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The 20 best Xbox Series X/S games you should play right now

From next-gen exclusives to upgrades and cross-gen games.

Thanks to the new consoles still being in their relative infancy, many of the best Xbox Series X games (and Series S games) are cross-generation ones. But the new ones are beginning to trickle through, and thanks to that full backwards compatibility - and the huge range of next-gen-optimised games that Xbox has assembled - there's plenty of choice.

If you want that full backlog taken into consideration, take a look at our best Xbox One games list, which has some lovely picks, from major classics to hidden gems, and the latest Xbox Game Pass games.

For this list, like our best PS5 games list, we're focusing purely on actual Xbox Series X/S games. What does that mean? Well, we've defined that here as games that are either: exclusive to the consoles (of which there are only a couple at present), new cross-gen games that arrived on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S simultaneously, or earlier Xbox One games that have been updated with significant Xbox Series X/S patches, which Microsoft handily labels as "optimised for Xbox Series X/S".

Eurogamer newscast: what Xbox's Bethesda exclusives mean for the future


What we said in our Grounded review: 'It's hard to complain about what Obsidian has delivered here. As someone who instinctively shies away from survival games, Grounded's stunning, ant's-eye presentation of the natural world and plethora of personalisation settings make me feel surprisingly welcomed… even if that welcome involves the occasional hissing spider.'

Grounded gameplay: making spiders cuter with arachnophobia mode

Buy now from the Microsoft Store or play on Game Pass.


What we said in our Deathloop review: 'Deathloop is about killing the people who are killing time. Set in an alternate 1970s that feels more like the far future of Dishonored's Gristol than part of Earth's history, it's a freeform, first-person mix of shooting, assassination, hacking and sorcery... Appropriately for a game about time travel, Deathloop can be read as a game both for newcomers and old hands - an accessible introduction to Arkane's grittier immersive sims, or a triumphant refinement of the Dishonored style.'

G9 Deathloop Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed - Tomb Raider, Dishonored, POOP! and MUCH MORE!


What we said in our Immortality review: 'Immortality is, like Her Story and Telling Lies before it, a game about trawling through reams of video footage to solve a mystery - that of Marissa Marcel, an actress who stars in two films in the late 1960s at about 20 years old, then disappears, then reappears in 1999, and looks exactly as she does in 1968.

'Your task is to piece together what happened, scrubbing back and forth in different clips at different speeds - but crucially, navigating through them via Immortality's major invention - effectively a hyperlink - to click from one-screen element to a different clip. Immortality's bravest gambit is to simply drop you into a scene and leave you to it, and the result is messy, maze-like and unclear, but by dint of that far more organic than a linear mystery that drags you through it by the nose. Barlow has succeeded, in a way, in cutting me free and letting me find a thread of my own through his remarkably networked world.'

IMMORTALITY Release Trailer!

Metal: Hellsinger

What we said in our Metal: Hellsinger review: "Hellsinger is a light-feeling game compared to most, relatively short, although extended somewhat by side challenges and indefinitely by its leaderboards, with a campy, kill-the-devil story of fallen angels and giant skeletons that plays out like a moving Iron Maiden album cover. But all of this folds into a kind of irresistibly earnest spirit, a sense of total, shameless, cringeless, full-hearted sincerity. And so as much as it feels like an ode to the genre, Metal: Hellsinger also feels like an outpouring of emotion, as though the game itself is also a different, more personal kind of gestalt. The kind that makes heavy metal the marvel that it is, that's required to enter the fabled state of flow - or that compels even mild-mannered people to headbang in front of their TV."

Metal: Hellsinger - 5 minutes of demon slaying


What we said in our Tunic review: 'I reckon that the success of a game like Tunic, in particular - one that follows in the footsteps of games like Zelda and Dark Souls - hinges on the correct deployment of what I shall briefly have to call the pleasures of Distant Supermarket Thinking. In the best of these games, filled with action and adventure and wholesome excitement, we are perpetually wide-eyed, perpetually alert for delights that we know we cannot anticipate. Old ideas delivered in unfamiliar ways; things that seem familiar but are not what they initially appear to be.'

Elden Ring

What we said in our Elden Ring review: ' Elden Ring remains a glorious game, one that established fans are going to savour for some time to come, and one that may just welcome new fans into the FromSoft fold. Sumptuous visual design, dark and detailed lore and a vast-but-intricate open world are reason enough to venture out into the Lands Between. Add to that FromSoftware's unforgiving and unforgettable gameplay loop and this is something truly special.'

  • Buy now from Argos in the UK, and from Amazon in the US.

