The Xbox has been one of the primary pillars of consoles for quite some time now. Its games have been pretty diverse, ranging from shooters to strategy games. However, these games have been part of the console for a long time, and it’s a bit sad for them to be gone due to compatibility issues. It’s due to this sentiment that the Xbox Game Pass was born, and we’re here to talk about which games you should get on the service. Before we talk about the best Xbox Game Pass games available, let’s discuss what the pass itself is.
What Is the Xbox Game Pass?
The Xbox Game Pass is a way for Xbox players to have access to many Xbox games at once. At least, that’s the shorthand for it. The longer version is that it’s a game subscription service created by Microsoft. In addition, it’s not only Xbox players that can access this; even PC and Android players can have access to this as well. The Game Pass gives players access to a catalog of games that rotate every month from a wide variety of developers. Of course, players need to pay a subscription fee for it, but it’s a small price to pay to gain access to 100+ games.
There are three plans on the Xbox Game Pass: Ultimate, PC, and Console. Both PC and Console versions are $10 per month. The Ultimate version costs $15 but comes with perks like playing games on Cloud, Members discounts, and more in-game content.
Why Should You Purchase the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate?
Looking to get some bang for your buck and access to a lot of Xbox games without spending too much? You probably would want to purchase the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The sheer amount of games that the service has available is enough of an incentive to take the $15 price tag. Do note, though, that you won’t be able to access its games the moment you unsubscribe from the service. In addition, there will be games that will be taken out of rotation, so keep a close eye on things to make the most of what they offer.
Xbox Game Pass vs Xbox Live Gold
The Xbox Game Pass only has single-player games available. Meanwhile, Xbox Live Gold has a mostly multiplayer game library and is necessary to play online multiplayer games on Xbox consoles.
Now that you know what the Game Pass is, it is now time to take a look at the best Xbox Game Pass games you can play today!
22 Best Xbox Game Pass Games From Your Favorite Genres
Now that we’ve talked about the Game Pass itself, let’s discuss the best Xbox Game Pass games you can get today!
1.) Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal
Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal are first on this list of top Xbox Game Pass games. Given that Bethesda got absorbed by Microsoft earlier this year, these games appearing on Game Pass is inevitable. Well, it’s still a great thing to see, if we’re being honest. Both games are incredible renditions of the famous FPS series. You all know the story by now: the UAC decides to fiddle with Hell Energy, Hell invades, Doomslayer gets pissed off at the demons and starts to go on a rampage. Doom 2016 sets that rampage on Mars, where the initial testing for Argent Energy is being done. In addition to seeing a hell invasion (again), they also interrupted Doomslayer’s power nap. Needless to say, he’s pretty pissed.
Meanwhile, Doom Eternal’s the more methodical sequel of Doom 2016 with a lot more to it under the hood. The gameplay might look the same, but there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes that might be daunting for players old and new. However, don’t let the challenging gameplay fool you from thinking this is anything but Doom; there’s just a lot more thinking added to it as well. You can’t say that you’re not satisfied at seeing a Cacodemon choke itself when it swallows a grenade with a comical gulping sound.
Combine this with the game’s breakneck pace when it gets going? Yeah, it’s pretty wild. There’s also a whole lot of gameplay footage that shows how much the skill ceiling can go. Still, the game is pretty enjoyable anyhow. When the iconic OSTs from both games begin to rumble on the speakers, you know you’re in for the ride of your life.
2.) Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Next on the list is Halo: The Master Chief Collection. And if we’re being honest here? This list won’t be complete without adding at least one Halo game. Luckily enough for us, this entry has six games in one convenient collection. The entirety of Master Chief’s campaign against the Covenant, the Flood, and everything in between can be played here. It’s the whole Halo series (from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo: Reach) in one neat package.
In addition to the collection’s six campaigns that last for literal hours, the Master Chief Collection also has some great multiplayer aspects that are still active even to this day. There are a lot of good PvP lobbies in the game that you can play immediately after installation. If you still haven’t played the Halo series to this day, you might want to check the Master Chief collection. The collection will make you feel like a badass Spartan in a heartbeat.
