It’s been a fluctuating year for Xbox One as far as game releases go. We’ve truly had the good, the bad and the ugly. The rest of the year looks a lot more promising than what we’ve endured so far, but that’s not to say that we’ve not enjoyed some absolute gems.
On the flip side, however, there’s certainly been no shortage of poor, under-performing and over-hyped experiences. It was a tough list to compile, but we got there in the end. Here’s our five best Xbox One games of 2018 so far and five of the worst.
Five of the Best Xbox One Game of 2018 so Far
Prior to Monster Hunter World, I was always interested in the series. Having not played a single installation beforehand, I was naturally excited to learn that it was coming to Xbox One. Furthermore, the developers stated that Monster Hunter World was developed in such a way that it would be wide open and accessible for newcomers and returning fans alike.
The nature of grinding in gaming is hardly new and although Destiny 2 butchered the concept, Monster Hunter World went on to showcase how it’s done. There’s something particularly alluring about the idea of hunting monsters (with friends) to craft better gear, in-turn leading to a more powerful character, to then go out and hunt stronger creatures.
It helps, of course, that Monster Hunter World is well developed and comes tethered to an interesting story that’s every bit as engaging as it is seamless. This is further bolstered by its well detailed and diverse locations, interesting characters and more importantly, well structured mechanics. Deserving, it sits high and proud as the best game on Xbox One this year so far.
Following on from the successful releases of Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Dragon Ball FighterZ aimed to bring the fighting experience more inline with the source material. The end result was that of a polished, in-depth and gorgeous representation of what made the TV show so enjoyable.
The game literally looks like it’s been ripped straight from the screen. The gameplay is fluid and fast paced, chock-full of action sequences and energy, every passing second. Sure, the hype and excitement surrounding this game may have died down significantly since launch, more so with SoulCalibur VI on the way, but there’s no denying it of its excellent reception.
Will the aforementioned SoulCalibur VI knock Dragon Ball FighterZ down a peg or two when it releases? That remains to be seen, but for us, Dragon Ball FighterZ holds a special place in our heart. Fingers crossed we get a sequel in due course, but for now, this game is all the fighter action that we could have hoped for.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’s release on Xbox One took me by surprise. Not its arrival, but how quickly it released on the Xbox One following its first official announcement. Having never played the PlayStation 4 counterpart, I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. Safe to say, I got a lot more than I bargained for.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice tells a compelling story of mental illness, one that’s developed in such a touching way that it hits home on a level that really toys with the player’s emotions. Massive credit has to be given to the developer for their bold story telling, relaying a campaign that’s deep, thought provoking and faithful to its theme.
It helps that the gameplay is well rounded and very well paced. So much so that it’s all too easy to pick up and far too hard to put down. It’s not hard to see why this game received so much acclaim on alternate platforms. Simply put, this is a must have experience for anyone that enjoys the formula and believe me when I say, you wont regret it.
Ubisoft’s Far Cry franchise has taken us to some diverse and interesting locations, many of which are tied to plots that are equally as such. Far Cry 5 on the other hand takes the series to new heights. Ubisoft rid the game of many of the tried and tested elements that they place in their other games, such as Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs, ultimately putting forward a more refined open world experience.
That’s right. Gone are the map-unlocking towers and everything equally as tedious. Instead, Far Cry 5 adopts a more open approach that grants the player the freedom to do pretty much whatever they like from the get-go. To top it off, the gameplay is constantly evolving thanks to its excellent missions structure and map design.
Perhaps its most alluring feature is its intriguing story. Far Cry 5’s plot is disturbing and remarkably compelling. Upheld by a stellar cast of well written and well voiced characters that truly deliver a top performance, every step of the way. With so much replay value and content rounding that off, we simply had to include this gem on our list.
I love myself a good action platformer. Though, it wasn’t until Owlboy that I realized how little the genre has evolved as of late. Owlboy on the other hand walks its own path and isn’t scared to shake things up. From beginning to end, the overall experience is nothing short of innovative, well designed and distinct.
Rarely do we see platformers donning such care and attention to detail, bolstered by some insanely well detailed locations throughout. In my review I went so far as to say that Owlboy sets a new standard for the genre, praise that I continue to uphold even now. The gameplay constantly evolves at every hurdle, religiously challenging the player in the process.
Another fine point within is that Owlboy has a decent portion of longevity to it. Which is quite impressive when we take into account that it’s jam-packed with interesting characters and charm. If you’ve yet to play this and (like me) enjoy a good platformer, Owlboy is certainly a game that should be high up on your radar.
