Our Game of the Year coverage continues with the best Xbox One games of the year. Despite the Xbox Series consoles being available, the Xbox One platform saw a nice set of Japanese games over the year including ports and new games. Some games on Xbox One X even have the benefit of getting an FPS boost on Xbox Series and just running and looking better than other console platforms like with NieR Replicant. For platform-specific lists, we have included ports as well as new games. Before we get to that, keep in mind that we’re an outlet that focuses on Japanese games and we cover all platforms for what to consider for the best of the year. Here are our picks for the best Xbox One games of 2021.
Best Xbox One games of 2021
5. AI: The Somnium Files
AI: The Somnium Files from Spike Chunsoft brought a new mystery detective adventure story from Kotaro Uchikoshi (Zero Escape). It takes a little while to get going, but it will hook you in with its memorable characters and humor. It was one of the biggest surprises when it released and it hit Xbox platforms including Xbox Game Pass in 2021 ahead of the sequel’s release date. If you enjoy adventure games and want to try something new, this is all you need.
4. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town was the first Story of Seasons game that was released on Nintendo Switch and PC. It made its way to Xbox One and PS4 in 2021 bringing the series to new audiences. If you’ve not played Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town yet, it is a remake of the Game Boy Advance entry for modern audiences. It is the perfect entry point into the series and a great addition to the Xbox platform. If you enjoy farming and life simulation games, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is worth your time. Hopefully Pioneers of Olive Town comes to Xbox this year.
3. NieR Replicant
The remake-remaster hybrid of the original NieR, NieR Replicant, managed to be a brilliant way to not only experience the original NieR, but also get into the series with its gameplay improvements, excellent soundtrack, and upgraded visuals. The Xbox One X version of the game looks and plays even better than the PS4 version on PS5 with the Xbox One X’s higher quality visuals and post-processing. This version of the game is the best way to experience NieR Replicant on console.
2. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the finale of Kazuma Kiryu’s story that spans all the way back to Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza 0. It debuted on PS4 back in 2018 in the West and finally made its way to Xbox One and PC platforms in 2021. The Xbox One version even got an FPS Boost (on Xbox Series X) allowing for 60fps gameplay making it the best console version of one of the best Yakuza games out there.
1. Rune Factory 4 Special
Rune Factory 4 Special is the perfect blend of life simulation, farming, RPG, and great characters. It debuted on Nintendo Switch before seeing a release for Xbox One, PS4, and PC platforms in 2021 bringing the full experience with all DLC included to a wider audience. Rune Factory 4 Special was amazing on Nintendo Switch, and it has aged brilliantly even when played on Xbox, PS4, and PC. Despite some UI issues that have yet to be fixed on any platform, Rune Factory 4 Special is an essential and our pick for the best Xbox One game of 2021.
Despite us being in the second year since Microsoft’s new Xbox Series consoles hit the market, the Xbox One platform is still getting many Japanese games. This year saw a few run and look a lot better than even some games on PS5 through backward compatibility like NieR Replicant. 2021 saw Story of Seasons and Rune Factory hit the Xbox platform for the first time as well which is a big deal. It is going to be interesting to see what 2022 brings for Xbox One barring the already announced games like Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Elden Ring, and more. Thanks for reading.
Rishi Alwani and Mikhail Madnani contributed to this post.