The best free Xbox One games: 2020 edition

By Luke Albigés,
Whoever said there's no such thing as a free meal didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Hell, when it comes to games you can play without ever having to drop a dime, it's not so much a free meal as a free all-you-can-eat buffet for life. Players are spoiled for choice with free-to-play games not just on Xbox but across all platforms, but not all F2P (free-to-play) games are created equal. Some feature paid advantages that can lead to pay-to-win scenarios, and nobody wants that; others might not deliver anything close to the experience of their paid counterparts; some seem fine for a long time, but then drop a paywall in front of you just when you're getting to the good stuff. Just like with development itself, some studios and publishers are simply better than others when it comes to handling microtransactions and other monetisation systems in free-to-play games.

Season 2

It's the nature of the beast that most of these games will feature in-game purchase options of some kind — it's the only way for the studios to make any money on them, after all. But as we picked out the best free Xbox One games, we were sure to choose the games that are generous with what they give away for free, games that are good enough to be worth paying for, and games where even the most ludicrous purchasable extras don't stop them from being fun, since those things are entirely optional. All of these free Xbox games are absolutely worth giving a shot, especially since you can do so risk-free. There's nothing to lose, so if any of these titles interest you, just click the button below the entry and send the game straight to your Xbox for next time you want to play.

Also, it's worth noting that the Xbox family is slightly different to most platforms in that it also has Xbox Game Pass for Xbox Live Gold Ultimate subscribers, offering a huge vault of games that can be played for free. We won't be covering those here — games cycle in and out of Game Pass all the time, and we cover that side of things in considerable detail here on a day-to-day basis. Still, bear in mind that games featured here might still need Xbox Live Gold if you want to play with others, and we've noted where this will be the case. And with that, on to the free stuff!

Destiny 2

Forsaken

Bungie's space-faring sequel had a bit of a bumpy launch, but has since grown and evolved into a solid and content-packed live service first-person shooter. Better yet, the core game is now free, with the option for Guardians to purchase expansions that unlock new destinations and activities (or access them via Game Pass), as well as season passes loaded with extra goodies.

Play as one of three core classes — the tanky Titan, the nimble Hunter, or everyone's favourite space wizard, the Warlock — and take the fight to all manner of intergalactic menaces across the solar system. Gunplay is wonderfully tight, the gameplay loop is constantly rewarding, and the spread of modes has something for everyone, whether you want to team up and hunt down key targets or test your mettle against other Guardians in the Crucible. The six-player Raids are out of this world, with rare and powerful loot available for those who prove themselves worthy.

If you're considering an achievement completion on this one, though, you might want to put together a Raid team sooner rather than later. When the Beyond Light expansion arrives, the Leviathan Raid will be headed to the content vault indefinitely, so the two achievements related to beating it will be unavailable until the palace of Calus returns one day.

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (solo activities can be played without, but Gold is required for any multiplayer activity that uses matchmaking)
For fans of: Halo, Warframe, The Division
Download Destiny 2

Rocket League

Patch v1.61

Just like Destiny 2, Psyonix's car soccer sensation is a new arrival in the F2P family, and an extremely welcome one. Tears were shed when it was announced that Rocket League would be leaving Game Pass... and then folks were left to try and scoop those tears back up and pour them back into their eyes when it they realised that this was due to the game going completely free-to-play. Years' worth of updates are now at every player's fingertips, and those who played the game before it went free get the double benefit of a stack of extra unlockable stuff in the F2P version, and something you just can't put a price on: experience.

Rocket League is the perfect example of a game that falls into the 'easy to pick up, difficult to master' category — you'll feel like a god when you tap in your first aerial goal, only to later watch online competitions and see the pros dribble the length of the pitch effortlessly. In the air. While upside down. But you won't even feel bad. You'll just want to play more Rocket League until you get to that level. And even if you never do (spoilers: you won't), anything you pull off that even comes remotely close will send you bouncing off the walls in delight. Rocket League is pure joy in video game form, and the pop-offs when something crazy goes down are like nothing else.

