Best Xbox One Games Of 2019
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
The Finest Games On Xbox One This Year
As 2019 comes to an end, Microsoft is looking onwards to the 2020 launch of its next-gen console, currently codenamed Project Scarlett. That doesn't mean that the Xbox One is an obsolete system, however, as Microsoft's current-gen console continues to see the release of excellent triple-A and indie games.
In the following gallery, we cover the five best games to release on Xbox One in 2019. In terms of first-party releases, 2019 was another rough year for Microsoft's console--at least, in comparison to PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Though Gears 5 was critically well-received, the only other first-party title to release for Xbox One, Crackdown 3, wasn't. Both games didn't make GameSpot's best games of 2019 list either, which is why neither one is included in this gallery.
That said, Xbox One could see a much stronger 2020. As discussed in GameSpot's Microsoft 2019 Report Card, this year was one of growth, with Microsoft making moves with game subscription services, studio acquisitions, new hardware, and more--all of which could lead to positive developments in 2020.
If you're curious about what else we've highlighted as the best games in other categories, be sure to check out all our end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2019 hub. You can also check out our top 10 games of 2019. Over the next few days, we will offer further insight into why we picked them as the best of 2019, with a standalone article going live on-site in order of the games' release dates. Then, on December 17, we will reveal which of them gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot's Best Game of 2019.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 is far more than a remake of the classic PlayStation original. Where recent games in the series lost sight of what made early entries so unique, the RE2 remake continues the work began by the wonderful Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and develops the series' quintessential survival horror mechanics and puzzle-solving into its most cohesive iteration yet.
As Leon or Claire, a familiar terror awaits as you navigate the labyrinthian hallways of the Raccoon City Police Department. The original game's most memorable moments expectedly line the remake's retelling of that terrifying night in 1998, but they're recontextualized, remixed, and given new life. Simply pointing your gun at a zombie is anxiety-inducing again, as the game removes the empowerment once offered by the freedom to aim, providing you only a semblance of dominance, a much shakier aim, and fewer bullets. And don't even get us started with the Lickers or Mr. X; the remake amplifies the terror of fighting these relentless enemies in a more seamless environment where your chances of survival seem to decrease by the minute.
Somehow RE2 remake's successes far exceed that of the original. The brilliant execution of its risk-reward survival-horror highlights it as one of the best experiences this year. A riveting and harrowing adventure, RE2 Remake is a shining example of the series' best qualities that proves the genre can still evolve, thrill, and delight. -- Matt Espineli
We thought we had seen it all in the battle royale subgenre--then came Apex Legends. The team at Respawn Entertainment used the best elements from the last-player-standing mode and combined them with Titanfall's buttery-smooth gameplay foundation. At the same time, it introduced several mechanics that made the overall experience more enjoyable than anything that had come before.
The ping system, streamlined inventory management, teammate respawn opportunities, and different Legends with unique abilities and charisma all came together to put Apex Legends in a league of its own. With the brisk pace of matches and high speed of firefights, Apex showed that battle royale can still deliver the genre's signature thrill without relying on unnerving tension. Apex moves fast both in-game and between matches, so even when you're down on your luck, you can quickly pick yourself back up. It's as if Respawn thought of every issue battle royales have had and created the right solution for them.
It's an expectation today that multiplayer games evolve with content updates and ongoing support, and while Apex Legends didn't get it quite right with its first season, it bounced back strong later in the year. For example, with Season 3: Meltdown, the game brought us a new map called World's Edge that made for a refreshing change of pace and gave way to great moments of high-stakes battles on an exciting, varied stage. We've been continually hyped for new Legends as well, of which we received three: Octane, Wattson, and Crypto. There have also been seasonal events, limited-time modes, and tweaks to its progression system for new cosmetics. Apex Legends resonated with us when it launched, and continued to do so throughout 2019. -- Michael Higham
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From Software proved it can still excel at creating new ways of making incredibly difficult action games. Though Sekiro utilizes similar storytelling beats and mechanics from the developer's previous Soulsborne titles, the game is an altogether different beast to tackle--curating mentally taxing (but highly rewarding) combat encounters that are defined by both stealth and hyper-aggression. Combat is the best aspect of Sekiro, but the game has a lot more going for it, all of which helps make it one of the best gaming experiences of 2019.
Sekiro's setting, Ashina, is loosely based on the Sengoku period of Japan. It's a well-crafted world, one that's supported by its detailed level design and storytelling. Save for a few areas, all of Ashina's many locations are directly connected, allowing you to seamlessly traverse most of the map without the need to fast-travel. This further makes Sekiro's in-game world feel like an actual place--one where its well-written characters call home. Lore isn't info-dumped on your either; instead the game encourages you to seek out the answers to its many questions by tying expositional history to useful in-game items or weapons. By growing stronger, you learn more about the world, and by seeking out answers to your questions about the world, you find items that make you stronger.
Which, frankly, is just a long-winded way of saying that Sekiro works so incredibly well because all of its systems, mechanics, and features are working in tandem with one another. Individually (with the exception of the combat), you could argue that Sekiro doesn't do any one thing in an extraordinarily unique way. However, the game does a better job than most at seamlessly tying all of its pieces together in a way that can only be described as extraordinary. -- Jordan Ramée
Outer Wilds isn't a puzzle game, exactly, but in many ways, the game itself is a puzzle. As the denizen of a small backwater planet with big dreams of exploring the galaxy, you're tasked to explore a large uncharted galaxy. The game has all the initial appearances of a space exploration sim with somewhat realistic (and challenging) rocket mechanics. It only takes your first cycle, in which the entire galaxy ends and resets itself, to realize it's much more than that.
On a mechanical level, Outer Wilds is about unlocking a mystery over time. Every life will inevitably end after a set time, and each iteration starts you fresh, equipped only with the cumulative knowledge you've built up through your previous lives. That mechanic is used brilliantly to explore larger human concepts--the value of curiosity and discovery, the pursuit of knowledge, and the passage of information between generations. Outer Wilds is a deceptively simple game with big ideas. -- Steve Watts
Remedy has a sharp interest in science fiction and the paranormal, as seen across games like Alan Wake and Quantum Break. Its latest game, Control, is perhaps the purest distillation of the studio's keen eye for the strange and mysterious, as it turns the story inward toward a secret government agency that oversees paranormal activity. The result is a veritable playground of peculiar weirdness, letting Remedy stretch its legs with a world that is richly detailed and often hilarious in its meta-commentary on genre tropes.
Control's well-crafted world serves as the setting for an engaging action romp as Jesse Faden, a visitor with her own agenda to the department, finds herself thrust into the middle of a disturbing attack. You gain access to a variety of Force-like powers, which work well within the creepy backdrop. And it complements all this with a Metroidvania-like structure, having you double back and explore a headquarters that's often shifting in structure. These elements all work together to make something truly unique that recontextualizes Remedy's library and fulfills its esoteric interests in the otherworldly. -- Steve Watts