Five of the Worst Xbox One Game of 2018 so Far
Abo Khashem was promised to be a new kind of RPG. Boy, was that putting it lightly. I don’t recall a game aside from Goat Simulator that had so many bugs and technical issues within. The difference between Goat Simulator and Abo Khashem, was that Goat Simulator’s issues were intentional and even used as a promotional point.
Abo Khashem’s screen tearing, framerate issues, dated visuals and several bugs were not the only issue that players needed to contend with. Not by a long-shot. The matter of its frankly absurd and shitty story trailed closely behind, further hindered by ridiculous voice acting and a huge lack of humor.
Sure, it housed a great deal of content, but there’s no denying whatsoever that the developer either cared too little and wanted to make a quick few coins, or honestly thought that they had crafted something passable. In any case, this is one RPG that you’ll never want clogging up your hard drive space. It’s easily one of the worst games on Xbox One.
Dynasty Warriors 9, unlike Abo Khashem, wanted to be a lot more than what it was. The promotional run for this game was strong and consistent right from the initial reveal. What’s most surprising is that the developers managed to hide so many of its issues from the public eye with each and every clip they released. Sound work, considering.
Shoddy optimization, dated visuals, poor animation, crap camera movement, framerate issues, bad voice acting and heaps of bugs persist throughout. The shame in all of this is that Dynasty Warriors 9 is the only game in our list that had a great deal of potential. Potential that’s completely wasted on such poor optimization and development.
Had Dynasty Warriors 9 released with better gameplay refinements and fewer issues than what’s outlined above, I’m sure we would be looking at an entirely different beast. Though, as it stands, that’s just not the case. Hopefully if a sequel pops along, Koei can produce something much more interesting and more importantly, much better handled.
Xuan Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament made its way to Xbox One with very little promotion leading to release. That alone was surprising, seeing as it marked the first in the series to be localized in English, grouped with the fact that Xuan Yuan Sword is said to be an epic RPG series with a staggering 25 years of history behind it.
What did we get? One huge pile of nonsense that’s only intriguing to begin with. The UI is a mess, the visuals lack nearly all forms of detail, character models are poor (and even float as far as one foot from the ground), the localisation is really off and above all else, bugs hammer this game left, right and center.
Xuan Yuan Sword: The Gate of Firmament is bait without a hook. Everything from the ground up is shoddy throughout the entirety of play and despite some decent map structure, it’s filled with pointless content from the start. It took very little effort to smack this game on our “worst of 2018” list, that’s for sure.
I felt like complete and utter shit when I gave this game such a low score. Why? Well, the game’s meta plot centers around a child’s battle with cancer. Each and every bit of money this game makes even goes to charity to support children and families that are coping with life threatening illnesses. On that score alone, this game outmatches any other on the market.
The game itself on the other hand, not so much. I, Hope is a bad game in almost every way you can imagine. The gameplay loop is far too basic and far too repetitive to get a pass in 2018, grouped with boring, uninteresting and bland locations. It doesn’t help matters that the gameplay mechanics remain underdeveloped and far from exciting.
Throw in the fact that I, Hope only lasts for an hour or two and outside of the donation you will be making if you invest, it’s not worth the time and attention. If that wasn’t enough to put you off, picture irritating combat, puzzles that are far too simplistic and finally, voice acting that sounds like a constipated Yoda.
Past Cure, much like Dynasty Warriors 9, showcased a degree of promise during its weak promotional run. The plot, at the very least, seemed very interesting. An intense, cinematic, story-driven experience that challenges the player to use mind-bending mental abilities to survive? Yes please! Instead, we once again received yet another underdeveloped experience.
Issues such as screen tearing, poor controls, heaps of bugs and bad voice acting, plagued the entire journey. Even with these technical issues to the side, there’s very little to like about Past Cure. The story, for instance, just doesn’t evolve in the way that it should. So many dots remain unconnected throughout, leaving the player feeling underwhelmed come its conclusion.
The steep price tag didn’t help matters. Especially when we take into account that the game can be nuked in one or two sittings. Sure, it may well have been the developer’s first game, but that’s no excuse. This should have been put through QA. Hell, a monkey could have identified the problems within. Either way, if you didn’t pick this up, you did yourselves a favor.
So there you have it, our list of the five best and five worst Xbox One games of 2018. Do you have any that you would like to add or disagree with a listing here? Sound off in the comments below.