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Best Games On Xbox Game Pass (August 2021) | Game Rant

Microsoft’s Game Pass service is easily worth the price of admission. Many might balk at the concept of having their video game library locked behind a subscription service, but the fact is subscribers get access to an incredible selection of titles spanning from indie darlings to triple-A blockbusters for a surprisingly affordable monthly fee.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Xbox Game Pass

With such a dizzying array of fantastic titles on display, it can be a daunting task deciding which ones are worth a player’s time. Given that the cost of entry is taken care of with the subscription fee, the most pressing matter is determining the best use of your hard drive space. Thankfully, the diamonds of this collection are readily apparent. Here’s a look at the greatest games that Xbox Game Pass has to offer.

The selections listed here will include games available on EA Play, which is included with a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 133 GB (July 2021)

The adventures of the Master Chief have never been as accessible as they are in the Master Chief Collection. This gathering of Halo games is the definitive collection of 343 Industries’ endeavors to immortalize the series. Not only is every mainline Halo game (not counting Halo 5: Guardians) included, but the fantastic Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach were added as well. From beloved campaign co-op to thrilling Firefight matches to iconic multiplayer modes, the Master Chief Collection has it all. Anyone who thinks of themselves as a Halo fan should consider it a must-play from Xbox Game Pass. And for those who have never completed the Master Chief’s saga, there is no better way to finish the fight.

  • Approximate Game Length: 13 Hours
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Neon Giant
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 16 GB

The Ascent mashes together several elements that get along swimmingly — the charm and action of a twin stick shooter meet the loot-heavy shenanigans and progression elements typical of isometric action-RPGs in a delightful cyberpunk setting. Players control “Indents,” so-called employees of a massive corporation as they work to pay off their contract’s debt. Up to four players can roam the gritty arcology of the planet Veles, engaging in shootouts with rival gangs or mechanized ferals. Combat in The Ascent is intuitive and never feels like a grind. If anything, despite the raucous, neon nature of the world, lighting up the streets of the metropolis with a handful of friends is simultaneously relaxing and exciting. The Ascent keeps players riveted with the entertaining gunplay without bogging them down in hard-to-learn systems. It’s everything one could want in a cyberpunk-themed game.

  • Approximate Game Length: 5 Hours
  • Genre: Puzzle Platformer
  • Developer: Playdead
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 212 MB (July 2021)

A violent black and white puzzle platformer starring a small child in a nightmarish world, Limbo is one of the most striking games ever made. An early indie game darling, Limbo has players moving through the stark environment, solving puzzles and trying to escape with their life. Despite its bleak aesthetic, Limbo is still an incredibly thrilling experience. It’s a game that tries to keep its player’s stomach in knots during cinematic moments, and even manages to surprise during its puzzle sequences. It’s easy to see why so many developers are still trying to emulate Limbo’s success today.

  • Approximate Game Length: 7 Hours
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 15 GB

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a gaming experience like no other. It manages to capture the trial of living with psychosis and tell a moving story at the same time. You play as Senua, a Viking warrior seeking to set her lover’s soul at rest by traveling to Helheim. Her journey is harrowing as the voices she hears in her own head plague her (and the player) with doubts and bits of advice. Grotesque hallucinations haunt every one of Senua’s footsteps. While her quest is grueling, and it often makes you question whether or not the whole venture is worth it, it culminates in one of the most satisfying endings in gaming history. Hellblade proves that battling your own demons is a fight worthy of recognition and esteem.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Developer: GIANTS Software
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 10 GB

If you’re expecting a quiet time tilling soil and planting crops, Farming Simulator 19 will turn those expectations on their heads. Being busy is the name of the game as you have to manage how much money your farm is earning with upgrading tractors and other pieces of equipment in order to thus acquire more land and grow yet more crops. The detail given to this farming simulation is a delight for any fan of the genre. And what makes Farming Simulator an even better addition to the Xbox Game Pass library is the ability to play it with friends. The title supports multiplayer, which means groups of friends can spend quality time being agricultural entrepreneurs together.

  • Approximate Game Length: 9 Hours
  • Genre: Action Sword-Fighting
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 39 GB (July 2021)

Mash the combat system of a hack n’ slash RPG up with a fighting game and you wind up walking right into For Honor’s neighborhood. Featuring an over-the-top roster of vikings, knights, and samurai wielding an array of deadly weaponry, the combat might seem heavy-handed and bombastic at first — but scratch the surface and you’ll find nuanced movesets tempered by intuitive blocking and parry systems. The game comes with an appropriately hamfisted campaign mode, but the real treasure is its suite of multiplayer offerings: heart-pounding one-on-one duels, chaotic team battles, and even a few PVE bits all offer unique experiences of their own.

  • Approximate Game Length: 11 Hours
  • Genre: Casual Sports
  • Developer: Blacklight Interactive, Team17
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 3 GB (July 2021)

Golfing has never been more relaxing or stress-inducing than in Golf With Your Friends. This casual golfing title might seem like an enjoyable co-op experience for a group of friends to partake in. But beneath this seemingly tranquil surface is a turbulent and infuriating game that will break friendships instead of clubs. Easing a golf ball into a hole becomes a practice in impossibility thanks to convoluted courses. From water falls to ghosts to black holes, an array of jaw-dropping obstacles stand in the way of making par. Is it annoying to sink every swing on a single hole? Yes. Is it easy to get lost in the dazzle of new courses? Most certainly. Is it an immense amount of fun to play? Always.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Genre: Turn-Based Strategy Game
  • Developer: Splash Damage and The Coalition
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 28 GB (July 2021)

Fans of turn-based strategy games like XCOM or Fire Emblem might scoff at the idea of the action-packed Gears of War franchise being turned into a tactics game, but the result is an impressive first foray into the genre. Gears has always been about player positioning, flanks, and coordinated strikes — the translation to top-down strategy game is remarkably seamless.

Related: Best FPS Games On Xbox Game Pass

Strategy game fans who have never touched a Gears title before should absolutely make the time to try out Gears Tactics. The game strikes an impressive balance in its complexity. Newcomers to the turn-based strategy genre won’t feel overwhelmed, but veterans will be pleasantly surprised by some of the very specific tweaks and customizations offered.

  • Approximate Game Length: 11 Hours
  • Genre: Stealth-Action Adventure
  • Developer: Asobo Studio
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 41 GB (July 2021)

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a 14th-century alternate history story with fantasy elements that follows two noble siblings chased out of their home by the English. Set during the advent of the bubonic plague, the two find themselves wrapped up in a larger-than-life plot to find a cure for the Black Death while evading both political and religious forces that have their own ambitions. Despite its fascinating overarching narrative, the game is mostly centered around its heroes’ relationships and their fight for survival. Fans of triple-A blockbusters will feel right at home going through Plague Tale’s stealth-action gameplay. The game has a very satisfying sense of progression on account of its naturally evolving plot, solid gameplay mechanics, and the intriguing player abilities obtained throughout the game.

