XBA's Post-Holiday 2016-2017 Shopping Guide for Xbox One Owners Both New and Oldby Adam Dileva
Most places like to make a Christmas shopping guide, letting you know what to buy yourself or someone else for the holidays, which is great, but there’s a thousand of those lists out there, so we here at Xbox Addict wanted to do something a little different. Instead, we’re here to tell you our favorite picks of Xbox One games across a number of different genres from a handful of our writers. "But the holidays are over!" I hear you saying to yourself. Don't worry, we know!
You’ve most likely gotten the biggest titles of the year you’ve been wanting, so this list is to help you decide on what to do that you either didn’t receive, didn't know about, or maybe you have a few gift cards burning a hole in your pocket and can’t decide what to get someone or yourself. This isn’t necessarily a Best of 2016 list, but more of a Best of the console overall list of games and accessories you should make sure you buy, depending on your genre preferences.
Without further ado, here’s XBA’s favorites and what you should start playing in 2017 to start the year off right, as told by myself, Kirby, Brent, Chad, and Alje, your resident XBA writers:
Single Player Shooter:
Adam – Quantum Break: To be fair, I’ve yet to play through the campaigns for Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and DOOM, all of which I hear are fantastic, but I really enjoyed my time with Quantum Break. Part TV show, part game, it blended the two mediums together in a unique and interesting way with high profile actors and great new gameplay elements, all brought to us by one of the best studios out there today, Remedy.
Chad - Far Cry Primal: Those who know me know that I love my Far Cry. Hell, ever since I first played Far Cry 2 on the Xbox 360, the series has been one of my absolute favourites. My only disappointment is that I missed out on the original when it was new, and have never played more than a few minutes of it. (Please remaster it, Ubisoft.) After playing through and loving both Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, I was interested in seeing what Ubisoft would do with a unique time period and seldom used setting like Far Cry Primal’s prehistoric world. To be honest, though, it took a while before I actually became excited about this game because I worried that Far Cry simply wouldn’t be much fun without guns and other such modern tools. Alas, I was wrong, and I’m glad that I was.
Far Cry Primal may not be the best Far Cry, and its map may be a remodeled version of Far Cry 4’s, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and I had a blast with it. The setting is unique, the combat is both brutal and satisfying, and the storyline is actually quite solid. However, most of my fun came from exploring the world, and by the time I was finished with the game, I’d experienced and completed almost everything it had to offer. Months later, I feel the desire to do it all over again.
Alje - DOOM: Want to play an engaging narrative-driven game? Errr, then don’t play Doom. But if a lack of story isn’t dissuasive to you and you love high-octane action, mega-gore, and arena-clearing style non-stop combat, then DOOM is the shooter for you. The plot is paper-thin, but the enemy demons come thick, in a large variety of enjoyable-to-vivisect classes with no shortage of death animations and glory-kill types. Variety is the spice of life and with ten weapons each with upgradeable attachments or secondary fire types, the ways to successfully navigate enemy encounters are endlessly enjoyable. Turn the lights off, turn the volume up, turn your brain off, and get ready for a mindless, bloody good time.
Kirby - Titanfall 2 / Battlefield 1 / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Legacy Edition): Yes, I am cheating here as I could not narrow it down to just one. I would recommend that gamers looks at picking up Titanfall 2 or Battlefield One as each campaign is quite good. There is also the newest COD (Infinite Warfare) which has a very heavy story driven SP campaign this year as well and is worth playing. Should you buy the Legacy Edition you get COD: Modern Warfare Remastered too, a whole other game to play.
Adam – Halo: The Master Chief Collection: A collection of the previous Halo games, with almost nearly perfect intact multiplayer that brings back flashbacks of the days when I would lug a TV around to a friends to play LAN games. Sure this one gains points of the nostalgia factor, but there’s no denying that the Halo games have some of the best and most memorable maps in multiplayer gaming, be it cooperative or competitive gameplay you’re looking for.
Brent – Titanfall 2: Since Halo was taken, Titanfall 2 is one of my picks for game of the year. Solid game play and pure addictive fun.
