When it comes to Xbox exclusives, the list is plentiful. Xbox is known for bringing all of its first-party titles onto Game Pass, but the sheer amount ready for you to play at a moment’s notice will keep you busy for a long, long time. Whether it’s racing across a desert in a Ferrari, or discovering alien planets as an intrepid space explorer, there are so many amazing Xbox exclusives to enjoy.
So, before you start working through your backlog of games, pick up one of the best Xbox controllers and jump into what might be some of the best Xbox games ever while you have the time. Some of these titles are so good, they even appear on our best games of all time list. However, before you start downloading a lot of exclusives, it may be wise to pick up one of the best Xbox expansion cards to increase your storage… you’re going to need it.
Here are the best Xbox exclusives you should play:
The epic intergalactic action RPG from Bethesda.
Space… the final frontier. But even if it is the final frontier, it certainly has a lot to do. Starfield is the first new IP from Bethesda Game Studios, known for its incredible RPGs like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, in over 25 years. In Starfield, you’re a normal day-to-day miner when you stumble upon an artifact with a connection to the secrets of the universe, causing you to join the Constellation group in the hopes of discovering the meaning of everything.
Away from the main story and faction quests, there’s plenty to do across this vast galaxy, from building your own base at the best Starfield outpost locations to setting up your perfect Starfield crew to travel the cosmos with you.
Our Starfield review said that “while it has weak spots and doesn’t push many boundaries, Starfield is still an excellent RPG experience”. However, considering the long wait, that’s still a lot of praise. If you’ve been looking for a great role-playing experience set among the stars, Starfield is the game for you.
2. Forza Horizon 4
The UK-based open world driving sim from Playground Games.
One of the best Xbox racing games ever, Forza Horizon 4 takes you to the not-so-sunny locale of Great Britain. The Forza Horizon series is the king of open-world racing – so much so that you’ll find yet another Horizon game further down this list – but FH4 has a unique feel and vibe to it thanks to its less-than-exotic (but still stunningly-beautiful) setting.
There’s a lot of freedom, from the cars that you pick, to which challenges you decide to take on. If you prefer street races, drag races, or simply checking out the various points of interest around Forza Horizon 4’s map, developer Playground Games has made sure that everything is enjoyable.
Fortunately, while you will see other players driving across the world, you don’t need to race with others. All of the activities and events, from races to challenges, can be played and enjoyed solo and offline.
3. Forza Motorsport
The latest traditional, realistic racing game in the Forza series.
If you prefer traditional racing, Forza Motorsport is the reboot of the more realism-driven Forza series, dropping the number in the titles in favor of bringing in newcomers. This is the first Forza game that is designed to fully utlilize the power of the Xbox Series X|S, dropping the Xbox One for a current-gen-only experience that makes it one of the best racing games out right now.
Compared to the Forza Horizon series, Forza Motorsport is focused on being a true sim-racing game. Track racing, realistic physics, and enormous depths of customization and tuning is what Motorsport is all about. If you’re looking for a true adrenaline-pumping racing game, Forza Motorsport is your best bet on the Series X|S consoles.
With over 500 cars and plenty of dynamic tracks, which offer various racing layouts and different weather conditions, there’s plenty of variety and content on offer. And don’t worry if you’re not a fan of competitive races, as you can also play with friends with Free Play or blast through loads of single-player content at your own pace and skill level.
4. Gears 5
The latest third-person shooter in the iconic Gears of War series.
While Gears 5 is the fifth main installment of the Gears of War franchise (why they decided to drop the ‘of War’ part, we’ll never understand), it offers a catch-up for newcomers or any fans who have missed out on past games.
For the first time in the series, Gears 5 focuses on its new female lead Kait Diaz, as she learns about her heritage, with her discovering the origins of the Locust Horde that have threatened humanity generations prior.
If you’re a fan of shooters, Gears 5 is a must-play, with a tightly-packed but excellent campaign that’ll keep you hooked for around 10-12 hours. If you love what you play, you can indulge in some amazing multiplayer action too.
5. Halo: Infinite
The latest Halo game, and the first with open-world gameplay.
The sixth mainline installment in a long-running FPS franchise is a big moment, and Halo: Infinite has nailed it by bringing classic Halo into the modern era. Unlike previous Halo games, Infinite brings an open world to its campaign instead of linear missions. While it certainly felt, initially, like Infinite was rushed out the door in the early days of the Series X|S consoles, its gameplay has been tight as a drum since day one. As The Loadout’s Aaron Down put it in our original Halo Infinite review, “it has done a great job of creating a solid experience for new and returning players alike”.
