While 2019 wasn’t exactly overflowing with Xbox One exclusives, the system still got a fair share of quality releases. Crackdown 3 finally arrived after years of delay and turned into a cult favorite, while Gears 5 continued to establish an already-strong franchise into something greater. Not to mention the third party games that made their way to the system.
In the end, though, there has to be a clear-cut winner when it comes to Xbox greatness. Let’s take a look back at some of the best games of 2019 before naming our top title.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
No, it’s not an easy journey. But Seikro: Shadows Die Twice is an exceptionally worthy one, as you encounter many foes through an intricate battle system. With a gorgeous art style that stands out from From Software’s previous work, along with a challenge level that will test even the greatest of warriors, Sekiro stands out as a truly killer title. The mythical gorilla battle alone—in both forms—is worth the price of admission.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Just when we believed all hope was lost with EA and the Star Wars franchise, along comes Respawn Entertainment and God of War III director Stig Asmussen to remind us that magic can be made. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is one of the best Star Wars games in years, a thrilling spectacle that focuses on single-player adventure, storytelling, and memorable encounters. Not to mention that it’ll push those looking for a true galactic fight to their very limits. Don’t let this adventure pass you by.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled
Just as it did for Spider-Man games years ago, Beenox has gone and rejuvenated a racing classic to epic proportions. Crash Team Racing lives on—and is better than ever—with Nitro-Fueled, a game that packs a punch for rookies and veteran kart racers alike. With beautiful courses, a jam-packed open-world hub, gorgeous visuals, and entertaining gameplay, this game revs up kart racing to a whole new level. Not to mention the sheer addictiveness of multiplayer.
The Outer Worlds
While Bethesda’s Fallout 76 continues to slip into laughable obscurity, Obsidian Entertainment takes the open-world ball and runs with it well beyond the end zone. The Outer Worlds is an inventive, fun delight for fans of the genre, with memorable characters, outstanding open-world design, thrilling combat, and fun situations that make this galaxy well worth revisiting. Also, we’d do anything for Parvati. We just would.
Xbox One Game of the Year:
Microsoft may not have done much on the first-party publishing front this year, but what it did do with Gears 5 was nothing short of significant. The Coalition truly made the franchise its own with this riveting entry, which now focuses on Kait and her plight with the Locust. The game feels like a complete experience, between a single-player campaign that actually has a story to tell and established multiplayer that feels like it’s come full circle since the series’ early days.
Then there’s the new Escape mode, which is a lot more fun than originally expected, thanks to keeping your team more involved with tasks. This, combined with the other parts of the game, makes it feel like a true move forward with a sequel, rather than something just put together with a little slapdash. Gears 5 feels like a huge leap forward over what Gears of War 4 did, and leaves hope that Gears 6 could be even better once it surfaces on Xbox Series X. (Oh, and that Terminator: Dark Fate crossover? Genius.)
For more of our Year in Review 2019 series, head to our hub page.