Last week, we looked at a few unique PlayStation exclusives that were essential to any player’s library. Today, however, we’re narrowing down on the Microsoft territory, where the Xbox platform beckons to be explored for its rich history of exclusive titles. And there are a few, for sure. I mean, while not boasting as many award-winning hits as Sony, the Xbox has still released some truly phenomenal games over the years.
Luckily for us, Xbox Game Pass exists — and it bosts pretty much the majority of triple-A titles. And for $1 for three months of game time, we’d be crazy to pass up such an opportunity. But anyway, subscription plans aside, we’re digging deep into the barrel and pulling out the finest exclusives on the Xbox market. From street racing to story-rich shooters — here are five Xbox essentials that you should consider buying in 2021.
5. Forza Horizon 4
If you haven’t been able to stay up to speed with the Forza series over the last sixteen years, then fear not, because now might just be your chance to immerse into the finest chapter to date. While Forza Motorsport has produced several outstanding segments with some of the most realistic circuit racing we’ve ever seen over the years — nothing quite comes as close to perfection as the Horizon branch of titles.
Set in the UK with its many quaint little villages and vast open countryside, players are able to enrol in the Horizon showcase, where only the best drivers in the scene are able to step up and make a name for themselves. With an enormous mixture of off-road dirt rallies, stunt performances, movie clips, and, of course, street races — Forza Horizon bundles in a dozen or more racing games into one breathtaking package. And we can’t help but urge you to explore it for yourself.
4. Quantum Break
Have you ever wondered what’d happen if you combined a movie with a video game? Well, thanks to Remedy Entertainment, you might just be able to see what the result of that concept would look like. With a constant flow of fast-paced cutscenes that revolve around your decisions throughout the game, Quantum Break plays out as the ultimate movie where you take the role of director for a spin.
From the moment you step foot into Jack Joyce’s shoes, you’re immediately pulled into a sci-fi world where everything is out to capture you. Not only are you invited into a whole world of drama and mysterious events, but you’re also left to navigate a path that only leads towards impending doom. With the power to bend time and space at will, it is up to you to locate the origins of the supernatural gift and ultimately stop the world from meeting its end. However, the decisions you make along the way might just dig a slightly deeper grave altogether. Are you ready to feel the weight of the world resting on your shoulders?
3. Sunset Overdrive
It’s time to gear up and dive into Sunset City, where mutated creatures jacked up on carbonated beverages storm the streets and claim the world for themselves. As the unnamed FizzCo employee, your ultimate goal is to drive back the armies of mutants and restore peace to the dystopian city. With a fleshed-out arsenal of weapons and flashy tricks, both you and a roster of favourable personalities must unite in order to return Sunset City to some level of former glory.
Sunset Overdrive ramps up the fun with a relatively short but incredibly sweet story that never strays away from the action. Customization is plentiful, the humour is on point, and the entertainment value is well worth the few pennies you’ll have to scrape out for the game. All in all, Sunset Overdrive is a must-play for any Xbox user — even if it’s just to thrash your head to a punk rock score for a few hours and nothing more. Either way, we can’t recommend sinking your teeth into this one enough.
2. Sea of Thieves
If multiplayer is your thing and you’re hungering for an exciting new adventure with your pals — then Sea of Thieves is definitely one to plaster on your radar. Even if pirates aren’t to your liking, and digging up treasure is too much of a cliche to boot — finding a place on the open seas can still have its qualities that are most definitely enticing in one way or another.
Luckily for us, Sea of Thieves doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it thrives off of trial and error techniques and most definitely welcomes newbie gangs to the seas with open arms. Plus, if you’re the lone wolf type with zero interest in buddying up with other fellow pirates, then you’ll also be pleased to know that navigating the seas solo is also possible. But we probably wouldn’t recommend it, as the ocean can be a rather dangerous place should you cruise a little further than your local river. Even still, it’s worth raising the flag and finding out if you have what it takes to become a pirate legend, right?
1. Gears 5
If you’ve been following the Gears of War series since its debut, then you’re probably more than aware of the latest addition to the story. If not, however, then perhaps now’s your chance to tuck into the freshest chapter to date. Although, we’d strongly recommend playing through Gears 4 before sinking some hours into this one — seeing as this is a sequel to Kait’s journey. But you probably could’ve guessed that.
Gears 5 continues the action-packed adventure of Kait, JD and Del, as they dig deeper into enemy territory in search of Kait’s mysterious family history. As a descendant of Myrrah, the Queen of the Locust army, Kait must not only accept her origins — but also unravel the secrets that are bound to the name and understand where her place lies in the war-torn lands.