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The best Xbox Game Pass games to play now

halo infinite cover art with master chief on zeta halo
(Image credit: Microsoft/343)

Xbox Game Pass has quickly become one of our favorite add-ons for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. But Microsoft's game-subscription service isn't just for next-gen consoles; it also lets you play hundreds of beloved games on Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android and Web browsers.

A platform is only as good as its games, though, and Xbox Game Pass has a lot from which to choose: more than 300 titles, to be precise. With so much on offer, it can be hard to sort through the sheer volume of games available.

That's why the Tom's Guide staff has selected our 10 favorite games on the service, from action-packed epics, to chill simulations, to classic strategy experiences, and everything in-between. And if you don't like these 10 games, there are hundreds more for you to try.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 

age of empires ii definitive edition

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Including Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition in this list might be splitting hairs, since it’s part of the PC Game Pass, which doesn't apply to Xbox consoles. Still, if you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a decent gaming PC, it’s well worth a look. As the name suggests, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a remaster of Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, a real-time strategy classic from 1999. You take control of a medieval civilization, such as the Britons, the Japanese, or the Vikings, and guide your society from the Fall of Rome up through the beginning of the Gunpowder Era. Along the way, you’ll build great cities, battle fearsome opposing armies, discover valuable new resources and lay siege to mighty castles. — Marshall Honorof 

Forza Horizon 5

Forza horizon 5 screen shot

(Image credit: Playground Games)

The latest entry in the Forza Horizon series moves the action to Mexico, where you can expect lots of gorgeous vistas, intense races and tricky challenges. Forza Horizon 5 is perhaps the best game in the franchise so far, thanks to its inspired setting, tight gameplay and huge selection of cars. Whether you want to race around the country with friends online or simply work your way through the campaign at your own pace, there's something here for every racing fan to enjoy. — Marshall Honorof 

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition 

gears of war ultimate edition

(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you’ve never dipped a toe in the Gears series before, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a great place to start. This remastered version of the very first Gears of War game sets up the heroic Gears, the villainous Locusts and the destructive war between the two parties. The story is pure B-movie sci-fi schlock, but the tight third-person shooting and immersive set pieces make the game tough to put down. Whether you’re blasting your way through poisonous underground caverns, clearing out city blocks or facing down a horde of foes on a moving train, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a thrill ride from start to finish — and a good intro to a story that gets better over time. — Marshall Honorof 

Hades

Hades review

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

One of the best games on the Nintendo Switch is, perhaps not surprisingly, also one of the best games on Xbox Game Pass. Hades is a fast-paced rogue-lite, where you take control of mythological demigod Zagreus. As the son of Hades and prince of the underworld, Zagreus wants to escape his father's domain, which he can only do by conquering four dangerous, unpredictable biomes — and dying again and again along the way. The gameplay is tight, the progression is satisfying and the story is surprisingly gripping, since you'll learn a little more with each new run.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo Infinite is the latest entry in Xbox's foundational first-person shooter series. Now that the reviews are in and the fan base has had a chance to settle, the game is somewhere in the middle of the pack. The story doesn't pack quite the same punch as Halo 2, but the open-world mechanics inject some new life into the series, and the gunplay is as tight as ever. Since Halo Infinite is the newest game in the series, this is where you'll also find the majority of the spirited multiplayer community. Just be aware that if you want fancy cosmetics, you'll have to either pay real money or grind a lot. — Marshall Honorof 

Nier: Automata 

nier automata

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Nier: Automata is an interesting game. On its surface, it’s a hack-and-slash beat ‘em up from PlatinumGames, the makers of the Bayonetta series. It stars 2B, the fan-favorite female android. But if you look deeper, you’ll find a game filled with philosophical questions about what it means to be human. Nier: Automata asks you to think a bit while you’re slaying hordes of machines. The game centers around a trio of combat androids, fighting a proxy war on a ravaged Earth far, far into the future. Humans have fled to the moon, and the YoRHa androids who fight on their behalf are in a stalemate with their machine enemies. We highly recommend that you see this game through to end. — Jordan Palmer 

Quantum Break 

quantum break

(Image credit: Remedy)

Quantum Break's grand ambition of debuting alongside a weekly television series never came to fruition. However, too many gamers overlooked this title when it finally launched in 2016. The gameplay is interspersed with a handful of live-action TV episodes, and while these vignettes are hardly Emmy-worthy, they’re no worse than what’s currently popular on The CW. The third-person shooting is fairly pedestrian, granted, and your time-infused superpowers should really feel more satisfying to use. But the central narrative of Quantum Break really shines, and will have you hooked from the get-go. Quantum Break has sort of become the ugly duckling of the Remedy family, overlooked in favor of Alan Wake and Control, but it’s really a beautiful, underrated swan. — Rory Mellon 

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order 

star wars jedi fallen order

(Image credit: EA)

After releasing two passable Battlefront games, it seemed like Electronic Arts was not going to do anything terribly exciting with the Star Wars license. Then, along game Jedi: Fallen Order to shatter expectations. Not only is Jedi: Fallen Order one of the best Star Wars games in years; it’s arguably one of the best stories in Disney’s new canon, period. This action/adventure game stars Cal Kestis: a young Jedi on a quest to evade the Empire during the infamous Jedi Purge. As Cal travels to multiple planets, upgrading his abilities and unlocking new skills, he learns what became of the Jedi Order, as well as how he can fit into a changing galaxy. — Marshall Honorof 

Viva Piñata

viva pinata

(Image credit: Rare)

Viva Piñata isn't just a chill simulation; it's also an excellent way to test backwards compatibility on Xbox Series X/S. This game originally debuted on the Xbox 360 back in 2006, but even more than a decade later, there's still nothing else quite like in on the market. You play as, essentially, a piñata rancher, collecting and breeding more than 60 species of the candy-filled creatures. You can customize your farm and explore the island, both of which could conceivably keep you busy for dozens of hours. Viva Piñata was a cult hit back in the day, and it's well worth revisiting now.

What Remains of Edith Finch 

what remains of edith finch

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

Xbox Game Pass isn’t just a place for hit games from big-budget studios; it’s also a great place to discover indie fare, such as What Remains of Edith Finch. In this first-person adventure game, you play as the titular character, who returns to her isolated family home in the Pacific Northwest to uncover the truth behind a deadly family curse. The game is weird, atmospheric, and a little spooky — but also heartfelt, funny and occasionally touching. As Edith learns more about her unusual relatives, players experience a variety of artistic and gameplay styles, from a heroic high fantasy kingdom to an imaginative underwater ballet. The game is short, but the story will stick with you for a long time to come. — Marshall Honorof 

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