  • Approximate Game Length: 15 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: id Software
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 60 GB (July 2021)

Doom (2016) was the revitalization the series needed to prove to the world that it was still relevant. For a long time, Doom was considered a game of a bygone era, influential but no longer in its prime. Id Software changed all that with the creation of Doom (2016). The Doom Slayer came roaring back into existence, ripping and tearing a new place for himself in the gaming landscape. Not only did this reboot bring Doom back into the cultural awareness, it showed that a single-player campaign that is well-crafted and vigorous good fun can entice players just as much as, if not more than, another battle royale. Doom (2016) is not one to miss for fans of fast-paced shooters and action-packed combat.

  • Approximate Game Length: 50 hours
  • Genre: JRPG
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 39 GB (July 2021)

Let’s get this out of the way: Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a perfect jumping-off point for anyone new to the Yakuza series. It’s a whole new cast of characters in a whole new area. Yes, there are nods to the rest of the franchise, but there’s nothing to hamper newcomers’ enjoyment. Unlike the rest of the Yakuza games, Like a Dragon is a JRPG in the vein of Dragon Quest or classic Final Fantasy —complete with a party of loveable characters on a noble quest. What fans of the genre won’t be expecting is how well these tropes translate to a modern-day crime drama about found family. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is fun, funny, and an absolute joy to play through. Don’t miss it!

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Flight Simulation
  • Developer: Asobo Studio
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 102 GB

The gorgeous vistas of the world are reason enough to give Microsoft Flight Simulator a try, as they truly flex the capabilities of Microsoft’s latest generation of Xbox consoles. However, in addition to the beautiful rendering of the entire planet, the game also gives players an opportunity to test out piloting skills thanks to its intuitive, simulated aircraft controls. A variety of realistically rendered airplanes are at your piloting disposal, replete with interactive features and instruments that lend a deep sense of immersion to this already-stunning simulation title. Take to the sky under a variety of weather and environmental conditions and earn your wings in the way of your choosing.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Beat-‘Em-Up/Party
  • Developer: Boneloaf, Coatsink
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 2 GB (July 2021)

Co-op fun of any sort is always a welcome addition to the Xbox Game Pass library, and those who own a subscription can now celebrate the inclusion of Gang Beasts on an already jam-packed roster of great games. Goofy wrestling in silly costumes makes the violent thrashings seem hilarious and adorable. The stages on which players combat each other are simplistic in design, but wacky in concept, from outdoor elevators to churning factory floors to an active subway tunnel. Dipping into a game of Gang Beasts is enjoyable to the extreme, making this lighthearted title a must-play for anyone who wants to have a bumbling brawl.

  • Approximate Game Length: 4 Hours
  • Genre: Cinematic Adventure (Interactive Movie)
  • Developer: Supermassive Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No (Optimized for Xbox One X)
  • File Size: 27 GB (July 2021)

Man of Medan is a campy horror movie brought to life by light gameplay elements. From the makers of Until Dawn (PS4), this particular scary story centers around a group of teens who come across a haunted ship while sailing the Pacific Ocean. It does not go well. Needless to say, Man of Medan is an absolute blast to play with friends, and it takes this co-op experience one step further by creating custom control options for friends playing remotely or in person. The online play dynamically shows players different cutscenes and events depending on whether or not the characters are together or apart. It’s a really effective trick and a great way to enjoy a cheesy horror flick.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Competitive Multiplayer
  • Developer: Velan Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 9 GB (July 2021)

Knockout City is a competitive dodgeball game that’s easy to learn but hard to master. Fans of competitive shooters who struggle with twitch-based gameplay will feel right at home with Knockout City. It uses the very familiar rulesets of popular 3v3 multiplayer modes (i.e. Team Death Match), but doesn’t award victory to the team who can score the most headshots. Instead, Knockout City is more about positioning. The game uses a lock-on targeting system, so knocking someone out has more to do with where a player is standing and how well coordinated the opposing team is. It’s an impressive spin on the genre reminiscent of Splatoon — and who doesn’t love a pain-free game of dodgeball.

  • Approximate Game Length: 70 Hours
  • Genre: Roguelike RPG
  • Developer: Red Hook Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 2 GB (July 2021)

Make no mistake, Darkest Dungeon sets players up for a brutal, turn-based roguelike experience. Cast as the unlucky beneficiary inheriting a cursed estate, players must recruit a party of daring-yet-vulnerable adventurers to root out the corruption that has overtaken it. Combat is as deadly for the body as it is the mind — characters have a sanity statistic that will erode as they’re subjected to the Lovecraftian horrors inhabiting the various biomes, driving them to depths of madness. “Lovecraftian horrors” is quite literal here, as the themes and creature designs are very clearly inspired by Lovecraft’s timeless tales of cosmic horror and rendered in a brilliantly vibrant, almost comic book-like art style. Add in the voice talent of Wayne June narrating the experience and you’re in for a memorable (if grueling) adventure.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: Fighting Game
  • Developer: NetherRealm Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 33 GB (July 2021)

The iconic mechanics of the more recent titles in the Mortal Kombat franchise were perfectly paired with the DC Universe in Injustice. Superpowered characters exchanging bone-shattering blows was already NetherRealm’s essential bread-and-butter, so that should come as no surprise. The sequel simply polishes an already explosive formula — from iconic mainstays like Batman and Superman to relatively deep digs like Blue Beetle and Atrocitus, the roster is bursting with heroic and villainous selections sure to delight the considerable intersections between DC and fighting-game fans to no end.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Genre: 2D Platform Exploration (Metroidvania)
  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 7 GB (July 2021)

Hollow Knight’s exploration and genuine sense of discovery are easily some of the best in the genre. It’s a shining example of how to make a Metroidvania in the modern era. Hollow Knight never trades in its mystery or world-building for padded side quests or game-breaking boosts.

RELATED: Best Soulslike Games On Xbox Game Pass

It remains a somber, magical, and deceptively challenging game all the way through. It definitely takes a page from the Dark Souls series, so be prepared to wander into new areas with caution, and get ready to learn every boss’ pattern exactly.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: Real-Time Strategy Game
  • Developer: Creative Assembly, 343 Industries
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 43 GB (July 2021)

Halo’s initial foray into real-time strategy was certainly a twist for the established FPS juggernaut, especially for consoles. But it went over surprisingly smoothly — the controls were intuitively mapped for controllers, and the streamlined gameplay made for a great RTS title for fans of both the genre and the mainline Halo franchise. Halo Wars 2 didn’t fix what wasn’t broken, but added enough nuance to the formula to make it a rock-solid sequel.

