The Xbox Series X and S may have released without any major launch titles, but that isn’t to say that those who picked up the systems on day one have had nothing to play. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass gives access to over 100 games, including a suite of EA titles via EA Play, for £7.99 a month.
The extensive library of Xbox Game Pass console games may not feature any truly next-generation titles, but that isn’t to say that there are a plethora of incredible games to jump into on your new system. Having bought a PC and skipped the last console generation entirely, the Xbox Series S has given me the opportunity to play dozens of amazing games that had always interested me but that I hadn’t picked up for whatever reason. The games may not be “new” but hey, they’re new to me and they may be new to you, too. That is all that matters.
If you’re the proud new owner of an Xbox Series X or S and want to know which Xbox Game Pass console games to play, here are 7 to get you started.
NieR: Automata follows androids 2B, 9S and A2 in their battle to reclaim a machine-driven dystopia overrun by powerful machines. The action-roleplay title features an in-depth, branching storyline that begs for multiple playthroughs.
The writing is brilliant but even more breathtaking is the gameplay. The hack-and-slash combat is arguably the best of its kind.
The Witcher 3
The third entry to the Witcher series does an exemplary job of bringing players who may not have played earlier instalments up to speed, all while building upon the lore of the earlier games to deliver one of the greatest games in history. It follows Geralt the monster slayer on his journey through The Continent has he tracks down the Child of Prophecy, a living weapon that can alter the shape of the world. It has a deep storyline with a heavy narrative which also extends out into the thousands of interesting side missions.
If you haven’t played The Witcher 3 then you now have no excuse not to play CD Projekt RED’s modern classic. Okay, maybe you do, if you’re an adult gamer with no time to play the hundreds of hours that The Witcher 3 has to offer. But, even then, I’ve personally found the Witcher 3 is an excellent side-game. That may sound like blasphemy to some, but returning to The Witcher 3 once a week to advance the story by another hour and see a few side missions through to completion is the highlight of my week.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a firm favourite here at GrownGaming. I first experienced Hellblade in VR which was both an eye-opening and unsettling experience. Heavily inspired by Norse mythology, Hellblade follows Senua into the Viking Hell of Niflheim to fight for the soul of her dead lover.
Hellblade is an immensely immersive experience, aided by Melina Juergens’ motion capture and vocal acting as Senua. The whole package makes Hellblade feel like one of the most cinematic titles you will ever play, and it has a story that will stick with you long after the credits roll and the voices stop whispering and shouting at you in unison.
With Hellblade 2 hopefully coming to Xbox Game Pass, now is the perfect time to play through the original.
DOOM: Eternal is the sequel to the DOOM (2016) reboot. As with the original, the story isn’t the star of the show here – it is the relentless action as you tear through the evil forces of hell in a frantic single-player campaign.
The hectic, fast-paced action is a great pallet cleanser for anyone looking for a break from games with deep narratives. In a day and age when an aggressive, gung-ho approach is generally rewarded with a quick reload to the last checkpoint, it is refreshing to charge headfirst into danger while firing off a barrage of bullets, knowing that your reward with be even more ammo to do it all again. Bliss.
Destiny 2 may seem like an unusual inclusion in this list, given that the base game is free. However, with Xbox Game Pass, players on Xbox Series X and S also have access to all of the DLC, including the brand new Beyond Light.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of hours of tightly-tuned gameplay for those who have yet to jump in. Even if you just want to play Beyond Light, you’ll find that the new zone of Europa is a stunning frozen wasteland and that the story told is one of the most coherent in the Destiny franchise. And, of course, the shoot, loot, repeat gameplay loop is as addictive as ever.
I’ve noted just Fable here, but really, you should play all 3 given that they are all on Xbox Game Pass. Lionhead Studios knew how to make incredible games and there can be no better way to prepare for the new Fable title in development by returning to the originals.
Now, some naysayers may point to the fact that these games are borderline “retro” games, yet they’re on a list of “must-play” games on a next-gen (or, I suppose, current-gen) console. However, Fable finds its way on this list by a/ being on Xbox Game Pass on console (obviously) and by being one of the best action-roleplaying games in history. It may be 16 years old, but it is still an amazing journey for those who have yet to experience it.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Okay, so I’m cheating with this one. Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes not one, not two, but six classic Halo games enhanced with up to 4K UHD and HDR support. The only game you’re missing is Halo 5 (which is on Xbox Game Pass too).
The amount of incredible content here is incredible, including the original trilogy of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2: Anniversary and Halo 3, supplemented by Halo: Reach, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4. It is the definitive Halo experience. It makes the disappointment of Halo: Infinite being delayed just a little more bearable.
I’ve put Gears 5, but in all honesty, if you haven’t played any of the 5 Gears games, definitely play them all. While the older titles show their age somewhat, Gears 5 benefits from the lore of the earlier entries and boasts a heartfelt story with the best writing that you will find in the series.
Everything about Gears 5 feels premium, from the delivery of the narrative to the gameplay to the stunning visuals. Forget that it was released in 2019, it will still look incredible on your shiny new Xbox Series X or S (and will load a lot faster, too).
There Are So Many Other Amazing Games on Xbox Game Pass for Xbox Series X and S
These games are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens and dozens of other great games for you to check out on your new system if you haven’t played them before. Obvious candidates that come to mind are Alien: Isolation, Batman Arkham Knight, Crackdown 3 (just kidding), Dirt 4, Dishonored 2, Dead Cells and Titanfall 2, but there are many, many more.
Which games are you playing on Xbox Game Pass on your Xbox Series X or S? Let us know over on Twitter!