3.) Ori and the Will of the Wisps/Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Another obvious choice is the Ori series. Both the Will of the Wisps and the Blind Forest are simply gorgeous games to look at and play. Will of the Wisps looks straight out of a fairytale and Blind Forest only adds to the charm the prequel already set. Combine that with a great difficulty spike for experienced players, great platforming, and almost no loading times? Yep, that cements the game as one of the best platformers in the console.
4.) Slay the Spire
Another definite addition to the list is Slay the Spire, mostly due to how much time you can sink into it. The game has a lot of ways to suck you in, from the engaging gameplay to the simple yet awesome premise. The game’s list of content is so encompassing, that it’s sometimes a bit hard to keep track of time when playing. In addition to this, the paths to ascending the Spire each have a different feel, allowing for fresh gameplay every time you start the game.
5.) The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is a surprise hit that came from the developers of Fallout: New Vegas. Due to this, there are plenty of things that can remind gamers of New Vegas. If you fell in love with the Mojave Wasteland, you’ll easily feel at home with this game.
This 2019 hit is a science fiction space western RPG shooter. That alone should be enough to tickle someone’s fancy. Don’t get us wrong, though: even if it’s New Vegas’ spiritual successor (and some might see it that way), it’s still its own game. Playing through its impressive campaign will make you realize just how different and great it is. Combine that with a great storyline, Mass Effectesque dialogue, and great graphics and sound design, you have a banger you can play for hours on end.
6.) Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
Next up on this list is Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, considered to be the most accessible RTS game on a console. There’s a good reason for this as it feels fresh and comparable to other PC RTS games. Even to this day, Halo Wars is considered to be a pretty good and accessible RTS title for console players. This game is surely a good introductory experience to both the Halo universe and the RTS genre. The game was recently made available on PC with backward compatibility. This makes Xbox One/Series X players able to play this gem pretty easily.
7.) Desperados III
Another good pick would be Desperados III, an isometric real-time strategy game created by Mimimi Games. This is one of the more deliberate games on this list as one wrong move can be fatal. Think of it as Spaghetti Western XCOM as its gameplay is somewhat similar.
The game is set in the American Wild West during the late 19th century. Here, you’ll experience betrayal, revenge, and a whole lot of cowboy accents and gunslinging. It’s a blast to play if you’re itching for something more tactical. Do note that experimentation is encouraged by this game as there are multiple ways to finish levels. It’s also advisable to bring lots of patience with you. You’ll need it if you want to pull off some of the flashier/quieter kills like throwing someone off a cliff.
8.) Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition
Next on this list of best Xbox Game Pass games is Hollow Knight. The game’s been favorably compared to Dark Souls after all and is considered to be a rock-solid Metroidvania title to enjoy. The game is set on Hollownest, a place where bugs can take refuge and thrive under the rule of the Pale King. However, a sickness overtook the place, leaving the kingdom in shambles with infected bugs all over the place. These bugs spread the sickness to other bugs, causing pain and suffering.
You play as the Knight, a wandering Knight who returns to Hollownest to find out the origins of the sickness. The Knight’s journey is anarduous one, which isn’t helped by all the infected and bosses standing in your way. However, all of them look like cute bug critters which makes you feel bad for killing them.
Anyhow, the game’s gameplay is pretty much near perfection, and its fanbase is booming. Combine that with the anticipated release of Silksong, and you can see why this is on the list.
9.) A Plague Tale: Innocence
Next on this list is A Plague Tale: Innocence, which didn’t catch on at first. However, it didn’t take long before players AND critics can’t stop talking about the game. They keep on raving about how great it is an experience. The game’s main focus is stealth, though there’s some action-adventure added into it as well.