Chad - Titanfall 2: Although EA has put the majority of its eggs into advertising Battlefield 1 over Titanfall 2, they’re going with the wrong chicken and doing one of 2016’s best games a disservice in the process. As a fan of the original Titanfall – which hooked me a lot more than I’d expected, given that I’m not much of a multiplayer gamer anymore – I looked forward to seeing what Respawn had in store for us with this anticipated sequel. Hearing that a campaign was being implemented had me more excited than any of the promised multiplayer changes, and that anticipation was thankfully rewarded in spades, thanks to a very solid and impressively crafted single player mode. One that, when stacked up against its peers (especially Battlefield 1, which was more style than substance) stands right up there at the head of the crowd. The multiplayer is also quite solid, making this an easy game to recommend to those who look for the most value when purchasing a new video game. It rises above Battlefield 1, and is strong competition against the genre’s biggest and baddest.
Alje - Star Wars Battlefront: Few licensed games based on popular Film or TV properties ever do their source material proud. Thankfully, Star Wars Battlefront can be counted in the minority. This game successfully conveys what it would be like to be a Rebel or Imperial grunt in the thick of combat in the Star Wars universe. While space combat is conspicuously absent and aerial dog fighting leaves something to be desired, the player vs. player ground combat is so enjoyable that these gripes are quickly forgiven. The sound design, classic music cues, spot-on character models, and plethora of maps inspired by the classic trilogy era make Battlefront an immersive experience. A multitude of game modes, appearance customizations, and weapon or power-up upgrades means that playing often is rewarding and always exciting. Add to that the ability to play a match as a hero character, such as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, and you’ve got yourself the immersive Star Wars experience. Now a year after its initial release, it is available at an affordable price with a heap of DLC to choose from including material from the newly released film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Kirby - Destiny / Titanfall 2 / Halo 5: Guardians: Yep, I am cheating again here, as one is not enough. This is a tough one for me. I have to say more than one HAS TO BE MENTIONED here. Destiny is great if you have a bunch of friends to play PvE with, as you can go through the campaign, strikes, other not competitive modes. Of course you can even do some PvP (versus) with them on a regular basis. All these play modes will allow you and your friends to level up, search for rare weapons, armor and items, and of course make your character look good. Titanfall 2, as mentioned by Brent and Chad is another game that is worth considering as the online PvP is fun and looks great. Finally, Halo 5: Guardians is worth mentioning here too. Although released last year, 343 Industries keeps releasing free content for it and there is a die hard community out there. If you go the route of Halo 5: Guardians, prepare for an install of around 90 GB.
Adam – Final Fantasy XV: I’m only about a dozen hours in still but I’m absolutely loving every minute with Noctis and his friends. Now that I’m truly starting to understand it, especially finally getting a hang of the unique combat system, I’m finding myself enjoying it even more. There’s so much to do in this game it’s almost overwhelming, yet comes together as one of the best Final Fantasy’s, not only in recent memory, but easily in my top 3 list.
Brent – Final Fantasy XV: Back from the misery that I'm calling Lightning's dress up party failure, this Final Fantasy is one of the best in the series and shouldn't be missed. If you're a fan of RPG games this has to be on your list.
Chad - Final Fantasy XV: I’d be lying if I said that I ever expected to enjoy Final Fantasy XV as much as I have during my time with it. In fact, I’d honestly written it off as something I’d pass on in favour of buying other games, given how bad Canada’s dollar is and how expensive this fact makes our video game purchases. I’m glad that I changed my mind and eventually broke down and bought it, though, because it’s turned out to be one of the most immersive and enjoyable things I’ve played in quite some time. Being a fan of Western RPGs much moreso than Japanese ones, I was both surprised and elated to find that Final Fantasy XV is a unique blend of the two. It’s open, it’s large and it’s a lot different from the turn-based titles of yesteryear, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The changes make it more accessible, as well as more fun, especially if you’re like me and moved away from the JRPG genre years ago.
