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Best Xbox One games 2022: ultimate Xbox picture and sound

Best Xbox One games Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Xbox One games you can buy in 2022.

Every major games console has no shortage of blockbuster games to choose from, including shoot 'em ups, beat 'em ups, racing and RPG titles. But, with so many choices, it can be tricky knowing where to start.

For this list of the best Xbox One games, we've chosen those with a serious wow factor. We're talking HDR in most cases with a sprinkling of Dolby Atmos where available. Each of these titles will put the best gaming headsets and best surround sound systems through their paces.

All these games excel in the sound and vision stakes and are guaranteed to help you waste an hour or three of an evening. If you've got a nice TV, a suitable sound system, and really want to impress your mates, then these are the games for you.

And, although the next-gen Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have both launched if you're not considering an upgrade just yet, there's still plenty of enjoyment to get out of Xbox One gaming.

How you find games with the best picture and sound

A video game is like any other work of art in the sense that beauty is relative. One game that's beautiful to you may be ugly to someone else. However, games are also technical creations; they're products of programming and engineering.

As a result of this fact, there are many ways in which one game can sound or look better than another in a technical sense. This says nothing about the artistry on display and is simply a reflection of the technical state of the game.

Which games will look and sound best for you? That depends not just on your personal preferences, like whether you want image quality over framerate or vice-versa, but on what TV you have and what kind of speakers or headphones you use. A game might have an excellent 4K HDR mode, but you might have a 1080p SDR TV, so while it may be an excellent mode, you won't be able to enjoy it.

For us at What Hi-Fi? we suggest you start with your TV. What resolution is it, and what refresh rate does it have? Then, look up the performance of the game you're considering playing on the console you have. You'll want to play at your display's native resolution and the highest framerate supported by your TV, but this won't always be possible.

Last, you'll want to consider tech like HDR or VRR alongside tech like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X and find out whether or not your TV and your audio system can support these features, and if they do, if you want to use them. For example, a great HDR implementation in a game may not be worth experiencing if your TV's HDR doesn't look very good.

Before you make any final decisions, make sure you look up gameplay for whichever game you're thinking about online first. This won't give you a perfect idea of the game will look and sound running locally on your own hardware, but it will give you a basic idea of the AV experience you have ahead of you.

Below is a round-up of the very best games on Xbox One and Xbox One X that offer the ultimate in picture and sound...

Best Xbox One games 2022: Forza Horizon 4

(Image credit: Microsoft Studios)

1. Forza Horizon 4

Playground's arcade racer comes to Great Britain

Specifications

Genre: Racer
Release date: 2nd October 2018
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Xbox Game Pass
HDR: HDR10
Sound: Dolby Atmos
Performance: 1080p/30FPS
One X performance: 4K/30FPS or 1080/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Vibrant, colorful world
+
Lots of detail combined with fast-paced racing
+
Changing seasons make the world feel alive

Reasons to avoid

-
Some other Forza locales more interesting

Comfortably the best game in the series, Forza Horizon 4 relocates the open-world racing action to a condensed-for-fun version of Great Britain that’s beautifully rendered in 4K on Xbox One X. The season changes each week, and each is a visual treat (not to mention a unique driving challenge), particularly when playing on a quality HDR TV. Owners of proper sound systems will be delighted by the Dolby Atmos soundtrack, too. Choose the in-car camera, crank up the volume and prepare for a visceral thrill.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Gears 5

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

2. Gears 5

The fifth installment of the longrunning Gears franchise looks and plays beautifully

Specifications

Genre: Third-person shooter
Release date: 6th September 2019
Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Xbox Game Pass
HDR: HDR10
Sound: Dolby Atmos
Performance: Dynamic 1080p/30FPS story and dynamic 1080p/60FPS multiplayer
One X performance: Dynamic 4K/30FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing Xbox technical showcase
+
Satisfying, fluid combat
+
Plays extremely smooth at 60FPS

Reasons to avoid

-
Forgettable story
-
Lacks innovation

The Gears Of War franchise has been entertaining gamers for well over a decade and Gears 5 is another fine instalment. The campaign mode looks just as stunning as you’d expect, with impressive detail, texture and lighting throughout. Cutscenes and gameplay boast that trademark Gears flavour while the accompanying soundtrack mirrors the drama and explosiveness of the on-screen action. A must-have for any fans of third-person shooters.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Red Dead Redemption 2

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar's huge, gorgeous, and photorealistic sequel to Red Dead Redemption