The base set of achievements was dead easy, but all those updates made the list that much trickier, especially for completionists who now have tons more to do across most of the additional game modes. Not that it should ever prove to be a chore, mind, because free-to-play or otherwise, Rocket League is an absolutely amazing game. If you haven't played it before to confirm that for yourself, now there's simply no excuse. Get on it.

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (Gold required for online multiplayer, offline modes playable without)
For fans of: #IDARB, Laser League, Videoball
Download Rocket League

Apex Legends

Season 4, Assimilation

Titanfall developer Respawn couldn't resist having a crack at the battle royale format, and the talented team did not disappoint. Apex Legends was an overnight sensation, attracting over 25 million players in its first week thanks to its fantastic cast of unique characters and Respawn's trademark silky-smooth, fast-paced combat and movement. Small teams help promote synergy between each Legend's individual special abilities and make showdowns feel controlled and intense, while the sci-fi setting allows for some incredible places to touch down and throw down, and the user-friendly 'ping' system helps teams communicate by highlighting gear and enemies, even when nobody is speaking.

The list is surprisingly straightforward for a battle royale game, so it's doable even if you only rarely come away with a big W. New Legends get added every so often, and the map itself has changed a few times as well, so you might drop back in after a few weeks or months away and find a completely different experience waiting for you. Gameplay content such as new Legends can be unlocked purely through gameplay if you're willing to put the hours in, although there's also the option so drop some cash and get them right away if you just can't wait to try out a new character.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Titanfall, Fortnite
Download Apex Legends

Phantasy Star Online 2

PSO2 Closed Beta Test

Phantasy Star Online 2 originally launched in Japan in 2012, and was unavailable anywhere else for close to a decade. Then, out of the blue, Sega's online RPG landed on Xbox One in 2020 with a worldwide release years in the making. Like its beloved Dreamcast predecessors, it's a sci-fi action-RPG with a strong focus on multiplayer. Enemies, locations, and some classes will be familiar to fans of the online classics, but everything is much bigger and more connected, as you'd expect from a modern iteration.

As well as the usual story missions, dungeons, and bosses, there are a host of large-scale event quests that happen every few hours — raid bosses, special missions, and unique adventures all lean more into large-scale multiplayer, and offer great rewards for those who heed the call to arms and come out on top. A few extremely useful items are cheekily hidden behind a paywall (including one that lets you reset your stat-boosting Mag device and even additional Mags, so be extra careful how you level up the one you get!) but other than that, free players can enjoy the full experience, if at a slightly slower pace than paid users. Completionists should also beware, as new achievements are added with each update, so you'll need to stay committed if you want that 100% on your record.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Sword Art Online, Monster Hunter World, Warframe
Download Phantasy Star Online 2

Eternal

Screenshot

Cards games seems to come and go a fair bit faster than a lot of other F2P games on Xbox, but there always seem to be one or two on there that are worth a look. Eternal will look incredibly familiar to fans of Blizzard's Hearthstone, and although the look and feel is staggeringly close, gameplay has enough nuances to distance it from its clear inspiration. For one thing, Eternal doesn't utilise Hearthstone's incrementally increasing mana pool, instead using once-per-turn resource cards to fuel your monsters and spells more akin to the Mana system of Magic: The Gathering. Also like in Magic, more powerful cards typically require specific kinds of resources, limiting them from being able to be easily splashed into any old deck and incentivising sticking to a theme. There seem to be more ways to accelerate this resource pool than in similar games, making for some great fast-paced decks for those who just want to rush their boss monsters onto the field.

You might need to be careful around the store if the game does manage to get its hooks into you, though, because as in most card games, chasing super-rare cards can get pretty expensive. Thankfully, the free-to-play model is fairly generous so if your willpower is strong enough that you know you won't be tempted to go bankrupt chasing virtual shinies, you should definitely jump in and check Eternal out. With Gwent now sadly delisted, this has no competition in the free-to-play card game space, but even if it did, it'd still give its rivals a run for their money.

