While the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have been out in the wild for several months now, the bad news is that availability is still very limited. Not to mention, the Xbox Series S/X has very few games in the way of available exclusives, nor are there many confirmed coming soon. However, while it's true that Microsoft is not as invested when it comes to exclusives as Sony is, Xbox owners do have a significant advantage in the form of the Xbox Game Pass.
With hundreds of backwards compatible titles from the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in its library, some of which have been updated to support FPS Boost, among others, Xbox Series S/X owners won't necessarily be left wanting for more.
With that said, we've decided to round up the twelve best Xbox Series X games on Xbox Game Pass.
Splash Damage and The Coalition's turn-based tactics game isn't everybody's cup of tea, or so to speak. However, for Gears fans and beginners to turn-based tactics games, there's a sense of comfort in how the rhythm of the gameplay of Gears Tactics plays out. Unlike the frenetic and fast-paced combat of the original shooter Gears games, Gears Tactics plays out depending on how you want to play.
The best part here is that the spin-off is available via the Xbox Game Pass and is optimized to run at 60 frames per second at up to 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X. This makes it one of the more beautiful games to play on the next-gen console with controls that work surprisingly well even when played on a controller.
For future developers looking for a reference on how well a next-gen turn-based tactics game can run on today's consoles, Gears Tactics is a good place to start.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Unfortunately, the Master Chief was too busy hanging out on the Zeta halo to arrive in time for the Xbox Series X's launch party. The good news is that there's a worthwhile alternative available that should tide fans over until Halo Infinite arrives next year.
The Master Chief Collection is not a new game, by any means. The anthology of Halo games was first released back in 2014 for the Xbox One. However, the Xbox Series S/X enhanced edition, which launched in November 2020, is the definitive version. Not only because it comes with anniversary editions of every numbered Halo game on top of ODST and Halo Reach, but, it's also because every game has been optimized to run at up to 120 frames per second in dynamic 4K resolution, even in multiplayer.
While the older Halo titles carry a hint of nostalgia for anyone still interested and capable of playing it on their original launch consoles, the anthology is a must-play for those who'd like to experience a significant part of gaming history.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Moon Studio's follow-up to 2015's Ori and the Blind Forest is just as unique as its critically-acclaimed predecessor. Building on what Ori and the Blind Forest built, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an open-world platformer composed of multiple individually distinct regions styled with such attention to detail that the 2D world feels much more alive than the more expansive 3D worlds of other games. This is all topped off with a musical store that's reason enough by itself to want to play through the game.
As a bonus, this Xbox Game Pass title runs at a buttery smooth 120 frames per second on the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.
Planet Coaster: Console Edition
Build and manage yourself the theme park of your dreams in Planet Coaster: Console Edition. Although Planet Coaster isn't the first of its game to put you in the proverbial driver's seat of your own pleasure ground, Frontier Developments' take is a more modern and console-eccentric experience that Xbox Series S/X owners should absolutely not miss.
Planet Coaster: Console Edition comes with a surprisingly robust single-player campaign that will test how well you can micromanage. However, for those who prefer to play the game with minimal constraints, there's a mode for that too.
Either way, you'll still need to find a way to find the right balance between pricing, having fun, as well as making customers hurl puke in sheer exhilaration.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves was already one of the most beautiful games out there on the Xbox One X when hooked up to a 4K HDR-capable monitor. Thus, it only stands to reason that the Xbox Series X version of the pirate simulator is so much better, and it is.
Rare's open-world multiplayer-only game benefits from the added grunt of the Xbox Series X, now running at a smooth 60 frames per second. Played in 4K, the improvement is massive. The higher frame rates coupled with zero frame rate drops make sailing across rough seas and fighting off skeletons as you hunt for treasure feel far more immersive. Not to mention, because of the SSD on the Xbox Series X, loading times are close to non-existent.
With more content already available than Sea of Thieves had at launch and even more coming, the Xbox Series X version on the Xbox Game Pass is a good reason to try out the game for the first time.
