The Xbox Series X|S has been out for more than a year, and the library has expanded to include a myriad of excellent console exclusives that take full advantage of the powerful hardware. Though it’s still difficult to find an Xbox Series X in stock, those who manage to secure one have a wealth of great games to choose from, many of which offer 4K visuals and eye-popping performance. We’ve rounded up the best Xbox Series X games so far (in alphabetical order). Keep in mind that the vast majority of these games can also be played on Xbox One. We’ve also only included Xbox games before the Series X’s time that have received performance updates for the new console.
Many of the games we’ve chosen are available on Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s subscription-based service that gives you access to hundreds of games in addition to other perks. Keep in mind that while the Series X boasts the best performance and visuals, the Series S also offers noticeable improvements and upscales to 4K.
Xbox Series X|S owners should also check out our roundups of the best Xbox One games and the best games on Xbox Game Pass, as every game on those lists is also playable on the new consoles. If you own other consoles, take a peek at our best PS5 games, best PS4 games, and best Nintendo Switch games guides too. And if you’re considering signing up for Xbox Game Pass on your new console, new subscribers can get their first month of Ultimate for $1.
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Alan Wake Remastered
While it might be a stretch to call Alan Wake underrated, it definitely didn’t receive the massive audience that it deserved when it originally launched in 2010. Hopefully Alan Wake Remastered will change that. The action-adventure game stars a thriller novelist whose wife disappears while they are on vacation. Things really start to get weird when plot points from a novel he doesn’t remember writing start happening in real life. The remaster gives the wonderful written game a fresh look and adds some new secrets to uncover. It’s worth playing whether you experienced the original or not and the gameplay holds up remarkably well.
See our Alan Wake Remastered review.
Control Ultimate edition
When Control originally launched in 2019, it seemed to be too taxing for console hardware. The next-gen release of Control: Ultimate edition remedies these issues. On Xbox Series X, Control can run in 4K, and it retains a steady 60fps. Alternatively, you can enable a graphics mode (not available on Series S) that runs at 30fps with ray tracing. Either option looks great, especially when making use of Jesse’s powers. Control is a narrative-focused action game revolving around a mysterious government agency that investigates supernatural activity. With excellent and varied gameplay that feeds into the well-written tale, Control is one of the best action games in recent memory.
See our Control review.
Death’s Door is a wonderful isometric action game that released over the summer. You play as a small crow who is tasked with retrieving souls that were supposed to pass on. The eponymous doors you walk through transport you to different locales riddled with enemies. Though Death’s Door has relatively simplistic combat, it feels incredible in motion. The dungeons are well-designed and have a Zelda vibe to them, while the boss battles test your skills throughout. If you’re looking for a compelling action game with a nice pick-up-and-play mentality, Death’s Door is a great pick. It’s one of the best indie games of the year thus far.
See our Death’s Door review.
Destiny 2 originally launched in 2017, but as a live service multiplayer game, it’s never a bad time to jump into the sci-fi epic. Destiny 2 runs in 4K at 60fps on Xbox Series X and load times are drastically quicker, which is a big deal for a game that has a decent number of loading screens. Bungie has added a significant amount of content since launch, including four expansions. With multiple expansions still on the horizon over the next year or so, Destiny 2 will continue to offer new story content, optional missions, and raids. Destiny 2’s base campaign and first two expansions are free to play, and Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play the entire Destiny 2 experience, including the most recent expansion, Beyond Light. Destiny 2 is a ton of fun whether you’re playing solo, cooperatively with friends, or squaring off in arena battles at the Crucible.
See our Destiny 2 Beyond Light review.
The Forgotten City
Built from the foundation of an iconic Skyrim mod, The Forgotten City is one of the best detective games in years. Set inside a Roman metropolis and revolving around the Golden Rule, The Forgotten City is a memorable experience filled with stellar writing, great acting, and a beautiful landscape to explore. The people of the city live under the Golden Rule, which means that if anyone sins, everyone is punished. This premise leads to some understandable moral quandaries as well as a bevy of contradictions as to what constitutes a violation. The Forgotten City also has a time loop mechanic that rewinds time if sins are committed. With some truly great narrative puzzles squeezed within the exquisite dialogue and multiple endings to uncover, The Forgotten City keeps you constantly guessing and makes you feel smart when you get on the right track and start to figure out what’s going on.