The game takes place in France, 1349. People might recognize this period because it was when the Black Death began to ravage Europe. A lot of people died, many got displaced, and it was a really bad time to be in Europe. The game zeroes in on two siblings, Amicia and Hugo, her five-year-old younger brother. They’re currently in the unenviable position of being in Paris during the height of the Black Death.
Currently, the whole city is rife with murderous people, swordpoint-happy inquisitors, corrupt soldiers, disease, and rats. Lots and lots of terrifying rats. Your job is to guide Amicia and Huge through the city, dodging them all. Special care should be made around the Inquisition as they have taken a special interest in Hugo.
The game is overall superb with a great story that we won’t spoil, just in case you haven’t played yet. Moreover, there’s talk of a sequel in the works, Plague Tale: Requiem. If you want that story to make sense, you might want to get this game on Game Pass and play it.
10.) Yakuza Series
You might be wondering why this is here; this is about specific games and not series, after all. However, recommending even one Yakuza game means you’re contractually required to recommend them all.
The Yakuza games are a joy to play. It’s a whole circus in one series. At one point, you’re on a roller coaster of action and beat-‘em-up goodness. The next moment, you’re in the shooting gallery playing one of the games a la Persona 5 or a JRPG. At another point, you’re watching some emotional moments in the lives of the game’s characters.
Notable examples of this include Kiryu thinking that his phone pal wasn’t real and missing out on what might be a good time due to some thugs, and the infamous Baka Mitai scene. As you wander around Kabukichō (more accurately Kamurocho, Shinjuku), you’ll find all that and a whole lot more. However, the game is all about beating the ever-living crap out of various Yakuza.
Another thing that makes the game awesome and hilarious is its various minigames. These range from karaoke, daycares, various casino games, and a whole lot of other things too numerous to put in an article. Still, it’s overall a blast and just great fun. And if you’re not playing the Yakuza series yet, you’re seriously missing out.
The entire series is available on Xbox Game Pass. If you want to experience the sheer craziness, you can just dive right in.
11.) Nier Automata
Some people don’t recall the Nier Series, which is a sad, sad thing since it’s practically a masterpiece. Yoko Taro is a pioneer that showed how existential crisis can be turned into a game. And now, with Nier Automata, gamers are more aware of the series’ magnificence.
Nier Automata puts you on the high heels of 2B, an android from YoRHa. It’s 11945 AD and Mankind is on the Moon; Earth is infested by machines that kill any Human or Android on sight. As you can probably tell, YoRHa is an organization tasked to take back humanity from the Machine menace. Along with 9S, your companion, your job is to prepare for the invasion of Earth to retake it from the Machines. That’s easier said than done, though, as the machines will fight “tooth and nail?” to stop you. At least, that’s what it looks like on the surface. Truthfully, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
The whole game is a lesson. It’s an awesome one filled with action-packed sequences and sexy androids, but still a lesson. What that lesson is, we won’t tell as it’ll spoil the whole experience. Still, if you want to play a game filled with incredible action, a great story, and cool characters, you might want to try out Nier Automata. Trust us, it’s well worth it.
Next up on this list is Control, a game in this list solely because of three reasons. The first is that it’s taken inspiration from the SCP Foundation, a great hodgepodge of really unsettling stories interconnected with each other. Second is the fact that you can use the Force. Nah, we’re kidding. You can IMITATE using the force with telekinesis and other abilities. The third and final reason is that it’s—Spoilers—the spiritual sequel to Alan Wake, one of the best games ever created on Xbox. The gameplay is just superb and the story is awesome, more on the latter below.
To keep it simple, Control is a sci-fi third-person action shooter that puts the player in the shoes of Jesse Faden. She’s just got a job with the Federal Bureau of Control, and she’s there because the Bureau has information about her missing brother. That’s easier said than done, though, since the Bureau is currently suffering under a bit of a security breach. A mysterious force is trying to subvert the Bureau before it proceeds to destroy humanity. All of a sudden, Jesse is the new Director of the Bureau, with all the powers, responsibility, and the skeletons in the closet therein. And it’s just. So. Awesome.
