The Best Xbox Action-Adventure Games Available in 2018

By Mark Delaney, 5 months ago
There are some genres that will forever be niche. Stuff like bullet hell, walking sims, and survival horror aren't going to be universally adored and games like those have to be made with those expectations in mind. But action-adventure games don't really have that problem. It's likely the world's most prevalent and popular genre in all of gaming. Breaking down a Best Of list for this genre is incredibly difficult because it's hard to know when to make the cutoff. For this exercise, we rounded up the best action-adventure games on Xbox One only, leaving out any Xbox 360 games unless they later came to Xbox One as well. Please take note of that before you comment "But where's [insert game here]?!" Okay. Now the fun part: let's find out who skipped this paragraph. Here are our picks for the best action-adventure games available on Xbox in 2018.

Grand Theft Auto V

Logo

You'd think a list of game recommendations wouldn't need to mention GTA V. Who hasn't played that by now, five years on from its original release? Somehow, enough people are still buying it that it charts in the North American NPD revenue charts every month to this day. With another sure-fire hit around the corner in Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar must eventually move on from GTA, but over the past five years, no game has received more support than this. With constant updates to the multiplayer plus another memorable and satirical look at American culture in the story mode, it's no wodner why GTA remains one of the biggest entertainment properties in the history of the world.

Download from Microsoft Store

Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman Arkham photo

Batman Arkham Knight is a magnificent and fitting end to the Arkham series of games in every possible way. The city of Gotham is a huge, spectacular playground for you to explore, the story sucks you in, and the combat and stealth elements that brought Arkham Asylum to everyone’s attention have never been better. For anyone who likes Batman, the previous releases in the franchise, or open world games in general, Arkham Knight is an absolute must-play.

Download from Microsoft Store

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

BigBoss 9

The Phantom Pain is the kind of game that actually feels as if every seemingly insignificant gameplay detail actually has a real purpose. Every mission, side-op and minute spent assigning staff back at Mother Base makes a real difference to what can or cannot be achieved out on the field. At its core, it is still a stealth-action game, but it never ties you down to just being stealthy. Every mission can be approached in a multitude of different ways and it's left up to the player how to progress. The more manageable approach to storytelling may not seem true to the Metal Gear Solid series to date, but it fits in well with the game's more flexible approach, which lets people attack the game head on or play in smaller bites without needing to worry that at any moment they may have to set aside an hour purely to watch a surprise cutscene.

Download from Microsoft Store

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

hellblade

Some games do a few memorable things in an otherwise disappointing package, and some games are greater than the sum of their parts. Then some games are like Hellblade, where everything is done so well that it stands up to nearly all criticism. The puzzling and combat are both well designed even if neither is genre-redefining, and the audiovisual experience is a consistent spectacle. The ways it never cuts to loading screens and hides its UI makes it feel unique too, like we are right there with Senua every step of the way, but it's because of the story that Hellblade is forever cemented as something special. Senua is fierce and imperfect in a way that will have you rooting for her like few characters ever garner. Her journey is pretty much unceasingly filthy, violent, tragic and horrific, yet it's not a story just of suffering, but rather one of perseverance. Senua is a remarkable character who instills all of her energies into the player in such a way that will never be forgotten.

Download from Microsoft Store

Assassin's Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins DLC

Origins provides a much-needed change in direction for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. The range of new action-RPG elements isn’t especially innovative but they do more than enough to make the previously tired gameplay feel fresh and engaging. The world is beautiful and dense, the characters are interesting, and the story offers enough mystery and intrigue to keep players coming back before it sadly ends far too quickly. Assassin’s Creed Origins isn’t perfect, but it points to a long and healthy future for the series.

Download from Microsoft Store

A Way Out

a way out

A Way Out makes for a unique cinematic experience that redefines the way narrative-driven games can be played, thanks to its engaging story and varied gameplay that will keep both players interested throughout, though the controls can often feel clunky. Side by side or over the internet, if you're looking for a game to play with a friend, A Way Out is an unforgettable co-op experience.

