The Microsoft Xbox Series X|S boasts incredible horsepower under the hood, deftly handling the most ambitious games in 4K with high dynamic range imaging. Its powerful specs enable games to look and perform better than ever before. From innovative, ground-breaking graphics effects to seamless open worlds, the best Xbox Series X|S games are among the most engaging experiences you can dive into today.
While both Xbox consoles offer up to 120 frames-per-second and variable refresh rates, they differ in their resolutions and processing power. However, each game on our list looks and plays great on either system. Should you choose to game on the Series S, you need to download every game digitally because it doesn’t have a disc drive like the Series X.
No matter what type of game you’re looking for, Xbox likely has it. Based on our hands-on experience and research, these are our picks of the best Xbox Series X|Sgames across various genres. Grab your controller and get ready to enjoy some good gaming.
Best Xbox Series X|S Action/Adventure
Live Out Your Cowboy Fantasy In The Old West
Developer: Rockstar Games | Publisher: Rockstar Games | Number of players: 1 (32 in Red Dead Online) | Genre: Action/adventure | Rating: M (Mature) | Year released: 2018
Best for: Cowboy enthusiasts and history buffs looking for a Wild West adventure.
Though this title released years after Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s follow-up acts as a prequel to the beloved cowboy classic. Red Dead Redemption 2 sees players step into the shoes of Arthur Morgan, a member of the infamous Van der Linde gang, as they all struggle to accept their dying outlaw lifestyle in the Wild West. It’s a grandiose story that captures intimate moments unraveling the humanity of many of its characters. Rockstar has created an immersive experience with dynamic gameplay elements that keep players invested.
Despite these immersive aspects adding to its realism, however, some may find the gameplay mechanics a little too realistic. Games usually exaggerate and simplify various systems for the sake of being fun, but Red Dead Redemption 2 has players performing nearly every small movement with a specific button press. It can get quite tedious. Regardless of any shortcomings, this game represents a monumental achievement in world design and character arcs, transporting players back to 1899. Though it’s not enhanced for Xbox Series X|S, it still looks better and performs better than a lot of games today and remains the best pick in this category even after four years.
Compelling story and characters
Dozens of hours of content
Not enhanced for Xbox Series X|S
Realistic gameplay mechanics can get tedious
Best Xbox Series X|S Shooter
Expert Serious Gunplay Once Again
Developer: Infinity Ward | Publisher: Activision | Number of players: 1 (Up to 64 online) | Genre: Shooter | Rating: M (Mature) | Year released: 2022
Best for: First-personshooter enthusiast seeking well-honed gunplay.
Not to be confused with 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, this entry in the franchise follows the 2019 reboot of the Modern Warfare sub-series. Developer Infinity Ward shows off its decades of experience with first-person shooters taking players across the Middle East and Europe as players work to dismantle Iranian forces funding terrorist activity.
In addition to a full campaign, Modern Warfare 2 features several worthy multiplayer modes, including the iconic Team Deathmatch and Hardpoint. Compelling narratives are not a hallmark of Call of Duty, and that’s still true here. The single-player campaign is nothing special. But Call of Duty’s bread and butter has always been its gunplay, and in that regard, this game is superb. And those on Xbox Series X can play using the 1440p/120 frames-per-second mode for smoother gameplay.
New multiplayer maps and modes
Excellent shooting mechanics
Fans may find it doesn’t hold up to the original
Single-player campaign is mostly a letdown
Honorable Mention: A Ground-Breaking, Visually Enhanced Shooter
Developer: Raven Software | Publisher: Activision | Number of players: 1-2 (Up to 18 online) | Genre: Shooter | Rating: M (Mature) | Year released: 2016
Best for: Quality, nostalgic gameplay.
Modern Warfare first released in 2007 on Xbox 360 to critical acclaim and was remastered in 2016 with updated visuals, animations and sound for modern consoles like the Xbox One and PS4. Those visuals still hold up against, and this game is often thought of as one of the best Call of Duty games ever made. While facing Middle Eastern and Russian forces from the original narrative, this is the first version to provide fresh multiplayer content and achievements on Xbox. Even if you’ve played the rebooted Modern Warfare or 2022’s Modern Warfare 2, it’s worth going back and seeing what started it all.
A beloved classic remastered for modern consoles
Two dozen multiplayer modes
Best Xbox Series X|S RPG
A Rich, Dark Fantasy From The Creators Of Dark Souls
Developer: FromSoftware | Publisher: Bandai Namco | Number of players: 1 (Up to 4 online) | Genre: RPG/action | Rating: M (Mature) | Year released: 2022
Best for: Gluttons for punishment seeking a dark fantasy adventure.
Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin teamed up with Hidetaka Miyazaki and FromSoftware to build the world of Elden Ring, a game which reflects a natural evolution from the developer’s history of Dark Souls games. Set in the grisly, fantastical world of the Lands Between, Elden Ring gives players an unprecedented amount of freedom as they set off to repair the titular Elden Ring and defeat Queen Marika the Eternal’s progeny to become the Elden Lord.
Elden Ring easily offers over 100 hours of content to play through, which is almost unheard of for a single-player game. While that number may turn some players off, consider Elden Ring’s content provides quality gameplay, without padding or pointless fluff. Every second of Elden Ring serves as a purposeful reminder that you’re in a dangerous world with secrets around every corner. It’s a brutal affair aligned with FromSoftware’s penchant for unforgiving combat, but players have plenty of opportunity to upgrade and customize their character with different weapons and skills throughout their journey. Players eager to test their abilities against some of the most grotesque monsters FromSoftware yet—in full 4K resolution with ray tracing enabled—will find Elden Ring satisfies that itch.