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (online multiplayer requires Gold, all other modes playable without)
For fans of: Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Download Eternal

Warframe

Warframe kuva lich achievements

Very few games have evolved quite so impressively as Digital Extremes' Warframe, a third-person loot grind in the same vein as Destiny. Despite having an 18-month head start on Bungie's game, it never quite found the same degree of success, although it has picked up a lot more fans in the seven years since as the game grew to become something almost unrecognisable compared to its launch form. If you played it back in the day when it was all drab corridors and linear missions, you should try it again to see for yourself how far the game has come. Warframe today has open world areas to explore, tons more weapon and gear options, and more content than you'll know what to do with, and it's just so much better for all the passion the team has poured into the game over the years.

The main downside of coming into a game like this so late in the day is that you're going to find yourself literally years behind a lot of other players. No, really — if you want the gear options most serious players have got, you're looking at investing thousands of hours. Or a fair chunk of cash, if you're willing to part with it, as there's no shortage of frames and weapons in the Market that would help you catch up at least a little. Otherwise, the grind is going to be really quite real, although all the improvements from recent years have ensured that you'll have a much better time earning your fancy Tenno variants than the early adopters did getting theirs. If only that sense of smug self-satisfaction was legal tender. Oh well...

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (not needed for solo play)
For fans of: Destiny 2, Anthem, Overwatch
Download Warframe

Pinball FX3

Jaws Screen

There's arguably no better 'lazy Sunday game' on this list than Zen's wonderful Pinball FX 3. Can't decide what to play, but don't want anything too stressful or taxing? Time for some pinball! The cool thing about the Pinball FX games (formerly known as Zen Pinball on some platforms) is how they take full advantage of the virtual nature of the tables by bringing them to live with features and decorations that you simply couldn't do on a real table. Animated and voiced characters react to particularly impressive feats, some of the fancier tables offer sensational ramps and gimmicks that no mechanical table could replicate, and there are even selectable upgrades that let you amplify your scores depending on how you like to play.

Equally impressive is the range of tables available, and the sheer variety among them. The core game gives you two tables for free — Zen original Sorcerer's Lair and Williams classic Fish Tales — and provides a vast library of additional tables for just a few bucks each. These span all kinds of massive licenses, and really feel like clever extentions of the brands themselves. The Avengers table turns your ball into each of the heroes to make use of their unique abilities, for instance, while the Jurassic Park ones make smart use of interactive dinos in a way that would only ever work in a video game. Star Wars, Marvel, Family Guy, Aliens, Portal, Archer, Doom, The Walking Dead, E.T., Fallout... there are tables for everyone before you even get to the original Zen creations and authentically recreated Williams ones. With the lure of an additional achievement for each new table you add to your collection, as well as fantastic leaderboard and asynchronous multiplayer support, this one will get a lot of play.

Xbox Live Gold required: NO
For fans of:
Pinball. Seriously, it's pinball.
Download Pinball FX3

Dauntless

Dauntless

Monster Hunter famously isn't the easiest of series for newcomers to get into. While Monster Hunter World made great strides in that regard, it's still a daunting prospect for someone coming in fresh. Dauntless' name checks out here, then, because this F2P MonHun-alike is a lot less to process and a lot more free than Capcom's title. The setup is the same: grab your weapon of choice from a selection of gear with unique move sets and team synergies, pick your quarry, load in either alone or with some other hunters, fell big beasties, and use their parts to improve your kit and ride this ever-climbing gameplay spiral all the way to endgame.

Despite being similar in structure, though, Dauntless does a few things differently. Its weapons offer surprisingly little overlap with Monster Hunter's vast arsenal of 14 different implements, and its creatures present some unique challenges that even veterans with two decades of hunting experience won't have encountered before. Also, the general pace of the game feels much quicker, with greater mobility and shorter hunts making for an experience that works better as a little-and-often game. Either as a companion game to play between Iceborne updates or as an alternative if for some reason you don't want to give Capcom money for one of the best games of the generation, Dauntless comes highly recommended. It's no MonHun, sure, but it's a pretty beastly game in its own right, even if the short achievement list is a bit of a slog. Still well worth a crack, though.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Monster Hunter World, Dragon's Dogma, Furi
Download Dauntless

Brawlhalla

BRAWLHALLA screenshot

There's no shortage of great fighting games on Xbox One, but even in the wider gaming market, there are precious few party fighters that can hold a candle to the great Nintendo love-in that is the Super Smash Bros. series. While you sometimes get one which is mechanically solid and fun to play, it's rare that they have the same kind of star power that makes Nintendo's crazy crossover so much of a blast. Enter Brawlhalla, a fine example of one such figher that does. While its many guest characters are technically just reskins of existing Legends, they each have their own unique quirks and abilities, so the crossover madness still manages to capture the feel of the franchises represented.