Download from Microsoft Store

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is one of the best Assassin's Creed-style games available. It's also a worthy successor to a game many called 2014's Game of the Year. The world is huge and full of tons of activities. The new fortress assault system creates awesome battles that feel truly epic. Then there's the return of the Nemesis system, which runs through every system the game has to offer. The system keeps combat fresh and it gives Shadow of War a much-needed splash of character and humor. Its faults are undoubtedly minor. It's a game that's worthy of every minute you'll put into it.

Download from Microsoft Store

Sunset Overdrive

SO


Sunset Overdrive is a completely mad, colorful, over the top shooter mixed with stylish, cartoonish parkour. Bouncing off cars, grinding power lines, and the signature wild weaponry of an Insomniac game make Sunset an unforgettable experience only they could deliver. If the gruff anti-heroes of most games on this list have you down, the color infusion of this Xbox One exclusive will certainly pick you up. It also includes a few story DLC chapters delivering more of the game's meta-humor as well as the Choas Squad multiplayer mode, which is worth checking out if you can find a good team.

Download from Microsoft Store

Watch_Dogs 2

Trailer Clips 26-Oct

Watch_Dogs 2 definitely improves on its predecessor in almost every way. Marcus is a much more enjoyable person with whom to spend time and even though DedSec is hipster central, it's a fun journey that you'll have here. There's a better city to explore this time around and a whole bunch of exciting missions to find and complete, as well as the feeling of saving and changing lives as you do so. Watch_Dogs 2 is easily recommendable for anyone who liked the premise of the first one but longed for improvements. This is the new reality, so don't miss a chance to be a part of it.

Download from Microsoft Store

Mulaka

Mulaka

This is a game worth celebrating. Although its gameplay suite offers only tried and true mechanics, it's engaging enough to keep you around for the real highlight: the culture with which the project is imbued. In some hugely important ways, like music, visuals, and its ability to not just engage players as gamers but teach them as students, Mulaka is worth playing for most everyone, rather ironically. It's not a game designed with mass appeal, and yet because it's ultimately so authentic, so intimate, and so beautifully personal, it's easy to appreciate. For most players, Mulaka will be a familiar gameplay experience structured around something wholly new and enriching in every other way.

Download from Microsoft Store

Mad Max

Screenshot 22

Mad Max is an interesting game in that it takes ideas from lots of other titles but it still manages to not feel like a complete clone. The open-world sandbox formula has been done many times before but because of this game's setting, it feels unique and exciting enough to stay. The customization of both Max and the Magnum Opus are welcome additions and both of them have great potential when fully upgraded. Vehicle and ground combat could have been tweaked just a little more, and the almost never ending hunt for scrap is a bit excessive, but the game has plenty to keep you sticking around for a while. Game adaptations are usually not that great, but Mad Max has proven that's not always the case. Whether you're a fan of the films or just open world games in general, this is a title that's well worth a look.

Download from Microsoft Store

Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3 8

Just Cause 3 delivers in everything that it set out to do and doesn’t pretend to be anything that it’s not. It’s a solid and light-hearted game that offers a sprawling open-world playground for you to explore and destroy in as many creative and humorous ways as you can imagine. There are bugs that need to be addressed, it lacks the depth of other games in its genre, and it can be repetitive over long periods of play, but in short bursts of a couple of hours or so there’s no hiding from the fact that being given the freedom to blow things up to your heart's content provides some of the most chaotic fun you’ll find on the Xbox One right now.

Download from Microsoft Store

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves can be a low floor, high ceiling experience. The wrong crew is the quickest way to find boredom before treasures. Sharing seas with griefers can be rage-inducing too, but in both instances, you're always able to quit out and try your luck again with new players. Of course, it's played best with a solid team of you and three friends, but provided you bring a willingness to fill in the gaps with your own role-playing or shenanigans, Sea of Thieves is a charming and gorgeous title no matter the team size brimming with emergent stories that the relatively basic outline provides. Play it long enough and it's impossible to not come away with your own tales to tell. Sea of Thieves is all journey with no real destination, but if that doesn't immediately turn you away, it'll be a pirate's life for you.

Download from Microsoft Store
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.