At surface level, it’s a competent RTS title. But the devil’s in the details — Halo Wars 2 included a surprisingly well-crafted cooperative mode for tackling its campaign, and said campaign manages to preserve the bombast and grandeur expected of a Halo title even with the drastic shift in genre. What’s more is that the hotly anticipated Halo Infinite seems to be drawing on lore elements introduced in Halo Wars 2 (namely the antagonistic Covenant rebel faction known as the Banished), so it’s certainly worth it to get caught up on the opposing forces arrayed against the Master Chief in the upcoming game.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Genre: Management Sim
  • Developer: Thunder Lotus
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 7 GB (July 2021)

Spiritfarer casts you as a ferry master shepherding souls to their final resting grounds. It sounds grim, but behind its premise is an incredibly hopeful game about love, loss, and growth. The game’s art design allows it to walk the line between tackling a depressing subject and remaining the soothing experience players expect from a management sim. Spiritfarer wears a lot of hats. Premise aside, at its core, it’s a light farming and relationship sim. It mixes and matches a lot of elements fans of the genre will be familiar with, including crop planning, gift-giving, and plenty of crafting. It has a lovely world to explore, and even some light platforming thrown in for good measure.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Action-Adventure Multiplayer
  • Developer: Rockstar Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 104 GB (July 2021)

The gorgeous vistas of snowy mountains, grassy plains, and blistering deserts are laid out in front of anyone who steps into the world of Red Dead Online. If the scenery is not enough to captivate, then the plethora of activities available are more than engaging. Players can take on the roles of prospective outlaws, participating in events across the map alongside other players in Rockstar Studios’ online accompaniment to Red Dead Redemption 2. There is a little bit of something for everyone here, whether fishing is of prime enjoyment or high-stakes train robberies are more exciting to consider. Red Dead Online is not one to miss for fans of immersive open worlds and daring multiplayer escapades.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8-10 Hours
  • Genre: Walking Sim
  • Developer: Eastshade Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 2 GB (July 2021)

In short, Eastshade is a non-combat version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; it’s an open-world walking simulator where players complete quests for townsfolk. The small-scale world is still full of magic and secrets to uncover, but fantastic foes are replaced with petty local feuds, and dark dungeons are replaced with coastal sunsets. The bulk of the game is exactly that: exploring, chatting with townspeople, and completing quests. It is easily one of the most wholesome and calming games available on Xbox, to such a degree that it could even be described as a therapeutic experience.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Multiplayer Space Simulation
  • Developer: Frontier Developments
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 20 GB (July 2021)

To label Elite Dangerous as an ambitious space flight sim would be an understatement at best. Players are let loose into an almost terrifyingly impressive 1:1 recreation of the Milky Way galaxy as we know it, free to pursue whatever spacefaring adventures their hearts desire. As to what precisely that entails, the possibilities are exceedingly broad. Whether you’ve always dreamed of braving the unknown reaches of deep space to make new discoveries, piloting a starfighter on the frontlines of an interstellar war, or literally flying a glorified space taxi as you shuttle passengers from one space station to the next, Elite Dangerous has got a role for you to fill. The density of the flight controls might be a bit intimidating at first, but the thrill of participating in its continuously unfolding narrative alongside a dedicated community of fellow pilots is a feeling rarely replicated by other multiplayer titles.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Genre: Puzzle Platformer
  • Developer: No Breaks Games, Codeglue
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 2 GB (July 2021)

Equal parts puzzle game and platformer, Human Fall Flat tasks players with navigating a series of surreal dreamscapes that revolve around a central theme. Each level introduces new mechanics that play a key role in traversing the clear-cut geometry of the environments. The oftentimes bizarre conceptual basis of the stages themselves coupled with the reliably hilarious implementation of the game’s physics practically guarantee an uproarious time, but the puzzles themselves are thoughtfully designed. The experience is made all the more enjoyable when played alongside one or more friends — cooperatively brainstorming solutions to puzzles is surprisingly exhilarating… when you’re not busy trying to figure out new and exciting ways to throw one another into bottomless pits.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • Developer: Red Barrels
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 18 GB (July 2021)

The first Outlast game took horror fans by storm, and the second solidified the series’ foothold in the genre. Outlast 2 places players in the hapless shoes of Blake Langermann, a journalist who quite literally crash-lands into a hellish situation with no hope of escape. As with the first title, running and hiding are the only viable options when confronting the terrors of the night, whether they be the deranged cult members of the local town, the fiendish shapes that pursue players in Blake’s nightmares, or the deformed and infected Scalled. The scares of Outlast 2 reach into core fears regarding human nature. The game utilizes this horror in an effort to craft an unnerving story experience that leaves one with a contradictory sense of numbness and fright.

  • Approximate Game Length: 16 Hours
  • Genre: Platform Adventure
  • Developer: Double Fine Productions
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 4 GB (July 2021)

The original Psychonauts was the definition of “hidden gem” when it released in 2005. Despite critical acclaim, the hysterical puzzle/platformer didn’t find much of an audience until years later. With a sequel finally here (fifteen years and three console generations later), there’s never been a better time to play through one of Double Fine’s most beloved titles. Fans of any 3D open-world platformers, collectathons, or adventure games will feel right at home in the world of Psychonauts. Not only is it one of the funniest games ever written (alongside the likes of Portal), but the creativity of its level design rivals some of Nintendo’s best worlds.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours
  • Genre: Open-World Survival
  • Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 8 GB (July 2021)

Applying a marvelous open-world formula to a purely underwater environment is a phenomenal concept, and Subnautica pulls it off with aplomb. After crashing onto a watery alien world on a single lifepod, players must do their best to survive using the resources at their disposal. Not only are food and water constant concerns, but the terrifying creatures of the deep must be contended with as well. The survival genre might be oversaturated at this point, but Subnautica proves that with a few unique elements and a captivating atmosphere, even a small indie game can stand out in an ocean of similar titles.

  • Approximate Game Length: 45 Hours
  • Genre: Open-World, Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 76 GB (July 2021)

Brought back to Xbox Game Pass once again, Grand Theft Auto V’s vibrant open-world setting of Los Santos is a prime reason for players to stay home and immerse themselves in a digital life of crime and skullduggery. Countless hours can be spent enjoying the game’s various activities and diving into the gripping story.