On top of the 50-odd original characters (only a handful of which are unlocked from the off), you can throw down as several WWE superstars, Hellboy, Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems, Lara Croft, Rayman and friends, Ben 10, Adventure Time's finest, and more. Granted, all of these need to bought with a special paid currency which can't be earned in-game, but they won't break the bank, especially considering that the scope of the options available makes for little crossover in terms of the ones you would probably want to pick up. With loads of game modes and multiplayer options spanning all kinds of gameplay, and an achievement list that is almost all cumulative stuff (meaning it's more a case of time than difficulty), this is one you'll want to sink some time into to get the most out of it. But that will mean unlocking even more free stuff along the way, and who doesn't like free stuff?

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (Gold needed for online multiplayer)
For fans of: Super Smash Bros., Small Arms, Rivals of Aether
Download Brawlhalla

Roblox

ROBLOX

When is a game not a game? When it is all games! Roblox is a creative platform that lets users make and share their own family-friendly gameplay experiences with the world, and while the tools used to build these worlds might not be available on console, the end products are. This means that Xbox players of all ages (this one is a real hit with younger gamers) have access to vast quantities of user-created experiences, as well as the ability to mess around in them with friends regardless of system thanks to cross-platform play support. There's always something new to see or do in Roblox and while its knock-off LEGO aesthetic might not be to everyone's tastes, a lot of games find creative ways to get around it and some are just so much daft fun that you just sort of stop noticing anyway.

Half of the achievements can be rattled through in minutes but the rest will take some work (specifically the login streaks and friend party ones), although perhaps you could kill two birds with one stone and keep the kids busy for a bit every day while they earn you some Gamerscore. The nature of Roblox makes it perfect for players with short attention spans, since you can just jump between games as you see fit, for free, and with friends, if you like. Personalising your avatar is a nice touch given the community aspect of the game, but maybe don't let the younglings near the store unsupervised if you don't want to wind up explaining to a bailiff what Robux are and why you didn't want to spend $20,000 on them in the first place.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Project Spark, Minecraft, LEGO Worlds
Download Roblox

Fortnite

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3

Do we really need to do this? There are undiscovered species of marine life miles beneath the ocean that know what Fortnite is. Urgh, fine. Epic's battle royale sensation (which has no achievements, for what it’s worth) hasn't once dropped out of our gameplay chart in the two years since we started the weekly feature — in fact, it hasn't even budged from the top three. Fortnite has been tussling with another battle royale game (the one just below, as it happens) since that launched, and has changed a bunch since it first launched. We're now well into Chapter Two of Fortnite, which brought with it a brand new map, lots of new gear and features, and more cosmetics than you could ever know what to do with.

That side of things has been getting more and more exciting as the seasons have flown by, culminating in Season 4 (the second Season 4, which isn't confusing at all) being a complete Marvel blowout with a Battle Pass bursting with superhero outfits, gliders, emotes, and more. Previous crossovers have featured everything from John Wick costumes to Marshmello concerts and from Star Wars trailers to NFL events, and it seems no franchise, brand, or celebrity is safe from getting the Fortnite treatment.

Well, except maybe Apple.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Spellbreak, Hyper Scape
Download Fortnite

Call Of Duty: Warzone

Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone has breathed new life into the battle royale genre and has taken the world by storm. A colossal game map, 150 players per match, and a steady stream of rotating game modes and content makes Warzone one of the best free-to-play games available on Xbox One today. It’s perfect to jump into with a few friends and try to be the last squad standing.

