It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past 12 months of Xbox. From expansive open-worlders to smaller titles that are equal in quality, you can be sure that the ten games following will be mainstays on our gaming schedule going into 2018. Let us get proceedings underway with ten of the best Xbox One games, and indeed TheXboxHub’s Game of the Year of 2017…
Back in April we were chilled to the very bone with Bandai Namco’s release of Little Nightmares – a seriously spooky platforming offering for us to be enthralled in. Similar to hits such as LIMBO and Inside in gameplay and, to a certain extent, the dark visuals, you can be sure that out of Little Nightmares you will be getting a superbly crafted and likewise executed horror title.
While it may be quite short in length, think around six hours for a walkthrough, Little Nightmares is most definitely a case of big things coming in little packages, and maybe the length contributes to its constantly gripping tension and twisting narrative.
Instead of going about terrifying you via jumpscares (although one or two are thrown in when you least expect it), Little Nightmares prefers to creep you out with the never-ending unknown – you simply do not know what freakish creature will be round the corner, where you can hide from them, and god-knows what they will do to you if you’re seized. There’s no point attacking them when all you have for company is a lighter; it is a case of running and hiding.
And crying. Always crying.
9Assassin’s Creed Origins
The Ubisoft Assassins got a well earned rest in 2016, prefering to come back with an almighty bang this year with the release of Assassin’s Creed Origins in late October. And what a bang they made with a beautiful Ancient Egypt setting, complete with pyramids and temples to explore, a likeable protagonist in the form of Bayek, and more quests than you can shake an ancient sceptre at.
Origins is an excellent return to the franchise, really showing us gamers why the series provides some of the best adventures money can buy, with historical and fictional characters we can empathise with, and realistic settings immersing you in the game.
But Origins comes packed with some new and revamped features that, in most ways, improve upon the previous Assassin’s Creed titles. I’m talking a reshaped, more complicated and rewarding combat system, RPG elements with various weapons and different effects, crafting using resources gathered from the rich environment – and who can forget our trusty animal companions Senu the eagle and the camel we ride around on?
Assassin’s Creed Origins is without a doubt one of the major releases on Xbox this year; it always is with every release in the franchise, and the new additions reinforce this. Plus, have you seen how stunning it looks enhanced on Xbox One X?
8Sky Force Reloaded
A rare indie title which makes its way onto this list is Sky Force Reloaded – and after grinding stars and upgrading our ships for many hours now, it just had to be included.
What Sky Force Reloaded does is relatively simple, but shooting everything you see, collecting stars and gradually upgrading your ship has never felt so rewarding. Time and time again I have returned to a level which I initially found near on impossible with my pathetic excuses for a cannon, but after twin-sticking my way to procuring missiles, wing cannons and power-ups, I find my bullets satisfyingly cutting through the enemies like a hot knife through butter!
The fun is multiplied tenfold when you get a couch buddy involved, making the experience more tactical regarding which objective to aim for in each playthrough of a level. Each level has four objectives to complete, such as going untouched or rescuing every lil’ man you fly over, and in doing so opens up further difficulties and levels.
At first you may not see the draw of Sky Force Reloaded, simply disregarding it as another twin-stick shooter, but the fact that it has been played religiously since the early December release shows its massive appeal and ‘one more go’ nature. Going without it on your Xbox shelf will just be a crying shame.
7Forza Motorsport 7
Forza has always been one of the flagship exclusives of Xbox, whether it is in its open world Forza Horizon explore-a-thon form or the more simulation-heavy Motorsport format, and Forza Motorsport 7 really got those Playstation die-hards green with envy this October!
The graphics were impeccable, the feel of the driving realistic and the overall experience of burning rubber in the UAE desert while seated in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS was one that made us sit back in awe, gobsmacked at just how brilliantly the sun glinted off our bonnets, and how the rev of the engine blew us away. And this is without an Xbox One X and 4K TV!
The main goal in Forza Motorsport 7, in the ‘story’ mode of sorts, is to lift the Forza Driver’s Cup – and to do this you will be driving many vehicles in six different levels of lower competition, before competing amongst the very best the driving world has seen. By competing in events your Car Collector Rank, driver level, XP, SP and Credits balance will increase, allowing you to unlock better and more powerful cars to take to the track. Mods will also help you achieve the goals that can be completed for further rewards.