Adam – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Simply one of the best games this generation. An open world where you can tackle missions seemingly how you like. Tons of customization, stealth, and a pet wolf. I didn’t rely on stealth as much as I should have, which is why it’s in this category, and even though the last half of the game is a disappointment for many reasons, namely Konami and the Kojima fiasco, it doesn’t take away from how amazing the first 50+ hours you play are.
Brent – Gears of War 4: Gears 4 has got to be there in the action category as one of the best action games of 2016. Read Adam’s review and then you'll again say "Wow that Symmetric guy really knows what he's talking about".
Chad - Dead Rising 4: Call it what you will, but Dead Rising 4 is one of the most action-packed games on the Xbox One. It’s also one of the most purely fun games out there. The naysayers will complain that it’s not Dead Rising without the timer, and that people should avoid this game because of its changes. I say they’re wrong, but that’s just me. Replaying the original Dead Rising makes me hate its timer and bad AI, and love the more action-based direction that Capcom Vancouver has gone with both Dead Rising 3 and Dead Rising 4. Without the timer, you’re free to explore and have fun, and not only is there an entire mall to explore, but a decent-sized town as well. Most of all, it’s just pure, unadulterated and violent fun.
Kirby - Gears of War 4 / Dead Rising 4: I wholly agree with Brent on this one for his choice, and I agree with Chad's choice too. Sure, both Gears of War 4 or Dead Rising 4 end in the number 4; however, they are both very different games and you’ll enjoy the new story for Gears 4 as well as the familiar but 'next-gen' gameplay, and in regards to Dead Rising 4, the return of Frank West is great and the open structure and removal of a 72-hour time clock makes the game one you can keep coming back to and rack up the zombie kill count.
Adam – The Witcher 3: Sure, this game could have been in the RPG or Action section, but the reason I placed it here is because of the amazing attention to detail. Normally in games you’re set on an adventure when you’re given a quest or goal of some sorts, so when The Witcher 3 gives you a quest, you’re set on an unforgettable adventure. Even the smallest sidequests are written so well, and have so much depth, that it puts some campaigns from other games to shame. Couple in free DLC and some of the best expansions to be given to a game, and you have an adventure that will easily last you well over 100 hours.
Brent - Deus Ex Mankind Divided: A fantastic sequel to Human Revolution filled with an incredible soundtrack and a fun experience every min of the game. Hands down one of the best games you can buy this year on the Xbox platform.
Alje - Dying Light: Enhanced Edition: It’s tough to classify Dying Light. It’s a first person shooter, platformer, shooter, action/adventure/horror sandbox game all rolled into one cohesive package. The narrative is straightforward. You’re airdropped into a quarantined city full of the undead. While linear missions drive the game to an eventual conclusion, it really is the journey that is the most enjoyable part as you gain new abilities, create new homemade zombie-killing weapons, and generally run amok. Exploration is both encouraged and rewarding. The world is expansive to say the least and chock full of bountiful nooks and crannies. Dozens of side missions exist to break things up if you’ve had your fill of dispatching the dead in new and gruesome ways and there are of course adversarial human factions that pop up to make your life miserable and provide a different sort of challenge.
The day/night cycle is one of the greatest aspects of the game. When night falls, the dynamic completely shifts and you turn from scourge of the undead to easy prey at the hands of a highly aggressive nocturnal breed of infected. The result of being outside after the gorgeously rendered sun finally sets? Incredibly tense stealth sections bookended by panicked flights from fast-footed, vertically-inclined, bloodthirsty undead. Did we mention the parkour mechanics? Most any surface in the game is somehow traversable and makes for some very interesting combat mechanics and chase sequences. There’s never been a better time to get Dying Light if it has somehow escaped your notice up until now. The Enhanced Edition includes all the DLC, most notably “The Following” which is essentially a full sequel to the original offering a huge new map to explore on foot or via dirt buggy. If you’re a fan of zombies, shooters, parkour, or sandbox/open-world games, this is one for you.