Unique to Warzone is The Gulag — a sudden-death scenario that pits you in a one-on-one deathmatch against another opponent that’s also been knocked out. The winner gets redeployed back to the game in progress, while the loser gets ejected. This gameplay mechanic can create exciting and tension-filled moments. With other battle royale games, players have a tendency to camp. While campers are still present in Warzone, Infinity Ward has tried to eliminate that way of playing by adding in Contracts, such as Bounties and Recons, which provide the player with an incentive to get involved in the action.

Warzone’s fantastic gameplay, ever-changing map and semi-permanent game modes make the battle royale an interesting and exciting experience each time you jump into a match. Shame there are no achievements in this free version, though...

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Fortnite
Download Call Of Duty: Warzone

DC Universe Online

Dc Universe Online

Despite being one of the oldest games on this rundown, DC Universe Online is still going strong nearly a decade on. There are a few reasons for this. For one thing, it has Batman in it, and anything with Batman in it is pretty much guaranteed to do well, because Batman. Second, it's a fully fledged MMORPG in the free-to-play space, when so many other major rivals have still been sticking to the traditional subscription model. And lastly — and perhaps most importantly — it's really good. Design your own hero or villain, choose which DC staple you want for a mentor, and go unleash havoc (or prevent the unleashing of havoc) on Metropolis and Gotham.

There's a solid mix of (admittedly pretty standard) gameplay types on offer, but they're tailored to fit our custom heroes and villains just as well as the snazziest of capes. Duos is a standout as few MMOs offer multiplayer content designed for so small a party, and the concept of two different superhumans teaming up is such a comic book staple that it just feels right that it's included. While they might enjoy the game, achievement hunters might not enjoy the grind quite so much, since it involves taking a minimum of six different characters to max level, and that's not exactly quick. Still, if you commit yourself to that life of heroism or crime, you'll have your own mini Justice League and Legion of Doom to choose from when you come to take on endgame content, and that's a darn good reason to put in the time.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Batman: Arkham City, City of Heroes, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Download DC Universe Online

Fallout Shelter

Fallout

It initially feels a little odd playing a mobile game on a $400 console... until you realise that games like Fallout Shelter are originally designed to run on handsets that cost double that or more. The clue is in the name with this one: build and develop your own Vault, taking in and birthing new residents until you've got the nuke-proof home of your dreams. It starts out pretty generous and hands-on, but as you start reaching higher levels, the typical stamina system creeps in and you're left to either wait around for tasks, production, and expeditions to complete, or to pay through the nose for the privelege. Just like games such as Idle Champions, this format isn't best suited to prolonged console play, although it does work well enough as something to log into of an evening, spend 30 minutes or so doing your chores and burning through your stamina, then leaving it until the following day, when hopefully everything isn't on fire. Spoilers: it probably will be. Like Sims, Vault Dwellers are embarrassingly bad at not letting their homes catch fire.

If you're not into Fallout then there's not really all that much actual game here. A love for the franchise masks the fact that it's really just a lot of bare-bones busywork, but it's a novel distraction for fans. Still, at least Shelter's contant base growth makes it feel rewarding enough so long as you don't expect more than a few minutes of fun from it on any given day after the first. If you're the kind of person that might use your phone for chatting to folks or messing around online and want an idle game on console — the opposite way round to how these games are usually played, basically — then this might just be your best bet.

Xbox Live Gold required: NO
For fans of:
Fallout 4, This War of Mine, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
Download Fallout Shelter

World of Tanks

Mercenaries

WarGaming is really good at what it does, so the choice between whether you should try out World of Tanks or World of Warships will come down to personal preference. Both are hovering at around the same (rather positive) community rating here on TA, and the pair are suggested to take over 200 hours a piece for a full completion, so it's not like one is going to spit out the Gs more readily, either. Just go with your heart, strap into your chosen historically accurate war machine, and go do a war on someone.