The whole game is just a feast. The story is great, there are meaningful side stories, powerups have their uses, and overall the experience’s just awesome. Combine that with some great shooting mechanics helped by an upgradable pistol with no ammo requirements other than a magazine capacity. Add all this up and you have a really good game on your hands. Control also has some great DLC content if you’re interested expanding the story.
13.) Dead Cells
Next on the list is Dead Cells, considered by many to be one of the best roguelike games available. Its premise is simple: you’re a really weird green blob that takes control of a body. Your goal is to kill the King, and that’s about it. But even though the premise is simple, it doesn’t mean the game isn’t hard. You’ll die a lot the first few times you play the game. You can mostly blame this to the lack of healing items and abilities. To get to the last level, players need to explore the other levels thoroughly to find abilities and items they need.
In addition to this, the game’s monsters wouldn’t hesitate to kick your teeth in when you give them a chance. Thus, constant motion and fighting are imperative. There are no breaks in between unless every enemy is dead. Still, it’s the sheer randomness of the runs that have the potential to make or break a playthrough. After all, you might want to get to the Promenade of the Condemned but instead accidentally went to the Toxic Sewers. All in all, it’s a great game with a lot of support given to it. And by support, we mean constant patches and DLCs.
Celeste is considered to be one of the best platformers ever. However, it’s also thought to be one of the most difficult ones to conquer. Don’t be fooled: Celeste can and will kick your ass if you’re not paying attention. Everything needs to be precise, everything needs to be perfect. Nothing else would be enough. If you’re not doing well, you’re pretty much screwed. However, the game also makes it so that the player respawns almost immediately. This makes the game more bearable while triggering a certain feeling of “Damn it, one more try before I go to bed” in your head. It’s honestly pretty great and addicting. Everything that you do in this game comes with a sense of accomplishment as well. A sense that you want to keep doing the acrobatic stuff over and over again because it just feels so good to pull off.
The gameplay alone is enough to hook people in. However, the game has its deep moments as well through its beautiful story. The game is about Madeline who wants to climb a mountain. Literally and metaphorically. It’s a story about anxiety, about being your own worst enemy and overcoming this, and life’s challenges.
Next up is Prey, an underrated game about a man that’s about to have the worst day on the job ever. This game is similar to Half-Life, only this time it’s shapeshifting demon mimics you’ll be fighting against. Prey is basically what happens when people take things a wee bit too far and screw up to everyone’s detriment.
The game starts normal enough: you wake up in your apartment and go to work. However, it then gets weird as things start to not make sense and the whole world seems… off. All of a sudden, you wake up to find out that you were stuck in a simulation for years and are currently in space. Oh, and the whole space station you’re in is infested by demon mimics straight from hell. Have fun with that!
Prey is a very underrated and incredibly fun game. You want to play this at least twice to find its secrets. It’s a good thing, then, that this game’s on the Xbox Game Pass.
16.) Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 should be on this list out of sheer principle. The game takes place immediately after Titanfall 1. The IMC is still out there and kicking their ass, and they’re being pushed back. Luckily though, the events of Titanfall 1 helped in their fight against the IMC, and everything seems to be going well.
Your name is Jack Cooper, a Militia Rifleman who’s currently on a mission to free a planet from the IMC. Unfortunately, that mission goes south pretty quickly, and you’re pretty much going to have to pilot a Vanguard-class Titan. This whole game is a blast to play, and you’re missing out if you’re not playing this yet. Multiplayer might be a bit iffy right now due to hacking here and there, but there’s still a thriving multiplayer player base.
In short, play Titanfall 2; it’s well worth it.
17.) Dishonored Series
Next on this list is the Dishonored series, where you play as a Victorian-era ninja with powers straight from DnD Warlocks. Dishonored places you in the shoes of Corvo Attano, the personal bodyguard (and possible lover) of Jessamine Kaldwin. Wait, scratch that, he IS her lover.