With each car, as with previous Forza titles, you will be able to browse an array of community created livaries and dream up custom paint jobs to give your vehicles the all-important stellar look. Furthermore, online races are also present, as well as Drivatars to pit yourself against in single player modes.
Overall, Forza Motorsport 7 somewhat unsurprisingly retains the crown for Xbox racers, and having an Xbox One X and 4K TV setup makes it a title you simply must play, if only to have your socks blown off by the stunning visuals!
Whilst some may not know who Black Canary is and think that Captain Cold is an off-brand cereal mascot, everyone can be sure that beating the hell out of our favourite superheroes is pure fun.
Injustice 2 takes what made the original Injustice such brilliant fun and improves upon it in many ways. From having the spectacularly overkill supermoves (lasering someone into an asteroid ISN’T justice, Supergirl) and environmental attacks that your superheroes will be dealing out, to the surprisingly exciting story mode that both acts as a gentle warm up to the game as well as a delight for DC fans, Injustice 2 will appeal to hardcore fans of the superhero world as well as a couple of mates simply wanting to bash the brains out of each other.
Although I do not consider myself in any way shape or form a fighting game expert or think I am any better than most out there, I did after some practice put some combos together – however I believe I will have to grow a few extra limbs if I want to pull off the harder moves out there! Nevertheless many of us found it extremely satisfying when that certain move came off.
But arguably the best feature in Injustice 2 was the newest – and of course I am talking about the Gear System. By obtaining Mother Boxes and opening them to collect a whole host of loot, soon the Harley Quinns and Swamp Things of our games were decked out in the best gear, boosting their stats up considerably. Personally, I found it very rewarding seeing my Flash jump up the ranks, disposing of regular opponents with ease – until I went online and had my backside handed to me.
All this is being said without including the ever-changing Multiverse Mode giving gamers conditions to their fights. All these features show that Injustice 2 will have us beating up superheroes and supervillains alike for months to come.
5Sniper Elite 4
After the mediocre reception that the recent Sniper Elite releases had received, it was a pleasure to see how well Sniper Elite 4 fared against the critic in all of us. Whether we chose to go hardcore and take our shots with wind and range into account, or slightly ‘cheated’ and used the helpful marker signifying whether our shots would land or not, Sniper Elite 4 blew our socks off, so much so that it got fifth spot on this list.
Something of a rarity in the big games nowadays, the co-op option in the campaign was a favourite among the modes with communication key, as was the competitive multiplayer that saw us take down other players in order to achieve a certain objective.
But what all of us look forward to with every Sniper Elite release is the spine-tingling bullet cam – and Sniper Elite 4 did not disappoint to satisfy our somewhat sadistic fantasy. But if you love it then why not do it over and over again, and the shattering of a skull or the piercing of a heart never failed to make us cringe in joy.
Of course you could go in all guns blazing with an assault rifle, packing every Nazi you see with a fistful of lead, or silently dispose of your enemies with the pistol, but the clue is in the name regarding the best attack technique.
Sniper Elite 4 is a game of decision making – ‘should I go for the lungs or brain?’. However you play brings a brilliantly enjoyable experience.
4Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
The 2014 Wolfenstein reboot was a surprise to many – delivering a stellar FPS experience set in an interesting alternative history – one where the Nazi’s won WW2 and took over countries such as America.
But could Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus maintain such a high level of quality? You betcha it could!
Whilst there is no doubt the popularity of single-player story modes in FPS’ has severely diminished over the last few years, The New Colossus demonstrates that there is still life in solo playthroughs, and with over 200 collectibles contributing to upgrading weapons as well as perks to unlock via skills trees, you can be sure that if you like your exploring and collecting then Wolfenstein II will appeal.
But it’s not just mindless murder either, and behind the gory chaos is a truly emotive story highlighting how the traumatic experiences of protagonist Commander William B.J. Blazkowicz are slowly tearing him apart from the inside-out. Following the events of The New Order, the most recent entry into the series before The New Colossus, B.J. quickly returns into his badass role – after 5 minutes he is ripping enemies to shreds while stuck in a wheelchair despite being blown to pieces by a grenade!
Following on after The New Order, Bethesda have formed yet another masterpiece – full to the brim of Nazi killing, exciting weapons, a riveting story and, overall, a generally action-heavy FPS.