Well, not a full war. It's just tanks vs tanks (or boats vs boats) in these gentleman's-agreement-powered military conflicts, and only 15 vs 15 in regular play (double that for Grand Battle/Frontline skirmishes, with slightly lower counts in Warships). It's nowhere near as limiting as that sounds, though, and it always feels like there's loads going on. Grinding up through the ranks in order to unlock the more powerful vehicles might prove a bit of a chore these days (especially with so many other players already rocking top flight hardware), but the huge research trees of vintage tanks and ships will have history buffs hooked. WarGaming has done a terrific job of capturing every detail of these old metal death crates and making them all handle differently and fill specific roles, so whether you want one to ogle in the menus as you might a scale model kit in a hobby shop window, or simply to crush fools online, you're going to want to work your way to the upper echelons to get the best stuff. See you in a few hundred hours...

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
War Thunder, Birds of Steel, Battlefield 1
Download World of Tanks

Path of Exile

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Action-RPG dungeon crawlers like Path of Exile all fall foul of the same one-word problem: Blizzard. Unfortunately for everyone else, Diablo is the gold standard against which all similar games are judged, and almost always found wanting. That's not to say that games like Torchlight and even Minecraft Dungeons aren't good, just that you can never seem to play them for too long before the desire to return to The Real Deal kicks in. That's exactly what happened to us with Path of Exile, too, even though there should be more than enough on paper to put some distance between the two games.

Path of Exile wears its hardcore credentials on its sleeve, but that serves as both a blessing and a curse. While having the entire skill tree open to every character role does allow for some intricate and unique multi-classing options, it's also a massive trap for new players. You can see which direction you should probably be headed to begin with, but it isn't long before you're splashing out to reach distant skills which sound appealing, and with minimal respec options, it's entirely possible to tank your build completely if you don't know what you're doing. Oh, and the achievement list is, as you might expect, suitably daft, to the point that it might as well be a second job.

If you like loot, Path of Exile offers so much of the damn stuff that it actively hides a lot of the junk by default. Enable visibility for everything and boss kills can result in literally just a screen full of colourful words. It's bonkers. The good kind of bonkers, sure, but bonkers all the same. Grab a guide or a wiki if you plan on jumping into this, because you're going to need it.

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (solo play possible without Gold)
For fans of: Diablo III, Torchlight, Titan Quest
Download Path of Exile

Bless Unleashed

Bless Unleashed

Bless is another free-to-play MMORPG, which means either a) you've already scrolled past it due to an existing commitment to another MMO, or a dislike for the genre in principle, or b) your interest has been piqued after not managing to find the right one for you on console. With the A Team gone (we pity the fools), let's break this one down for the B people. Bless Unleased is a reworking of failed MMO Bless Online, now with the backing of Bandai Namco to give it a little more punch. This reboot format famously worked really well for Final Fantasy XIV, so the team will be hoping to mimic that success as the game rolls out worldwide in the future. Right now, it's only on Xbox, with a PlayStation release imminent and PC launch planned for 2021.

The action combat feels similar to the old Kingdom Under Fire games or, to use a slightly less accurate but slightly more familiar touchstone, Dynasty Warriors. Character creations tools are fun and flexible (if a game lets me be a lion person, of course I'm going to be a lion person) and beginners are looked after by gating open world PvP behind a levelling wall, so you get to start out on your adventure without getting ganked by idiots every ten seconds. So that's nice.

If you've tried out the likes of Neverwinter and The Elder Scrolls Online but not managed to find the right MMO for you, Bless has enough familiarity in its mechanics to make it easily accessible on a basic level, yet enough depth to its systems and long-term goals to work towards to keep you playing. Give it a shot if you've got a fantasy itch that needs scratching on the cheap. And if you don't care about completions, because this one might just be your life's work.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Neverwinter, The Elder Scrolls Online, Black Desert
Download Bless Unleashed

Spellbreak

Spellbreak

The newest game on this list, Spellbreak is just a few weeks old at the time of writing. While it hasn't made the biggest of waves in the battle royale pool — competition is just a little bit fierce, with three of the biggest names being consistently in the most-played games on Xbox — those who like it seem to really like it. The magic system at the core of the game is a fantastic variation on the typical battle royale template. Instead of guns and weapons, you find magic gloves and scrolls around the map. Each glove is imbued with a particlar elemental spell (which each have a quick and special cast type) with better performance from higher rarity ones, naturally, but the best part is that spell effects can be combined. This works on a solo level just by equipping two different gloves to, say, lob a poison cloud into a tornado for ultimate area denial, but really comes into its own in squad play, where you can either have more permutations available or double down on the combos that you can put to best use.

