The Best Xbox Series X Games In 2024
GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.
The future of Xbox is a more expansive brand than just a console, encompassing its suite of services like Xbox Game Pass. The subscription service has emerged as a major pillar for Microsoft, as it offers a huge rotating library of free games including first-party releases. In case you're looking for something new to play on Xbox, via Xbox Game Pass or otherwise, we've rounded up a list of the best Xbox Series X|S games. We regularly review these choices to make sure we stand by them as the best the Xbox Series X|S has to offer, so with 2024 upon us, this still stands as our highest recommendations on the console.
Most, but not all, of the games we've chosen are available on Xbox Game Pass, While the Series X boasts the best performance and visuals, the Series S also offers noticeable improvements and upscales to 4K. And lots can also be played on your Xbox One as well, either with Smart Delivery to optimize the experience or through Microsoft's cloud streaming tech for games that outpace the last generation.
If you'd rather catch up with some older but still excellent games, be sure to read our picks for the best Xbox One games, or upgrade your gaming gear with our picks for the best Xbox controllers and best Xbox headsets. And while you're at it, check out our best PS5 games, best PS4 games, and best Nintendo Switch games too.
Editor's Note: Article updated on February 14, 2024.
Alan Wake 2
Remedy's Alan Wake is a cult classic of the survival horror genre, and since then the studio has been building its own universe with story ties to other releases like Control. Alan Wake 2 is the sequel 13 years in the making, and it delivers. The story follows the author Alan Wake and FBI agent Saga Anderson through a mind-bending dual campaign. It leans more into horror than its predecessor and contains some truly unforgettable moments.
Read our Alan Wake 2 review.
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 (and the rousing success of its sequel) 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.
This puzzler that uses its unassuming premise--following the life of a small insectoid creature--to tell a gripping story about life and self-evolution. The environmental puzzles revolve around carrying orbs to create some truly head-scratching scenarios, and it ultimately culminates in an experience that will engage your brain both for its puzzle mechanics and the sheer meaning of it all.
Read our Cocoon 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.
Dead Space spent years as a revered but dormant franchise, and a symbol of the types of games EA put out in the late-aughts. This remake took what was great about the original and modernized it, not just in terms of visual style but with smart revisions. The result is a game that effectively introduces Dead Space's unique, body horror style of action to a new generation of gamers. Slicing limbs off of necromorphs has never been so gross--or felt so satisfying.
See our Dead Space 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.
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 multiple expansions. With more content still on the horizon, Destiny 2 will continue to offer new stories, optional missions, and raids. Destiny 2 has a nice chunk of content that is entirely free to play, but it's worth picking up expansions such as The Witch Queen and Lightfall to enjoy the whole Destiny experience. 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: Lightfall review.
From Software's Elden Ring is a masterpiece in open-world game design. With an absolutely massive world teeming with secrets, scenic vistas, and an almost overwhelming amount of activities to complete, Elden Ring was the defining game of 2022. While Elden Ring sticks to the unforgiving and methodical combat that From Software's Dark Souls series is famous for, the level of freedom offered to players has wound up making it more approachable to those who may not have gelled with previous Souls games. It's easy to sink dozens of hours into Elden Ring, and even if you manage to make it to the end, Elden Ring's world beckons you to return for a New Game+ run. Elden Ring is the first open-world game since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to truly capture a unique sense of player freedom and discovery. It's mightily different from most open-world games and will likely be remembered as an all-time great for many years to come.
See our Elden Ring 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 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 no 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.
The return of the traditional Forza Motorsport following years of the Horizon series is a triumph of the genre. Forza has long been a graphical showpiece for Xbox, rendering gorgeous cars and tracks. Motorsport is remarkably approachable for a racing game, giving you the freedom to automate the fine-tuning or dive in for a more personal touch. It's a treat for gear-heads as well as casual fans of racing action, and as a first-party Microsoft Studios game, it's also on Game Pass.
Read our Forza Motorsport 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.
Obsidian has had a surprisingly quick output since being acquired by Microsoft, including dabbling in some unusual projects. Grounded isn't the most off the beaten track that the studio has ventured--for that, see Pentiment below--but it's also not exactly what we would have expected from the studio most famous for games like The Outer Worlds. This is a sandbox survival game that takes place entirely in a suburban backyard, a la Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. It spent some time in early access but has since launched as a full release, challenging players to build their miniature survival camp and take on massive spiders and other threats, all while unfurling a surprisingly rich narrative.
See our Grounded review.
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.
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.
Read our Halo Infinite review.
