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The best Xbox Game Pass games to play now

xbox game pass
(Image credit: Bungie)

Xbox Game Pass has quickly become one of our favorite accessories 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 and even Android. 

With iOS and web browser support coming next year, it's fair to say that Xbox Game Pass is one of the most versatile gaming platforms currently on the market.

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

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 

Including Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition in this list might be splitting hairs, since it’s part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC, not 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 

alan wake

(Image credit: Remedy)

Alan Wake 

Feeling sort of like Twin Peaks: The Video Game, Alan Wake is a frequently bizarre action-adventure game. You play a big-city writer who gets caught up in some strange goings-on in a small mountain town. The game feels extremely cinematic, even a decade after release. Chapters are presented as episodes of a television show (each including a tense cliffhanger ending), which makes you eager to play on. The central mechanic of tackling enemies by weakening them with a flashlight beam, then finishing them off with guns, is a tad one-note, but still great fun. Alan Wake is the closest video games have come to replicating that "one more episode" feeling of a binge-worthy TV show. - Rory Mellon 

destiny 2

(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 

Destiny, as a franchise, has been around for a while now, but Bungie’s second live-service first-person shooter/MMO-lite is still going strong. You play as a Guardian: a supernatural warrior who wields a variety of weapons and special abilities, as you battle the enemies of humanity. Destiny 2 has a lot to do, from story missions, to multiplayer content (both PvE and PvP), to six-man raids. The ultimate goal in Destiny is to chase loot, with randomly-rolled perks on guns and swords. You can play solo, with friends, or with strangers in matchmade activities. Regardless, you’ll have plenty of things to shoot, in an FPS that's mechanically almost perfect. Eyes up, Guardian. - Jordan Palmer 

gears of war ultimate edition

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition 

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 

nier automata

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Nier: Automata 

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 

planet coaster

(Image credit: Frontier Developmoents)

Planet Coaster: Console Edition 

Days out at packed theme parks may have been in short supply over the last year, but an afternoon playing Planet Coaster is the next best thing. Developed by the same team that worked on the iconic Roller Coaster Tycoon series, this theme park sim lets you design your own amusement park, which must keep your guests happy (and encourage them to overspend at pricey concession stands). However, the roller coaster creator is what makes Planet Coaster truly worthy of your precious hard drive space. The level of complexity is overwhelming at first, but after a few hours of practice, you’ll be crafting terrifying coasters that have eager riders queuing up around the block. The game just oozes charm as well. It’s basically impossible to not be grinning like a kid while playing. - Rory Mellon 

quantum break

(Image credit: Remedy)

Quantum Break 

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

(Image credit: EA)

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order 

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 

what remains of edith finch

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

What Remains of Edith Finch 

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 

yakuza 0

(Image credit: Sega)

Yakuza 0 

Yakuza is the series that sold me on the whole Xbox Game Pass experiment in the first place. This action/adventure series tells the story of Kazuma Kiryu: a low-level yakuza enforcer who becomes embroiled in a series of convoluted, ambitious, deadly schemes in the Japanese underworld. Each game is a serious crime drama about loyalty, morality and honor. However, each game is also a silly, good-natured romp through a variety of detailed side activities, from slot car racing to collectible card game tournaments. As a prequel, Yakuza 0 is a great place to dive in, since it introduces us to Kiryu — and to the delightfully unhinged Goro Majima, who steals the show for the next seven games. – Marshall Honorof

Tom's Guide Staff

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