The Best Xbox Adventure Games Available in 2018

By Mark Delaney, 11 months ago
The past several years haven't seen just a revitalization of the adventure genre, it's been nothing short of a renaissance. For fans of such games, there are now so many different titles to play. New era point and clicks, narrative-driven exploration games, and even plenty of horror-adventure hybrids all make up what is now a very popular style of game after it nearly disappeared completely not that long ago. Adventure games are back and are even mainstream now. Here are several of the best games you can play if you're looking for something usually a bit lax on gameplay but rich with storytelling.

What Remains of Edith Finch

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The exceptional story and inventive gameplay design makes Giant Sparrow's title a memorable trailblazer for walking sims. It sets a new bar for what the genre is capable of in its interactivity, and all narrative adventure games that arrive after Edith Finch may now have to consider challenging players with more than diary reading and tape playing. It's said that, in their infancy, each new medium copies the one it's following. In some ways, games are the successor to movies and we've seen plenty of cinematic games that crib the format of feature films. To take nothing away from such games, What Remains of Edith Finch is a shining example of what video games do uniquely well.

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Tales from the Borderlands

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In terms of mechanics, each Telltale game is really a sequel to its predecessors. In that way, Tales From The Borderlands is mostly a success. Legacy concerns still plague this game like they have been doing for the last half-decade. However, dialogue options feel the most cohesive they've ever been and the combat adds a few new wrinkles while fixing what didn't work before. Naysayers of their formula won't be quieted with another game in Telltale's library that has especially little to offer for major player choices, but fans who have so far enjoyed their style of video game will absolutely enjoy this one, even if they aren't a Borderlands fan. It's the best Borderlands story told so far. More startlingly, it's the best Telltale story told so far, and should, with any luck, provoke a rise in the ripe genre of comedy video games.

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The Walking Dead - A New Frontier

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Telltale has hesitated to call A New Frontier "season three" because they want old and new players alike to attach themselves to Javier's story. They've done a good job of letting those new players in without abandoning the series veterans. If Javi wasn't compelling, longtime fans would be livid at the sudden lane change away from Clementine. Fortunately for players old and new, Clem remains a crucial part of the story while Javi has given the series a fantastic new protagonist. The New Frontier is the strongest the series has been since its early debut season, and sets up nicely for a final season coming soon.

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The Sexy Brutale

The Sexy Brutale

The Sexy Brutale is a truly memorable title. The grisly Groundhog Day design makes for a unique gaming experience unlike any other title on the platform. All of the elements of the title, the graphics, characters, environments, sounds, music, and gameplay come together in a superbly crafted game that oozes class from start to finish. The puzzles are enough to tax you without straining your brain, and the gameplay is cleverly balanced throughout. Despite the macabre subject matter and quite grisly demises to which some of the guests fall victim, the game retains its alluring charm. There are games that feel manufactured, some just simply developed, but here you feel that the game has been crafted. From start to finish, it oozes class. There is something special about The Sexy Brutale, something you don't come across often. It's not a phrase that I would use often to describe a video game, but this is quite simply exquisite.

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Night In The Woods: Weird Autumn Edition

Night In The Woods

Night in the Woods is a refreshing take on the adventure genre. With unique visuals and an all too realistic setting, the game will appeal to anyone who enjoys storytelling on a level more human than the usual fare seen in the medium. The town of Possum Springs will be a depressingly familiar one for any who grew up in small American towns where complacency with hardship is in the water, and it's a credit to the game's writers that every single resident of the troubled town feels real. Even if you didn't live in such a setting, the game's subversion of coming of age tropes make for a special story. It does sell itself out a bit at the end to drive home its central theme, but the rest of it is visually, audibly, and narratively memorable.

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The Council

The Council

The Council is what many genre fans have been wanting. It builds on the choose-your-own-adventure style with smart new RPG mechanics, adding depth to every encounter unseen in other games like this, and makes the entire experience feel like a chess tournament where anyone and everyone is your opponent. The voice acting can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, but it's usually not distractingly bad. Everything from setting to story to characters all coalesces into what would probably be a great title on its own if you happen to like these sort of games. Big Bad Wolf Studio went above and beyond, however, and created an intriguing and arguably overdue evolution of the genre. If they can deliver a worthwhile story over the remaining four episodes, The Council may go down as the new benchmark for narrative adventure games.

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Life Is Strange

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Life is indeed strange. Meddling with time is not as easy as you would think and this engaging story does a great job of driving that point home. The moral decisions that players make really do have an affect on the story's future. The game's time-rewinding mechanics mean that all options can be considered and those all-important decisions need not be rushed. The five-episode arc remains many people's favorite game in this format, besting the numerous Telltale titles that inspired it. The characters and setting are rarely explored in games to date, and above all else, that's what makes it so refreshing.

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Thimbleweed Park

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Thimbleweed Park is a strange ride. It's compelling throughout, with a strange story full of eccentric characters coupled with some very competent and rewarding puzzle construction; arguably it's the best of its kind, even including the LucasArts classics. It takes a while to get going and stumbles on a few points along the way, particularly with its incessant fourth-wall breaking and a lack of meaningful engagement between the playable characters. As a lovingly-crafted piece of fan service, there are few games out there that can match the level of passion and community spirit on display here, and it proves that there is still a place in the market for some traditional point-and-click puzzling. It's not going to win over staunch critics of the format, but for anyone looking for a fresh twist on a classic genre, Thimbleweed Park is highly recommended.

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Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth isn't your typical video game; it's an interactive novel that weaves a rich and intriguing story. Developer Daedalic Entertainment has cast aside annoying gameplay tropes often found in point-and-clicks to create an experience that allows the player to focus solely on the narrative. Aside from occasional pathing problems, there isn't much to complain about here. The developers have gone to great lengths to give Pillars the beautiful presentation it deserves, creating a rich world and atmosphere. Each background is painstakingly hand-drawn and every line has been given life through voice acting. Here, both diehard Pillars of the Earth fans and newcomers will find a well-told tale.

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Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride

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Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride is proof that Artifex Mundi is trying to make all of their games seem different even if they do share similar gameplay mechanics. The domino games provide an alternative for those tiring of scouring the screen for small objects, but the inability to undo mistakes means that most players will stick to what they know. Despite this, adventure fans shouldn't pass up the chance of another easy completion even if it involves two playthroughs instead of one. For those who don't normally play this type of game, Grim Legends, or any Artifex Mundi game for that matter, continues to be a great starting point for their entry into the genre.

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Her Majesty's SPIFFING

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Her Majesty's SPIFFING is a very British point & click title where humour is the priority. With digs at the game's cast, the British, and even the genre itself, the game doesn't hold back. The puzzles challenge players without being overcomplicated and the game manages to mix humour and decent gameplay that will appeal to most players, even if some of the British humour will be lost on players from other regions. The only downside is that the story is left on a cliffhanger when most players would be looking for a more satisfying ending. Will we ever see the next part of English and Jones' venture through the galaxy? Well, there's no reason not to recommend a purchase of this title to help the chances of that finale along.

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Virginia

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Virginia is a game because of its avenues of release and its use of a controller, but it is the most cinematic, movie-like game that may have yet been created. That's meant as a compliment, but it's understood that plenty don't care for such a shallow gameplay experience. However, like all of the best first-person adventure games, or "walking sims," Virginia works better than its movie inspirations because of the inherent interactivity that comes with telling a story in this medium. It goes all in on delivering a surreal, Lynchian narrative and hits that nail of unreality on the head, all the way down to leaving you wondering what exactly you just witnessed.

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Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is the host of the community game club TA Playlist. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his family. He almost never writes in the third person.