After making its name on spooky games like Ghostwire: Tokyo and The Evil Within, Tango Gameworks surprised players with this bright and colorful rhythm-action game. Hi-Fi Rush stars Chai, a lovable loser who accidentally gets his MP3 player embedded in his chest during a cybernetic surgery, which also granted him a robotic limb. What follows is a character action game in the model of a Devil May Cry, but set to catchy tunes. The animated art style is particularly a standout, taking a cel-shaded look to a whole new level and blurring the line between cinematics and gameplay.
See our Hi-Fi Rush 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. The latest addition, the roguelike mode Freelancer, makes an already excellent game even better.
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 23
MLB The Show has been a consistently great way to celebrate America's pastime for years, and it got a nice boost with Sony's decision to bring the franchise to Xbox consoles--and even to include it as part of Xbox Game Pass. MLB The Show 23 is the latest, and it's the best the series has been in years. The on-field action never felt better and franchise mode got a nice boost with a new scouting system. The standout feature, though, is the new Storylines: The Negro Leagues mode, walking you through the influential early baseball league with a degree of reverence for the sport's long history.
See our MLB The Show 23 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 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.
Nobody Saves the World
In Nobody Saves the World, you play as Nobody. No, really, the hero's name is Nobody, but that doesn't mean they are boring. Nobody is a blank canvas that becomes many different things, including a slug, ghost, dragon, rat, robot, and plenty more. There are more than 15 different forms Nobody can take, each of which offers a wildly different set of tricks and combat maneuvers. On top of that, you can further tinker with abilities to create dozens upon dozens of unique builds. Experimentation is the name of the game in Nobody Saves the World, and saving the world isn't easy. This top-down action-RPG is filled with challenging combat scenarios, clever puzzles, and a cast of quirky characters who send Nobody on a series of humorous quests. Nobody Saves the World is a unique indie from the talented team at DrinkBox Studios.
See our Nobody Saves the World 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.
Like Grounded, Pentiment is another example of Obsidian exploring new ground, and this adventure game certainly isn't your typical big-budget blockbuster. You play as Andreas Maler, a 16th century illuminator who becomes caught up in the mystery of a murder at an Abby. The game unfolds over the course of decades as you see how layers of history are built on top of each other, building toward a stirring conclusion. It's unlike anything you've ever played before.
See our Pentiment review.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
Prince of Persia is known for being a precise and influential platformer series, but this latest entry makes it feel right at home in the metroidvania genre. The new direction fits the series like a glove, allowing Ubisoft to combine exploring a wide and varied map with series-favorite elements like precise platforming and tough combat challenges.
Breaking with tradition, you don't play as the prince himself, but rather a member of his royal guard dispatched to save him from a betrayal within your ranks. The story that follows takes a few narrative shortcuts and can feel muddy, but it hints at a well-realized world full of mystery and magic. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is one of the best new metroidvania games in years, and will likely serve as a template for others to follow.
Read our Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown 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.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 was already considered one of the greatest action horror games of all time, and as a result it had been ported to other platforms countless times since release. After successful remakes of the previous games, expectations were set high for an RE4 remake, and Capcom delivered. This isn't just the best Resident Evil 4 has ever looked, it's also a beautifully refined take on the modern classic. It revises just enough to modernize and smooth out any rough edges while remaining utterly recognizable, and then builds new challenges on top of that to test even the most experienced players. It's a true testament to the enduring quality of Resident Evil 4.
See our Resident Evil 4 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.
The Talos Principle 2
The Talos Principle 2 expands and builds upon everything that made the cult debut memorable. The first-person puzzle game has you slowly peel back the layers of the world as you learn more about the web of mysteries at its heart, while also raising fascinating philosophical questions. This is a game that uses the medium to explore heady topics, and it's unlike anything else.
Read our Talos Principle 2 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).
See our Tetris Effect Connected review.
On the surface, Tunic looks like a colorful Zelda-like with a cutesy art style and an adorable little fox hero. While all of that is true, Tunic is so much more than just an homage to beloved adventure games; it's a bold new step forward that succeeds by trusting the player to be curious. Tunic doesn't hold your hand at all. Throughout the adventure, you find pieces of an instruction manual that, when put together, help direct you where to go during your quest to unravel the beguiling world's many mysteries. Its clever isometric perspective masks pathways, compelling players to search every nook and cranny. You may even wind up taking out a pen and paper to piece together clues. Though exploration and puzzle-solving are the highlights here, Tunic also has a wonderful combat system that forces you to approach each enemy, big or small, methodically. Success in combat relies on quick wits and knowing when to take risks. That said, Tunic has a lovely "No Fail" mode for those who would rather focus on exploration.
See our Tunic 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.