'Call of Duty: Ghosts' (Activision, Infinity Ward, $60)
Xbox One (and Xbox 360) gamers will get downloadable content (DLC) a month before gamers on other platforms. For fans of the 'Call of Duty' franchise - and given the $1 billion worth of games that were gobbled up in the first 24 hours after launch, there are many - this is important. The Xbox One version of the game also delivers a smoother frame-rate experience than the PS4, although Sony's console does deliver a 1080p gameplay experience compared to the upscaled 720p on Xbox One. Frame rate is a big deal for a multiplayer, and Ghosts introduces a boatload of new online offerings for the legions of fans who spend endless hours battling online. Ghosts delivers a fun Hollywood thrill ride arcade campaign experience that's set in the near future and has 'American Ghosts' leading the charge against a larger invading enemy called the Federation. There's also a cool four-player co-op experience called 'Extinction,' which serves up aliens as the enemy. Also new is the ability to fully customize your soldier in multiplayer, including as a female soldier. The German Shepherd, Riley, who's playable in sections of the campaign mode, also takes a bite out of multiplayer as a new way to attack enemies. The addition of dynamic maps changes the battlefield while you're playing, which offers even more incentive to come back for more.
'Dead Rising 3' (Microsoft Game Studios, Capcom, $60)
While Capcom is going for a darker, grittier feel with this latest Dead Rising zombie game, it's definitely not your 'Walking Dead' experience. And that's just fine, especially if you played Activision's 'Walking Dead' game. 'Dead Rising 3' serves up an exclusive open-world playground called Los Perdidos for you to jump into and kill the undead creatively. Just about anything you find in the game from weapons to vehicles can be combined for some truly innovative death machines. This game is one bloody good time, literally. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, the game's campaign experience was designed to let players have fun the way they want. There are plenty of sandbox areas to just go off on killing sprees on foot or behind the wheel of a souped-up death machine. There are thousands of zombies everywhere you turn. Next gen delivers screens with hundreds of undead, and it never gets old hacking and slashing your way through them. Co-op allows a friend to join in for the mayhem. And Xbox SmartGlass offers another way for a buddy to help with the game through a smartphone or tablet, calling in air strikes and unlocking new missions and weapons.
'FIFA 14' (Electronic Arts, EA Sports, $60)
Soccer has never looked as beautiful as it does in this latest installment of the best-selling sports game in the world. Player animations now realistically replicate the on-the-pitch experience, which makes controlling your favorite players a more accurate, and rewarding, endeavor. Pure Shot technology couples with new ball physics to make everything from kicking to shooting more realistic. Xbox One (and Xbox 360) gamers will get exclusive content from EA Sports, including the ability to man Ultimate Teams with legendary players like Pelé, Patrick Vieira, and Ruud Gullit, alongside current superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Sergio Busquets. Given that Ultimate Team is the most popular game in the world's most popular sports franchise, this is a big deal. Also cool is the addition of Co-Op Seasons, where two friends can compete against another two friends for a League Title. Adding intrigue to the online mix is the real-time update feature of Match Day, which brings real-world injuries, suspensions, and trades into the game world. Without the helmets to hide their faces and the open field always in full display, this game showcases what next gen sports is all about.
'Forza Motorsport 5' (Microsoft Game Studios, Turn 10 Studios, $60)
Turn 10 Studios has been crafting racing simulations for Microsoft for a decade now, and all of that experience shows in this gorgeous racer. The game runs at 60 frames per second, bringing to life photorealistic tracks from around the globe in 1080p. From the cobblestone streets of Prague to the desert oasis of Abu Dhabi, this game packs plenty of challenges for the over 200 vehicles that have been painstakingly re-created with accurate physics, handling, and details, right down to the imperfections in the paint. This is car porn with a stellar lineup of race horses that most people will never be able to drive in the real world, including the 2013 McLaren P1, the 2012 Ferrari F12berlinetta, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, and the 2012 Pagani Huayra. The same detail has been put into damage, so as you crash these cars, smash up uniquely. Built for the Xbox One, one of the cool features in this game is the Drivatar, which tracks how real players race and then delivers this into the computer-controlled field of cars for offline play for more challenging races. There's also online racing for up to 16 players that includes Smart Match matchmaking for a fun and competitive driving experience. There's plenty under the hood to keep you hitting the pavement again and again.
'Ryse: Son of Rome' (Microsoft Game Studios, Crytek, $60)
Fans of the HBO series 'Rome' will be able to live the life of a Roman soldier as he rises through war to become a general. Players step into the armor and sandals of Marius Titus and play through an epic campaign experience that brings a living battlefield to life, complete with unique enemies, destructible environments, and huge armies clashing. The game's arcade-style controls makes sword fighting, throwing lances, and issuing commands a snap. Developer Crytek, makers of 'Crysis' and 'Far Cry,' knows how to create engaging campaigns. The game's heavy gore quotient has been inspired by more recent period pieces like TV's 'Spartacus,' especially in the multiplayer experience that's set in massive coliseums replete with death traps. For a launch title, 'Ryse' is a quality next-generation action experience that brings Ancient Rome to life in a whole new way.
Xbox Fitness, Microsoft Game Studios, Sumo Digital, Fre
Sumo Digital is the developer behind the very cool 'Nike+ Fitness' Xbox 360 game, which showed off the capabilities of the first-generation Kinect technology. With Xbox One's Kinect 2.0, fitness is taken to the next level. The new Kinect can actually track your heart rate, see which muscles are most engaged by measuring the power, force, and transfer of weight in your body, and track the quality of your performance by measuring your balance, tempo, and form. This data and telemetry adds a useful interactive element to the hottest workout routines already available today on DVD, including Tony Horton's 'P90X,' Shaun T's 'Insanity,' and new offerings from the likes of Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson. All programs are available for free with Xbox Live Gold memberships ($60 per year) through December 2014 (subscriptions are likely to kick in after that). In addition to real-time feedback, gamers are encouraged to continue working out by earning achievements and virtual rewards. This is a great new way to work out and unique among consoles in that it uses existing workout DVDs you may already know and love (rather than workout videos made specifically for workout games).