Gameplay itself is fast and fluid, if nothing particularly radical by genre standards. Mobility and magic are at the core of the game and these alone help it stand out from the crowd, and should help it gather momentum as more evangelists spread the good word. It's never likely to break the stranglehold that Fortnite, Apex, and CoD have on the sector, but hopefully the devs will keep updating the game to give those who do love it even more for their (no) money. And hopefully they fix the achievement list while they're at it, too — two of the game's paltry 11 achievements are currently glitched and not unlocking for anyone.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Realm Royale, Apex Legends, Dragon's Dogma (the magic system, in particular)
Download Spellbreak

Smite

SMITE

MOBAs (or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games, in case you're allergic to acronyms) were long tipped as the next big thing. While that's certainly been the case on PC, where League of Legends continues to be one of the most-watched games on Twitch to this day, the genre never really got off the ground on console. Not for want of trying, mind — a few studios had a pop at traditional style overhead MOBAs with mixed results and games like Overwatch and Battleborn clearly took inspiration from the genre, while it was more action-based twists on the formula like Paladins and Smite that proved to be the best compromise for console players.

Despite the third-person perspective, Smite is actually about as close to a traditional top-down MOBA as they come, and anyone who has played League (which seems to be most people on the planet, according to Riot's numbers) will load in already knowing the vast majority of the systems, progression, and needlessly convoluted terminology. As the name suggests, it's based around a battle of the gods, with stars from most of the major historical and mythological pantheons to pick from as you throw down in five-on-five battles to destroy the other team's divine MacGuffin.

There are a whopping 286 achievements in the game worth over 4,000 Gamerscore, but don't expect that to be in any way easy to get your hands on. It'd take years of mastering every single deity to tick off the lot, and you'd probably die of sodium poisoning (or just general toxicity) before you managed to pop them all. We're praying for you already.

Xbox Live Gold required: YES
For fans of:
Paladins, Anarchy Reigns, Battleborn
Download Smite

Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters

Leifang Screens

It's kinda wild to think that Dead or Alive used to be mentioned in the same breath as greats like Virtua Fighter and Tekken back in its early days, and rightfully so — DOA2 was amazing, and 3 was one of the strongest exclusives in the formative years of Xbox. Yet here it is now, in 2020, turning tricks for free. How the mighty have fallen. It's not so much that the gameplay has gotten worse, more that it hasn't really evolved much in all that time, with the team seemingly choosing spectacle and pandering over meaningful evolution of gameplay. That's fine, so long as you take DOA6 for what it is: a simple and flashy lowest common denominator fighter which can still be fun to play from time to time.

Core Fighters, the free version of the game, gives access to just four characters, with the rest of the roster available to purchase separately or in bulk, just like DLC characters in real fighting games. You do get pretty much all of the main game modes as well, including online versus, so it's actually a fairly generous suite. It's a Team Ninja game so you know it's gonna look great, and the way the characters get all grubby as the fights go on is a perfect analogy for how dirty you'll feel playing out many of the matchups. The pricing is almost as gross as the endless 'fan service' too, with more DLC packs than you'll be able to count and the Season Passes (of which there are four, each with one or two characters and 50-60 costumes) coming in at around $100 a piece. You could probably buy a car for the same price as it costs to buy everything here individually.

On the bright side, it looks fantastic, it's got a pretty easy list (assuming you can nail the combo challenges and get lucky with five consecutive Ranked wins), and it's still a lot of daft fun even for folks who don't normally play fighting games, thanks to the simplicity of its inputs and systems. You just might want to leave your credit card and moral standards at the door, that's all.

Xbox Live Gold required: KINDA (online multiplayer requires Gold, all other available modes playable without)
For fans of: Tekken 7, Virtua Fighter, Rumble Roses
Download Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.