The best Xbox Series X games in 2024

Forza Horizon 5
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

I’ve been a fan of Microsoft consoles since the OG Xbox hit alongside the astonishing Halo: Combat Evolved all the way back in 2001. Well over two decades later, I naturally love the best Xbox Series X games since picking up the company’s most powerful console the day it launched. While Series X may not have a library of exclusive titles to match PS5’s output, there are still plenty of great titles you can play on this system. 

My current favorite Xbox Series X game is Forza Horizon 5. The beautifully breezy open-world racer looks absolutely incredible in 4K running at 60 fps on Series X. Like many other of the brilliant games in this guide (including Cyberpunk 2077), Horizon also works on the older family of Xbox One consoles. 

My picks of the best Xbox Series X games span a number of genres, from fighting games to epic sci-fi adventures like Starfield. You can also play some of the following titles through Xbox Game Pass, with Microsoft’s subscription service costing $9.99 per month.  

1. Forza Horizon 5

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Forza horizon 5 screen shot

(Image credit: Playground Games)

Following in the footsteps, or tyre marks, of Forza Horizon 4, Forza Horizon 5 has pretty much perfected the open-world driving and racing formula of the series. Now set in Mexico and making use of the Xbox Series X's power, the game not only looks extraordinary, it plays like a dream. 

There's huge amount of content to get through, across variety of Mexican environments and locals. And car handling works better than ever, offering a dose of realism without being too po-faced about it. For lovers of cars or people who don't care about them, Forza Horizon 5 is still very much a top Xbox Series X game you really should try out. 

Read our full Forza Horizon 5 review

2. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty screenshot

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

The ultimate modern gaming redemption story. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty (and you can very much thank the part after the colon for this happy ending) is an action-RPG that's gone through a tumultuous life cycle. Released in a borderline broken state on consoles, it took three years of constant patches and a brilliant piece of DLC to turn what was a hugely ambitious yet undeniably bug-riddled game into a modern masterpiece.

Boot Cyberpunk and its awesome expansion up now, and you'll be treated to one of the best looking games in console history. Night City is a simply stunning space to lose yourself in, mechanically the game is surprisingly strong on pretty much every level and you won't see a better advert for ray tracing on Xbox Series X anytime soon. It may have gotten off to a rocky start, but when it comes to feel good endings, the story of Cyberpunk 2077 is right up there with Andy and Red hugging on that beach at the end of The Shawshank Redemption. Although sadly, the last-gen Xbox One port ain't pretty. 

Read our full Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty review. 

3. Elden Ring

Elden Ring screen shot

(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Dark Souls fans, listen up! If you've always wanted an open-world Souls game then Elden Ring is the one for you. It offers an expansive world pitted with dungeons, bosses, monsters and other enemies. But if any get too tough, then you can use the open world to bypass them, returning later when you have better weapons, gear and experience. 

As the first foray into a true open world, Elden Ring is another Souls-like triumph. it might lack the extremely polished structure of Dark Souls or Dark Souls 3, but it still offers a compelling experience for fans of tough but fair games draped in a dark fantasy setting. This incredible game is also playable on Microsoft's last-gen machines, and it's actually quite impressive on the Xbox One X

Read our full Elden Ring review

4. Starfield

Starfield

(Image credit: Future / Bethesda Game Studios)

Bethesda’s first new IP in decades is a game of near peerless ambition. Though occasionally its repetitive gameplay loop may sag at times, the sheer scope of Starfield's universe feels almost boundless in a way that’s thoroughly intoxicating.

Going from Working Joe space miner to galaxy-saving hero courtesy of a convenient sci-fi MacGuffin is the sort of rags to riches tale Bethesda specializes in, and there’s no denying the formula still works. While Starfield may not grant you the freedom to explore the cosmos in quite the same way No Man’s Sky does, this is still a stellar sci-fi epic, with the best combat the developer has ever eked out from one of its titles and a game engine that frequently looks spectacular.  

Read our full Starfield review

5.  Psychonauts 2 

Psychonauts 2 review

(Image credit: Double Fine Productions)

Bold. Brave. Bizarre. That pretty much sums up Psychonauts 2 in a thoroughly odd but equally charming nutshell. Part platformer, part mind-blowing puzzler, this long awaited sequel displays all the razor-sharp wit you’d expect from a Tim Schafer title. There’s nothing else quite like Raz’s perception-altering adventure, and that’s precisely what makes it one of Xbox Series X’s finest exclusives. 