RELATED: Best Games Like GTA V On Xbox Game Pass

Playing through GTA V is a gaming experience like no other; the freedom of exploring a living, breathing city is brought to home consoles with masterful game design. GTA V is ridiculously fun, which eases the pressure of its intense heists, chaotic car chases, and other criminal enterprises.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: Classic Adventure Game
  • Developer: LucasArts
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 4 GB (July 2021)

Grim Fandango has players exploring and solving puzzles in a film noir version of the Land of the Dead. It is easily one of the most striking and unique games in the Xbox Game Pass portfolio. Grim Fandango‘s sheer creativity makes it a treat to go through, but that’s not the sole merit it sells itself on. The game has an incredible style and sense of place, but it also backs all of its pizzazz up with equally compelling characters. But fair warning! For as great as Grim Fandango‘s world and writing are (and yes, they still hold up today), it is worth mentioning that this is a classic adventure game. There’s very little hand-holding to speak of, even in the remastered edition on Game Pass. That said, there’s no shame in looking up a puzzle or two.

  • Approximate Game Length: 5 Hours
  • Genre: Casual Goat Simulation
  • Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 3 GB (July 2021)

Though there are plenty of strategic titles available to play on Xbox Game Pass, sometimes all anyone really needs is the ability to be a goat for a short while. Thankfully, Goat Simulator has this covered. The delightful physics of the game can keep players entertained for hours, long after they’ve uncovered many of the secret achievements and hilarious references it contains. The joy of being a destructive goat is brought to life in this riot of a title by Coffee Stain Studios. And while the actual functions of being a real-life goat are largely ignored for comedy’s sake, the fantastical nature of Goat Simulator keeps entertainment levels at an all-time high. Look like a goat. Act like a goat. Be like a goat.

  • Approximate Game Length: 12 Hours
  • Genre: 3D Platformer
  • Developer: Rare
  • X|S Enhanced: No (Xbox One X Enhanced)
  • File Size: 576 MB (July 2021)

Very few developers can live up to the incredible quality of Nintendo games. In 1998, Rare released Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, and managed to compete —and in some ways exceed— the genre-defining Super Mario 64. Luckily, the HD re-release of Banjo-Kazooie holds up remarkably well. With so few traditional 3D platformers releasing to pick up the mantle, it remains one of the best games in the genre readily available today. The original Banjo-Kazooie builds on the open-world hub design popularized by Mario 64, and expands on it with an interlocking array of shortcuts and secrets. Combined with some incredibly creative abilities, a loveable cast, and an unforgettable soundtrack by the legendary Grant Kirkhope — it’s obvious why fans are still clamoring for a Banjo-Kazooie 3 years later.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: Space Flight Simulation
  • Developer: Motive Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 24 GB (July 2021)

EA’s track record with Star Wars properties may have seen a fairly recent low point, but Squadrons contributes to their redemption arc in fairly fine fashion. Though the title may imply a relation to the iconic N64 title, Squadrons is most certainly a more immersive brand of space flight sim. That said, it’s likely one of the more accessible recent entries into the genre when compared to the likes of Elite Dangerous.

RELATED: The Best Star Wars Games to Play in 2021

The campaign’s not quite robust, but still weaves a decently compelling narrative as players experience both sides of the ongoing conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire in the aftermath of the second Death Star’s destruction. However, the multiplayer suite is clearly the star of the show. The thrilling 5v5 dogfights make for intense instant-action space battles, while Fleet Battles offer a more tactical experience as you and your squadmates strategically assault the enemy’s capital ships while defending your own. The game’s fantastic visual performance in VR is just the cherry on top. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Genre: RPG Adventure
  • Developer: Toby Fox
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 275 MB (July 2021)

A heartfelt delight from start to finish, Undertale is an indie darling for a reason. It takes typical tropes found in old-school RPGs and uses them to spin a surprisingly deep tale that takes player action into consideration. Players accompany a young child through an underground world of monsters as they try to make their way back to the surface. These “monsters” are full of kind-hearted insight and jovial humor, and talking to each one is part of the game’s charm. Undertale is the kind of game that comes around once in a lifetime, and it is a must-play title for any fan of the RPG genre. Though the challenges that Undertale presents can be arduous, its story is nothing short of miraculous. It’s the kind of game that fills you with determination.

  • Approximate Game Length: 12 Hours
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Lionhead Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No (Xbox One X Enhanced)
  • File Size: 8 GB (July 2021)

Fable 2’s critical reception upon launching in 2008 was on par with the landmark release of Bethesda’s Fallout 3 — no mean feat considering the impressive legacy of the latter. Fable 2 isn’t an 80+ hour epic open-world RPG with endless possibilities. Still, the decisions players make and the impact these have on the world still feel more tangible than a lot of modern games with branching narratives. Fable 2’s setting evokes whimsy and wonder, but it never feels toothless or childish. It’s a perfect taste of the universe Lionhead and Peter Molyneux created and a great entry to jump into before the Microsoft Studios franchise reboot set to release on the Xbox Series X|S

  • Approximate Game Length: 2 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Exploration
  • Developer: Giant Sparrow
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 3 GB (July 2021)

Though the walking simulator genre is not for everyone, What Remains of Edith Finch is an undeniably unique experience. Edith Finch returns to her old family home to uncover the secrets behind a family curse. While she explores the rooms of the creaky and gargantuan Finch house, she chases after the stories of her deceased family members. Players are treated to a smorgasbord of experiences as they dive into the memories of the Finch family. Scenarios are played out that will delight and shock players as they are taken through both lighthearted adventures full of imaginative magic and narratives that evoke an ineffable sense of cathartic despondency quite unlike anything else in the medium.

  • Approximate Game Length: 25 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter Adventure
  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 37 GB (July 2021)

Becoming immersed in a science-fiction universe that is as well-crafted as Prey’s is an experience like no other. Thrown into the mind of Morgan Yu, players must unravel the mystery behind the catastrophe that has befallen the Talos I space station. A strange alien life form known as the Typhon has taken over, and Morgan must contend with the peculiar threat they pose to the humans left alive on the station. Arkane Studios blends aspects of Dishonored, BioShock, and Soma in a masterful fashion, allowing players to choose how they wish to tackle problems they encounter. They can proceed in a stealthy fashion, upgrade weapons and go in guns blazing, acquire almost supernatural powers from Neuromods, or use the handy GLOO Cannon to tackle the Typhon menace. The appeal of Prey comes not only from the immersive world of its narrative but from the diverse array of playstyle options it gives its players to do with as they will.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Hours (Per Game)
  • Genre: Grand Strategy
  • Developer: Paradox Interactive
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 9 GB (July 2021)

Grand strategy games make for a precious commodity on consoles, as the genre’s innate complexity and densely layered menus don’t tend to translate well. Stellaris, however, breaks that mold in fine fashion. After selecting (or generating) the civilization of their dreams, players are placed at its helm as it discovers faster-than-light (FTL) travel and begins its journey amongst the stars. Whether by military might, diplomatic intrigue, or economic guile, the general goal is establishing interstellar supremacy. But as the saying goes, it’s the journey and not the destination. The myriad of potential events that may unfold as you guide your civilization along the path to victory is truly astounding. Occurrences that range from humorously bizarre to terrifyingly cataclysmic lurk behind every discovered planet and unmapped corner of the galaxy. Players will chase clues left behind by ancient precursor civilizations, encounter all manner of alien races, explore the furthest reaches of known space, and so much more. No two games will ever turn out the same.

