The Best Games for Your New Xbox Series X

A new generation of video-game consoles is here, but the suckers are hard to get ahold of. If you’ve managed to get an Xbox Series X (or Series S) in time for the holidays — especially if it’s a gift for a loved one — you’re probably wondering which games will help you get the most out of your investment.

Which ones are best? Which ones make the most of next-gen hardware? What games are fun? Well, we’ve got you covered.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection — Game Pass

Master Chief’s been the unofficial mascot for Microsoft’s Xbox division for almost 20 years, and for a good reason. This anthology of six classic shooters is optimized for Series X; it runs at up to 120 frames per second (as good as it gets on consoles), and it offers hundreds of hours of enjoyment across numerous game modes. Find out what you’ve been missing with an Xbox Game Pass Subscription.

Call of Duty: Warzone — free to play

Like Apex Legends or Fortnite, Call of Duty’s free-to-play battle royale is a richly competitive online game that’ll show off what your new Xbox can really do. Warzone targets 120fps on supported TVs and monitors, and you can squad up with friends on any platform, including PS5 and PC.

Grand Theft Auto 5 / GTA Online — $27

This game originally came out in 2013, but these days it’s better than ever. And Rockstar’s still developing large, free content updates for it, including a massive expansion scheduled to go live next month. It continues to be a great, casual game to play socially with your friends, and you won’t believe how it runs on Series X. Once-lengthy load times go by in a flash, and performance is unbelievably smooth for a game of this scale.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — $60

If you’re looking for the biggest, truest next-gen experience available right now, look no further. Historically, the Assassin’s Creed series has been a little hit or miss, but Valhalla is astonishing. Take on rival Viking clans, sail the seas, and delight in its massive stealth-action sandbox. This isn’t completely unlike your typical Ubisoft open-world; it may, however, be the best one.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Game Pass

If you didn’t get around to playing Jedi: Fallen Order on the Xbox One or PS4, you did yourself a favor.

In performance mode, this game runs like a Star Wars fan’s dream on Series X. With tough, precise lightsaber combat, epic boss fights, and one of the best Star Wars stories in recent memory; you’ll find this one’s full of surprises.

Star Wars: Squadrons — $24

Two great Star Wars games in a row? I could hardly believe it myself, but EA Motive snuck in one of the finest games of the Xbox One generation at the very last minute. Even better news: it’s just received a free next-gen upgrade with 120fps support, new starfighters, and more. If you’ve ever wanted to fly an X-wing or TIE fighter, it’s your lucky day.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light — Game Pass

Bungie’s latest space-opera MMO first came out in 2017, but it’s somehow managed to get better with nearly every expansion. Fan-favorite activities and locations from the original Destiny are returning in year four, and folks playing on PS5, and Series X will be getting a next-gen upgrade for free later this month. Destiny 2’s free to play for everyone, and Game Pass subscribers get access to all the major expansion, as well.

Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition — $31

Bethesda’s open-world RPGs, like Skyrim, are as beautifully crafted as they are replayable. If you’ve never tried Fallout 4, a grand adventure awaits — with incredible performance on Series X.

This is the kind of game you’ll come back to again and again, getting dozens or hundreds of hours out of it easily. Sure, there’s a central storyline, but you can largely ignore that and forge your own legend in the post-atomic wasteland.

Fuser — $60

Harmonix's new rhythm game lets you live out your DJ fantasies onstage, mixing beats and tracks from more than 100 of your favorite songs. Perform for an audience in campaign mode, share your best mixes online, and freestyle for hours as you find your musical bliss. It’s truly a blast.

Night in the Woods — Game Pass

This lovingly animated indie platformer is heavy on narrative and offers up some of the best video-game history characters. Told in a graphic novel style, this is a story about families, friendship, and discovering a real sense of belonging. Sentimental, unabashedly political, and utterly hilarious, Night in the Woods is the definition of a must-play.

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