If the story pacing is slightly inconsistent at times, it’s a minor flaw that’s easy to forgive. Such is the joy that comes from inhabiting this brain-bending universe full of lovable, beautifully designed characters, you can overlook Psychonauts 2’s slight missteps. Let’s be honest: how can you not love a game that revolves around a little dude with a smashed pumpkin for a head that can wield the powers of telekinesis, levitation and pyrokinesis? Cross all your digits we get a Psychonauts 3.  

Read our full Psychonauts 2 review

6. Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

After two previous Halo games that were a tad lackluster, Halo Infinite comes soaring back to success... literally thanks to the new grappling hook that lets you swing across chasms and scale cliffs with ease. 

Seemingly taking the original game's Silent Cartographer mission and running with it, Halo Infinite is a semi-open-world game where you can tackle a variety of mission and tasks in any order you like and in a manner of ways such as sniping down enemies from afar of charging in with a huge Scorpion tank.  Some more variation in environments and a tighter story would be apricated. But in terms of pure Halo fun and actions, Halo Infinite is a storming success and a must-have for anyone who wants an excellent first-person shooter on the Xbox Series X. If you can't quite afford Microsoft's highest-end console, Infinite is also playable on Xbox One. 

Read our full Halo Infinite review.

7. Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village

(Image credit: Capcom)

While Resident Evil is a franchise best associated with PlayStation, it's been a multiplatform series for a while and the latest entry in the series, Resident Evil Village, is great on Xbox Series X. On Microsoft's console you get access to ray tracing and the Smart Delivery system, which means if you purchased it on Xbox One you get a free update to the Series X and Series S version. 

As for Resident Evil Village itself, it's an excellent horror-meets-adventure game. In our reviewer Henty T. Casey noted: "Resident Evil Village is the most engrossing game I've played in forever, with a twisted labyrinthine story that hooks you in and pulls you down rabbit hole after rabbit hole."

Read our full Resident Evil Village review.

8. Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6

(Image credit: Capcom)

The king of fighters makes a triumphant return in one of the strongest entries even by this incredibly iconic series’ sky high standards. Thanks to the presence of Arcade/Story, Extreme Battle, Battle Hub and the ambitious single-play World Tour story modes, there’s something here for both casual and hardcore fight fans. Street Fighter 6 makes itself even more welcoming with different control schemes that help ease in gamers who don’t know their Hadoukens from their Hundred Hand Slaps.

Weighty yet precise, Capcom doesn’t overly mess with the already winning formula cooked up in Street Fighter 5. If you’ve been away from the franchise for a while, fret not — that old muscle memory will kick back in after a couple of duels. This is also a gorgeous game, with some of the most stylized art around. If you have even a passing interest in the fighting genre, Street Fighter 6 is a must-play experience. 

 Read our full Street Fighter 6 review. 

9. Persona 3 Reload

The characters in Persona 3 Reload performing an all-out attack

(Image credit: Atlus)

An expertly judged remake that gives fans of the original exactly what they’ve been pining for. Serving up eye-arousing modern graphics, a new voice cast and key quality-of-life improvements, Persona 3 Reload breathes fresh life into a JRPG classic while still remaining faithful to it. 

Considering the OG game out in ye olden days of 2006, Reload obviously looks a whole lot better, and its appeal is further boosted by a fresh user interface. While the story takes a while to fully get going, once it does, it will keep you constantly engaged and guessing over what’s going to happen next. There’s no question this is the best way to experience the darkest entry in the Persona series. 

Read our full Persona 3 Reload review.  

10. Sea of Thieves  

Sea of Thieves

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to fill the boots of a semi-cartoon pirate sailing the open seas with four fellow shipmates, plundering islands and sinking other ships just for the sheer joy of it? If the answer is yes, then Rare’s Sea of Thieves is the game for you. 

What started out as a bit of a thin experience on the Xbox One and PC has matured into a much deeper game full of secrets, including a gigantic kraken to take on. The optimized version for the Xbox Series X will run at 4K and a smooth 60 fps, making the whole experience plain sailing on Microsoft's flagship games console.

Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal. 

  • Elitefreeagent
    Well It's obvious that the best games list was put together with no thought or having actually played the game. Halo flopped hard, Sea of thieves has a very select audience and is at a 3.5/5, Gears of war has only a good campaign and basic gears of war gameplay with like 4 characters and somehow and for no reason added terminators as a pre order bonus.... And hitman is pay to play per episode Gears tactics was just not interesting, and star wars squadrons was another EA failure that tried to give fans the starwars space combat since their Battlefront 2 failed. These games honestly weren't good and anyone who played it or has half a mind to see the reviews and warnings would agree. Unless you are a diehard fan.
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