Microsoft knows they’ve stumbled when it comes to exclusive games this generation, which is why they’ve spent the last two years buying up excellent game studios.

The future looks bright, though with the next generation of consoles announced, we’re witnessing the swansong for our current consoles. We’d recommend waiting until the launch of the next generation of consoles in Holiday 2020, but if you really want to jump in, you can take advantage of deep discounts during the Xbox Black Friday sale event on both the Xbox One S and the more powerful Xbox One X. The Black Friday sale lasts through December 2.

Microsoft’s only notable exclusive game from this year is Gears 5, but it’s a darn good one. See below for all our Xbox One game recommendations for 2019.


Younger Kids

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King

Two classic platformers from the 90s, Aladdin and The Lion King, have been updated and packaged together as Disney Classic Games. As these games predate many of the modern conveniences we’ve enjoyed in the years and decades since their launch, players can now enjoy a rewind feature and easily activated cheat codes, which should come in handy for the notoriously difficult The Lion King.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch

Team Sonic Racing

Mario and friends aren’t the only ones who like to settle their differences on the race track. Team Sonic Racing features 15 racers spread over three distinct classes, and 21 different tracks, including favorites from previous Sonic racing games. Up to four players can race together locally, or up to 12 players online.

Also available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

The first Yooka-Laylee was crafted as a spiritual successor to the wave of 3D platformers of the late 90s/early 2000s, but was met with mixed results. The sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair,  takes a far different approach, utilizing successful 2D level designs. It’s both a solid throwback to classic game design, and a refreshing modern update.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch


Older Kids & Teens

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Planetfall is more than a sci-fi version of turn-based strategy series Age of Wonders, which combines Civilization’s empire management with XCOM-like tactical combat. Planetfall completely changes city-building and expansion through the use of sectors, and expands combat to make room for armored dinosaurs and laser guns.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4

Apex Legends

EA and Respawn surprised everyone when they dropped the Fortnite-like Battle Royal shooter, Apex Legends. What was initially seen as a Fortnite-killer has since cooled off, but the makers of Titanfall have crafted an excellent team-based online shooter in a (slightly) more serious sci-fi universe.

Also available on: PC (Origin), PlayStation 4

Civilization 6

Civilization 6 released back in 2016 on PC. It was an excellent entry in the long-running strategy series, and it’s made its way to major consoles this year. The base game has plenty of material to lose dozens if not hundreds of hours, but if that’s not enough you can also buy the Expansion bundle, which includes 2018’s Rise and Fall, and Gathering Storm, which released earlier this year, for additional civilizations as well as features such as Dark Ages and climate change.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch

Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 was one of the longest-awaited sequels in gaming history, finally returning to the adventures of Sora, Donald, and Goofy in this unique and memorable mashup of Japanese RPG and Disney and Pixar films. Wield magical keyblades and repel the Heartless through the worlds of Toy Story, Frozen, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Also available on: PlayStation 4

Outer Wilds

It’s the end of the world, Groundhog Day style in indie adventure Outer Wilds. As an astronaut on a new planet, you have exactly 22 minutes until the sun explodes. It’ll take a multitude of iterations to explore the mystery behind the time loop, diving further and further into the story and wider universe with each catastrophic death.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

And legions of fans cried out, “finally, a good Star Wars game!” Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place in the fertile story-telling era between the prequels and the original trilogy, and stars Cal Kestis, a young Jedi who must survive being hunted down by The Empire.

Also available on: PC (Origin), PlayStation 4


Wargroove asks one simple question: Do you like Advance Wars? The beloved handheld tactical strategy series has been given an excellent spiritual successor, transforming the pseudo-modern Advance Wars into a fantasy series with a lengthy story campaign as well as skirmish, puzzle, and map editing modes.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch


Mature Teens

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 2 is often considered one of the best games of the previous generation. Borderlands 3 may not live up to that lofty goal, but it’s still a fantastic entry in the popular co-op looter-shooter series, and one of the few big budget games to still offer split-screen couch co-op.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4


Developer Remedy (Alan Wake) came out swinging with this gorgeous third-person action game. Control stars Jesse Faden, an agent for a secretive government organization that studies strange phenomenon, and finds her world, and reality itself, torn apart. Thankfully she’s got a supernatural firearm and some special abilities of her own.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4

Gears 5

While the Gears of War series has always been about a brutal war between the COG soldiers and the monstrous Locusts, Gears 5 focuses more heavily on the story, shifting the primary focus onto Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. Gears 5 serves up the same great multiplayer action as its predecessors, including up to three player split-screen and online co-op.

Also available on: PC (Windows Store)

The Division 2

The first Division had a rocky start but Ubisoft spent months and years patching and upgrading the shared world multiplayer post-apocalyptic looter-shooter. The sequel shifts from New York City to Washington D.C., featuring Ubisoft’s trademark attention to geographical detail, and satisfyingly refined weapons and classes.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4

The Outer Worlds

Leave it to Obsidian Entertainment (Pillars of Eternity) to craft a better Fallout game than Bethesda.The Outer Worlds  infuses all of Fallout’s satirical dismantling of mega-corporations within a pulpy sci-fi first-person RPG, as the choices you make ultimately determine the fate of the Halcyon star system.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Fans of the Dark Souls series need no further incentive for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the newest game from FromSoftware. Sekiro is closer to a traditional action-stealth game than the more RPG-like Souls series, and takes place in a vastly under-explored time period in 16th century Japan.

Also available on: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4

This article was written by

Eric has been writing for over eight years with bylines in Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer and Tabletop Gaming magazine, covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on YouTube. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.