However, she’s assassinated, Corvo was implicated in said assassination and imprisoned. He does, however, manage to free himself and escape. He managed to link up with loyalists who wish to overthrow the current government.
Dishonored’s gameplay is incredibly nuanced, and the stealth is top-notch. In addition to this, there are two possible ways that the games can go, Low and High Chaos. Each has its endings, but we’ll let you guys discover which is the better one.
Luckily, the whole series is available on Xbox Game Pass. If you want to learn the story while enjoying some great stealth/action gameplay, then get them while they’re there.
18.) Cris Tales
Next up is Cris Tales, one of the more underrated picks on this list. The game was just released this July, and it’s been a pretty good ride.
There won’t be any spoilers here, or more accurately, we’d rather not spoil the game. Play it for yourself, but use the Xbox Game Pass if you’re curious. Even with a few bugs here and there, the game is pretty good, enough to be put on this list.
19.) Darkest Dungeon
Ruin… has come to our family. And with those words, you’re thrust into one of the most nail-bitingly difficult games ever to exist.
Darkest Dungeon is essentially the nitty-gritty version of typical RPGs. There’s no pomp to it, there are no flashy things (except gold). What you have instead is stress, abominations, eldritch truths, and overall despair.
Every gold coin has worth, and every hero and heroine is an asset that can turn into a liability. The invalid or insane gibbering wrecks are thrown away like chaff, while new heroes come in to replace them. Anyone can die—yes, even you—and your mission for naught. But worst of all, that’s just the beginning of it.
The Darkest Dungeon is an incredible game. It’s a difficult game, sure. But this difficulty is something that isn’t for the weak of heart. If you’re willing to go through it, this game will reward you with incredible feats of bravery in the face of mind-numbing terror. In short, get this for the Xbox Game Pass if you don’t have it yet. The game’s that dope.
20.) Dead Space Series
Next on the list is a game series that doesn’t need any introduction. The Dead Space games still hold up for years now. And even if they did let go a bit on Dead Space 3, it’s still pretty good if you’re playing with a friend.
The fact that the third game lowered in quality isn’t what we’re here for, though. We’re here for Dead Space 1 and 2, which a lot of people consider as absolute masterpieces. Now that there’s a word on the grapevine about a Dead Space remake, now’s the time to re-explore the old yet terrifying franchise from the beginning.
21.) Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Next on the list is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. This game can be summarized by this sentence: Woman wants to bring dead lover back by sending herself to the Underworld. Senua, your character, wants to bring back Dillon, her fiancé, who died during a Norse attack. This leads her to do a metaphorical journey to the underworld. This isn’t helped by the fact that she was mentally ill due to the past events and abusive upbringing.
The game has great graphics, story, and the combat is pretty good. Every respectable gamer should try this out at least once, and this is why it is on this list.
22.) River City Girls
Last but not least is a retro reminder of old beat-‘em-ups from yesteryear in River City Girls. This recommendation is a bit indulgent, but it’s one that has a lot of merits. The gameplay hasn’t changed from the usual. You control either Kyoko or Misako—this is a two-player game, after all—who have their boyfriends disappear on them. Maybe they were even kidnapped. You need to beat up half of the town to get them back.
The game is a magnificent beat-‘em-up with colorful graphics and great gameplay. If you have a friend, you can do two-player co-op and beat everyone’s ass black and blue together. Seriously, get this game on Game Pass for when you have friends over and just switch when people die.
Play These Games Via The Xbox Game Pass Today
If you’re looking for a way to play as many games as you like on Xbox or PC without paying an arm and a leg, get the Xbox Game Pass (especially the Ultimate version of their plan). There’s just so much bang for your buck to not avail of the service. True, it’s a rotating service with games being taken out every month, but it’s better than having nothing to play at all. Think of Game Pass as a way to test out games before buying them yourself. It allows you to play the game almost for free and you have access to it so long as it’s in the library. It’s a win/win if you ask us. Enjoy playing the best Xbox Game Pass games today!