The best games on Xbox Game Pass continues to expand in quality and size every month, with Microsoft now in a position to deliver a range of first-party exclusives, AAA big hitters, and iconic indies at a rat-a-tat pace thanks to its recent acquisition of new studios and strengthened partnerships with developers across the globe.
We know, for example, that 2020 alone will bring the likes of Halo Infinite, the Yakuza series, and much more to the Netflix-style subscription service, which allows you to download and play from a broad library of titles across PC and Xbox One (and, by Holiday, the Xbox Series X) for a small monthly fee. There's so many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to start.
With than in mind, we've listed the best games on Xbox Game Pass below, and will update this page constantly whenever another must-play lands on the service. If you're not yet subscribed, here's the best Xbox Game Pass deals to sign up to right now.
Red Dead Redemption 2
I shouldn't have to explain why Red Dead Redemption 2 is a must play if you're subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. Hundreds of hours of prestige content set in the most realistic open world of all time, all for free? Yeah, it's a no brainer, as they definitely wouldn't say in the Wild West. Arthur Morgan's story is one to soak up, inhabit, and lose entire evenings to without realising, as Rockstar's most personal, heartfelt drama yet.
And if the slow burn narrative and hyper-realist scope isn't for you, the Xbox Game Pass version of the title also includes access to Red Dead Online, the latest multiplayer universe from Rockstar that's constantly being updated with new things to see, explore, and tie to a train track. Just make sure you're subscribed to Xbox Live, and you're free to make a name for yourself in the great frontier.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment's latest science-fiction RPG was one of the best games of 2019 to release last year, and Microsoft's recent acquisition of the esteemed studio means that The Outer Worlds is now available on Game Pass alongside any future exclusives it releases for the Xbox platform.
Deep, but never overwhelming, full of content, but none of it meaningless, and story-focused, but perfectly paced, The Outer Worlds is role-playing done right, and one of the few recent games of its kind that actually respects the player's time and agency. Given how well it performed last year, it sounds like The Outer Worlds is the start of a bold new franchise for Obsidian, so best to get on it now before you're behind on the story so far.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Square Enix and Disney's mad, long-running crossover extravaganza comes to its (potential) conclusion with 2019's Kingdom Hearts 3 and, boy, what an experience it is. While the series has never been very good at welcoming new fans into its expansive (and, frankly, exhaustive and rather convoluted) tapestry of lore and high concept storytelling, the sheer charm of Sora's Disney universe hopping adventure is enough to go on alone.
Kingdom Hearts 3's tour through the worlds of Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Frozen, and more are the closest you'll get to a big budget Disney Pixar game right now, and all of them look as stunning as you'd expect. And, of course, there's the franchise's famed action-RPG gameplay, which runs and plays like a dream.
The Metal Gear Solid Series
Starting incredibly strong here with Kojima’s revolutionary stealth franchise. Yes, Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain are all available on Game Pass and offer up a delicious invite for the inquisitive series beginner. Metal Gear Solid 2 is still one of the most unbelievably relevant games of the past twenty years, with a staunchly political story that will have you constantly kissing your teeth.
The third entry, Snake Eater is a systems-led masterpiece with sandbox-sized maps, immobilizing detail and a wonderfully stylish 60s setting. If you’re looking for something more modern, The Phantom Pain and its ambient management systems and difficult to top stealth sandbox will be your bag. Many games struggle to feel as good as The Phantom Pain, even years after it’s influential release. There’s also Metal Gear Survive… but we don’t talk about that one.
Forza Horizon 4
Even as someone who doesn’t much care for realistic driving games, I absolutely understand the hype behind Forza Horizon 4. By threading the lines of realism with the festival narrative plus extremely cool Halo and Lego collaborations, Playground Games has crafted a near peerless toybox of unbridled joy for players and car fans of all creeds.
There’s nothing better than kicking back with some snacks, sticking on your favourite playlist and tearing through the countryside in a custom-painted F1 car. Leave and return as you wish. Genre sceptics with a Game Pass subscription, don’t sleep on this one.
One of the most influential video games of all-time, Minecraft is right there waiting for you when you pick up your Game Pass subscription. Regardless of whether you were an early adopter during beta or if you first played Mojang’s blocky masterpiece with a controller in your hand, most of the gaming demographic has a fond memory or two of punching trees with their bare fists and slapping a door on a hovel in the side of a mountain, quivering at the thought of the simple but menacing creeps outside.
We all remember our first fateful night of survival when we felt the potent melancholy of being the only person in this gigantic, procedurally generated land of opportunity. You also most likely remember that time your friend poured lava on the aesthetically-pleasing wooden roof of your magnum opus mansion. Peaks and valleys. Minecraft is a reliable, accessible and ever-changing fun machine readily available via Game Pass.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
What next? Oh, nothing, just every single game in one of the most iconic shooter series of all time. Whether you’re a Halo veteran who just wants to play some Blood Gulch or a newcomer excited to see what all the fuss is about, the remastered charm of Halo: The Master Chief Collection is hard to ignore when it’s at your fingertips with a Game Pass subscription.
