On November 22, 2013, something changed inside of me: I bought my first day one system. It was the Xbox One, and it was glorious. Before this console, I waited for the right time to purchase a system, but something about the newest Xbox caught my eye enough to justify purchasing the console as soon as it came out. Now I’m the proud owner of a day one Xbox One S and a Nintendo Switch, as well as, my previous Xbox One. Later this year, when the new Xbox “Project Scorpio” releases, I’ll add that to my day one collection.
Since its release, the games for the Xbox One have been piling. Unfortunately for my wallet, I own a good portion of them. I own them in digital format too since that seems to be the direction the industry is heading in. I’ve been buying these games since the day I brought the console home. Ryse: Son of Rome was the first next-gen game to grace my presence and although this game didn’t make my Top 5, it’s what led me down the path of finding these other lovely titles. Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Xbox One releases.
Fallout 4 – Released Nov. 10, 2015
I’m a massive Fallout fan. I have Bobbleheads, Vinyl Soundtracks, Collector’s Editions, a Pip-boy, and yes, even a mini-nuke. But I wasn’t a Fallout fan right from the beginning. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Fallout 3 that I became a fan of the franchise.
I was living in Vancouver, BC, at the time and one of my roommates brought home Fallout 3. On a whim, I figured I would give the game a shot and see what everyone was talking about. This was the first time I ever played a game with this much freedom, and I quickly learned about becoming over-encumbered. After realizing that this isn’t a game where you just pick up everything you see and that you had to think about your inventory and carefully mold your character into the type of character you wanted him to be, I was already immersed into this wasteland world.
After putting hundreds of hours into this game (including its various DLC) and obtaining my highest gamerscore of any other game thus far, I awaited the next full-fledged Fallout game from Bethesda. A couple years later, we got Fallout: New Vegas, but this was a game published by Obsidian Entertainment instead of Bethesda. It was a good game, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. We would not get a Fallout title, developed by Bethesda, until Fallout 4.
When E3 2015 times were announced, it was unveiled that Bethesda had their own spot booked. It didn’t take long for people to start guessing they would reveal a release date for the next Fallout. And release it did. But nobody, including me, would’ve guessed that this release date was only 5 months away.
If that wasn’t enough good news, they also announced a special Pip-Boy edition of the game that included a plastic Pip-Boy that could house your phone and run a companion app to interact with your game. The minute I learned of this, I went online and made sure to score one of those for myself. It turns out that using the pip-boy greatly added to my enjoyment of the game, helping reduce the “down time” of bringing up your Pip-Boy to find and equip items by using the instantly loading companion app on your wrist. Sure, it looked silly to have a large chunk of plastic on your forearm, but it felt so nice to use it.
Along with the base game, a season pass was announced, and with this season pass came a ton of DLC that followed in its predecessor’s footsteps. This included a variety of content from smaller workshop additions to massive new worlds and quests in the main DLC. They actually released more content than they were initially planning, so there were plenty of things to play to keep everyone busy for a long time. And if that wasn’t enough, they released a survival mode for hardcore players and brought mod support over to consoles.
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Released Nov. 10, 2015
Like Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider was a definite purchase for me, and coincidentally it was released on the same day. This would hurt most games but these are two franchises that could share the same release date and sell better than expected.
On Nov. 10th, I found myself at a local EB Games (Canada’s Gamestop) for its midnight launch, but myself, along with many others, were there to pick up a copy of Fallout 4 before anything else. Some also picked up Rise of the Tomb Raider, but like a fool, I only purchased Fallout 4. I knew that if I picked up both games that night I would neglect Rise of the Tomb Raider, so I decided to wait and to order it off of Amazon at a later date.
It wasn’t until March of the following year that I finally picked up a copy. Even before I started my run-through of the game, I knew I was in for a great experience. I was a big fan of the previous game and how the development team re-imagined the series. If they managed to emulate the “style” of the predecessor, then I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I was not. Like the game before it, I powered through it in a timely fashion. The gameplay was fantastic and the story was riveting to the point where completing it was the only thing I wanted to do in those days.
The nice thing about this game, unlike others on this list, is that you do not need to pour hundreds of hours into this game to enjoy the bulk of what this game has to offer.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – Released May 19, 201
Unlike the previous two titles, I had not played any other iterations of this franchise. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt was my first foray into the series and one of the best gaming experiences of my life. To be honest, I’m not sure what about this game got me to blindly, and unconditionally, digitally pre-order it along with its season pass. Perhaps I was just hopeful that this game would be amazing, who knows? In the end, The Witcher 3 was just that. This game won numerous Game of the Year awards and received praise from players and reviewers alike.
I could spend hours talking about this game. From its beautiful environments to the enthralling story, The Witcher 3 perfects all that it does. It was the characters, however, that stood out among all else to me. These characters were some of the best and most colorful characters I’ve ever encountered in a video game.
I quickly became immersed in this world, and like with Rise of the Tomb Raider, all I wanted to do was complete the story and explore the world. There’s no doubt that The Witcher 3 deserves the awards it was given. With this game, CD Project Red, the developers of this game, have climbed into the upper echelon of great video game developers. I’m looking forward to whatever else they have planned for future release, though I should probably beat this one first!
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Released Sep. 30, 2014
If I were not a HUGE fan of the whole Middle Earth universe that J. R. R. Tolkien created, then this gem of a game might’ve escaped my “gamer’s grip”. Fortunately for me, that wasn’t the case.
This was a game that I played consistently for some time but became sidetracked by a newer release, leaving it unfinished and lost in my pile of games. I’m sure most people, especially gamers, have experienced something akin to this. But with the announcement of a sequel, my desire to get back into this franchise was re-ignited, and I persevered and completed the main story of the game.
Let me say that I regret putting this game down for as long as I did. Now, I’m ready for the next game in the Middle Earth world. The sequel, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, releases on August 22nd of this year. You’ll find me waiting in line for a copy on day one.
Unravel – Released Feb. 9, 2016
To be honest, most of the games I’ve played have been from triple-A developers: the ones who have the funding and team to produce masterpieces. But there are gems to be found among the smaller independent game developers. Unravel is exactly that. This game, along with many others, proves that you don’t need corporate funding to make a world class game.
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that you’re playing something unique and special, something that people have poured their hearts into making. This isn’t just a puzzle-driven platformer; this is game, full of emotion. It touches on subjects of family, aging, and the environment. It touched me in a way that none of these games have managed to do.
So, from looking at this list, you can tell that 2015 was a great year (especially for me) for video games. Which of these games would make your top 5 Xbox One list? And which games would you swap out for another? Please let know in the comments below…and happy gaming!