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Microsoft’s Xbox has been around for years and the newest Xbox Series S and X shook the gaming world, becoming some of the most prized possessions of video game lovers. I’ve been a proud owner of the Series S for a few months now, and in that period of time, I’ve had the chance to play a bunch of games.
After spending hours on my gaming console, here’s what I think are the best Xbox games available to play right now.
What Are the Best Xbox Games?
There are a few things to consider before purchasing your first Xbox game. Here’s everything we took into consideration while preparing our list for the best Xbox games.
Genres: Whether you’re looking for a relaxing open-world racing game or an action role-playing game that will test your wits, we’ve included options for every type of player.
ESRB Rating: The Electronic Software Rating Board determines which games are appropriate for which age group. It’s the equivalent of movie ratings like G, PG, PG-13, etc. Our guide contains games that span that spectrum, depending on what you’re looking for.
Backward Compatibility: Many games originally created for older Xbox models, should still be available to play on the newer Xbox Series S/X consoles. Some older games like Microsoft Flight Simulator, have even been enhanced for newer consoles. Either download these games or pop in the disc if you’ve got an Xbox Series X.
Online Play: Xbox players can easily access online multiplayer mode on free-to-play games. However, for all other games, you’ll need at least an Xbox Live Gold subscription ($9.99 per month) to access multiplayer mode.
Game Pass included: Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s online gaming library that comes at a cost of $9.99/month. We recommend springing for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership (priced at $14.99/month) which includes hundreds of playable games plus an Xbox Live Gold membership, allowing you to play in multiplayer mode on your favorite games.
1. Forza Horizon 5
For fans of racing and an open-world design, it doesn’t get better than the latest in the Forza Horizon series, Forza Horizon 5.
Each Forza game is set in a new landscape, and this time, the developers chose Mexico, recreating the ancient ruins of Ek’ Balam and the lush beaches of Playa Azul. Right now, the game also has more than 580 cars available, from top brands like Ferrari, Mercedes and Ford.
Similar to its predecessors, Forza Horizon 5 comes with sprint races, dirt racing, cross country trails, road tracing circuits as well as a huge set of PR stunts including speed traps, danger signs and speed zones. Apart from that you’ve got multiple story accolades to complete, meaning you can choose to embark on multiple mini-adventures, or just drive your car around all day with your friends.
As for multiplayer modes, in Forza Open you’ll encounter other players as you drive around the vast map and you’re welcome to challenge them if you wish. You can even form convoys with your friends to take part in Horizon Arcade events or races — I do this with a sister all the time, who lives on an entirely different continent than me.
This game is Xbox Series S/X enhanced, which means if you have a newer console the colors and graphics will be bigger, better, and brighter with 4K compatibility and faster load times.
Plus, it’s E-rated and available on Xbox Game Pass, so if you have a subscription it’s an easy download onto your new console.
If you’ve been on gaming Twitter anytime recently, you’ve probably seen the countless tweets of players trying their hand at Dark Soul’s spiritual successor, Elden Ring.
This action-adventure role-playing game has a fantastically detailed open-world design that can only be compared to the likes of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Your objective is to make your way to the top and achieve the Elden Lord title — and it’s anything but easy.
You’ll die a countless number of times and be on the verge of giving up continuously (I know I was) until you finally make it to the end, and suddenly, it all seems like it’s worth it. It’s safe to say we can see why this game has an ESRB rating of Mature (17+).
For someone like me who’s never played a Dark Souls game before, there was an incredibly steep learning curve, meaning it’s not the most beginner-friendly game out there. That said, if you’re patient enough to give it a shot, this might just be the best game on our list.
At the end of the day, it’s an unpredictable and slightly chaotic adventure, filled with some of the most beautiful and realistic graphics you’ve ever seen. You almost don’t want the game to end — almost.
3. Halo Infinite
For fans of first-person shooter games, it doesn’t get better than Halo Infinite.
It’s got an open-world format, dropping players into the game after a quick tutorial, where you start off on foot, slowly learning the ropes and of course, fighting some enemies along the way.
The graphics themselves are gorgeous, and if you grapple your way to the top of a mountain, you’ll know exactly what I mean. The combat is one of its best parts, with a wide variety of guns to choose from and even amped-up vehicles that can help defeat your enemies.
The final fight is clearly one of the hardest parts for most players, having many of us screaming in frustration (although not as frustrating as Elden Ring, for sure). Once you’ve completed the finale though, you’ll be transported back to the open world, giving you a chance to complete any side quests.
For those of you, who’ve been waiting for a semi-open world Halo game, Halo Infinite certainly lives up to expectations, even exceeding them at times. While most of my experience was playing in the Single Player Campaign, there is also a Halo Infinite multiplayer mode where you can play with your friends or engage in combat with total strangers. There are a bunch of cool weapon options, a great map and a variety of modes you can game in for an extremely competitive adventure.
4. It Takes Two
For fans of co-op games, try out It Takes Two, a wacky game where you and your friend play Maya and Cody, a couple on the brink of divorce whose child curses them into the body of her dolls.
