As the team in green celebrate the 20th anniversary of Xbox consoles, they’ve pulled out the stops to try and finish in style. Sure, we’re still living in an era where most games are released across both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles (and with a PC port in tow), and it’s a year where the biggest first party games have done anything but break the mould, but does that matter when you’re having so much fun?
It’s a two horse race to win our Best Xbox Game award, between one of the steadiest and most reliable steeds that we’ve seen over the past decade, and an old warhorse looking to recapture its former glories.
`Forza Horizon is one of the most known quantities you can get in video games. Playground Games’ series has grown into the best arcade racer out there, the third and fourth games really setting out the formula for its carefree open world racing. Forza Horizon 5 takes everything that made Forza Horizon 4 so good and drops it onto a new open world map of Mexico, making a few positive improvements to the gameplay, but with the main focus being on recreating the country and representing its culture… so that you can whizz past it at 200mph.
It’s anything but a surprise that this is the best game on Xbox in 2021, especially when pushed to stunning new graphical heights on Xbox Series X.
– Stefan L
Halo Infinite – Runner Up
It feels like I’ve spent the last month playing Halo Infinite, and that’s because I have. Master Chief’s return didn’t get off to the greatest start, with early looks provoking mass hysteria (and not the good kind), followed by a delay for one whole year, but it was worth the wait. 343 Industries have really nailed down the feel of Halo, and this is the first game since Halo Reach to move the series forward, with a brilliant campaign tethered to some serious multiplayer action.
It’s resolutely modern too, with Chief now taking his battle against the Banished into an open world arena. Halo Zeta is a great playground made even better by the addition of our favourite Spartan’s new grappling hook. This sweet little piece of kit lets you climb mountains, grab weapons, and even appropriate the odd vehicle along the way. The first time you make off with a Covenant Banshee will have you grinning ear to ear. I’m sure Master Chief is doing the same, but since he never takes his helmet off we’ll just have to imagine.
– Dom L
Microsoft Flight Simulator – Runner Up
Microsoft Flight Simulator should be the dullest console offering of the year, and yet, it’s anything but. MFS lets you take out a series of different light aircraft as you explore and traverse the Earth, and it’s a perfect example of zen gaming at its finest. Peaceful, tranquil, and yet utterly immersive, you can’t take your hands off the controls for fear that your aircraft will plummet into the ground. While the only real downside is that you’ll have to take off again, you’ll still lose precious moments you could have spent performing yet another fly-by of your house.
– Dom L
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list!
- Best Ongoing Game
- Best Remake/Remaster
- Best Multiplayer Game
- Best Visual Design
- Best Original Soundtrack
- Best Independent Game
- Best Gameplay
- Best Narrative
- Best Single Player
- Best VR Game
- Best PC Game
- Best Nintendo Switch Game
Have you been taking in the first year of the Xbox Series X or sticking it out on the older Xbox One consoles to play the platform’s exclusives? What games have been the highlight of your year?