If you’re looking for the best Xbox Series X games available now, then we’ve got you covered with the absolute must-play titles on Microsoft’s fourth-generation console.
In this list, we’ll highlight the best Xbox Series X games to play in 2021, including the best Xbox Series X games at launch and the best Xbox Series X games on Game Pass.
Lastly, we’ll be updating this list with new titles in the future, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any games!
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Resident Evil Village
Genre: Survival Horror
The latest installment in Capcom’s premiere survival horror series advances Resident Evil 7’s captivating story with even more twists, turns, and jumpscare moments.
You play as Ethan Winters, who, after a fateful encounter with Chris Redfield, finds himself in a remote village overflowing with terrifying creatures on a mission to find his kidnapped daughter Rosemary.
As a result, tension is constantly building, ramping up and down as you explore abandoned cabins, creepy caverns, and the eerie halls of Castle Dimitrescu.
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Square Enix
We feel a lot more comfortable recommending Outriders to players now that its developer has addressed issues concerning loot lost due to corrupted saves.
The third-person looter shooter RPG sees you controlling a space marine who acquires special powers while pursuing a mysterious signal on an alien planet brimming with enemies.
Powers are defined by different classes and work in tandem with an arsenal of guns with varying rarities that encourage you to replay missions to get better gear.
Like many of the games we’ve highlighted, Outriders offers the option to team up with three other players as you explore its dark and desperate sci-fi world.
Hood: Legends and Outlaws
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
In it, two squads race to infiltrate a fortified castle and bypass its guards in order to secure a chest before the opposing team.
Once detected by AI enemies or other players, the game’s loud and brutal combat takes center stage, complete with medieval swords, axes, and bows assigned to each class.
While reception for Hood has been quite mixed, the developer has plans to address core gameplay issues and introduce new maps, characters, modes, and events in future updates.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Released as a launch title for the Series X, Yakuza: Like a Dragon does a great job of showing off the console’s capabilities, allowing for speedy load times and the option to prioritize either resolution or FPS.
In it, you play as Ichiban Kasuga, an outspoken Yakuza member who embarks on a quest to become a hero after he’s betrayed by his former boss.
Gameplay diverges from the traditional beat ’em up combat found in most Yakuza games to turn-based battling with RPG mechanics and a four-person party system.
Throughout the story, Kasuga encounters a host of eccentric characters from all walks of life who will often send him on bizarre quests or offer to lend their hand in battle.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Developer: Toys for Bob
Considering the Crash Bandicoot series spent most of its existence as a PlayStation exclusive, we’re happy to see N.Sane Trilogy, CTR: Nitro-Fueled, and Crash Bandicoot 4 come to modern Xbox consoles.
The story follows Crash and Coco as they attempt to reclaim the powerful Quantum Masks from falling into the clutches of Cortex and Nefarious Tropy, who plan on using them to control the multiverse.
It’s About Time expands upon the series’ gameplay by granting characters unique abilities provided by the Quantum Masks, allowing them to alter levels and unlock new forms of traversal.
Many have called it a return to form for the franchise due to its gameplay and level variety coupled with great visuals and overall impressive presentation.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Genre: Open-World, Action-adventure
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
In it, you play as a hero who gets called upon by the Greek gods to defeat Typhon, a mighty Titan that has taken over the world and unleashed an army of mythological monsters.
Gameplay primarily focuses on free-roaming exploration via horseback and a pair of magical wings that let you traverse vibrant environments with ease.
If you enjoy games that give you a checklist of map activities, enemies, and collectible goodies to track down, then Immortals is good fun for a dozen hours or so.
It Takes Two
Genre: Co-op Platformer
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
The game focuses on an unhappily married couple who find themselves trapped in their daughter’s hand-made dolls after announcing their divorce.
From there, the duo embarks on a fantastical journey spanning multiple genre-bending platforming levels, complete with unique challenges and mini-games throughout.
It Takes Two can be played via both local and online split-screen on Xbox Series X, requiring only one person to own a copy of the game.
Control: Ultimate Edition
Genre: Metroidvania, Action-adventure
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games
Control carries over many of the same themes and mechanics found in previous Remedy games such as Quantum Break and Alan Wake while presenting its own deeply engrossing sci-fi universe.
In it, you control Jesse Faden, a woman equipped with supernatural abilities and a shape-shifting gun called the Service Weapon.
Faden is tasked with traversing a secret government agency and reclaiming it from a race of paranormal beings known as the Hiss.
