close-quarters combat and spectacular events, all enhanced with impressive sound design and incredible visuals. It’s a stunning game with detailed environments – even the facial animations are detailed.
The multiplayer boasts 10 diverse maps across Europe, featuring maps with tight corners and enclosed areas perfect for shotguns or submachine guns to open maps ideal for patient snipers. A big change is the removal of Classes. They’ve been replaced with Divisions, each with unique unlockable benefits like SMG suppressors or bayonet charges.
But while the changes are welcome, we can’t help but feel it’s a little underwhelming compared to other games like Battlefield 1 with huge multiplayer modes and various vehicles to use, especially with CoD’s 12-player limit.
There’s also a Nazi Zombies mode with a great new co-op campaign mode, featuring an original story separate from the campaign.
Read more in our full Call of Duty: WW2 review.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s modern-day successor to Valve’s Team Fortress 2, a manic, team-based arena shooter where every character has different weapons, powers, and playstyles.
There’s no story to speak of, and no single-player beyond the training modes, so this one is all about heading online to battle it out in the competitive multiplayer.
In the main modes, two teams of six face off in a variety of colourful maps, usually with the aim of capturing or defending various control points.
While the main gameplay modes can be similar, Overwatch also has weekly brawls with special rules, like giving every player 50 percent health, or forcing everyone to use a random new hero every time they die, so there’s plenty of variety to enjoy.
There are more than 20 heroes to pick from, and each is totally different. Bastion can switch back and forth between a mobile robot and a static sentry gun, Tracer can teleport forwards and rewind time to recover health, and the monstrous Roadhog uses a giant chain hook to drag enemies towards himself.
Blizzard has already added a few new heroes since Overwatch launched, and has promised further free updates down the line, so the game should hopefully only get better -- and it’s already pretty fantastic.
Halo Wars 2
The Halo franchise may be best known for first-person shooting, but back in 2009 Halo Wars made a brief foray in real-time strategy, with one of the only RTS games designed first and foremost for console players.
For a while it looked like it was destined to be a one-off, until Microsoft made the surprise announcement of a Halo Wars 2, created in collaboration between Halo franchise stewards 343 Industries and strategy masterminds Creative Assembly - best known for the Total War games.
The result is a game that continues the aim of marrying the RTS with a console controller, while doing its best to preserve the deep strategy the best of the genre can offer. In practice, there's inevitably a bit of simplification, though the devs have done a remarkable job of making the gamepad controls feel natural and intuitive.
There's the standard campaign mode and online multiplayer options, but the big draw for some will be the new Blitz mode. This aims to make the most of the gamepad by offering a simplified, faster version of the game for multiplayer, replacing base-building with card-based system for playing units - think Command & Conquer mashed up with Hearthstone.
Agents of Mayhem
Set in the same universe as the Saints Row series, Volition's Agents of Mayhem is an extremely fun game to play with a distinct super hero movie/comic book vibe.
It features a wide range of characters to choose from, all with unique abilities and weaponry. The ability to switch between three characters on the fly is unique, and provides a unique way to approach battles.
But while the gameplay is fun, the storyline isn’t the most entertaining we’ve ever come across. It’s enough to get you through the campaign, it’s not a memorable one – and that’s a shame, given the developer’s history with the Saints Row series.
So while the gameplay is enjoyable, it’s a little short-lived and it isn’t a game we imagine you’ll sink weeks or months into.