When Xbox Game Pass first launched in early 2017, gamers were a bit cautious about the new subscription service. For a monthly fee, players would gain access to a select number of titles ranging in genre, available to download straight to your console of choice. Since then, Xbox Game Pass has quickly become one of the most popular subscription services in the entire game industry, with the service eventually expanding to both PC and mobile markets.
Now that more and more gamers are getting into the Game Pass experience, indie games are getting more recognition, the mid-tier has exploded in popularity, and many big-budget titles have started to appear. With over 100 fantastic games to choose from, new subscribers are always looking for the best games to play on Xbox Game Pass. In an effort to make your browsing experience more efficient, we’ve made a list of the absolute best games available on Xbox Game Pass right now. If you’re looking for the next great game to enjoy, we’re confident you’ll enjoy any of the titles on our best Xbox Game Pass games list.
Note: This list is accurate as of early-Spring 2021. Depending on when you’re viewing this list, some games may have been rotated out of the service. However, most of our best Xbox Game Pass picks should stick around for quite some time.
The Best Games on Xbox Game Pass Right Now
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Halo has been the face of Xbox ever since the first console released in 2001, and it’s an FPS franchise that has seen numerous critically-acclaimed releases. Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundles all those fantastic adventures (with the exception of Halo 5: Guardians) and their multiplayer components into one seamless package. You can blast down alien baddies in various story campaigns, enjoy a wide array of multiplayer options, and hunker down with some cooperative Firefight. If you’re new to the Xbox console family and are using Xbox Game Pass as a way to play the best that Microsoft has to offer, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a good place to start. You can also play Halo 5: Guardians on Xbox Game Pass, as well as several spin-offs such as Halo Wars.
The Gears of War Saga
If Halo: The Master Chief Collection is the blockbuster FPS on Xbox Game Pass, then the Gears of War saga of games are the powerhouse of Xbox-exclusive third-person shooters. This storied franchise offers some of the best games on Xbox Game Pass, including the original four Gears of War games, along with the next-gen Gears 5 and spin-offs like Gears Tactics. Gritty, violent, and with a fusion of horror and sci-fi, the Gears of War franchise helped establish the “cover-shooter” sub-genre while simultaneously offering an unforgettable narrative. It’s also one of the best series for two-player local (or online) co-op, with lengthy and action-packed campaigns to enjoy.
Forza Horizon 4
Like PlayStation’s Gran Turismo series, the Forza franchise made a name for itself by offering an incredibly realistic racing simulator, with painstakingly recreated vehicles and controls. Players can enjoy this ultra-immersive racing in Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox Game Pass, but we prefer its livelier, more adventurous spin-off, Forza Horizon 4. Set in a fictionalized area in Great Britain with a rotating seasonal cycle, Forza Horizon 4 encourages players to put the pedal to the floor and explore its expansive map with speed. As a racer in the eponymous Forza Horizon festival, it’s your job to compete in wild, stunt-heavy races on a variety of brilliant courses. You can also drive around the map at your freedom, discovering various collectibles and completing side-activities. If you’re looking for the best racing game on Xbox Game Pass, Forza Horizon 4 is a front runner for sure.
Rare is one of those classic game developers that consistently put out hit after hit in the 1990s, stunning gamers with titles like Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and more. Rare Replay is a compilation pack that collects all of Rare’s most beloved games and celebrates them with style. Great for nostalgia and family-friendly fun, Rare Replay has some truly timeless games to enjoy. This includes Nintendo 64 gems like Jet Force Gemini and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, arcade classics such as Killer Instinct Gold and Battletoads, and some of Rare’s more modern efforts. With over 25 fantastic games to try, Rare Replay is definitely one of the most underrated games on Xbox Game Pass.
The Elder Scrolls Online & The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Xbox Game Pass also offers two of the most addictive and content-rich RPGs in all of gaming, guaranteed to give you hundreds of hours of fantasy-themed fun. For fans of MMOs, The Elder Scrolls Online boasts a huge world with tons of activities, including questing, PvP combat, cooperative dungeons, and much more. Although The Elder Scrolls Online can be enjoyed as a solo experience, lone-wolf players will probably prefer The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever made, Skyrim is jam-packed with entertaining quests, interesting characters, an evocative world, and an addictive progression system. Regardless of what Elder Scrolls game you pick, expect to get lost in a memorable fantasy world for countless hours.
The Yakuza series has been pretty popular in Japan for some time, but the franchise is just starting to pick up steam in the West. Set in a fictionalized red-light district in Japan circa 1988, Yakuza 0 marks the very beginning of an epic and wacky story. Playing as a scruffy yakuza member named Kazuma Kiryu, you’ll explore the bustling streets of Kamurocho, completing missions and leveling up. Complete with an irreverent and tongue-in-cheek story, Yakuza 0 offers dozens of hours of exciting beat ’em up action, with loads of side-content to enjoy as well. From the numerous mini-games to the plethora of side-quests, there’s always something fun to do in Yakuza 0. All in all, there are six Yakuza games on Xbox Game Pass, but we recommend Yakuza 0 as the place to start. With a hefty main story mode that lasts anywhere from 30 – 60 hours, you’ll be plenty busy with this hectic and quirky adventure.