The Ultimate Edition comes with the base game and its AWE and The Foundation expansions, along with a free Xbox Series X upgrade that includes options for playing the game in Graphics or Performance mode.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Genre: Skateboarding, Sports
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Like many of the games we’ve highlighted on this list, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 features several optimizations for Xbox Series X, including better frame rate performance and improved visual effects.
The game is a remake of the first two entries in the THPS series and features stunning recreations of the original levels, challenges, and game modes in addition to new multiplayer and customization options.
However, our favorite aspect of this updated version is that it manages to capture the satisfying movement controls Tony Hawk games are known for, especially when pulling off tricks.
Whether you’re a longtime fan looking to take your skills online and compete with other players or someone who just wants to cruise around and practice, THPS 1+2 is worth checking out.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Developer: Stage Games
Publisher: Enhance Games
Although Tetris hasn’t really changed much in the 30+ years it’s been around, developers constantly find new ways to iterate on the iconic puzzler.
The game utilizes different visual and auditory cues that correspond to your tetrominoes’ movement and placement in relation to music tracks that play in the background.
As you progress through challenges, so does the background music, evolving in tempo and rhythm as you reach tense moments where blocks rapidly descend onto your screen.
Genre: Open-World Survival
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
In it, you play as a kid who gets shrunk down to the size of an ant, drastically dropping their standing on the food chain.
Gameplay revolves around constructing a base, scavenging for food and water, and crafting weapons and tools to overcome the backyard’s many challenges.
Some insects are friendly while others, such as spiders, pose a severe threat, so you’ll want to keep an eye out while gathering resources and exploring the world.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
The most recent entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise sees you exploring 9th century Britain from the perspective of Eivor, a Viking raider in search of a new home for his/her people.
Eivor’s quest eventually leads them to become entangled in the Templars and Brotherhood’s ongoing battle, with the option to impact what shape it takes throughout the story.
Although Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is mainly structured around completing story missions and sidequests throughout the open world, you can always run off and do some unscripted exploring.
The game also revisits and expands upon previous AC games’ settlement systems by letting you construct buildings and fund settlement projects using stolen resources from enemy camps.
Forza Horizon 4
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
One of the best things you can do with a new console is see how well it runs a new racing game, in this case, Microsoft’s own flagship series.
Aside from being the most recent entry, Forza Horizon 4 features a massive open-world comprised of unique locations where you can participate in an array of racing challenges with over 450 vehicles.
Environments are brought to life by dynamic weather tech with rotating seasons that impact driving conditions, unlock different events, and reveal new shortcuts.
Additionally, the game includes the highly-requested Route Creator tool, allowing you to design and share custom tracks online with other players across Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Genre: Metroidvania, Platformer
Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
While Ori and the Will of the Wisps may look like a fun, family-friendly 2D action-platformer with endearing art and heartwarming characters, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Once you start playing, you quickly realize both its story and gameplay are designed to tear you apart and leave you devastated.
From its precise platforming sequences to a harrowing narrative that pits you against a host of terrifying beasts, Ori will break you down over and over again until there’s nothing left.
And though the game’s steep learning curve is bound to be a turn-off for some, those who persevere will be treated to one of the best metroidvanias of the last decade.
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: IO Interactive
Its story builds off of the events of the last two games and follows Agent 47 and his team as they wipe out the leaders of a secret world-controlling organization called Providence.
New features such as permanent shortcuts and PSVR support help streamline and broaden the gameplay possibilities at players’ disposal.
The Xbox Series X version includes six new levels, an epilogue set in Romania, and the option to import your save file from Xbox One.
Developer: Codemasters Cheshire
The Dirt series has historically catered to hardcore racing sim fans who like to get nitty-gritty with realistic handling, acceleration, and weather.
The most recent entry, Dirt 5, is a solid addition to any Xbox Series X library due to its superb-looking graphics that rival even some PC games.
Gameplay is structured around competing in various off-road races across the globe with dynamic weather conditions and seasons that will put your driving skills to the ultimate test.
Besides featuring an engrossing narrative-driven career mode, Dirt 5 includes local and online multiplayer support for up to four-player split-screen.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Genre: First-person Shooter
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
The Master Chief Collection has come a long way since its 2014 debut, which saw the Halo anthology panned for an assortment of game-breaking bugs and glitches.
In partnership with other studios, 343 Industries spent the next six years ensuring every game ran as smoothly as possible, culminating in the release of an enhanced version compatible with Series X.
The collection is considered a living anthology of Halo games and consists of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, ODST, Reach, and Halo 4.
On Xbox Series X, each game runs at high resolution with improved online matchmaking and local LAN multiplayer, making MCC the definitive way to experience both classic and contemporary Halo.