  • Approximate Game Length: 70 Hours
  • Genre: JRPG
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 31 GB (July 2021)

Dragon Quest XI follows a silent protagonist and his band of merry friends as they explore impressive vistas and small towns in a typical JRPG fashion. Unlike the modern Final Fantasy games, Echoes of an Elusive Age sticks to the traditional turn-based battles of yesteryear. Yes, Dragon Quest XI is still an aggressively traditional JRPG, but that doesn’t stop it from being a first-class game and a must for any fans of the genre. Square Enix has been iterating on the Dragon Quest formula for three decades, and it shows. It’s hard to imagine a more polished and complete package than Dragon Quest XIRead our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 70 Hours
  • Genre: Action Role-Playing
  • Developer: Bethesda
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 51 GB (July 2021)

Bethesda’s latest spin on the definitive post-apocalyptic roleplaying experience isn’t without its detractors, but it’s hard to argue that anyone’s getting a raw deal with its inclusion on Game Pass. As the Lone Survivor of Vault 111, players are immediately faced with tracking down their son after he’s snatched from the Vault by a mysterious band of mercenaries and scientists. It’s a simple and lofty motivation, but factoring in an irradiated wasteland rife with terrifying mutants, raiders, and long-abandoned ruins concealing vital supplies, it becomes apparent that the road’s going to get bumpy. Fallout 4 took a significant (and fair) amount of flak for its relatively rail-roaded narrative and lackluster dialogue navigation, but frankly, there’s still a lot there to love.

RELATED: 10 Most Breathtaking Locations In Fallout 4

Describing a wasteland ravaged by nuclear war as “beautiful” doesn’t roll off of the tongue, but Bethesda’s signature open-world charm is still well-intact. The Commonwealth serves as a compelling setting, from the ruins of Boston to the Glowing Sea. And as per usual, there’s a near-endless amount of content for players to explore and uncover. And once poring over the vanilla content has lost its luster, one can turn to an impressive and accessible selection of mods to spice up their playthrough utilizing the modding community’s boundless creativity.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: 2D Narrative Adventure
  • Developer: Infinite Fall
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 6 GB (July 2021)

Beneath the cute aesthetic and quirky characters of Night in the Woods, there’s a very cynical story about how misery loves company. The coming-of-age story follows a college dropout returning home and reuniting with their small-town life and big-city dreams. Using the framing of a 2D side-scrolling adventure game, Night in the Woods endlessly impresses with its remarkable world-building and characters. Few games strike such a perfect balance of nostalgia, melancholy, and young adult angst. There’s an incredible depth to the writing in Night in the Woods that cements it as one of the best narrative games of its kind.

  • Approximate Game Length: 13 Hours
  • Genre: Racing Simulation
  • Developer: Playground Games
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 78 GB (July 2021)

There’s nothing quite like coasting past Great Britain’s stunning vista at 150 mph with lo-fi beats propelling each and every drift. Forza Horizon 4 makes simulation racing seem easy, expertly mixing arcade racer challenges with precision controls. Not to mention that Horizon 4 is easily one of the best-looking games on modern consoles — and it looks even better on the Series X. The Horizon franchise has been polished and refined over 15 years, and it shows: Forza Horizon 4 is the benchmark all other racing games are judged against. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 2Hours
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Developer: Monstars, Resonair, Stage Games
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 4 GB (July 2021)

There’s a little bit of extra magic in Tetris Effect that takes it to another level beyond being a run-of-the-mill adaptation of the 1984 tile-matching phenomenon. Of course, this is Tetris at its core, which needs no explanation. The crowning jewel of Tetris Effect is its roughly 2-hour long “Journey Mode,” which whisks players between a series of audio-visual vignettes. These occupy the space between a live concert with electric lighting and lasers and a state-of-the-art planetarium visit. Combined with a multiplayer mode, and a tremendous version of the original game, Tetris Effect: Connected is the full package.

  • Approximate Game Length: 7 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 68 GB (July 2021)

Titanfall 2’s relatively understated presence in the FPS genre is more than a bit puzzling, because it was the object of significant critical acclaim upon release. And its die-hard fanbase has quietly asserted that it’s handily one of the most solid shooters to have ever hit the market for years since. Frankly, they’ve got a lot going on to support that opinion. The game’s campaign is practically as solid as its multiplayer suite, with the former weaving a compelling sci-fi narrative around pilot-in-training Cooper and his surly oversized robot acquaintance, BT-7274.

RELATED: Xbox Game Pass: 15 Best Multiplayer Games On The Service

Big mechs and wall-running mechanics go a long way on their own, but Respawn’s take on the FPS formula just feels polished in a way that many contemporary shooters don’t — and is more than partially responsible for its remarkable overnight success with Apex Legends.

  • Approximate Game Length: 13 Hours
  • Genre: Episodic Adventure
  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 4 GB (July 2021)

Telltale’s The Walking Dead resulted in the studio’s meteoric success, as well as the contemporary popularization of the graphic adventure genre. Capitalizing on the popularity of The Walking Dead following its adaptation into a wildly popular television series, Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead is initially told from the perspective of former convict Lee, whose journey to prison is interrupted by the zombie outbreak. Eventually, the focus shifts to the young Clementine and follows her evolution into a savvy survivor hardened by the ravages of the post-apocalypse. The unfolding narrative bends and shifts responsively to the player’s choices throughout the game, making every dialogue option seem tense and impactful while ensuring that no two playthroughs end up telling the same story.

  • Approximate Game Length: 12 Hours
  • Genre: Platform Adventure/Metroidvania
  • Developer: Moon Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 5 GB (July 2021)

Beauty is not often associated with video games, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a beautiful title. The artistry with which character motions and backgrounds were created is astounding. Even the music that accompanies players along their journey with Ori is gorgeous. However, Ori is not simply a great game because it looks good. It is functionally exquisite as well. The precise platforming from the first game, Ori and the Blind Forest, is still in place, with even more tools of traversal at players’ disposal. New combat mechanics have been added to Will of the Wisps as well, and they are extraordinary to execute. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the complete package: jaw-dropping visuals, emotional storytelling, and perfectly honed gameplay elements. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 25 Hours
  • Genre: Third-Person Action RPG
  • Developer: BioWare
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 13 GB (July 2021)

Though subsequent titles were released after it, Mass Effect 2 remains the pinnacle of the series. Commander Shepard and the rest of the Normandy SR-2 crew face a grave threat to the galaxy. The Reaper menace is ever-growing, and players must assume the role of Commander Shepard as they plan to tackle this foe.