Despite a rocky start to life though, Halo Infinite is now the best it’s ever been, with plenty of new content, the jaw-dropping Forge mode that lets you make and play custom maps and experiences, and many more refinements and fresh features.
6. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
A fantastic collection of six enhanced Halo games.
For those wanting to either reminisce about the good ol’ days of Halo or catch up on the story before jumping into Infinite, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is made for you. It brings together the first four mainline Halo games, as well as two spin-offs, with updated visuals, gameplay improvements, and more. While The Master Chief Collection is missing Halo 5, it is available separately on Game Pass, so that means every mainline Halo game is available to play on the service.
Playing through the entire Master Chief Collection is an amazing time, as you get to watch over a decade of videogame history and some great Halo storylines unfold before you. You don’t have to experience all of this heavenly Halo action solo either – multiplayer and campaign co-op are also supported. It’s the complete package for one of the best franchises in gaming.
7. Hi-Fi Rush
A beautifully cel-shaded rhythm-based action game.
A surprising hit that lived up to its rock-and-roll nature, Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm hack-and-slash where you play as Chai, a wannabe rocker who volunteers for a cybernetic enhancement program. After an accident causes Chai’s music player to be embedded in his chest during the procedure, Chai feels a musical connection with the world.
Hi-Fi Rush is a linear single-player game focused on attacking and defeating enemies in time with the beat of the music. While you’re not punished too much for missing beats, being perfect offers higher combos and more points, giving it a beloved arcade-like feel.
Hi-Fi Rush is an exhilarating and light-hearted offering from Tango Gameworks, which is typically known for much darker titles. Our Hi-Fi Rush review says it’s the “ultimate hack-and-slash-rhythm game that every Xbox owner must play”. It’s also got Nine Inch Nails in the soundtrack, so you know it’s going to be a good time.
8. Gears Tactics
A tactical prequel to the beloved Gears of War series.
A prequel to the first game in the series, Gears Tactics takes the iconic shooter and turns it into a turn-based strategy game for Xbox players. The genre may have changed, but the intensity and rush of adrenaline you feel in other Gears games remains here.
While strategy games can feel daunting to get into for a lot of players, Gears Tactics is relatively accessible and is a great way to experience the beloved series in a new way. It’s also a faster-paced and more character-driven experience compared to other strategy games for those who prefer something closer to an action game. And for those new to the genre, you can get a reward for Gears 5 if you give the game a try.
The story takes place years prior to the first game when the Locust Horde first emerged to exterminate humanity. You’ll need to lead a squad of individuals in a broken world, in an attempt to stop a villain who is creating monsters that further threaten what’s left of humankind.
9. Microsoft Flight Simulator
A fantastic modern take on the classic Microsoft Flight Simulator series.
While some may not even describe it as a proper ‘game’, everyone should experience Microsoft Flight Simulator, the latest entry into the long-running series which started in the 1980s. If you’ve ever wondered how hard it must be to land a jumbo jet, or if you want to take a flight path over your own home, then this remarkable piece of software lets you do those things and much more.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is incredible, simply because it is a technical marvel. It uses Bing Maps to showcase the world while using Microsoft Azure’s AI to create a simulated representation of Earth. Not only that, but there’s an abundance of details that make it feel like a true aviation simulator, at least for those of us with no experience flying a plane.
A survival game that sees you shrunk down to insect size.
What’s the most dangerous world out there? An alien planet filled with war-hungry and human-eating creatures? No, it’s actually your own backyard. Grounded is a survival game developed by Obsidian Entertainment, where you play as one of four kids who are shrunken down during a science experiment.
While your own home doesn’t seem dangerous in your eyes, Grounded excels at fear in the everyday. That spider you left alive is now your worst nightmare, and having to get resources to survive is no easy task. Thankfully, you can bring up to three friends with you into your backyard.
Not only can you bring friends, but Grounded offers a few options to make the game a bit easier. For example, there’s a creative mode that removes the stress of worrying about resources, so you can simply experience the world, and Arachnophobia options so you can switch off those eight-legged horrors.
11. Forza Horizon 5
The latest game in the amazing Forza Horizon series.
Forza Horizon 5 was one of the first big Xbox exclusives of the Series X|S generation, and it really highlights the power of these consoles. In FH5, you’re transported to a fictionalized version of Mexico, which gives you deserts, beaches, jungles, cities, and even a volcano for you to race across.