Specifications

Genre: Action-adventure
Release date: 26th October 2018
Developer: Rockstar Studios
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: None
HDR: HDR10
Sound: None
Performance: 1080p/30FPS
One X performance: 4K/30FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Best animations in the business
+
Explore a beautifully recreated American West
+
Literary depth

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow pacing

The HDR implementation isn’t great, but switch your Xbox One’s HDR output off and revel in the real glory of this stunning open-world title. Think Grand Theft Auto in a Wild West setting, where horsepower has been replaced by actual horses (and cowboys). This first-person shooter follows the exploits of outlaw Arthur Morgan as he attempts to navigate his way through all sorts of scrapes with law enforcement, gangs and other miscreants. Expect missions, mini-games and many hours of immersive gameplay.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

4. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

A huge, endless adventure throughout Ancient Greece

Specifications

Genre: Action-adventure
Release date: 5th October 2018
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Publisher: Ubisoft
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: None
HDR: HDR10
Sound: Dolby Atmos
Performance: 1080p/30FPS
One X performance: Dynamic 4K/30FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Massive, vibrant world
+
Detailed environments
+
Hundreds of hours of content

Reasons to avoid

-
Little innovation
-
Forgettable narrative

The latest Assassin’s Creed adventure is a stunner as far as picture and sound are concerned. Set in Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta, you control a mercenary who’s happy to work for either side – the action takes place over land and sea, and looks superb from every angle. There’s loads of detail to lap up, with just as much attention lavished on backdrops as on the main on-screen action. Unlike Assassin’s Creed: Origins, there’s no Dolby Atmos, but that 4K HDR picture running at 30fps is worth the price alone.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Star Wars Battlefront II

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

5. Star Wars Battlefront II

The ultimate in Star Wars first-person shooting

Specifications

Genre: First-person shooter
Release date: 17th November 2017
Developer: DICE
Publisher: EA
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Xbox Games Pass
HDR: HDR10
Sound: None
Performance: Dynamic 1080p/60FPS
One X performance: Dynamic 4K/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Game improved massively since launch
+
Smooth, fluid 60FPS gameplay
+
Gorgeous effects and lighting of Frostbite

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre singleplayer experience

There are more recent instalments of the Star Wars gaming franchise, but this is the one with the most polished picture and sound performance. Powered by Dice’s Frostbite game engine, the galaxy looks vibrant, punchy and immersive as battle rages across memorable locations, from Moss Eisley to the salt plains of Crait – making it feel as though you’ve been given a starring role in the Star Wars universe.

Battlefront II is a bit shallow in terms of gameplay – the campaign mode could do with more variation – but this is a great-looking game to throw yourself into for a few hours.

Best Xbox One games 2022:

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

6. Halo 5: Guardians

Halo is back for its fifth installment with some of the best Halo combat ever seen

Specifications

Genre: First-person shooter
Release date: 27th October 2015
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Xbox Games Pass
HDR: None
Sound: None
Performance: Dynamic 1080p/60FPS
One X performance: Dynamic 4K/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Fluidity of 60FPS shooting feels great
+
Textures, effects, and environments are beautiful
+
Amazing combat

Reasons to avoid

-
Dynamic resolution scaling on Xbox One is extremely agressive
-
No HDR/Dolby Atmos

When it first arrived on the original Xbox One in 2015, the graphics on Halo 5 were criticised, but the move to Xbox One X and a 4K patch gave the Master Chief a new lease of life. This first-person shooter looks the business and at 60fps is super smooth with it. There’s depth, subtlety and detail to the 4K picture, complemented beautifully by a classical score created by Japanese composer Kazuma Jinnouchi – who also worked on some Metal Gear titles – and recorded at Abbey Road Studios. One to play while you wait for Halo: Infinite on the upcoming Xbox Series X.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Metro: Exodus

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

7. Metro: Exodus

The longrunning Metro franchise gets an open-world take on its classic shooting formula

Specifications

Genre: First-person shooter
Release date: 15th February 2019
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: None
HDR: HDR10
Sound: Dolby Atmos
Performance: Dynamic 1080p/30FPS
One X performance: Dynamic 4K/30FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Atmospheric, immersive world
+
Lots of effects, volumetrics, and advanced graphical techniques on display
+
Tight gunplay

Reasons to avoid

-
Unstable Xbox One performance
-
Sometimes too dark and gritty

The long-awaited third part of the much-loved Metro series is more expansive than its predecessors, with most of the action taking place above ground, in the nuclear war-ravaged remains of Russia and the Far East. It’s a visual treat, particularly on Xbox One X, which presents the game in native 4K and HDR10, and the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is thumping and atmospheric. All of which makes the intense first-person action all the more thrilling.