Halo’s multiplayer combat is still the gold standard, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more thrilling co-op experience than any of the available campaigns on Legendary. You can even stick the game-modifying skulls on if you think you’re a tough cookie. Every facet of the Halo series holds up well in this console generation, and if you really can’t wait for Infinite, attempting to wrap up all the content in this ridiculous package will surely kill a good chunk of the time until launch.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
When Hellblade launched in 2017, it immediately received high praise for its focused, harrowing story of the Norse underworld. More than that, though, it's about living with mental illness, ostracization, and grief. Hellblade is a mature, nuanced, self-serious story that doesn't care to entertain as much as it wants to hit you right in the heart from every angle. It's also gorgeously directed, with some of the most realistic looking visuals ever put to games.
Its star, Senua, is played by a Melina Juergens, who worked at Ninja Theory simply as a video producer, but her role as stand-in for trailers and mocap and the like eventually led to her becoming the face of the franchise, and she does a remarkable job. Before Hellblade 2 arrives on Xbox Series X, play this memorable game where it all began.
The Gears of War Series
Your Game Pass subscription gives you access to every Gears of War game ever made, including the latest and greatest in Gears 5. As Marcus Fenix would say… NICE! No matter where you join the story from, it’s worth dipping your toe into the series at the very least, even if it’s just to eviscerate a couple of Locust with the Gnasher shotgun. Feel that vibration at your fingertips and the rest is history.
The initial trilogy still weaves a magnificent narrative and holds up tremendously well in 2019, and whilst Gears of War: Judgment and Gears of War 4 were a little bit of a misfire, if the gameplay hooks you, you can’t go wrong with more of the same. That’s all without sinking any time into Gears 5, a critically acclaimed shooter that launched on the service itself. With multiplayer timesinks like Horde and Escape mode as well as the deeply satisfying new Arcade multiplayer, it’s well worth picking up some cog tags and enjoying the Gears series, as long as your weary hard drive can handle the downloads.
From one marquee collection of games to the next, Rare Replay is included with Game Pass and offers up every game in the companies back catalogue. Seriously, if you need a good way to spend hundreds of hours on some of the most charming, varied and fun games ever, you can’t go wrong with checking out this bumper package of creativity.
The range is stunning, from more stalwart, reliable entries like Banjo Kazooie and Battletoads to the more obscene Conker’s Bad Fur Day, there’s something to please everyone here, especially if you’re interested in Rare’s experimental past. Try out their woefully underrated gardening sim Viva Piñata for a chilled-out festival of joy, and even Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a charming detour as long as you ensure you’re not expecting another old school platformer.
Sea of Thieves
If your last interaction with Sea of Thieves came during its lukewarm launch in 2018, it's time you find your sea legs again. Rare's pirate adventure has undergone a host of major changes and has worked closely with its community to make Sea of Thieves one of the best new Xbox properties of the generation.
Giant sharks, skeleton ship PvE battles, 15 new volcanic islands, a haunted fort, and so much more have turned Sea of Thieves' once shallow waters into something much deeper. Rare continues to support the game with a new content update and quality of life updates every single month too, and new systems like Doubloons, a second free in-game currency, has made chasing challenges extremely lucrative. Bring a crew or dare to sail solo, in any event Sea of Thieves is a live-service game done right.
The Fable Series
Say what you will about Peter Molyneux, but you can’t knock his ambition. Whilst some promised features didn’t make it into his beloved Fable series, they were still excellent RPGs in their own right, curating a potent atmosphere and living breathing world to get lost in. Fable II, III and the wonderful remaster of the original Fable Anniversary are all baked into Game Pass, and as a trilogy are well worth indulging to figure out your medieval moral code and open up those tricksy demon doors.
With dreamlike ambience, excellent storytelling and a genuine feeling of consequence in the world, the Fable series is a rich, staunchly unique set of games that are beyond due a sequel. Bring back some fond memories or make some new ones by exploring Lionhead’s brilliance with Game Pass.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
When you can get one of the greatest RPGs of all-time on your subscription service, you go for it. It's simple math for Microsoft, and just as easily solved for players. The Witcher 3 is, in a word, extravagant. With side quests that put other games' main quests to shame, a cast of characters remarkably deep, and endless ways to veer off course and live life as Geralt of Rivia however you see fit, few games have ever come close to offering the deep role-playing experience of The Witcher.
Even if you mainlined this one, which we wouldn't recommend as you'd miss so much awesome stuff, you'd still come away with a breathtaking, epic tale of fantasy magic and political disarray. With the Netflix series taking the world by storm and the books disappearing from shelves, round out your Witcher obsession with the best RPG in the world.