Similarly to the rest of the games in the series, Forza Horizon 5 gives you a lot of freedom to enjoy its world on offer. And we’ll even give you a head start by letting you know about the fastest car in Forza Horizon 5.
Back in 2021 when the game launched, The Loadout’s Echo Apsey called it “one of the most fun and polished games” of the year in their Forza Horizon 5 review, and that still rings true to this day.
By playing now, you’ll also have access to the host of updates and new additions that have been added since its launch, which you can either play with others online or by yourself. What are you waiting for? Grab your keys, and we’ll meet you at the starting line.
12. Sunset Overdrive
An incredibly stylish action-adventure game by the one and only Insomniac Games.
That’s right, from the creative minds over at Insomniac, the studio behind the superb PS5 exclusives Spider-Man and Rachet & Clank, comes an exceptional and action-packed adventure. As you might expect from this prestigious developer, Sunset Overdrive is absolutely oozing style, and most importantly, fun gameplay.
From it’s remarkably amusing and over-the-top narrative to its hyper-colorful art style, it’s hard to not have a massive grin on your face when playing. After a new energy drink causing people to turn into zombies, you’ll have to figure out how to save the day, all while causing as much chaos as you can. During gameplay, you’ll zip, dash, grind, and wall-run through Sunset City thanks to its slick and satisfying movement, though this should be no surprise considering how well Insomniac nailed the movement of Spider-Man. As for combat, this is similarly bombastic, giving you access to absurd weaponry, from record disc launchers to massive rocket launchers that works wonders with the movement system and level design.
Seriously, you don’t want to miss out on one of the best Xbox open world games – arguably one of the best open world games of all time. Play Sunset Overdrive and, like us, you’ll be eagerly awaiting a sequel that sadly doesn’t look like it will ever happen.
13. Sea of Thieves
A swimmingly good swashbuckling adventure with friends.
While it initially released to mixed reception, the talented team at Rare have tireless worked on Sea of Thieves since launch in 2018. Now, it’s one of the best Xbox exclusives around.
The aimless experience of the original release has seen a full makeover, with more activities to do than ever, from hunting down pirate treasure to battling it out on the high seas. But what keeps us coming back is the great adventures you can have with your friends. It’s still a great solo adventure, but it’s not quite the same thrill as being immersed in the swashbuckling mayhem alongside your crew. No matter where the waves take you, you’ll no doubt find something interesting to draw you in hook, line, and sinker.
Obsidian’s exciting upcoming RPG akin to The Elder Scrolls.
Avowed is an upcoming action RPG by the legendary Obsidian Entertainment, known for the likes of Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity, and The Outer Worlds. Looking to be Obsidian’s take on Bethesda’s iconic The Elder Scrolls series, Avowed places you in an intriguing fantasy setting – the Living Lands. As an envoy of Aedyr, it’s your job to investigate rumors of a plague spreading that threatens to destroy everything.
Right now, it’s world and gameplay look incredibly exciting. You’ll not only get to use your usual slate of swords, shields, and even magic, but also guns. Combat looks satisfying and flashy in ways that Skyrim never did, while capturing the same sense of mystery and exploration as its competitor.
Mark down the Avowed release date and latest news to learn more.
15. The Elder Scrolls 6
The next Elder Scrolls game is finally on the way, promising even more spectacular RPG adventures.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim launched way back in 2011 and we’re still playing it now well over a decade later. However, it’s more than time for a new entry in the seminal RPG series from Bethesda. While it’s still a long way off, as our Elder Scrolls 6 release date guides explains, we couldn’t be more excited. Say what you will about Starfield’s brave departure from Bethesda’s history, but The Elder Scrolls 6, whatever it may be called, is the next big thing.
In the meantime, we’ll be adventuring all across Tamriel in the The Elder Scrolls Online, and we recommend you give it a go too while you wait. With The Elder Scrolls 6 setting still unknown, ESO will let you have a glimpse at all the locations in Tamriel, set around a millennia before the events of Skyrim. When The Elder Scrolls 6 does eventually release, you’ll have some idea of what to expect from its location.
The full Xbox exclusives list is extremely expansive, but we’re going to keep adding to this list as more upcoming titles finally release. When the Ark 2 release date or the Fable release date arrive in the future, expect those titles to find a spot here. For now, you can enjoy the full Game Pass games list with your subscription, which should keep you busy
That’s the Xbox exclusives we recommend playing right now. Make sure to pick up the best TV for Xbox Series X if you want to make the most out of the list of exclusive titles, or if you’re looking for some recent games, check out the new Xbox games that have been released.