Best Xbox One games 2022: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

One of the greatest RPGs of all time is always worth picking up

Specifications

Genre: Action-RPG
Release date: 18th May 2015
Developer: CD PROJEKT RED
Publisher: CD PROJEKT
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Noneㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ
HDR: HDR10
Sound: None
Performance: 900p/30FPS
One X performance: 4K/30FPS or dynamic 4K/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing lighting and effects
+
Huge open-world with no loading when exploring
+
One of the greatest video games ever made

Reasons to avoid

-
Some pacing issues
-
Can feel clunky especially at 30FPS

It’s been around a while now, but The Witcher 3 remains one of the best games you can currently play – and one of the best looking. Developer CD Projekt Red released a patch in 2017 that enhances the visuals for Xbox One X, delivering mostly native 4K with a little bit of dynamic scaling to keep the frame rate respectable. It’s a huge game (and that’s before you even consider playing the excellent add-ons), but one that every gamer should play.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Shadow of the Tomb Raider

(Image credit: Square Enix)

9. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The third game in the Tomb Raider trilogy reboot that began back in 2013

Specifications

Genre: Action-adventure
Release date: 14th September 2018
Developer: Eidos-Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: None
HDR: HDR10
Sound: Dolby Atmos
Performance: 900p/30FPS
One X performance: 4K/30FPS or 1080p/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful, lifelike materials and high-res textures
+
Excellent weather effects like fog
+
Gripping, action-packed adventure

Reasons to avoid

-
Occasional pacing issue
-
Feels like more of the same

If you’re looking for a game with some of the most atmospheric audio out there, then take Shadow Of The Tomb Raider for a spin. The authentic South American-inspired soundtrack sounds sensational whether listening through headphones or a dedicated home cinema system. There’s ambience and subtlety in spades, and the fact the audio is mixed in Dolby Atmos takes it to a completely different level. 

That sonic experience is only intensified by what you see on screen. The use of light and shadows is superb on 4K HDR, while motion is smooth and stable too. A proper feast for the eyes and ears.

Best Xbox One games 2022: Mortal Kombat 11

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

10. Mortal Kombat 11

The classic fighter franchise is back with its eleventh major installment

Specifications

Genre: Fighting
Release date: 23rd April 2019
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Price: £60 ($60)
Subscription: Xbox Games Pass
HDR: HDR10
Sound: None
Performance: 1080p/60FPS
One X performance: 4K/60FPS

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth, responsive gameplay with high skill-ceiling
+
Gorgeous, stylized visuals with lots of color and effects
+
Improved multiplayer stability

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be grindy
-
Microtransactions in multiplayer

With 34 playable characters to take control of, you’re unlikely to get bored with this blood-spattered beat ‘em up. Gratuitous gore is still one of this franchise’s major selling points, but there also lurks a storyline to pique your interest too. Despite running on the relatively old Unreal 3 engine, it still manages to deliver a ridiculously detailed and textured game with numerous bursts of colour (mainly blood) contrasting against dark and eerie backdrops. The in-game cutscenes are something to behold, while the game’s brutal sounds will rattle your bones.

How we find the ultimate games for the best sound and picture and how we test

At What Hi-Fi? we don't actually review games, which is why you won't find star ratings for games in our buying guides. We do regularly play games in the context of our testing TVs, projectors, headphones, and speakers, especially with spatial audio. Some on the team have worked in games media before, too.

For our gaming buying guides, we look for the most impressive looking and sounding games, but we also make sure we pick good games that are fun to play and won't waste your time. Beyond what AV features a game supports, we look for games that have awesome AV experiences in general.

When we play games at What Hi-Fi? they're most often played in our testing facilities in London, Reading, or Bath where our reviewers test the majority of the AV kit we get our hands on. We pit products not just against one another but against their best-in-class versions for the most informative possible reviews.

We spend a lot of energy making sure reviews at What Hi-Fi? are impartial. We only review products as a team so that individual bias is kept to a minimum in all regards. Plus, this is a good way for us to double-check our work and get a second opinion on anything a member of the team thinks.

For our buying guides, especially with games, they're also often a product of collaboration such that we can make sure our guides include beautiful looking and sounding games from a healthy variety of genres. Regardless of what kind of gamer you are, we want our guides to point you toward the best games.

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Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.