I can hear the Destiny fans at the back obsessing over this one – and for good reason!
Destiny 2 benefits greatly from its immense community, as without it it would just be a empty shell of a Halo inspired title, but when you are travelling the galaxy with friends or just randoms met over Xbox Live, there is no doubt that Destiny 2 has something special. But I am told the fun only begins once you complete the story, as after enjoying what tale Destiny 2 has to tell, one of darkness, twists, turns, and humour – especially coming from the brilliant Cayde-6 – the number of Raids and Strikes open up another level of Destiny 2.
Don’t get me wrong, some Strikes are tough as nails – but that only calls for the infamous grind, and whether you love it or hate it you will be opening up more chests than you will believe throughout the course of Destiny 2, collecting a whole host of powers and weapons to use on your enemies.
If PvE doesn’t take your fancy, or you simply have done everything which it has to offer, then the Crucible will once again be your go-to place for enjoyable fast paced PvP action. The 4v4 teams also keep the games nice and tight all the way to the death.
It would take me hours to write about everything Destiny 2 has to offer – but rest assured that it is one of the best shooters 2017 has to offer, with a rich lore you could get lost in and fun multiplayer experiences. Not to mention that the outer reaches of space and its planets have never looked so good!
2Resident Evil 7: biohazard
You don’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the latest Resi title is not one for the faint-hearted, or indeed for anyone who is not a fan of jump-scares,and that’s because Resident Evil 7: biohazard has them all over the place. By the end of a playthrough you will come to thoroughly hate the Baker family – not least because mother Marguerite is a complete and utter physio, as are her husband Jack and son Lucas, and the fact that the unnamed elderly woman also present is almost aneurysm inducing in looks.
As I said: Not one for the faint hearted.
But for horror fans Resi 7 was a delight, a much-needed breath of fresh air into the series which was starting to go stale, played out in a unique first person view to retain the horror in all its goodness. The change from special agents, carefully handling the threat, to an ‘ordinary Joe’ just looking for his long-lost wife allowed us to empathise with protagonist Ethan Winters during his traumatizing experiences.
The gameplay element of constantly hiding from the cannibalistic Bakers long enough to find what is needed to solve puzzles and progress also had us on the edge of our seats – or sometimes doing the complete opposite and being behind a cushion – which just amped up the tension levels to the max. The classic Resi staple of a limited inventory also made us weigh up the value of certain items, and therefore which ones to continue on with.
Resident Evil has always played on your ability to be fearful; much of the horror is found in the constant fear that inevitably someone or something will jump out at you in an almighty jump-scare – but until that point you have no clue when it will strike…
Horror fans – just go and get Resident 7: biohazard.
1TXH’s Game of the Year 2017: Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Can open world experiences get much better?
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor thrusted all its goodness in our faces back in 2014, but now Middle-earth Shadow of War may just have improved upon it – something that was extremely difficult to do.
There is apparently no such thing as a disappointing sequel at Warner Bros. and Monolith Productions, with Shadow of War giving gamers almost endless ways to take Talion on his quest to take down Sauron and his forces. Again fused with the wraith Celebrimbor, bestowing many magical powers upon Talion, the branding of Orcs went up a good few levels as compared to Shadow of Mordor.
Now you could take your forces into big-scale fortress battles, and customize them to your preference. Furthermore, as you progressed through the game and unlocked more skills, over time Talion just became more of a cold-blooded killer, cutting through enemies like a knife through butter. Combined with what is now known as ‘Arkham combat’, tracking down and branding or killing enemies could not have been more fun.
It will take up pages and pages to detail everything Shadow of War nails, but if you are a Tolkien fan wanting to explore everything about Middle Earth, then Shadow of War delivers. If you want to spend hours hand-crafting an army of followers and taking them into battle, Shadow of War delivers. If you want to indulge in a rich RPG with an array of gear, Shadow of War delivers.
But, most importantly, if you want to play the best game of 2017 and one of the true Xbox One greats – then Shadow of War well and truly delivers!
So there we have it, TheXboxHub’s best Xbox One games of 2017. We’ve played lots of games and sunk countless hours into our gaming sessions throughout the year… and for the most part it has been a great year.
Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts though. Would something different come out on top of your list? The comments section is below, our forums can be found here and we’re on all the usual social media channels.
Hit us up and we’ll see you in 2018!