Tetris Effect: Connected
The Tetris gameplay is as classic and as old as video games. However, while most of us have played a variation of this puzzle game at some point in our lives, Tetris Effect: Connected is arguably the best Tetris game ever made.
A visual and auditory feast, Tetris Effect: Connected makes each act of dropping a tetromino feel like such an epic thing to do with its ever-changing sounds and backdrops complete with HDR support while running at a smooth 60 frames per second and 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X.
The best part about Tetris Effect: Connected is that it features both co-op and competitive gameplay via local and online multiplayer.
Don't let the blocky aesthetics of the action-adventure title, The Touryst, fool you. Nor should you overlook the game just because of its simple premise of putting you in the shoes of an island-hopping tourist. Because, if you do, you'll miss out on an adventure that sees you uncovering ancient monuments and the secrets that lie within.
Of course, the real draw here isn't The Touryst itself. Rather, how well it performs and looks on the Xbox Series X. Because of how the game looks as it renders at a 6K resolution, The Touryst is easily a dark horse contender as one of the Xbox Series X games on Xbox Game Pass.
Outriders isn't a perfect game. In the eyes of many, it's not a great game either. Yet, despite how Outriders isn't even a good game, especially with all the bugs and issues that have plagued it since launch, a lot of people continue to find themselves playing Outriders and struggling to put the controller down.
What exactly it is about Outriders that's so addicting is something we can't answer for ourselves. Is it the looting mechanics? Or, is it the tight gameplay? Either way, Outriders is, at the very least, well worth trying out if you have an active Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
The thing that impresses us the most about Destiny 2: Beyond Light is that it feels a lot like a different game without being a full-on sequel. It doesn't necessarily bring a lot of new content either. Beyond Light is a more performance-focused update that prepares Destiny for the next generation of consoles, and we're liking it.
From the faster loading times to the snappier menus and the cleaner interface, Beyond Light nails all the necessary improvements to make Destiny 2 more appealing. It even has a new tutorial experience that actually works.
If you've somehow managed to avoid jumping on the Destiny hype over the past decade, now's as good as a time as any to try and see what the fuss is all about.
Codemasters' Dirt 5 was most gamer's first chance to see what a racing game on a next-gen console would look like and it did not disappoint. Although the game was designed to cater more towards the casual racing sim audience, Codemasters made sure that Dirt 5 stayed true to the series' penchant for visually captivating games that look and feel like the real thing.
True, Dirt 5 isn't Forza Horizon 4. It's not even WRC 9. Dirt 5 is much less technical and more arcadey, for the lack of a better term. It's not even that challenging either. Yet, it's just as worthy of playing. The career mode, for example, is surprisingly deep and offers dozens of hours of fun with more than 60 vehicles and exotic locales that you never thought you'd ever be able to race on.
For the racing itch that Forza Horizon 4 and other traditional racing games just can't scratch, Dirt 5 is the answer.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
First things first, not all Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It's not technically available on the Xbox Game Pass library. Rather, it's part of EA Play, which comes as an incentive for those with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. But, if you ever needed a reason to justify the added cost of an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you could do a lot worse than point towards Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
In a way, Fallen Order feels a lot less like a Star Wars game. Often, you'll feel like you're playing Tomb Raider or Uncharted. You'll be spending a lot of time running up walls, traversing platforms, and climbing walls, among other things, in the game. However, once the Star Wars part starts kicking in, with a huge world for you to explore and a satisfying combat system that really makes you feel like a true Jedi, you'll see exactly why many consider Fallen Order as one of the best Star Wars game to ever release.
No Man’s Sky
As an Xbox Game Pass title, nothing scratches the itch of exploration quite like No Man's Sky does. Sea of Thieves arguably comes close. Yet, Rare's open-world pirate sim can't even begin to compare with the number of activities that you can do in No Man's Sky right now.
The sky is literally the limit in No Man's Sky. You can build bases, explore countless randomly-generated worlds, and even race vehicles against other players in multiplayer. The fact that you can do all these in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with performance enhancements that take advantage of every morsel of power that the Xbox Series X can put out is a bonus at this point.