See our The Forgotten City review.
Forza Horizon 5
Playground Games is, hands down, the most consistent studio within the Xbox family, and the UK-based developer has been doing it for a decade without getting the recognition it deserves. Forza Horizon 5 just happens to be the best game it’s ever made, taking drivers to a gorgeous and environmentally diverse Mexico filled with races to complete, challenges to try out, and hundreds of cars to earn. What makes Forza Horizon 5 so wonderful is that it fully embraces the the core pillar of every great open-world game: choice. Do succeed, you can essentially play the game however you want, whether that’s taking part in cross-country marathons or just jumping all the danger signs you can find. There’s wrong way to play, unless it’s doing something you don’t find fun, in which case there are probably 15 things within a mile of your location that you will find fun.
See our Forza Horizon 5 review.
Gears Tactics released on consoles alongside the launch of the Xbox Series X, so it’s unsurprising that it runs best on the new hardware. The turn-based strategy spin-off runs in 4K at 60fps on Series X, which makes the action on screen crisper and clearer. Gears Tactics features fast-paced tactical gameplay. While it’s definitely a departure from the mainline franchise, Gears Tactics still boasts many of the same design features and systems fans have come to expect. The lengthy campaign is filled with well-designed maps, and the overarching progression system and deep character customization make the experience all the more enriching. Gears Tactics translates extremely well to Xbox Series X, and it’s an approachable and exciting experience for newcomers in the tactical genre. Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play Gears Tactics at no extra cost.
See our Gears Tactics review.
Hades finally released on Xbox in August, and the beloved roguelike is available to play for free for Game Pass subscribers. Unlike many roguelikes, Hades uses its structure to its narrative advantage. This starts with the protagonist Zagreus, who happens to be the god of rebirth. Played from an isometric perspective, Hades’ loop sees you running through procedurally generated rooms filled with increasingly challenging enemies. The fast-paced action gameplay is an absolute joy, and it has some serious legs thanks to a plethora of different builds, including wildly different weapon play styles and abilities. Much of the storytelling is sandwiched between runs when you converse with other Greek gods and prepare for your next attempt to escape the underworld. Combining brilliant combat with top-notch writing, Hades is a must-play game even if you typically don’t care for roguelikes.
See our Hades review.
The best Halo game in over a decade, Halo Infinite finally sees 343 Industries fully grasping what made the original games so special: a sense of discovery in the campaign and a simple-but-brilliant take on competitive multiplayer. Set almost entirely on one Halo ring rather than the many different planets we saw in Halo 5, the story also focuses entirely on Master Chief, giving us more insight into how the character has changed since he first battled the Covenant. The biggest reason it works, however, is that the switch to an “open world” didn’t go overboard, as the world size–paired with the new Grapple Shot–isn’t daunting to explore, and campaign missions maintain a more linear and story-focused design. And what makes multiplayer the best it’s been since Bungie’s exit? It just feels good, emphasizing well-placed shots and learning the maps instead of extraneous systems that felt like they were chasing trends.
See our Halo Infinite review.
Given the prowess of IO Interactive’s first two entries in the World of Assaassination trilogy, it’s not really a surprise that Hitman 3 is an exceedingly good conclusion to Agent 47’s latest arc. That said, Hitman 3 expands on the foundation of its predecessors in some surprising ways. While there aren’t many maps at this time, Hitman 3 makes tremendous use of each one, giving players even more freedom to approach objectives as they see fit. New spins on the loop, including a delightful murder mystery level, make Hitman 3 feel fresh and inventive, too. In addition to tremendous level design and choice-driven gameplay, Hitman 3 does a better job of focusing on its story and the many lively NPCs that inhabit the sandbox-style levels. This is Hitman at its finest, though you should definitely play the entirety of the World of Assassination trilogy. You can also import the levels from Hitman and Hitman 2 and play them in one place with enhancements.
