Best is in the eye of the beholder. Thankfully, an Xbox Game Pass subscription means access to a stack of great games. If that’s not enough, there’s also heaps of other current-gen contenders and last-gen backwards-compatible games to choose from. If you’re stuck hunting down your next favourite Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S game, though, start with this list of recent titles.
The best Xbox games to play right now
Halo Infinite may have come out in November 2021, but it took until November 2022 for it to be properly realised. The open-world campaign is a return to form that leaves you wanting more. Multiplayer is great with mates and against either players or bots. Plus, co-op is finally in the game. Alas, it’s not a couch co-op, but there’s a lot of fun to be found in grappling hook around the world together online. That same late-2022 co-op update also introduced Forge, which means player-built levels are dropping into Halo Infinite. Whether you’re a Halo fan or new to shooters, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Halo Infinite.
Reviews.org's best games of the year
The team at Reviews.org has spoken. These are the very best games you can play this year on any device or console.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
If you want a beautiful game to make you feel good about investing in an Xbox Series X, take A Plague Tale: Requiem for a spin. That good feeling carries over to the bright game opening as you’re immediately endeared to a trio of 14th century siblings. Things quickly go awry, though, as Requiem spins into the meat-and-potatoes of stealth play. Then it spins out of control. Let’s just say, if you have musophobia, your skin will crawl at how this game handles its very bitey, very aggressive rodents. And when you’re all done, roll back to play A Plague Tale: Innocence if you missed it.
Dead Cells originally came out in 2018 but good luck topping its tiptop gameplay years later (yes, even you, Hades). Better still, Motion Twin keeps releasing content that keeps you coming back for more. This is a rogue-lite, but please don’t scroll on if that’s a turn-off. I used to never have the patience for roguelikes before I met Dead Cells. Fast-forward multiple years and multiple platforms, and I still can’t get enough of it. The game throws you right into the thick of things and makes you learn things the hard way. You’ll die. A lot. But you’re always progressing something. And the exploration element is top notch as are the addictive combat and potent weapon combinations.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
After what felt like years of waiting, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga finally dropped out of hyperspace. And the Force is most definitely strong with this one. Play solo for the LEGO-fication of familiar Star Wars stories. Or jump into co-op and get lost in exploring beautifully rendered worlds stuffed with secrets. There’s around 20 hours on the main path. But obsessive completionists will find closer to 90 hours to dig up everything. This game has the charm of older LEGO titles, but the gameplay has been mercifully evolved to make it a lot more engaging.
Forza Horizon 5
I never really understood the appeal of racing games. Ripping around the same tracks time and time again. What’s the point? Then along came Forza Horizon. This arcade-focused spin-off to the main Forza series is built for casual racing fans. It feels like there’s always some new speed-focused activity to do or a new place to explore. At incredibly high speeds, of course. Burn around the open world at your leisure. Or bounce from mission to mission. There’s a tonne of fun to be found. And if you, like me, are an adult with an affinity for nostalgic toys, the Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels DLC is an absolute blast.
Unless you’re into console emulation—something we, of course, don’t advise—it’s tricky to play Zelda games on Xbox. Thankfully, it’s easy enough to play games heavily inspired by Zelda, like Tunic. Think less Breath of the Wild and more Link’s Awakening, and you’ll get the idea. Like that legendary Zelda game, the foxy hero of Tunic awakens washed up on a mysterious island. The art style may be very cutesy and inviting. But there’s a heavy emphasis on exploration and tricky combat, especially if you don’t respect your foes. Come for the adorable playable fox but stay for the puzzles and sense of discovery.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
My gaming heart belongs to first-person shooters. But there’s something utterly compelling about a bigger emphasis on melee combat that somehow works in first-person perspective. Cue the entry of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. Sure, it has ranged combat, but while powerful with the right weapons, it’s nowhere near as satisfying as felling waves of foes up close and personal. This is like Vermintide 2 at its best spliced with Left 4 Dead 2. Forget about the disappointment of Back 4 Blood, Darktide is your next port of call for horde-based action. Team up with random players or, better yet, grab a four-stack and up the difficulty to boost the adrenaline hit for surviving wave after wave of enemies.
Supermassive Games cut its horror teeth with the fun and somewhat scary Until Dawn. The catch: that was a PlayStation exclusive. In more recent years, The Dark Pictures Anthology has shown platform versatility with mixed results. But The Quarry has a lot of Until Dawn vibes for me, in a very good way. Play as a hapless group of camp counsellors on the verge of a very rough night. The Quarry spins an engaging yarn with a cast of great actors. Play it alone at night for extra creeps. Or drag in a friend or few for ad hoc multiplayer and share the responsibility of the dread that comes with time-sensitive decision-making.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
This might feel like favouritism with two Asobo Studio games on the one page, but they couldn’t be more different. A Plague Tale: Requiem is a grounded drama. And Microsoft Flight Simulator is a soaring sim. Hardcore realists will likely love the option to recreate IRL flight routes in a variety of planes. For everyone else, there are piecemeal challenges and shorter hauls to partake in. You’ll likely be tempted to fly over your home, which will impress with real-world realism. Then take a hike to obscure parts of the world for a bird’s-eye view of a digital recreation of our planet. Microsoft Flight Simulator may have landed on Xbox Series X|S last year, but it still has regular flights of new content to make it worth checking back in.
When Deathloop first launched, it was a PlayStation 5 exclusive. Now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, Deathloop is finally playable on Xbox Series X|S. And the wait means a better version of the game, benefitting from improvements rolled out after Deathloop’s original launch. This rogue-lite splices Ground Hog Day with an arsenal-upgraded Dishonored. And the result is incredibly compelling. There’s enough mystery to keep driving you forward with enough guidance to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed. In the end, Deathloop’s finale plays out like a Hitman assassination performed at its very best (or, at least, varying degrees of efficiency based on your choices). Disable player invasions for your first play-through, then go mess with other players afterwards who are trying to land the perfect campaign run.
Recent games considered (that weren't up to snuff)
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
Evil Dead: The Game
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction
How we pick the best games
While we rigorously test consumer technology products, like smartphones, wireless earbuds and headphones, there’s no right answer when it comes to picking the best games available. Our list is simply made up of the games that have brought our writers joy over 2022; the games that have challenged us, wowed us, and commanded far too much of our free time. Games we think more people should know about. Games we think you’ll enjoy too.