OlliOlli World

What we said in our OlliOlli World review: 'OlliOlli World is the latest and wildest entry in a sublime series of 2D skateboarding games. The basics have remained unchanged for obvious reasons. Back in 2014, Roll7 devised a stick-flicking system that seemed to capture skateboarding in the very joints - in the knees and ankles, and in the moment at which the human body becomes a lively species of car jack or shock absorber.

'You hold and then release the stick in order to trick: choose a direction and see what happens. Can you land it? Can you link it together with other tricks? Can you incorporate a grab?... I love this game because it's about learning and trying things out. And maybe learning never has to end, and maybe we can try new things out forever.'

Halo Infinite

What we said in our Halo Infinite review: 'On a few occasions, amid the hoovering up of map icons, I stumbled across unmarked areas of interest: caves and Forerunner rooms that warranted a closer look. 343 has dabbled in environmental storytelling in some of these spaces, and they made me wonder what else the ring might have to offer... Somewhere between those map icons is tantalising mystery, and that's what Silent Cartographer was all about, wasn't it? Being on an alien world, not knowing the whys or the hows or the whos. Working things out while finishing the fight.

'Halo Infinite, underneath it all, is about just that. And, if nothing else, you can always rely on that golden triangle - Master Chief and his gun, grenade and Gravity Hammer - this time on your own terms, the best it's been in a decade.'

Halo Infinite co-op with two players

Forza Horizon 5

What we said in our Forza Horizon 5 review: 'In five games and nine years, Forza Horizon has undergone rapid expansion and complication but little fundamental change, for the best possible reason: because Playground Games knocked the concept out of the park on its first go. The studio's job is now to keep things on track while enforcing some semblance of order on this sprawling celebration of freedom. It's not always glamorous work, despite the shiny cars and picture-postcard destinations, and it shouldn't surprise or even disappoint you that Forza Horizon 5 can't offer the perfection of 3 or the bold new emphasis of 4. It is familiar in the best sense of the word: comforting, personable, tailored to you, welcoming to all. It's a dependable joy.'

Death's Door

What we said in our Death's Door review: 'The two Miyazakis are everywhere, as much as it's painful to keep referencing them in games, subtly in the plinky plonk keystrokes of sad pianos and worlds in mournful transition (Hayao) and the hands-off, unseen guidance through challenge (Hidetaka). And also overtly - which makes me feel much better about the reference - in crotchety old grandma witches in their enchanted castles with mechanical bowels, and sharp-toothed chests that gobble you up. And the little guy with a big sword.

'What a pair to reference, though. What a phenomenal pedigree for Acid Nerve to build upon, not just from their own brilliant debut but from Zelda, via 16-bit adventure, to this, without a shred of baggage picked up along the way. What a beautifully concise, measured, exacting, deliberate thing Death's Door is. How warm and funny and sad. How textured. And how fun! It is absolutely unmissable.'

Aoife and Ian venture beyond Death's Door.

Hitman 3

What we said in our Hitman 3 review: 'Hitman 3 is the final act in Agent 47's struggle against his nemeses at Providence, the illuminati-style collective of crooked politicians, crimelords and corpos introduced at the start of the World of Assassination trilogy back in 2016. I don't care much about that story, with its paint-by-numbers betrayals and toneless briefing sequences: its only virtue is to keep you moving around the globe, from one extravagant playground to another. But much to my surprise, I do care rather a lot about Agent 47, about the strange figure he cuts against the contents of his own world and the wider landscape of videogames.'

Digital Foundry's Hitman 3 PS5 vs Xbox Series X/S Comparison: An Xbox Advantage At 4K

Tetris Effect: Connected

What we said in our Tetris Effect: Connected review: 'It's almost unfair, really, to take a game that was already so fearsome and sort of find a bunch of ways to make it even more interesting and dynamic and maddening and beautiful. Whenever I think of Tetris Effect - and Tetris Effect: Connected, which again, I should reiterate, contains the original game as well as the multiplayer stuff - I think of Laniakea, which serves as a map to the campaign screen and is also the supercluster that is home to the Milky Way, the Great Attractor, and so many other billions of glittering wonders and fancies. Load up Tetris Effect and it always shows you where we live. And in playing it, it continues to show us a little something about who we are.'

Tetris Effect: Connected Gameplay Deepdive

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Cor, Tony Hawk has always felt like a bit of a tech-pusher to me. Back then I couldn't believe a game could feel this human, have this much gravity kicking around inside it. With the remakes/remodels/remasters, it's that same joy in animation and texture, environment and surface detailing and the sheer simple pleasures of what you're up to.

Play this because it's one of the best games about moving ever made - an absolute delight in the matter of getting from A to B and what you choose to do in between. Its progression system encourages curiosity and experimentation and its tricks are absolutely stellar. What an absolute treat: in 2021, the sheer design of the thing still feels like it has stuff to teach us.