Kirby - Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition: Given I put Dead Rising 4 in Action, it could have also been in this section. That being said, I didn't want my choice of Ori to go ignored so I put it by itself. This platforming adventure game has great feel, great emotion, solid controls, great artwork and an AMAZING soundtrack to boot. The definitive Edtiion adds that bit more to it making it an even better game than the original.
Adam – Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered : An odd mix of Scrabble, Boggle, and Words with Friends, this adorable title throws in some RPG elements and will really test your vocabulary skills. The difficulty curve is only limited to your word making abilities that anyone can easily play or help alongside. You can play for just a few minutes at a time, or for a handful of hours while still being entertained. Don’t let the casual title fool you, as this game is a lot of fun as well.
Chad - Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure: Although you may not have heard about it before, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure exists as one of 2016’s standout games. One that, by presenting something new and unique, made us realize that zany dodgeball had been missing from our Xbox One libraries. Danish through and through, Stikbold is both an enjoyable and challenging single player game and a great party game. It achieves this by presenting a quirky and memorable campaign (which features a battle with Moby Dick) and an easily accessible multiplayer party mode – something that not a lot of games can attest to. Like Dead Rising 4, this game is pure fun and joy. It’s not flashy, nor is it expensive or well known, but it’s a real standout and something that deserves much more attention than it’s been receiving.
Brent – Forza Horizon 3: Well any Forza game actually because you will find the top quality racing in all their games. If though you want a more realistic experience (if there even is one) then check out Project Cars and be prepared for amazement!
Chad - Forza Horizon 3: There’s no competition here, as Forza Horizon 3 is easily the best racing game of 2016, and perhaps the greatest genre effort on the market. Its only real competition – in my mind – is Forza Horizon 2, which is arguably as good and much cheaper to buy at this point in time. If you’ve never played a Forza Horizon game, but enjoy arcade racers like Need for Speed, then it’s an absolute must. By not doing so, you’re depriving yourself of some of the most addicting and immersive (not to mention beautiful) racing that video games have to offer.
Kirby - Project Cars: Game of the Year Edition / Forza Horizon 3: Two games aimed at two different crowds. If you are looking for diehard simulation on the Xbox One, Project Cars: Game of the Year Edition will fill the role here. From Go-Karts to F1 cars, it’s a sim-fans dream with very realistic controls. On the other hand, looking for a simulation with some arcade feel and a wide open environment? Forza Horizon 3 is your game here, as you explore a virtual Australia that is just gorgeous. And with over 450 cars, you’ll have lots to vehicles to drive too.
Adam – Hue: I love puzzle games but this wasn’t on my radar at all. I probably wouldn’t have even looked at Hue if it didn’t fall in my lap randomly to review. It takes a lot for a game in the puzzle genre to stand out, and Hue does it in such a unique and brilliant way that’s so simple yet effective. It’s very challenging and creative yet stands on its own amongst the crowded genre without trying to imitate others. Playing solely on changing colors, you need to shift the hue to progress, leading to some fantastic puzzle elements that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Brent – The Turing Test: One of the best soundtracks of the year and one of the hardest puzzle games you can find. Fantastic story of mystery, murder, and TOM. One of the best indie games you can find on the Xbox One platform.
Chad - Hue: I’d be lying if I ever said that I’m a fan of puzzle games, because I generally avoid them. They’re normally sterile, boring, and full of frustration as you near their latter stages. Hue, however, is different, and I’m glad that I was asked to review it. With Hue, Fiddlesticks has delivered a standout indie, which expertly mixes puzzle and platforming gaming with the clever colour-based gameplay. Its puzzles are never brutally challenging, nor are they unfair, but they will make you think and that’s what’s important.
Kirby - Inside: I am not a puzzle game fan, but the Game “Inside”, a platform puzzler, should be the right game here, as it’s made by the same dev-team who made Limbo. With a great story, an artstyle that screams out for more, and an ending that will leave you thinking, I think that this belongs here. ‘nuff said.
