After a successful stint with the Xbox 360 that began way back in 2005, public expectation was justifiably high for the Xbox One. As with past Microsoft consoles, the Xbox Live online service once again forms a central and integral part of the gaming experience on Xbox One. The surprise popularity of the Kinect peripheral also means that every Xbox One consoles comes bundled with one so that you can further interact with games using voice and gestures.
More importantly, the Xbox One launch was accompanied by the release of a variety of games spread across various genres. We went hands on with the key launch titles to select the ones that we feel are the cream of the crop.
1. Forza Motorsport 5
The Forza Motorsport series is one that has continued to innovate on technical level while ensuring that there is enough new content in each instalment to keep racing enthusiasts happy. While the fifth instalment may not have as many cars or tracks as past instalments, it does come with an impressive visual upgrade to 1080p that really makes the vehicles and environments shine. Forza Motorsport 5 sets the bar high for what is expected from a next generation driving game, and successfully delivers on all fronts.
2. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
The fourth iteration of Assassin’s Creed is likely one of the best the series has to offer. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of being an outlaw, particularly when the possibilities for mischief and mayhem are seemingly endless, and Black Flag takes it up a notch by placing you in the role of a swashbuckling pirate in the Caribbean. The Xbox One version does not have the impressive 1080p resolution of the PlayStation 4 version, it's still one of the most impressive games to come out for launch.
3. Lego Marvel Super Heroes
The Marvel universe is known for its rich mythology and cast of characters, though past games have been content just to focus on a subset of this expansive world. Lego Marvel Super Heroes bucks this trend by bringing everyone’s favourite heroes and villains into one giant Lego adventure. The Xbox One version comes with the same graphic fidelity and content as the PlayStation 4 version, so it comes just as highly recommended.
4. FIFA 14
This year’s FIFA release promised to be a significant upgrade over the already impressive FIFA 13 for the series’ debut on the next generation of consoles. FIFA 14 renders the entire soccer field and players in a 1080p resolution, and gameplay has been tweaked to make it feel more sim-like than before. The gameplay and content is identical among all versions of the game, but the increased visual fidelity of the Xbox One version is hard to pass up.
5. Dead Rising 3
The original Dead Rising started off as an exclusive for Xbox 360, helping to show off the then new console’s horsepower via a large and detailed game world infested with zombies. After a multiplatform stint with the sequel, Dead Rising 3 returns as an exclusive on Xbox One, and in the processing achieves what the first game did. In addition to detailed environments and a seemingly limitless number of zombies on-screen, Dead Rising 3 brings enough interactivity to the game world to keep you occupied for hours on end.
6. Battlefield 4
The Battlefield series is renowned for its gritty depiction of warfare and well-tuned gunplay mechanics. Each new instalment is met with anticipation, and this was particularly true with the debut of Battlefield 4 on the next generation of consoles. The 720p resolution means that the game does not have the same wow factor as the other launch titles on Xbox One, but it comes with the same action-packed single-player campaign and multiplayer mode.
7. Call of Duty: Ghosts
The Call of Duty series takes a break from its Modern Warfare and Black Ops storylines to introduce a new setting and narrative. Ghosts aims to innovate by introducing zero gravity space fights and a dog companion that you can issue orders to and take control of during missions. The main attraction of the game is the carefully balanced multiplayer model, though the 720p resolution stops the game from really shining for the Xbox One launch.
8. Need for Speed: Rivals
The recent Need for Speed titles have helped revitalise the franchise and bring it back to its roots, namely driving fast cars without any regard for the law. Rivals continues with this back to basic approach, while at the same time bringing a more varied range of sports cars and exotic environments to drive them through. The sensation of speed is helped with a solid frame rate and 1080p resolution, making Rivals a worthy alternative or companion to Forza Motorsport 5.
Ryse: Son of Rome is an ambitious adventure title set during the Roman era, though its uneven gameplay is unable to match its impressive visuals.
Zoo Tycoon is a revival of the popular PC strategy game of the same name, though changes to the core gameplay mean that the game loses steam in its endgame.
Killer Instinct is a re-imagining of the long dormant fighting game series with slick visuals, though it would have benefited from being a retail release instead of a free-to-play title.
Crimson Dragon is a rail shooter billed as the spiritual sequel to the classic Panzer Dragon games, though it lacks the thrills and imagination the older titles were renowned for.
Zumba Fitness: World Party is a dance-based titled with a fitness angle to it, so it will appeal to those who ever wanted a virtual personal trainer in their living room.
For those who want the fun without the exercise, Just Dance 2014 allows you to dance to both current and classic songs with the help of the Xbox One’s improved Kinect camera.
Powerstar Golf is a cartoon-flavoured golf game that does not take itself too seriously, so it mainly appeals to casual gamers instead of aspiring pro golfers.
Madden NFL 25 is a significant step up from the previous instalment and will appeal to any local fans that may follow the sport.
NBA 2K14 aims to bring a narrative to the sport of basketball together with a slick presentation, and achieves it with a next generation makeover. On the other hand, NBA Live 14 does not quite have the polish and flair.
Angry Birds Star Wars is a port of the same game found on smartphones, though at a higher price and without the portability.
Meanwhile, Skylanders: Swap Force will appeal to fans of the series that make use of real life action figures.
Fighter Within is a Kinect based fighting game that is held back by its poorly implemented motion controls.