This year, more than a thousand games were released on the last-gen Xbox. That’s too much so we highlight the 10 Best Xbox One games of 2020, arranged by playscore. Visit our page on All the Best Xbox One Games of 2020, to see the complete list.
The return to Deep Silver’s wacky open-world universe is just as great as we remembered it. First released in 2011, the zany and absurd antics of THQ Nordic’s action-adventure persists as a great diversion--perhaps most especially from the boring monotony that was our home lives this year. But, this is made more true by this remaster’s many new graphical improvements, plus all of the original’s DLCs. The Xbox One might have had to deal with only having 30fps, it seems worth getting for the sandbox highs that only Saints Row can offer. Technical aside, God is a Geek notes: "the core experience is so much fun that it’s hard to care whether it stands up straight while it pees on your roses and TPs your house." It has a playscore of 8.09.
From the fringes of the half-year rankings, Typhoon Studios has rocketed itself up to the 9th spot. It was one of the first games that released this year, and it began its year as Gamespot’s “First Best Co-op.” It certainly wasn’t the last, but it’s still one of the best. Despite inevitable comparisons to No Man's Sky, this savage planet adventure is a thing of its own. It's not just a feat in world building, it wrapped it all up in a package that actually feels worth exploring. There’s humor abound, which is perfect when you’re sharing the place with a friend. GameSpew gave it a 9/10, calling it “one of the most imaginative game worlds we’ve seen in a long time and a killer sense of humour.” Even as a co-op title, it’s also playable as a singleplayer, making it an enjoyable ride solo. It has a playscore of 8.14.
Focus Home Interactive and Saber brought us a new kind of truck simulator this year. The next step to their MudRunner series, it lets go of the comforting breezes of the countryside for the biting frost of the frozen tundras. SnowRunner is all about plowing that rough patch of snow and mud with a variety of machines to choose from. There is an inherent slow-ness to its gameplay, as most truck simulators usually do. However, its 15 sandbox modes, each with their own extreme hazards to overcome, is an edge in the trucker business. As IGN says in their review, SnowRunner is “An earnest, unapologetically tricky, and time-consuming trucking experience” that is “oddly addictive, deep, and rewarding when played in the right spirit.” Sure, it might be a niche title. But it serves its target market well with a playscore of 8.15.
In the run up to 2020, Bandai Namco’s newest adaptation of the Kakarot storyline has dominated our upcoming lists, fuelling a hype for what would be the grandest Dragon Ball title yet. 12 months later, the action RPG is still going strong. As a retelling of the most popular arcs in the series, it has exceeded expectations, delivering in terms of action and the level of detail it provides. Critics gave it a generally good score overall. However, they did find the game’s open world and arena fighting features particularly lacking. That’s on top of some technical hiccups. On the other hand, it’s the gamers themselves that elevated it to their 7th rank. What’s certain is that this latest Kakarot iteration is an amazing treat for those who just want to dive into nostalgia, or get a first-hand experience of the story. It has a playscore of 8.18.
Phobia Game Studios’ horror platformer has rightfully earned its spot in the platform’s yearly rankings. One of our most anticipated indie releases this year, Carrion turns the horror genre on its head. Dubbed as ‘reverse horror,’ instead of running against supernatural threats, it’s the players that will do the haunting and killing. Play as a living monstrosity assuming the form of a tentacle and stalk and consume those that are trapped within your grasp. As one of the game’s published under Devolver Digital, it has the company’s signature pixel perfection. The retro aesthetic never takes away from its gruesomeness. EGM Now cites the game as the ultimate power fantasy, saying “The Doom Slayer might talk a big game about ripping and tearing, but Carrion’s meatball monster puts its money where its many mouths are” It has a playscore of 8.26.
Much like Bandai Namco’s Kakarot, this remaster also banks on a whole lot of nostalgia. One of the many remakes and remasters this year, Rehydrated offers a fresh new look at the platformer that first came out in 2003. Though there weren't much changes in the way of gameplay, but it offered some additional features in the form of previously deleted content, and, more importantly, a new multiplayer mode. Just like our 7th spot, it didn’t quite connect with some critics who thought there wasn’t much to see in this remaster. But, for those who appreciated going back to old times with arguably the best Spongebob title yet, Rehydrated offered a refuge for fans on the modern consoles. Preserving the charm of the original while showcasing how far technology has come, it receives a playscore of 8.42.
4. Yakuza 0
The most awaited Xbox One release of this SEGA title finally happened this year, and it was an event worth remembering. Sure, it already released on the PC and PS4 to wide acclaim, but this albeit delayed Xbox One port may have added to the list of reasons to love the game. With gaming and tech world undergoing plenty of changes since Yakuza 0’s debut, the 2020 title benefited from a new support for today’s graphical standards. Late as it was, the glitz and glamour of Yakuza's 80s Japan setting in this edition holds an advantage over the rest of the console lineup. An enhancement over an already excellent title, zero’s entrance is a great indicator of the quality of the next entries to come. It receives a playscore of 8.51.
Ushering us to the top three ranks is...
Ubisoft’s latest entry to the Assassin’s Creed series is their first title to hit the new generation. Still, it’s a relief to know that Valhalla runs just as smoothly on the Xbox One. The history slash mythology series has undergone a lot of changes since the release of Origins. With this latest installment, the deviation from the old formula is more palpable than ever. Despite all that though, Valhalla is an amazing title, allowing us to immerse in a magnificent open world viking story. According to some critics, there’s quality in every aspect of the game--from it’s storyline, to its graphics, to the breadth of activities you’re allowed to dive into. For Xbox Hub’s Gareth Brierley who gave it a 5/5 called it his favorite in the series: “stunningly glorious, fluid as you like, and full of mammoth amounts of content” It receives a playscore of 8.74.
2. DOOM Eternal
Releasing early in the year, we saw Doom Eternal rise to the 4th spot in the half-year rankings. Now, it seems it’s only gotten even more popular since. Its movement and weapon additions have helped liven up the vast,blistering and beautifully hellish environments. id software has seemingly created a way to keep upping the ante, with progressively faster and smarter shooting. While it does have its flaws--its lack of focus being one--its vastly outweighed by the unbridled joy that its intense action brings. The puzzles are a decent enough respite from all that. Overall, it definitely grew on players on the Xbox One, taking it to newer heights in this year’s list. As a review from Stevivor notes: “In spite of the failings mentioned above I can’t emphasise how much fun Doom Eternal is to play and that’s what really counts.” It receives a playscore of 8.85.
And the best Xbox Game of 2020 is...
A recent addition to Microsoft’s roster of beloved exclusives, it is no less a beloved one--winning the top ranks once more with this powerhouse of a sequel. The first game introduced us into its world of challenging metroidvania gameplay balanced out by its wondrous environments and touching story. With Will of the Wisps, they manage refinement of its great features while adding a spate of new ones to the mix. The improvements to combat have created new moments of pure excitement to go alongside their breathtaking atmosphere, new story, and well-established platforming. Despite their first game’s port to the Switch, this sequel keeps Ori on the list of Microsoft’s most coveted exclusives. Darkstation gave it a perfect score, saying “Ori and the Will of the Wisps doesn’t try to recreate the magic that made the first game so special, instead it embraces it.” Creating a worthy sequel to a wonderful title, it receives a playscore of 8.93.