Digital Foundry on the 'game changer' next-gen update for Tony Hawk

Microsoft Flight Simulator

What we said in our Microsoft Flight Simulator review: 'Like many players who'll be drawn to this most attractive of games, I can't claim to be an expert in the discipline of flying, nor in the simulation of it. But Microsoft Flight Simulator is the kind of thing that can make an enthusiast of you, or rekindle a passion that's been lying dormant. I've started to work over my own checklists, and map out my own flight plans. I now can't bring myself to spawn on a runway, and instead enjoy getting lost in the rhythm of procedures as you set off from your stand'

Control: Ultimate Edition

What we said in our Control review: 'When it all comes together, Control's hallways and board rooms echo with wretched joy. There is something about the chaos of throwing big things about combined with the precision of the powers' targeting system that elevates the action. There is a special halo in nailing someone with a humidor through a distant railing, watching the bars go skewiff and the body crumble. Pillars shed their concrete under gunfire filling the environment with dust and grit. This game is the famous thick-air scene from the Matrix. It takes pains in depicting the way that things fall apart.'

Digital Foundry runs the rule over the enhanced Control: Ultimate Edition

Sea of Thieves

What we said in our Sea of Thieves review: 'And what keeps me going once I'm drunk on gold and battered by the undead is that splinter of defiance in the heart - that part of Sea of Thieves that is unwilling to devolve into helpful shorthand and UI tricks. The map you hold in your hands as you wade ashore is an actual map, and it works as a map works in the real world. It is a tool for finding your way, but it is not a complete solution. As a result I've been walking around all week thinking about east and west and how to tell the difference between the two when I haven't got a compass to hand. I have been thinking about reckoning. This allows the game's fiction to create compelling moments - I have been genuinely lost in Sea of Thieves at times. But it also allows it to do what every game like this truly hopes to do - to cross over, to seep into your everyday life.'

Destiny 2

There have been so many Destiny imitators over the years that sometimes it's refreshing to go back to the source. Like its predecessor, Destiny 2 hasn't been short of problems, but like its predecessor it's overcome them to become a shooter of remarkable scope. It's a shooter with remarkable shooting, too, as you'd probably expect from the gunsmiths behind Halo, and of course the next-gen update helps in that regard too.

If you're intimately familiar with Bungie's console past, as I'm sure most of us are, there's something almost sacrilegious about playing one of them at 60fps, but after a period of adjustment there's no denying the weight and momentum of these firearms has only been helped in the process. Oh, and the best skyboxes in all of video games have never looked better, either.

Digital Foundry on the 'tangible advantage' of Destiny 2 on next-gen


Fortnite is a treat on Series X/S, smooth and tangible with truly lovely lighting effects. But in truth, Fortnite is a treat on anything, a game that looked decent running on a phone and still has a certain charm on the Switch.

This is a Series X standard for me - the game I play most often, I suspect. And you know what, Fortnite's actually wonderful. A shooter and Battle Royale, yes, but also a weird blend of Animal Crossing and RPG and make-your-own-game software. It's surprisingly deep, endlessly generous, and far more charming than a mega-hit of this size should be. Even if you've been keeping away from it, maybe give it a cheeky go now.

Team Eurogamer plays Fortnite Primal Chapter 2 Season 6

Rainbow Six Siege

What we said in our Rainbow Six Siege re-review: 'History suggests that games like Rainbow Six Siege do not last especially long. This is the sort of tactical shooter that modders used to craft out of bits of Quake or Half-Life, a paean to depth for depth's sake that seems destined to be adored in hindsight by the passionate minority that actually played it at the time. Yet here we are: Siege is one of the world's most popular shooters. Its success can, in some ways, be seen as a forerunner of the dazzling rise of PUBG and Fortnite: in rejecting Call of Duty's Skinner box simplicity, Ubisoft has found an audience hungry for games where failure is unforgiving and success means more.'

Rainbow Six Siege - Next Gen Trailer

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

What we said in our Halo: The Master Chief Collection review: 'The Collection is an instantaneous embrace of past and present that combines gaming's powerful sense of nostalgia with its perpetual arms race of processing and graphical power. It is part of a growing appreciation of the past in a medium which until recently was resolutely forward-looking. Proust would bloody love it.'

For more curated best-of lists like this, meanwhile, feel free to argue in the comments section of the following, too:

We've also got the latest updates on Xbox Series X stock and where to buy it, if you're still hunting down a next-gen upgrade!

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About the Author
Chris Tapsell avatar

Chris Tapsell

Deputy Editor

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Deputy Editor and most decorated Football Manager. He used to write guides, and will send you links to his favourite spreadsheets if you ask him about League of Legends or competitive Pokémon.

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