Now that we’ve gone through all the hoopla that the PlayStation 4 offered this past weekend, it’s Microsoft’s turn. The Xbox One is just days away from release, and from what we’ve played so far, the launch line-up is rather spectacular.
True, we don’t have a Geometry Wars or Perfect Dark Zero this time around, but we do have several great games that we’re looking forward to. Here are the ten that you should add to your library without a hint of hesitation.
10. Zoo Tycoon
A business simulation may not seem like the ideal purchase for a next-gen console, but Zoo Tycoon nails the theme and the visuals so well that it deserves a mention. You’ll manage a number of resources in the zoo, using a user-friendly interface while keeping everything running smoothly. On top of that, the photo-realistic animals are dazzling, as if you’re visiting an actual zoo. If you have young ones that love animals – or adore them yourself – you’ll definitely want to make an investment.
9. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
Edward Kenway’s pirating adventure is easily one of the best in the Assassin’s Creed series to date, a fresh start that introduces miles of terrain on both land and sea. With rollicking sea battles, sword-slinging action and treasure exploration, there’s no shortage of things to do in Ubisoft’s latest. On top of that, the Xbox One’s muscles make the visuals even better than on previous consoles, making this the definitive version to own. Grab your fake pegleg (but don’t cut off your real one) and get to pirating, matey!
8. FIFA 14
There are a lot of fabulous sports games to choose from at launch, including football and basketball, but there’s something about a good soccer match that can’t be denied. FIFA 14 offers the best of both worlds – a presentation that nails down the TV-broadcast style in both visuals and sound, and gameplay that will keep you coming back, from the corner kicks to the dazzling Pele-style goal scores in extra time. Throw in some tremendous online and management options, and you have a sports experience that only a fool would turn away.
Originally developed for the Xbox 360 for exclusive Kinect play, this Panzer Dragoon-inspired adventure has been a long time coming. However, with refinements to its graphics and gameplay – including Xbox One controller support – it’ll be worth the wait. Featuring breathtaking locales and classic gameplay straight out of Sega’s playbook, Crimson Dragon will also challenge players with immense boss battles and tougher levels. Panzer Dragoon Saga it’s not, but it’s certainly the next best thing.
“Yippie ki-yay…expletive deleted.” LocoCycle is a throwback to the zany days of the 90’s, with Twisted Pixel firmly at the helm. You portray a weaponized motorcycle reborn with a conscience, and outrunning her former adversaries in a winner-take-all fight to the finish. If the awesome racing sequences don’t grab you, chances are the fighting action will, as you can demolish enemies with a number of combos – and even smack them around with the assistance of your hapless mechanic. With an all-star cast – keep an eye out for Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn – and plenty of wild action, LocoCycle is a ride well worth taking. Plus, Robert Patrick is in it. You don’t turn down the T-1000. Ever.
Crytek’s Roman action tale has gotten a slight bit of criticism since its unveiling, especially with its quick-time event based combat. Going a little deeper, though, we discovered there’s much more to the game. The action scenarios are huge, like something you’d find in a big Hollywood production like Gladiator, and the controls are quite good, with satisfying kills and plenty of blood-spilling action. On top of that, the visuals provide an earth-shaking revelation of what the Xbox One is really capable of. Grab your sword and shield, because this is going to be a fight.
The previous Need For Speed racing games have done a great job emphasizing the importance of multiplayer, along with the feeling of climbing into a vehicle that oozes sleek, unprecedented style. With Rivals, Electronic Arts continues the trend, but ups the ante with fierce multiplayer competition between racers and cops. Both have advantages and weaknesses to exploit, spread across miles of open terrain, the perfect setting for racing shenanigans. Throw in some fun tunes and great visuals, and you have a game that’ll keep you peeling out onto the road for some time.
Some players had their doubts about the latest chapter in the Dead Rising saga, worried about performance issues and the lack of the stars from the previous games. However, when it comes right down to it, you still get to kill hundreds of zombies in a matter of seconds in most creative ways. Nick Ramos proves to be a likable foil in this zombie-filled nightmare, especially when it comes to building bizarre – yet incredible – weaponry. The vehicles really take the game to the next level as well, especially when you’re mowing down an undead horde with a combination motorcycle-steamroller. This is one apocalyptic party you shouldn’t miss.
A fighting series that first got its start in the 90’s – only to disappear for over a decade – Killer Instinct finally makes its way back into the fold in a stellar Xbox One brawl-a-thon. Featuring a number of favorites from the original games, as well as a few new faces for good measure, Instinct recaptures the glorious combo-filled gameplay the series has become known for, along with a rich visual style that makes proper use of the hardware. On top of that, it’s great to hear the classic announcer make his return – nothing beats his bellow of “ULTRA COMBOOOOO!”
Out of all the drool-worthy games making their way to the Xbox One line-up, Forza Motorsport 5 speeds ahead of the pack. Turn 10 Studios has done a terrific job establishing this racing series on the original Xbox and Xbox 360, but with the Xbox One, it means serious business. With realistic visuals that make you feel every ounce of speed that your car delivers, along with precision gameplay, hundreds of vehicles, an orchestrated soundtrack and great multiplayer interaction, it’s everything you need from a racing experience. On top of that, your “virtual” player continues to race for you, even if you’re off-line. A racing game that plays without you? That’s madness – and a next-gen feature we can’t wait to see in action.
The Xbox One releases on November 22nd.