Xbox Game Pass has truly revolutionized the way we consume video games, removing the need to spend our hard-earned cash on certain individual releases. Microsoft’s service compiles hundreds of Xbox games in one place, offering variety and convenience to all subscribers. But it’s not just restricted to Xbox consoles, as the service is available on PC and even via the cloud. But with so many options available on Game Pass, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choice. With that in mind, these are the 12 best games available on Xbox Game Pass.
12. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
It’s virtually impossible to talk about Xbox games without mentioning Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Serving as one of the best compilations of all time, this package contains remasters of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, along with Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4. It’s a great way to play arguably the best sci-fi shooters ever made—either solo, online with friends, or against random players in competitive modes.
11. Hi-Fi Rush
Hi-Fi Rush is easily the most stylish game in recent memory, with a vibrant comic book aesthetic, and equally as memorable gameplay. This action rhythm game pulls from games like Devil May Cry and even Rock Band to bring a unique mashup that surprised many players upon release. It comes from Tango GameWorks, the studio behind The Evil Within series, though you shouldn’t expect to battle against scary monsters in Hi-Fi Rush.
10. PowerWash Simulator
Not every game needs to be about defeating enemies. Sometimes, you just need to kick back and relax, and that’s exactly what you get in PowerWash Simulator. This game might not sound like it’s worth your time, but there’s something truly cathartic about power washing until your heart’s content. Turn your brain off and clean playgrounds, houses, cars, and even the Seventh Heaven bar from Final Fantasy VII.
9. Dead Space
But maybe survival horror is more your thing. If so, you absolutely need to play the original Dead Space, which, in many ways, revolutionized the genre in 2008. Sure, the outstanding 2023 remake is available on modern platforms now, but the 2008 original still holds up surprisingly well. This game is not for players with a weak stomach, but if you’re into hacking away at undead aliens, you’ll probably enjoy this one.
8. It Takes Two
There isn’t anything quite like It Takes Two. This cooperative platformer places you in the shoes of a married couple—Cody and May—as they tackle what it means to be parents. The thing is, this game is only playable with a friend, much like Hazelight’s previous game, A Way Out. It Takes Two is mostly lighthearted, but there are certainly some gutwrenching moments that will surely stick with you.
7. Persona 5 Royal
While the Persona series has been around for years, it truly exploded into the mainstream with Persona 5. This stylish turn-based RPG sends players to an incredibly beautiful version of Tokyo, with the goal of taking down the city’s worst criminals. In it, you enter supernatural realms and use Personas to take down your foes, while also developing relationships with friends. Persona 5 Royal is the definitive version, with even more content than the 100-hour original.
6. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quintessential RPG feels like comfort food at this point, and is always fun to go back to, even if you’ve played through it numerous times. Maybe this time you’ll play as an archer? Or perhaps a powerful magician? Either way, Skyrim absolutely rules, and it’s easy to pick up and play thanks to Xbox Game Pass.
5. Gears Tactics
One game you might not have played—or even heard of—is Gears Tactics. This takes place in the Gears of War universe, but throws third-person shooting mechanics out the window. Instead, this is a turn-based tactics game, as its name suggests, feeling like a mix between Gears and XCOM in the best ways possible.
4. Hitman World of Assassination
What developer IO Interactive has done with the recent Hitman entries is nothing short of incredible. Hitman World of Assassination combines all three of the most recent entries into one package, featuring all levels, stories, and missions. Tackle objectives however you want, either by sneaking around as a flamingo mascot, or by simply sniping your target’s head off. Choice is at the forefront in Hitman.
3. Stardew Valley
While Animal Crossing: New Horizons captivated the world in 2020, Nintendo hasn’t done the best job of supporting it since then. If you’re carving a regularly updated farming sim, look no further than Stardew Valley. In it, you start from zero and work to build your farm, while developing relationships with the townsfolk. And thanks to its gorgeous sprite art that resembles a Super Nintendo game, Stardew Valley is easy on the eyes.
2. Forza Horizon 5
Farming sims might not be for you, but perhaps fast cars are more up your alley. Forza Horizon 5 is arguably the best of its kind, offering incredibly satisfying gameplay, stunning visuals, and the best rendition of Mexico in a video game to date. Unlike the Motorsport series, Horizon focuses less on realism and more on fun, making it easy to get into.
1. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
What unfolds over the course of Yakuza: Like a Dragon is remarkable, featuring some of the most lovable characters the medium has ever seen. This turn-based RPG ditches the old beat ‘em up action from previous Yakuza games, turning up the ridiculousness to 11.
In this love letter to (Square) Enix’s Dragon Quest series, you’ll recruit goofy party members and cast wild magic spells that blur the lines of reality. (Champagne and adult massagers as weapons, anyone?) Even if turn-based RPGs aren’t your thing, Like a Dragon is worth playing to experience Ichiban Kasuga’s antics alone.