Since it's only roughly six months into the Xbox Series X's life cycle, the number of games that truly feel next-gen are limited. That said, lots of titles have received significant overhauls on Series X|S to improve loading times, frame rate, and boost the 1080p resolution to 4K. If you've managed to secure an Xbox Series X or Series S, you're probably looking for games that take advantage of the powerful new hardware. With that in mind, we've rounded up the best games you can play on Xbox Series X|S so far (in alphabetical order).
Every game we've listed below (with the exception of one) is also available on Xbox One, but these are the titles we feel deserve your attention first thanks to enhancements that improve the overall experience. Most 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, keep in mind new subscribers can get their first month of Ultimate for $1.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla offers a fitting conclusion to the current arc of the historical action franchise. Set in the ninth century, you play as a Viking named Eivor on an adventure across an absolutely stunning open world. Valhalla retains the role-playing game elements from the previous two AC games, but this time around, the mission design does a better job of letting you rely on your own personal approach. And for the first time in quite a while, Valhalla's historical and present day stories intertwine in a meaningful way that gives the franchise a clearer path forward. On Series X, Valhalla is captivating and runs at 60fps in a dynamic 4K resolution.
See our Assassin's Creed Valhalla review.
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.
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.
Devil May Cry 5's Special Edition runs like a dream on Xbox Series X. You can tinker with the performance settings, which feature enhancements such as native 4K resolution, 120fps, and ray tracing. Capcom's 2019 action game focuses almost entirely on its intricate and flashy combo system, so the heightened visual fidelity makes a big difference with the finer details of the action. The Special edition comes with the base campaign as well as the Vergil DLC and new modes that affect the speed and number of enemies on screen. Devil May Cry 5 doesn't try to reinvent the wheel; instead, it's simply a fantastically designed action game that never takes its foot off the gas.
See our Devil May Cry 5 review.
Forza Horizon 4's Xbox Series X update makes the best racing game that appeared on Xbox One even better. Resolution and framerate can make a big difference when it comes to immersion in a racing game. As such, the ability to run Forza Horizon 4 in 4K at 60fps brings you closer to the racing action, allowing you to see and feel speed changes while admiring the gorgeous scenery. Forza Horizon 4 is also just a spectacular racing game that is approachable enough for beginners and layered enough for serious racing fans. Forza Horizon 4's dazzling and expansive open world is rife with exciting races and challenges, and you can check it out without buying via Xbox Game Pass.
See our Forza Horizon 4 review.
Gears 5 is loaded with engaging third-person shooter content, including a more focused campaign, a suite of competitive multiplayer modes, and a pair of co-op variants. On Xbox Series X, Gears 5 has notable performance improvements across the board. It can run at 120fps in multiplayer, which makes the competitive action on screen move incredibly fluidly (if you have the proper display). There's also a noticeable quickness when it comes to input response both when playing solo and in online multiplayer. Where the visual enhancements are most noteworthy are in the campaign during cutscenes and in some of the more open areas new to Gears 5. Gears 5 may be dated at this point, but it runs like a next-gen game on Series X|S. Like other first-party Xbox games on this list, Gears 5 is available on Game Pass.
See our Gears 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Medium is the only game on this list that's an Xbox Series X|S console exclusive. Developed by Bloober Team, The Medium is a psychological horror game with innovative gameplay, a gripping story, and a chilling atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, you play as a medium named Marianne who is capable of seeing the spirit realm. The premise funnels into the gameplay, which forces you to solve puzzles by using both the real and spirit worlds. It's an intriguing concept that works rather well. The Medium is also quite frightening thanks to an omnipresent villain and dread-inducing scenarios. Horror fans shouldn't miss out on The Medium, which is available on Xbox Game Pass.
See our The Medium review.
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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