See our Hitman 3 review.
It Takes Two
One of the most creative platforming games over the last several years–and one that manages to do that while requiring cooperative play–It Takes Two improves on Hazelight’s previous game, A Way Out, in virtually every way. The whimsical gameplay is combined with a surprisingly dark story involving a couple divorcing, all while their daughter aims to keep them together through the power of imagination. The many gameplay mechanics could have felt overwhelming, but they’re polished to a bright sheen that makes discovering the next one a joy. And with a buddy pass system included, only one of the people playing needs to own the game.
See our It Takes Two review.
MLB The Show 21
Available for the first time ever on Xbox systems, MLB The Show 21 is not a drastic change from the series’ past games, even with the novelty of playing a Sony-developed game using an Xbox controller. However, it improves the formula in a few very important ways, including a revamped Road to the Show mode that allows you to play as a two-way player who excels at hitting and pitching–if you want. It looks gorgeous on the Xbox Series X, especially with HDR enabled, and cross-play support means your friends who stayed behind on PlayStation can still toss hanging curveballs to you online. It’s also available on Xbox Game Pass for free, so you don’t need to buy it if you have a subscription.
See our MLB The Show 21 review.
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Already one of the best fighting games in recent memory, Mortal Kombat 11 is even more impressive on the powerful Xbox Series X hardware. Featuring 4K resolution and new visual flourishes, the gruesome action on screen is rendered in a ridiculous amount of detail. The base game already had an ample amount of content, including multiple single-player modes and competitive multiplayer. The Ultimate edition tosses in the Aftermath story expansion and Kombat packs including 12 additional fighters. Mortal Kombat 11 is one of those rare fighting games that balances solo and multiplayer content well, and it’s also the type of fighter that’s appealing to both casual players and die-hard fans alike.
See our Mortal Kombat 11 review.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky, much like Sea of Thieves, has improved mightily since launch. Over the course of four-plus years, developer Hello Games has released steady and substantial updates that have brought the space exploration game closer to its original, ambitious vision. No Man’s Sky now features far more tangible activities, including base-building and even racing vehicles across tracks in multiplayer. No Man’s Sky’s next-gen update allows the game to run in 4K at 60fps. The performance enhancements also extend to lighting and shadows, which makes each of the randomly generated planets look even more detailed and alive. No Man’s Sky is on Xbox Game Pass, so subscribers should absolutely check it out to see if they enjoy its loop.
See our No Man’s Sky Next review.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a gorgeous platformer from Moon Studios that truly benefits from the power of the Xbox Series X. The stirring sequel runs in 4K at 120fps and supports HDR. Since Ori and the Will of the Wisps is filled with evocative, colorful settings and fast-paced platforming sequences, the boost in performance makes the already stellar experience even better. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is more of an action-platformer than its predecessor and introduces a number of new moves to employ in combat against enemies both big and small. The sprawling map is deftly designed to force you to make full use of Ori’s expanded arsenal, which creates a more dynamic and satisfying adventure. If you haven’t played Ori and the Blind Forest, you should play that first to get the full emotional weight of the understated but profound tale. Both games are available in the Xbox Game Pass library.
See our Ori and the Will of the Wisps review.
Remarkably, Psychonauts 2 is even better than its predecessor. After suffering multiple delays, Psychonauts 2 released over the summer to critical acclaim. The return to the psychic camp for kids was long overdue, and Double Fine made the most of this sequel. It retains the humor and charming storytelling of the original while refining the platforming gameplay and upping the psychedelic nature of the levels. From a gameplay perspective, Psychonauts 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor, both when traversing the levels and fighting baddies in combat. Where Psychonauts 2 really shines, however, is in its portrayal of its characters. Revolving around empathy and growth, Psychonauts 2 has an impactful message. It’s easily one of Double Fine’s best games, and you can play it on Xbox Game Pass.
See our Psychonauts 2 review.
Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Siege is an undying beast in the first-person shooter genre. Though it released fairly early on in the last console cycle, it still has a dedicated and large user base. Rainbow Six Siege’s longevity can be attributed to Ubisoft’s steady drip of content, including new maps and a growing list of unique operators that have their own distinct playstyle. Siege also just has great bones thanks to precise gunplay and a deep tactical focus that makes each match incredibly exciting. On Series X, Siege has performance and resolution modes. The former supports 120fps in dynamic 4K, while the latter keeps the action at 60fps in native 4K. Rainbow Six Siege has a relatively steep learning curve, but you can check it out on Game Pass to see if it’s your kind of game. It’s one of the rare games that earned a 10/10 in our Rainbow Six Siege review.
See our Rainbow Six Siege review.
Resident Evil Village
The second game starring Ethan Winters rather than one of the series’ longtime protagonists, Resident Evil Village is a unique mashup of several different horror games in one. It has the atmospheric, tension-building pure terror of PT as well as the all-out action of some of the later Resident Evil games, as well as the constant hide-and-seek segments made famous in Resident Evil 2. None of these happen at the same time, but rather than make Village feel scattershot, this design decision keeps it from ever feeling stale over its 10-hour playtime. It gets pretty goofy, even for a Resident Evil game, but Capcom’s clarity of vision means the series is in very good shape.
See our Resident Evil Village review.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves has come a long way since launching in 2018. Rare has turned Sea of Thieves from a somewhat shallow pirate adventure into a swashbuckling success thanks to steady updates that have drastically overhauled the experience. Most importantly, Sea of Thieves now has an abundance of content, ranging from story missions to skeleton fleet hunts and much more. With better systems and more tangible rewards at stake, the core Sea of Thieves experience is more satisfying. On the next-gen consoles, Sea of Thieves runs at a smooth 60fps in 4K on Series X and in 1080p on Series S. The reduced load times on both consoles really help limit interruptions during your voyage, too. Sea of Thieves is well-worth diving into on Xbox Series X, and it’s available on Game Pass.
See our Sea of Thieves review.
Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise looks far different than previous entries in the long-running series. Instead of just giving it a fresh coat of paint, Bandai Namco significantly overhauled the visuals, giving it a stunning visual presentation that retains the anime look while looking far more realistic than before. The combat system is also overhauled, with the fast-paced real-time combat featuring more elaborate systems. Tales of Arise also features one of the best cast of characters from the series in a long time. Make no mistake, this is still a lengthy JRPG and does suffer from the need to grind for XP at times, but if you’re looking for a lengthy, fairly traditional JRPG, Tales of Arise is an excellent choice.
See our Tales of Arise review.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Tetris Effect: Connected is magical on Xbox Series X. With 4K resolution and up to 120 fps, the particle effects that are so integral to Tetris Effect’s presentation are even more detailed and stunning. Beyond the enhancements, Tetris Effect: Connected is just a delightfully inventive take on the best puzzle game ever made. It turns Tetris into an all-encompassing visual and audio experience thanks to an explosion of colors seen both in and outside the grid and the reactive tunes that will have you nodding along to the beat. In addition to an already great stable of modes, the Connected edition comes with great cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes to play locally or online. It’s a relaxing experience, and one that’s perfect to play for short spurts over the course of months (or even years). Tetris Effect: Connected is available in the Xbox Game Pass library.
See our Tetris Effect Connected review.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon released as a launch title for Xbox Series X with better performance, including options for native 4K or a solid 60fps at a slightly lower resolution, and these visual enhancements make Like a Dragon’s world more vibrant and detailed. Sega has never been afraid to take risks with the quirky and moving Yakuza franchise, and Like a Dragon takes the biggest risk in franchise history by moving away from beat-’em-up combat in favor of a turn-based RPG system. The change funnels in from the personality of the new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga. Ichiban’s mind often wanders, and he sees himself as a hero ripped out of Dragon Quest. This, in turn, shifts enemies into silly beings that are fought using an old-school turn-based system. Ichiban’s personality is infectious, and the party-based system leads to some of the best interpersonal moments in franchise history. Yakuza: Like a Dragon may play wildly differently than previous entries in the series, but it still has all of the heart and charm that have kept fans coming back for more.
See our Yakuza: Like a Dragon review.
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