There are hundreds upon hundreds of Xbox One games out there, and sometimes the best games on the store don’t get the spotlight they deserve. Whether it’s due to smaller marketing capabilities or ill-received reviews, there are some games that deserve a second look, even if it’s only because of a price drop. Here are our picks for the most underrated or often overlooked Xbox One games.
While Ruiner isn’t exactly underrated, sharing a launch week with Cuphead unfairly overshadowed it a bit. Ruiner is a top-down action game similar to the likes of Hotline Miami, touting slick hyperviolent sci-fi combat set in a dystopian cyberpunk world. Ruiner is as gorgeous as it is intense, and it’s available as part of Xbox Play Anywhere to sweeten the deal.
Mad Max was panned for having “repetitive” open-world gameplay, yet it was tied together with some fun combat and industry-leading vehicular combat, wrapped in an authentic Mad Max world. The game can be a slog, but the wasteland is full of secrets to uncover and stories to peruse. There’s a lot of detail to be found in the wastes, and the vehicle combat is second to none.
Many reviewers attempted to play Quantum Break like a cover shooter, but it’s best played like an action game with an emphasis on Jack Joyce’s superhuman powers to manipulate time itself. Quantum Break is also broken up by slick live action segments that feature great writing and performances from Lance Reddick and Shawn Ashmore. This is another game no Xbox fan can afford to ignore.
Rivals of Aether isn’t exactly underrated, but it feels as though few people are aware that Xbox One basically has its own version of Super Smash Bros. Rivals of Aether is a platform fighting game that features online play, along with extremely tight and well-designed fighting mechanics. If you ever enjoyed Super Smash Bros., you have to give Rivals of Aether a try.
As a kid, I spent many hours immersed in the 8-bit world of Lemmings. For those who don’t know, Lemmings is a puzzle game in which you guide mindless critters across increasingly hazardous courses. Flockers is very similar, albeit with sheep and HD gore! In Flockers, you must lead a troupe of sheep across diabolical traps, utilizing the various tools at your disposal.
Here’s yet another Xbox exclusive that was unfairly received, particularly if you’re a fan of violent action games. Ryse was originally planned to be a HD Kinect game but was later transformed into a proper action game. The change in direction probably impacted the game’s overall depth, but Ryse is still a great title for action game fans. Its bloody combat is as violent as it is spectacular.
ReCore is another game that was harshly received, especially when you consider it didn’t launch at full price. ReCore may have suffered a little from overhype, but despite its problems I think it’s a worthy action adventure game for fans of the genre. In ReCore, you’re joined by robotic companions as you battle the defective bots across a vibrant and colorful platforming world.
While I totally agree it doesn’t live up to the standards set by its predecessors, Thief was a little harshly received, and it remains one of the great stealth games available for Xbox One. As its name suggests, in Thief, you guide the heroic kleptomaniac Garrett through a series of daring heists, as he and his Order become embroiled in a revolution threatening to tear the city apart.
Sunset Overdrive is an open-world action game set in a vibrant technicolor apocalypse where a noxious soft drink has turned the city folk into mutant beasts. The game was unfairly overlooked when it launched, but enjoys a passionate cult following for its acrobatic combat, wacky characters, and its addictive Jet Set Radio-like city traversal mechanics.
Arguably the most underrated game on this list, Prey is an incredible and atmospheric shooter that evokes Super Metroid, Bioshock, Half-Life, Dead Space, and many other sci-fi heavyweights into a cohesive whole. Set aboard the Talos-I space station, you must navigate an alien infestation of cosmic proportions, as you unpack the horrors that occurred to the station’s inhabitants.
Those are our picks for the most overlooked and underrated Xbox One games. Even the worst games tend to have something to offer, and subjective feelings like nostalgia can elevate any game. All of these games certainly have their shortcomings, but if you’re looking for something new that you might have previously overlooked, this list might help.
One personal favorite is the relentlessly awesome Prey from Bethesda and Arkane Studios. The atmosphere and world building in Prey is some of the best of this generation, and it should be played with a puzzle solving, explorative mindset, rather than a “run n’ gun” mindset. Mad Max was also unfairly overlooked, perhaps in part for its sluggish opening, and rough edges. Despite its ruggedness, Mad Max is a faithful re-imagining of the famous wastes, complete with some of the best vehicular combat available on Xbox One today.
However, Ruiner takes our top position for the most overlooked game on Xbox One right now, owing to its unfortunate launch timing. Cyberpunk dystopia, tight hyperviolent action, and neon-blasted aesthetics — what’s not to love?