RELATED: The Best RPGs On Xbox Game Pass

Mass Effect 2 is truly BioWare at its finest, with compelling dialogue between characters, engaging combat sequences, and a high-stakes story that ends on an unforgettable note. Despite the age this classic RPG is showing, it is a game worth playing.

  • Approximate Game Length: 20-60 minutes (per run)
  • Genre: Deck-Builder Roguelike
  • Developer: Mega Crit Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 572 MB (July 2021)

Slay the Spire popularized and perfected the deck-building rogue-like in one fell swoop. It’s an impeccably well-balanced game that threads the needle between being simple enough for newcomers and deep enough for veterans of the genre. Because Slay the Spire is a single-player game, enemies aren’t confined to the same rule-set as the player, which lets every enemy feel unique and exciting. Any fans of drafting table-top games or classic TCGs like Magic: The Gathering owe it to themselves to give Slay the Spire a try.

  • Approximate Game Length: 18 Hours
  • Genre: Survival Horror
  • Developer: Tango Gameworks
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 34 GB (July 2021)

A large part of The Evil Within’s appeal comes from its cinematic approach to the genre. An unnerving ambience is key to immersing players in Detective Sebastian Castellanos’ plummet into abject horror. Trapped in the mind of a sadistic killer, Sebastian is confronted with gruesome scenes at every turn, and players are tasked with relentlessly pressing forward no matter the next nightmare that awaits them. Reminiscent of the Resident Evil series, The Evil Within forges its own identity with bloody imagery that borders on hallucinogenic and a combat system that is as measured as it is gripping. If one can find the resolve to pick up this gut-churning title, The Evil Within’s established take on horror makes it impossible to put down.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Online Adventure
  • Developer: Rare
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 58 GB (July 2021)

Despite weathering criticism concerning a lack of content at the outset, Sea of Thieves has steadily been accruing more in-game activities for players to pursue as it sails along. Rare’s delightfully vibrant pirate simulator plops you onto a dock with a ship — and the rest is up to you. Whether you sail about completing tasks for one of the trading companies, seek out other players for some PVP thrills, or aimlessly hop about from island to island slaying skeletons with no particular aim in mind, the game doesn’t push you in any particular direction. However, that’s an intrinsic part of its charm. It can certainly be played solo, but earnestly, you’ll want to grab a friend or three before diving in. The pirate’s life truly shines when it’s lived alongside a few loyal crewmates.

  • Approximate Game Length: 34-100 Hours
  • Genre: Open-World RPG
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 27 GB (July 2021)

The Elder Scrolls has been synonymous with the very concept of open-world RPGs for decades now, and Skyrim is the title to show if a demonstration is required. All memes aside, the Dragonborn’s quest to defeat Alduin is a spectacle rarely equaled by RPGs in general, and a lot of that is due to the fact that it has as many chapters as the player would like it to have. The frigid province of Skyrim is unforgivingly gorgeous, and the amount of “optional” content is nearly endless. Factor in the innovative decision to make a stunning library of user-generated mods available on Xbox consoles, and you have what is likely the most content-rich game currently available on Game Pass.

  • Approximate Game Length: 11 Hours
  • Genre: 2D Platform Adventure
  • Developer: Matt Makes Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 1 GB (July 2021)

Games typically take players on a journey, but Celeste gives a whole new meaning to this concept. Players control Madeline, a young woman set on climbing to the top of Mount Celeste. Along the way, she must face her inner demons while remaining steadfast in her goal. The poignant story is wrapped in the trappings of a demanding platformer, but the tough nature of the gameplay ties into the themes the story shares with its players. Celeste is not for the faint of heart, but seeing it through to completion is incredibly rewarding.

  • Approximate Game Length: 40 Hours
  • Genre: JRPG
  • Developer: Square
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 3 GB (July 2021)

Final Fantasy 7 was —and is to this day— the definitive benchmark by which JRPGs are judged. To say that it has aged gracefully is an egregious overstatement, but the fact is that this is a living piece of gaming history. The struggle of Cloud and the gang to save the planet is timeless, and Square-Enix’s vision of a dystopian fantasy is monumental even today — if the fevered anticipation that surrounded Final Fantasy 7 Remake wasn’t enough indication. Assuming one can forgive a few rough polygons passing for hair and gel with the turn-based combat, what awaits prospective players here is either a megaton nostalgia bomb or a deeply intriguing history lesson.

  • Approximate Game Length: 20 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Survival Horror
  • Developer: Creative Assembly
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 24 GB (July 2021)

For the most part, games based on the Alien movie franchise have been frantic shooter affairs, clearly drawing their inspiration from James Cameron’s space marine sequel film, Aliens. Alien: Isolation chooses instead to base its environments and style of horror on Ridley Scott’s classic original Alien. Fans of Scott’s film will undoubtedly be pleased by Isolation, as the entire title serves as an homage. However, the game does not rest on the movie’s laurels. Alien: Isolation creates one of the most suspenseful horror experiences ever played in a video game. This is all owing to the fantastic AI of the titular Alien. The perfect predatory instincts of the Xenomorph make players feel as if their every step is heard, and when the Alien is in play, there is no relief from that tension.

  • Approximate Game Length: 6 Hours
  • Genre: Co-Op Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Hazelight Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 17 GB (July 2021)

A Way Out distinguishes itself from nearly every other game on the market by not just offering a co-op mode, but by making it the essential centerpiece of the experience. Emphasis on “essential,” as it can’t actually be played in single-player. Players take on the roles of Vincent and Leo, two inmates planning an escape from the prison where they are currently being held. Little do they know the twists and turns their adventure will take.

RELATED: EA Didn’t Think A Way Out Would Sell

A Way Out takes players on a unique journey, albeit an occasionally awkward one. Stiff dialogue and forced emotional moments aside, the perfectly absurd narrative and strangely integrated (yet thoroughly fun) mini-games weave together an uproarious experience for you and your partner of choice.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Co-Op First-Person Adventure
  • Developer: Fatshark
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 88 GB (July 2021)

The whole world’s gone to hell, and the Empire’s at risk of being swept away in a tide of voracious rat-men known as the Skaven — but not if the Ubersreik five have anything to say about it. Being brutally honest, the Vermintide games play almost exactly like Left 4 Dead with a Warhammer paint job. And continuing in the vein of brutal honesty, they really don’t need to do much more than that to be fantastic games. Fatshark got it right with Vermintide, and swung for the fences with this sequel. All of the frantic, white-knuckle rat-slaying shenanigans are still well afoot, alongside a revamped loot system, new careers for each of the five core classes to pursue and progress, and new enemy types to maim, crush, burn, stab, and shoot.