Hundreds of hours of gameplay
Meticulously crafted open world with secrets around every corner
Customizable character to suit your play style
Dark fantasy isn’t suitable for everyone
Best Xbox Series X|S Sports Simulation
The Premiere Baseball Sim For All Sports Fans
Developer: San Diego Studio | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment, MLB Advanced Media | Number of players: 1 (Up to 8 online) | Genre: Sports simulation | Rating: E (Everyone) | Year released: 2022
Best for: Major League Baseball fans looking for a turn at bat.
A long-running series exclusive to PlayStation, MLB The Show released on Xbox for the first time with MLB The Show 21. Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels adorns the cover of its follow-up, MLB The Show 22. The franchise remains the premiere baseball simulator in the United States, featuring a career mode that sees players vie for a spot in the big leagues after working their way up from an unknown rookie.
New this year are online co-op play, an updated Stadium Creator and returning modes like Diamond Dynasty and Franchise. Even though sports games like this are often very iterative and have little innovation over prior entries in their franchises, you’re still getting the latest rosters and best graphics on display. Plus, it’s also available on Xbox Series X|S with a $10/month Xbox Game Pass subscription.
Advanced Stadium Creator
Single-player career mode
Create your own fantasy team
Not everyone cares for baseball
Best Xbox Series X|S Superhero Game
Save The Galaxy With A Group Of Unlikely Heroes
Developer: Eidos-Montreal | Publisher: Square Enix | Number of players: 1 | Genre: Action/adventure | Rating: T (Teen) | Year released: 2021
Best for: Marvel fans yearning for a single-player adventure on Xbox.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy had an uphill battle to woo fans after the earlier Marvel’s Avengers left a sour taste. Developer Eidos-Montreal rose to the challenge, creating a solid single-player adventure focused on its characters and what makes a superhero game so fun. This Marvel installment ditches an online connected component and microtransactions.
After a galactic war all but decimates the galaxy, the Guardians get their chance to cash in on some mercenary work. As is the usual case with this team of lovable idiots, things go awry and the mistake has dire consequences for the universe if they don’t step up to save the day. With an original story and its own take on the Guardians, Eidos-Montreal crafts a surprisingly good adventure full of heart, humor and plenty of action. Though its combat isn’t nearly as deep as it could be and relies on button mashes over any skill, the rest of the game more than makes up for it.
Good mix of humor and seriousness
Faithful to characters while creating a new adventure
Combat lacks satisfying depth
Best Xbox Series X|S Fighting Game
Test Your Might In This Brutal Fighter
Developer: NetherRealm Studios | Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive | Number of players: 1-2 (Up to 8 online) | Genre: Fighting | Rating: M (Mature) | Year released: 2020
Best for: Precision players unafraid of a little blood.
Mortal Kombat is still going strong after three decades, and the controversial fighter is as bloody and gruesome as ever. This one’s certainly not for those with a weak stomach—prepare for detailed renditions of body parts torn apart and eviscerated. But those who revel in its brutality will find another excellent entry to one of the best-selling fighting franchises of all time in Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, complete with its full 37-character roster and all downloadable content.
As a fighting game, Mortal Kombat 11 requires precision above all else, mastering combos and executing perfectly timed dodges to claw your way to victory. For this reason, many people even prefer to play with an arcade stick over a regular Xbox controller. It’s an excellent game, regardless of which controller you use. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate has enhanced 4K resolution and improved loading times over its predecessor, so your fight to the top is that much quicker.
Features a roster of 37 playable characters
Enhanced for Xbox with improved load times and 4K resolution
Fatalities and Brutalities are as gruesome as ever
Gameplay can be so brutal it’s hard to stomach
Best Xbox Series X|S Family-Friendly Game
Put Your Creativity To The Test
Developer: Mojang Studios | Publisher: Mojang Studios/Xbox Game Studios | Number of players: 1-4 (Up to 10 online) | Genre: Sandbox survival | Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) | Year released: 2011 (original release), 2017 (Bedrock Edition)
Best for: Creative minds wishing to build whatever their hearts desire.
As the best-selling game of all time, Minecraft needs little introduction. Minecraft is a sandbox survival game where players can do just about anything using its basic building blocks that form the foundation of its entire experience. Travel through various biomes encountering new animals and threats while you explore the area to mine or build whatever you’d like. Seriously, the sky’s the limit.
Should you want to get a group together with your family and build your own city, it’s as simple as picking up the controller and selecting either survival or creative mode. Players also have the option to sift through and purchase various user-created content packs with different skins, mini games, texture packs and much more. Choose creative mode to focus on building things, and survival mode for a mental challenge. Either way, the world is your oyster. It may be an older game, but it’s still a juggernaut in this category for good reason.
Unprecedented amount of freedom
Survival and creative modes
Complex menus and crafting can get confusing
The world is so big it’s easy to get lost without maps
What Makes A Good Xbox Game?
Greatness is subjective. It’s difficult for everyone to agree on what makes a good game, but games we consider the best of the best share some common characteristics. They innovate and excel in almost every way, whether that means using industry-leading visuals, delivering an impactful story with three-dimensional characters or revolutionary gameplay mechanics. They take what’s come before and show improvements in every aspect.
These metrics aren’t hard rules because of the number of genres out there, but they stand as a good baseline. An amazing racing game, for instance, doesn’t need a heart-wrenching story. If a racing game polishes and perfects the racing experience itself, that’s the most important part. Likewise, a good RPG delivers a breadth of options for players to immerse themselves.