If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you know we’ve done a list of the top 10 Xbox exclusives. If you haven’t listened to the podcast, you should and can find links to iTunes and Google Podcasts right here, or at the bottom of the page.
We set a couple of ground rules which I will go over here. First, we couldn’t pick collections, so things like Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Second, we could only have one game from each series, so if we put Dark Souls (Yes, I know it’s not an Xbox exclusive) we couldn’t also include Dark Souls 3. Finally, we couldn’t pick short timed exclusives like Cuphead or Rise of the Tomb Raider. However, games that were also available on PC do count.
Our hosts compiled our personal lists, and then combined them into the master list that follows.
#10 Ori and the Blind Forest
Moon Studios really hit it out of the park with their metroidvania Ori and the Blind Forest. The story is emotional and the music really helps to drive home the story elements. The gameplay is super clean and crisp with the combat being tough but fair.
The game really shines in it’s platforming though. It feels really good travelling around the world and makes you want to go back through the different locations in the game with the new abilities you unlock. The escape sequences are some of the most heart pounding gameplay beats in recent memory.
#9 Forza Horizon 4
The mainline Forza series has always been hugely popular among racing fans, but the Horizon spin offs are where the series really shines in our opinion. The peak of the series is the latest one which included the changing of seasons. The seasons all add a different flavor to the races which means you might need to change your driving style up.
The weather effects and season changes were absolutely stunning to look at. The soundtrack was varied meaning there was something for everyone. And the two expansions, Fortune Island, and Lego Speed Champions were both extremely fun to race in.
#8 Sunset Overdrive
One of the first exclusives released on the Xbox One was Sunset Overdrive, and what an exclusive it was. The traversal was extremely fun and satisfying with the ability to grind on rails and rooftops, and bounce off cars and umbrellas. The weapons were varied and awesome, with guns like the TNTeddy which launched explosive teddy bears and the High Fidelity which shot bouncing records at enemies.
The story was fun as well, managing to take cliched story beats and turning them on their head. The side quests were enjoyable and tended to include pop culture references that were always good for a chuckle. Quite a few people missed the game when it was released, so if you haven’t given it a go, you owe it to yourself to go play it.
#7 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Morrowind was the first Elder Scrolls game to make it’s way onto consoles. It had the typical character creation, though it used the major and minor skill progression rather than the open ended leveling system of Skyrim. Even so, the game featured a ton of content, both main line story and side quests, and included a world with a design that had rarely been seen before.
The game featured two expansions, Tribunal, and Bloodmoon, which added new areas and stories for players to explore. The sheer scope of the game was impressive at the time of release, whereas it’s almost come to be expected nowadays. This was one of the best games for the Xbox, and not many exclusives have managed to surpass it.
#6 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Another Xbox game makes its way onto the list in the form of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It was the first Bioware game on consoles though Bioware had made succesful RPG’s on PC in the form of the Baldur’s Gate series. The game allowed you to choose between the light and dark sides which effected the ending of the game.
The writing for the game was superb. Long time listeners of the show will know that I’m a huge fan of Drew Karpyshyn and his books. The Darth Bane series being one of my favorite series. He was the lead writer on this game, which featured one of the most shocking twists in video game history.
Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t quite hold up today, though you can play it via backwards compatibility, but the fantastic writing and gameplay for the time means it deserves a place in the top 10.
#5 Left 4 Dead 2
The Left 4 Dead series features 4 characters trying to escape a zombie infestation. Each campaign features 5 chapters, and the campaigns all tie loosely together. The cooperative mode where you play against computer controlled infected is fun, but the reason the game makes the list is for the multiplayer.
The multiplayer is one of the best asymmetrical multiplayer ever. It’s been mimicked countless times since but it’s never been matched. Having both teams run through each chapter as the infected and the humans was different than anything else, and led to a different experience every time you played.
The sequel ended up including every map from the first game and included new infected, a better AI Director, and melee weapons which is why it makes it over the first one.
#4 Mass Effect
One more Bioware title makes the list in the form of Mass Effect. The scifi space opera featured a fantastic story written once again by Drew Karpyshyn. The combat was fine, though it did get much better as the series went on. The storytelling, choices, and quests were where the game shined.
Players also had the ability to import their completed save into the next game in the series effecting the story in a multitude of ways. The game was exclusive for 5 years before finally going to other consoles which qualifies it for this list. The sequel, while much better, was only exclusive for one year, which is why it didn’t make it onto the list.
#3 Fable 2
Fable 2 was a wonderful Action RPG. The game allowed you to buy different buildings in the world that would unlock things to do, and more importantly, make you money. It featured 2 different alignments that changed the way your character looked depending on the actions you took.
The gameplay was fun with the choice of a sword, a gun, or magic, and the leveling of each also changed the appearance of the character. The story was well told and culminated with a difficult moral choice at the end.
The entire trilogy is available on Game Pass right now, so if you have never played a Fable game, you should go try it. We all agreed that the 2nd game was the best in the series, but the other 2 are no slouches themselves.
#2 Gears of War 2
The second Gears of War game was a fantastic follow up to the original and the peak game in the series. The story was much more emotional than the first game featuring one of the saddest moments ever in a shooter. The multiplayer was enjoyable though it did get better as the series went on.
The addition of Horde Mode was the reason this makes it over any other game in the series. The challenged scaled wonderfully as you advanced through the rounds with the later rounds being extremely difficult. This added to the enjoyment of finally overcoming and beating them.
#1 Halo 2
Our number one Xbox exclusive is another sequel. There are many arguments to be made for any of the original trilogy Halo games making the list, but the story and the multiplayer are the reason Halo 2 makes the list.
“To give the covenant back their bomb” was one of the coolest quotes in video game history, and the ability to play as the arbiter during half the campaign was a surprising and welcome change to the story.
The multiplayer was extremely fun and satisfying, and super important for turning Xbox Live into what we know today. The maps were all fun to play on, and different from each other.
That wraps up our Top 10 Xbox Exclusives of All Time. Let us know down in the comments what your top ten is, and if you disagree with any game on our list. For more like this, check out the Top 5 RPG’s on the Xbox One here, and make sure to stay tuned to Generation Xbox.