The best Xbox Series X games in 2024

Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

I can't lie to you. There's no question Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S don’t have the level of knockout exclusive titles as the PS5 enjoys. Yet thanks to Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard in quite possibly the most significant deal in the history of video games, Xbox fans should see more and more console exclusives arrive, like sci-fi epic Starfield.

Many of the best Xbox Series X games are also available for a reasonable monthly subscription fee thanks to Xbox Game Pass; like the amazing arcade racer Forza Horizon 5

With the sheer amount of studios Microsoft now owns, the list of the best Xbox Series X games (all of which you can play on the less powerful Series S) has every chance of going from strength to strength in the near future. 

Our gaming experts here at Tom’s Guide (including this Xbox player of over 20 years) will keep this page updated with the best Xbox Series X games you can play on Microsoft’s most powerful console.  

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.

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. 

Read our full Elden Ring review

4. 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. 

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. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla image

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the latest entry in Ubisoft's long-running historical action/stealth series. This time around, you'll take control of Eivor: a Viking warrior, who must establish a new home for his clan in the wilds of medieval England. All of the usual Assassin's Creed activities are here - scouring the countryside for quests and treasure, hunting down Templar agents, building up your arsenal of stealth and combat tools, and so forth. But this time around, you'll also build a settlement, travel in a longship and raid monasteries, as any good Viking should. 

On Xbox Series X, Assassin's Creed Valhalla loads quickly and aims for a steady 4K/60 frames per second performance. Not only is the game gorgeous, but it runs seamlessly, and never makes you wait long to jump back into the action, whether you're fast-traveling across the map or retrying a difficult combat encounter.

9.  Gears 5

Gears 5 image

(Image credit: Microsoft)

It could be argued that when Gears of War 4 came out, the Gears franchise was running out of a bit of steam, at least on the single-player side. But Gears 5 is a triumphant return to form for the series. Naturally, it comes with flashy cutscenes full of the bombast one expects from a Gears game. But it also dips its toes into the realms of horror, teasing out a creeping dread between bouts of frenetic action. The fundamentals of a Gears game are still present, with the satisfaction of nailing a quick reload still tickling the action game glands. 

Gears 5 is also a very pretty game, as in "bite-the-back-of-your-hand" pretty. The extra power of the Series X ramps up the texture and shadow details, as well as adding a form of "lite" ray tracing. Running at 4K with a pretty stable 60 fps is basically the only way to play Gears 5.

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 new flagship games console.

11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

(Image credit: Xbox)

Following on from the critically-acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is another fantastic chapter in the sumptuously detailed 2D platform game. What you get here isn’t just a generic platformer, but an open world based in a forest made up of multiple regions, styled to come alive in 2D. The game is stuffed full of attention to detail, from the way background art shifts as you move Ori through the world, to the creepy movements of enemies. And it’s all punctuated by a soaring music score that almost tells a story by itself. 

This game already ran well on the Xbox One X. But on the Series X, and indeed the Series S, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will run at a super-smooth 120 fps, if you have the hardware to take advantage of the frame rate. As it’s part of Xbox Game Pass, there’s very little excuse to miss out on Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

12. Hitman 3

Hitman 3

(Image credit: Sony)

The final entry in the World of Assassination trilogy, Hitman 3 is a cumulation of all developer IO Interactive has learned from its previous Hitman games. While Hitman 3 doesn't introduce much to the game, it’s basically the finest iteration and implementation of all the systems the reboot of Hitman brought in from 2016 onwards. 

As such you’re looking at a game with a suite of near-perfectly constructed missions, filled with interesting ways to dispatch various targets. These range from clever deception to simply shoving someone off the world's largest building. Stand-out missions involve infiltrating a warehouse rave in Berlin and exploring the neon and rain-soaked streets of China’s Chongqing, to infiltrating a country manor house in a wind-swept and bleak segment of England’s Dartmoor. But beyond the locations, the structure of the missions are rich and deep. You can follow a variety of opportunities that arise to carefully kill a tricky target, or you can switch off a load of hints and figure things out for yourself. Either way, you’re in for one of the finest stealth experiences on the Xbox Series X. 

13. Star Wars: Squadrons 

Star Wars: Squadrons

(Image credit: EA)

While it's a cross-platform game, Star Wars: Squadrons has been given the Xbox Series X optimization treatment, meaning it now hits higher resolutions and framerates, with the latter going up to 120 frames per second. So arguably the Xbox Series X is one of the best places to play this arcade-like space combat simulator. 

And what a space combat sim it is. Star Wars: Squadrons puts you in the cockpits of various Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire fighters and bomber craft allowing you to live out your zero-g dog-fighting fantasies in a galaxy far, far away. And it's all swaddled in a rather lovely modern graphics engine. The game really captures that feeling of battling it out in a lived-in sci-fi setting and pulling off manoeuvres that see you shake a pursuing TIE fighter and then blast it to pieces in the vacuum of space. And the neat controls mapped onto the latest Xbox Wireless Controller means the game is a joy to control. 

14. Destiny 2

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

(Image credit: Bungie)

While is not an Xbox Series X exclusive, like a good few of the games on this list, Destiny 2 is still one of the best games you can play on the Xbox Series X. Building upon its predecessor, Destiny 2 and its major expansions launched run in 4K resolution at speedy load times with overall smoother performance than on Xbox One. 

That means you get 60 frames per second first-person shooter action from the original creators of Halo, leaving you with a game that offers excellent gunplay in a massively multiplayer environment. If you have a group of friends into shooters, then Destiny 2 is very much a title you'll want to give a go. 

Read our full Destiny 2: Witch Queen review.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • 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.