  • Approximate Game Length: 30-50 hours
  • Genre: Open-World Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 26 GB (July 2021)

Yakuza 0 is the quintessential Yakuza game. The 1980s origin story casts players as Kiryu Kazama and fan-favorite Goro Majima as they get their start in the criminal underbelly of Kamurocho and Sotenbori. It takes the core beat-em-up combat from the original games and refines it in one of the richest open-world games available today. Despite being a little older, and a little less polished than Judgement (2019) or Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2020), Yakuza 0 is the perfect blend of everything that makes the series so beloved.

  • Approximate Game Length: 16 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: id Software
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 66 GB (July 2021)

Doom’s explosive 2016 reboot was a tough act to follow — a fact that didn’t seem to elude id Software when it came to designing the sequel. Following the events of the Doom Slayer’s initial outing, the forces of Hell have invaded Earth. From there, the narrative unfolds as expected: the Doom Slayer’s got a job to do, and it’s going to involve a lot of shotgun shells. Doom Eternal, pardon the cliche, turns every knob up to eleven, tears them off, and forgets that they existed to begin with. It may have seemed impossible to make the fevered rhythm of Doom 2016’s combat even more of an arrhythmia-inducing experience, but id Software did just that by expanding the Slayer’s arsenal and unleashing even more terrifying demons for him to loose it upon. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Genre: Cooking Simulation
  • Developer: Team 17, Ghost Town Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 8 GB (July 2021)

Finding the perfect co-op game can be a bit of a struggle, but Overcooked 2 has got that covered. This absolute treat of a game allows up to four players to bumble about different kitchens preparing familiar dishes.

RELATED: The Best Local Co-Op & Split-Screen Games On Xbox Game Pass

Hilarity ensues as each kitchen needs to be cleared within a certain time limit. If the game feels like a breeze after the first playthrough, Overcooked 2 adds challenges to the mix by including secret levels and additional stars to earn. Don’t hesitate to join the Onion King and his faithful dog Kevin as they seek to halt the Unbread after they were raised using the Necro-nom-nom-icon. It’s one scrumptious journey.

  • Approximate Game Length: 20 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 44 GB (July 2021)

Looking at screenshots of Wolfenstein: The New Order, it would be easy to mistake it for a modern-day retreading of the 1980s corridor shooters its predecessors popularized. However, The New Order set the stage for a 21st-century version of Wolfenstein that lives up its lineage and forges a new path for the series. It matches the smooth gunplay id Software fans expect with a dusting of RPG tropes (i.e. skill trees, branching narrative paths, and side quests), and the whole package comes together exceptionally well. The WWII alternate history narrative expertly switches between the ultra-violence and bombast id Software is known for and —somehow— manages to tie into an emotional core with a beautifully drawn cast of characters. The latest series of Wolfenstein games (developed by MachineGames) are easily some of the best single-player first-person shooters available today, and The New Order is the best place to start.

  • Approximate Game Length: 18 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Action-Adventure Stealth
  • Developer: Arkane Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 54 GB (July 2021)

Dishonored was a phenomenal stealth title, and its sequel follows in its footsteps while managing to take some big strides forward on its own. Dishonored 2 is a gem that has gone vastly unappreciated. It continues the story of Corvo and Emily as they work to regain the throne after a coup. Players can pick between one or the other to play as, and both Corvo and Emily are given unique skills, making Dishonored 2 highly replayable. In addition to that, Dishonored 2 is home to one of the most innovative and exciting levels in video game history, utilizing a time-travel mechanic in a manner that astounds and inspires.

  • Approximate Game Length: 3 Hours
  • Genre: Point-And-Click Survival Horror
  • Developer: Scott Cawthon
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 307 MB (July 2021)

Practically anyone with access to YouTube circa 2014 and onward will require little introduction to FNAF, the indie horror title that swept the internet with its innate virality and became a true sensation in every sense of the word. It’s a bit silly, sure, but it’s also a masterclass in minimalism — simple mechanics, simple scares, great execution. The uninitiated, in particular, owe it to themselves to get a bit too cozy with Freddy Fazbear and his gang of animatronic cohorts, but mind those security cameras if you want to survive the first night, let alone four more.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Co-Op First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: Ghost Ship Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 2 GB (July 2021)

Danger. Darkness. Dwarves. Everything that needs to be known about Deep Rock Galactic can be summed up in its tagline. Up to four players can dive into the dangerous mines of Hoxxes IV, braving the enemies that lurk in the darkness as doughty dwarves. The straightforward nature of Deep Rock Galactic’s gameplay belies the deeper system in place. There are multiple mining assignments players can tackle, intuitive upgrade paths, and a delightful hub area where players can relax (or randomly bellow “Rock and Stone!” between pints of ale) before diving into a tense mission. Deep Rock Galactic knows what its strengths are, and it knows how to play to them. All players have to do is prepare themselves for a good time.

  • Approximate Game Length: 8 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: Visceral Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 48 GB (July 2021)

There’s a whole suite of Battlefield goodness available via EA Play — and frankly, if the series’ signature multiplayer madness is your jam then you’re better off opting for one of the more recent titles. However, Hardline deserves a special mention on account of its relatively innovative campaign. In a genre where single-player offerings often play second fiddle to the multiplayer component, Hardline’s bombastic police drama is a diamond in the rough that’s more than worth the price of admission.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Survival Adventure
  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 4 GB (July 2021)

Obsidian Entertainment is back at it again with a unique take on the survival genre. Players assume the role of kids who have mysteriously become minuscule in a strange Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids kind of scenario. Now no larger than an ant, these kids have to find out what happened to them and survive the perilous environs of an average backyard. Grounded is currently in early access, so there are portions of the title that are still in progress. That said, even in this state, the game is an utter joy. Collecting grass blades to construct shelter, pebbles to make hammers, and water droplets to quench your thirst puts a fresh sheen to this rather crowded genre. The only thing to watch out for? The spiders. Common spiders are the primary enemies in Grounded, and for those who suffer from a touch of arachnophobia, a sudden attack from one of them can be practically heart-stopping.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • Developer: Bungie
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 82 GB (July 2021)

Veteran FPS developer Bungie released this sequel to its wildly acclaimed MMO-FPS hybrid in 2017 and it doesn’t seem to have slowed down since. With three expansions under its belt at the time of writing and two more slated for release in 2021 and beyond, now’s as good a time as any to take up the mantle of a Guardian and see what the hype is all about.