Adam – XCOM 2: Firaxis’ games are known for ‘just one more turn’, which usually ends up lasting a few more hours. This sequel improved on so many aspects from the first, and even though it forces you to play much more aggressively than before, it doesn’t take away from how in-depth and strategic every move can be, usually the difference between life and death for your squad mates. Tons of replayability and the ability to name soldiers after family and friends will keep you coming back for more and help to overlook its technical issues.
Kirby - Halo Wars: Definitive Edition: If you can pick up the remake of the original Halo Wars, which is preceding the eventual 2017 release of Halo Wars 2, then you should be happy. Made for console, this game will get you ready for the next one, as well as let you enjoy a console centric strategy game.
Adam – Virgina: It’s hard to describe this game without spoiling much of it. It’s basic at its core, and some may only view it as a walking simulator, but when you come to accept that you’re simply enjoying a story unfolding in front of you like an interactive movie experience rather than a traditional game, you can start to appreciate it for what it is. Sure it’s not the most highly rated game I’ve reviewed but it’s one that I still think of to this day even though I completed it months ago, yet there’s no dialogue within.
Kirby - ABZU: ABZU is a game that you must play to appreciate. It’s serene underwater setting is original and gorgeous and it’s a very relaxing game that you can just play for hours. Oh, and did I mention the music? It's serene to say the least..in a good way.
Adam – The Walking Dead: Seasons 1-3: If I can get just one person to play The Walking Dead from Telltale Games, then I’ve done my job. Sure I’m a massive fan of the graphic novel and TV show like most, but what Telltale has done here is truly exceptional. They’ve told a constant story weighted with moral choices and decisions that matter and might surprise you with how you empathize. If you aren’t crying by the end of Season 1 you have a heart of ice.
Chad - Tales From The Borderlands: Telltale really nailed it when they developed the first season of Tales from the Borderlands. Not only is it a really solid and unforgettable adventure game at heart, it’s also a fitting representation of Borderlands’ colourful world. Although I wouldn’t say that Tales from the Borderlands is Telltale’s best, it’s up there for sure. Borderlands fans will especially like it for all of its fan service and nods to the mainline series, of which there are quite a few.
Kirby - Anything from Telltale Games: These interactive games are more narrative then action games. But the story is deep, engrossing and you'll want to keep playing. They have many different titles out there and anyone of them will be great for an Xbox One gamers. For me, my favorite was “Tales from the Borderlands”, but they all are awesome.
Spare money to replace broken controllers (AKA difficult game):
Adam – Binaries: What? I didn’t pick a Dark Souls-like game for this category? I know, but you’ve not played Binaries, an incredibly simple premise of getting two colored sprites that you control simultaneously, to their respective colored goals. That’s it. Sounds easy, but you’ll soon learn why this game is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played. Don’t let its primitive graphics fool you, you’re going to want to stock up on spare controllers for when you throw them out the window, and not have any kids around, as you’re going to learn how many swear words you actually know when you die for the 400th time in a row.
Adam – SteelSeries X800: I still use this headset daily. Wireless, rechargeable batteries, and a receiver that easily lets you see all of your sound levels makes this headset an easy sell. The sound is fantastic and I’ve not had ear fatigue once in the hundreds of hours I’ve used them since initially reviewing them. I find myself favoring this headset simply for the visuals on the receiver, allowing me to glance at my sound levels and settings without having to memorize what certain beeps mean. It’s a premium price, but it’s a premium product, as you’ll get what you pay for.
Kirby - Turtle Beach Elite Pro with Tactical Audio Controller / LucidSound LS30 / Hyper X Cloud Stinger: At this juncture, I am using the wired Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Headset and Tactical Audio Controller. IT’s the most accurate surround sound headset/audio controller I have ever used.
Looking for something cheaper, there are two more options. LucidSound’s LS30, which has amazing stereo sound and features making adjustments easy to do on the fly, or the HyperX Cloud Stinger, a barebones headset that is the cheapest Stereo Headset that I have reviewed but the sound is very, very good.