The main aim of the game, obviously, is for Maya and Cody to make it back into their human bodies, while also battling their marital issues along the way. Except, they’re not doing this in couple’s counseling, they’re doing it as dolls come to life in a pseudo-mini-world that’s as wild as you could ever imagine it.
Everything you might have seen in your child’s playroom now serves a purpose: fidget spinners are hoverboards, books seem to be able to talk and there are fantastical fight sequences with wizards with yes, spells, involved.
The crux of It Takes Two is learning how to play it collaboratively — there’s a split-screen throughout helping you keep an eye on your partner as your maneuver through the absurd dangers of a phantasmic mini world. You’ll fight some enemies, solve a bunch of puzzles and explore for a total of 10 to 12 hours. Thats’ why we think it’s worth doing this game in one go.
It Takes Two also supports online play meaning you and your companion might not even have to be in the same room — although the latter is a lot more fun, in my opinion.
5. Monster Hunter: World
As the title suggests, this action-based RPG is all about hunting monsters. You’ll start off with nothing but a flimsy weapon on your back but as you battle and capture creatures you’ll slowly harvest materials and build stronger, more durable weapons.
There are multiple biomes to explore, each with its own set of monsters and gorgeous vistas — so beautiful you’re sure to get distracted from your game and lose focus. And, I found this to be one of the most time-consuming games on our list. While you might be able to complete the story quest in a couple of days (or weeks depending on how often you play), there’s a whole range of side quests to tackle.
The monsters get stronger as you go on, but your weapons also get more powerful, from swords and shields to a bowgun and even a hunting horn. You’ll even get a cute cat companion (Palicoes) to help you out.
The heart-racing battles and variety of monsters, coupled with dangerous quests and scenic biomes make Monster Hunter: World one of the most intense, beautiful and challenging games available on Xbox. And, my favorite Monster Hunter game to date.
6. Microsoft Flight Simulator
This one’s a classic and it’s certainly aged well. I’m an extremely nervous flyer so playing this game and learning how to fly, cruise mid-air and land flights — even in extremely difficult conditions — helped curb my flight anxiety a bit.
Everything is incredibly detailed, from the controls inside the aircraft to the recreation of popular Boeing and Airbus aircraft themselves, and the airports you’re taking off and landing at. Once you’ve got the hang of the controls — bear in mind this will take a while and you’ll need to be patient — you’ll be able to fly anywhere, including iconic destinations like New York or far-off lands like Sydney, Australia.
You can customize your assisted settings depending on how experienced you are, however turning assists fully off is as close to the real thing as you can get. You’ll be able to control your airplanes with just the Xbox One generic controller, but you can spring for a dedicated joystick for more accurate control.
Bear in mind once again, that if you have no prior flying experience there is a steep learning curve, which had me frustrated many times. Plus, while there is a flight school you can attend to learn the basic controls, a lot of airplane-specific training is only possible during take-off and landing challenges, and we do suggest you try attempting those before your first solo flight.
It is available on Xbox Game Pass, so give it a go if you’ve got an active subscription.
7. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
This one is for all the Marvel fans who’ve wanted to have an over-the-top intergalactic adventure of their own. And, it’s newly available on Xbox Game Pass
It’s a linear, single-player game where you’re be playing as Star Lord (Peter Quill), and even though you can’t choose to play as Gamora, Groot, Rocket or Drax, you’ll still be able to issue them commands during battle sequences or while exploring, and you’ll be able to interact with them whenever you want.
The game really succeeds at exploring the ever-evolving, realistic relationships between the different characters, and even introduces an intriguing choice factor, that affects your gameplay. For example, if you choose to save a character, or defend them during an argument, there’s a chance they’ll repay the favor in the future.
The entire gameplay should take you only up to 20 hours, although there were times when I had to replay certain battle sequences in order to win. The action sequences were my least favorite part of the game and I felt like they could dial back the constant amount of battle and focus on the storyline instead.
I found myself genuinely chuckling along with the dialogue and even tearing up during certain scenes — which goes to show just how much through the creators put behind character development.
8. Boyfriend Dungeon
If you’re looking for a game you can binge in one day that’s absurd and incredibly fun, go with Boyfriend Dungeon.
At its crux, it’s a dungeon crawler plus a dating simulator game, where your weapons transform into intriguing characters you can date. You’ll date, level up in love ranking and in turn, end up with more powerful weapons. In total, there are seven different characters you can romance and therefore seven different weapons you can wield.
The game takes place in a seaside town called Verona beach where you arrive to spend the summer with your cousin Jesse. At the end of the game, after you’ve fought through the dungeons, and figured out the town’s mystery, you’ll get a big blowout summer party where you’ll evaluate your relationships with the characters.
The whole game took me just about five hours from start to finish and if you’ve got Xbox Game Pass, it’s free to download. Not to mention, the soundtrack is extremely relaxing, making fighting the monsters that much more cathartic and fun.