RELATED: Destiny 2: Everything You Need To Know About Armor Stats

There’s a metric ton of continuously-expanded content on the table here that a singular paragraph isn’t even going to scratch. So while you’re entirely able to dive into it as a solo player, you’re much better off embracing its social aspect and linking up with a few friends (if not an entire clan) to ensure you really get the most out of Destiny 2.

  • Approximate Game Length: 5 Hours
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Developer: PopCap Games
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 640 MB (July 2021)

Peggle is a straightforward puzzle game, make no mistake about that. Players shoot a set amount of balls to clear a level of an array of pegs in the center of the screen. That is the gist of the game. However, its simplicity is all part of Peggle’s genius. There is nothing more satisfying than to aim that cannon, shoot that ball, and then watch it bounce from peg to peg. A further layer of strategy is added to the game when different characters, with different ball-shooting abilities, are unlocked. The basic nature of Peggle’s premise should not deter anyone from playing it. Besides, nothing beats the exultation of hitting that final peg, when the screen zooms in on the ball in slow motion and the triumphant sounds of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy trumpets forth.

  • Approximate Game Length: 11 Hours
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter/Action-Adventure
  • Developer: The Coalition
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 43 GB (July 2021)

The latest mainline entry in the Gears franchise is one of its boldest. Gears 5 rolls right into new territory with a fresh multiplayer mode, a partial open-world experience in the middle of the campaign, and a devastating story twist that has left fans reeling. As with any Gears title, Gears 5 offers a robust campaign co-op experience with up to three players. The game follows Kait Diaz and her companions as they struggle to hold the line against the encroaching wave of the Swarm. Action is the order of the day any time a player picks up Gears 5, and between roaring a Lancer’s chainsaw at an enemy and diving for cover from an onslaught of bullets, there’s hardly a moment left to breathe. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 15 to 20 hours long
  • Genre: Action-Adventure
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • X|S Enhanced: Yes
  • File Size: 50 GB (July 2021)

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the best lightsaber game of the modern era. Developer Respawn lovingly combines heavy exploration (think modern Tomb Raider games), with a more nuanced battle system in the vein of God of War or Dark Souls. The game takes place in the fallout of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, and puts players in the role Cal Kestis — an untrained Jedi Padawan. With subtle touches like using Cal’s lightsaber as a flashlight or customizing its hilt, Fallen Order feels like a 21st-century love letter to the Star Wars toys and action figures of decades past. It’s also a fantastic action-adventure game. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 16 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Simulation Adventure
  • Developer: Monomi Park
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 1 GB (July 2021)

Slime Rancher drops players onto the Far, Far Range, where their job is to cultivate and care for the adorable Slimes that gather in the region’s various zones. Each type of Slime, be it a Honey Slime, a Puddle Slime, a Quantum Slime, and so on, plops out valuable Plorts, which can be sold on the Plort Market. With the earnings for selling what is, in essence, excrement, players can purchase upgrades to their Ranch to further their endeavor of collecting yet more Slimes. Its gameplay loop is simple, but Slime Rancher offers players who want to relax into a friendly simulation game a delightful time.

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: City-Building Survival
  • Developer: 11 bit Studios
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 3 GB (July 2021)

11 bit’s recent reputation for generating thoughtful, yet heartwrenching conceptual titles holds true with Frostpunk. Set in the late 19th century following the onset of a cataclysmic volcanic winter, Frostpunk tasks players with managing a group of survivors as they struggle to survive the sub-zero temperatures — and themselves. While the elements are brutal enough to contend with using limited resources and the precise application of heat sources, players will be confronted with ethical dilemmas that demand one sacrifice or another. Implementing necessary policies will disenfranchise, if not outright endanger their population in many scenarios, putting your ideals and humanity in jeopardy as you struggle to answer a singular question: how far will you push the people under your care for the sake of seeing another frostbitten day?

  • Approximate Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Genre: First-Person Survival Horror
  • Developer: Capcom
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 22 GB (July 2021)

In a marvelous return to form, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard terrifies players with a mix of hideous creatures to contend with and tense moments of resource management. Rather than buckling down with the more action-oriented setpieces of its predecessors, Biohazard grounds players in a single location for the majority of the game. As Ethan Winters, you must navigate your way through the peril-riddled and decrepit Baker house in search of your missing wife, Mia. The game’s switch to first-person perspective from the Resident Evil franchise’s typical third-person viewpoint is a gamble that pays off as players now have to deal with monsters face-to-face, in a very literal sense.

  • Approximate Game Length: 20 Hours
  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 53 GB (July 2021)

Obsidian Entertainment played to its strengths here, and it shows. As the lucky person chosen to be plucked from a derelict colonist ship (unsubtly dubbed “The Hope”) to raise some hell, Halcyon essentially your oyster. Whether you’re a guns-blazing commando or a smooth-talking pacifist, Obsidian’s taken pains to ensure that you’re able to dismantle or decide the delightfully morose corporate deadlock ruling over Halcyon in your own way. The Outer Worlds excels in terms of writing, features a vibrant cast of characters, and packs in an impressive amount of player agency given how narrative-heavy it is. In short, it’s a fine dose of good, old-fashioned RPG goodness. Read our review here.

  • Approximate Game Length: 12 Hours
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter/Survival Horror
  • Developer: Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores)
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 6 GB (July 2021)

Combine the measured horror of Resident Evil 4 with a cold and unfeeling sci-fi environment, and Dead Space is the end result. Players join Isaac Clarke as he traverses the dark, metallic hallways of the USG Ishimura, a gargantuan planet-mining spaceship. Gruesome terror lurks around every corner in the form of Necromorphs, the reanimated corpses of the Ishimura’s crew. Though Dead Space was first released in 2008, it maintains an unrelenting sense of dread that exceeds the bounds of most modern horror games. Its atmosphere will linger in your memory long after you’ve finished the game, and whispers of “Make us whole” will haunt your worst nightmares.

  • Approximate Game Length: N/A
  • Genre: Survival Sandbox
  • Developer: Mojang
  • X|S Enhanced: No
  • File Size: 547 MB (July 2021)

Is there really any respectably concise way to describe Minecraft? Having managed to reach 200 million sales since its humble 2011 origin, this unassuming little sandbox title pays dividends with the sheer breadth and variance of content it’s capable of. Feel like testing your mettle against the elements and an array of hostile creatures that emerge after nightfall? Survival Mode is the place to be. Into quite literally creating your own fun, or just wanting to channel your inner architectural visionary without limitation? Creative Mode is the answer. Of course, there’s also a maddening depth of community-generated content to explore as well. Of all the titillating titles available on Game Pass, Minecraft is the one most likely to never make egress from your hard drive.

NEXT: Best Xbox Game Pass Games For Kids

Este artículo está traducido y sin editar de fuente

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