Adam - Custom Design Labs Controller: Go now and design your own Xbox One controller color scheme. Yes it's a little pricey, but the quality is from Microsoft and is well worth it to have your perfect controller. I got the controller of my dreams, a mish-mash of pink and purple, something that would never be officially designed and sold on its own.
Kirby - Xbox One Elite Controller: The Elite Controller is a "Pro-Level" controller that takes anyone's game to the next level, but it is pricey ($149.99 USD). This contoller is like nothing offered by a first party on any console. With steel analog sticks which are interchangeable, two different d-pads (traditional and a disc), programmable buttons, trigger locks, and 4 paddles on the backside (you can turn them off too) there is so much customizability to this controller it's CRAZY. You can even program the 'sweet' spot for your analog sticks, your button pressure....it's pretty mind boggling. It's also has a rubber like material for grip and doesn't feel like it will slide out of your hands easily. This is truly a premium controller, but once you use it you will see why and you'll open up so many control options for your games.
Adam – Worms W.M.D.: It’s no secret that I’m a massive Worms fan. I’ve been playing since its inception over two decades ago, and it’s still making me smile every time I launch a Holy Hand Grenade at other worms. Value priced, this is the best Worms game that’s come out ever since Armageddon back in 99’. It’s full of content and is very easy to pick up and play for some quick matches.
Kirby - Life Is Strange: It’s always on sale and is a GREAT episodic game that anyone can enjoy.
Adam – EA Access: Hear me out. For $5 a month (or $30 a year), you gain access to a library of EA games, and with a huge list and growing, you can easily get your money’s worth: Here’s the current list of 38 titles available to play with your subscription: Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, Bejeweled 3, Dead Space, Dragon Age: Inquisition, EA Sports UFC, EA Sports UFC 2, Feeding Frenzy, Feeding Frenzy 2, FIFA 14, FIFA 15, FIFA 16, Heavy Weapon, Madden NFL 15, Madden NFL 16, Madden NFL 25, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, , Mirror’s Edge, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, NBA Live 15, NBA Live 16, NHL 15, NHL 16, Need for Speed, Need for Speed Rivals, Peggle 2, Plants vs. Zombies, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, SSX, Star Wars Battlefront, Titanfall, Unravel, and Zuma Deluxe. For $5, that’s pretty amazing.
Adam – Any Telltale Games’ Season Pass: Sure, I’m cheating a bit here, as you need to essentially buy the Season Pass to play through the story’s entirety, but it’s well worth it. Regardless if you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, or Tales From the Borderlands, the stories they craft are so engaging and memorable, that it’s no wonder they are one of my favorite developers. They know how to tell a story and make you care about their characters and about your decisions.
Chad - Dying Light: The Following: In truth, Dying Light: The Following was more like a brand new game than downloadable content, or the expansion that it was billed as being. It was large, epic, and very robust, offering a ton of new gameplay experiences in addition to a badass new ride. Hell, it may well be better than the main game. I was excited for Dying Light: The Following when I first heard about it, but it exceeded my expectations then ran over them with its buggy for good measure. So, if you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend it. Start with the core campaign, though, as it’s important.
Chad - Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Although Shantae – WayForward’s ½ genie hero – has been around for quite some time now, she’s never received the recognition that she’s deserved. That’s especially true for Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse – a game that people should be recommending left, right and centre. Prior to playing this game, I’d never played or given much thought to the Shantae games. I now realize that this was a mistake, and am trying to make amends for my error. Simply put, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a real gem, and one that fans of old-school platformers will adore.
Kirby - PowerA Fusion Controller: Looking for an affordable “Elite Controller” like experience? You really can’t go wrong with PowerA’s Fusion Controller. With buttons on the back side, changeable analog sticks, and trigger locks, this controller ($49.99 USD) is a great controller to add as a secondary controller, or even make your primary controller should you want. The only downfall, it’s wired, still worth the money though.
And there you have it, our Addicts' expert picks of what you should be playing and get ASAP to star off the new year. We know you don't have every game on this list, so get to it and start your 2017 gaming career off great!