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The best Xbox games for 2023

best Xbox games for 2023

Whether you have Series X, Series S, One X or One S, there’s something here for you.

A series of missteps put Microsoft in second place before the Xbox One even came out. However, with the Xbox Series X and S launch, Microsoft is in an excellent competitive position. Both are well-priced, well-equipped consoles with a huge library of games from two decades.

Microsoft’s console strategy is unique. Someone with a 7-year-old Xbox One has access to an almost identical game library as the owner of a brand new Xbox Series X. This makes it difficult to keep meaningfully different lists for the different consoles – at least for now. But while there are few exclusive “next-gen” products, with PS4 outperforming Xbox One by two to one, plenty of gamers have just not experienced much of what Microsoft has to offer since the mid-10s.

With this in mind, let’s approach this list: what games would we recommend to someone who picks up an Xbox today — be it a Series X, a Series S, One X, or One S — after a long break from Microsoft’s consoles?

So this list is a mix of games exclusive to Microsoft’s consoles and cross-platform showstoppers that work best on Xbox. We have done our best to explain the advantages of the Microsoft systems if necessary. Oh, and although we understand that some have an aversion to subscription services, it’s worth thinking about Game Pass Ultimate, which allows you to play many of the games on this list for a monthly fee.

Deathloop

Death loop from the studio that brought you the Dishonored series is easy to explain: you are trapped in a day that repeats itself. You go back to the morning when you die to repeat the day. If you hold out until the end of the day, repeat it. Colt has to “break the loop” by efficiently murdering seven main characters who, unfavorably, are never in the same place simultaneously. It’s also stylish, accessible, and fun.

While trying to figure out their escape from this time anomaly, they are also chased by Julianna, another islander who, like her, can remember everything that happens in each loop. She will also keep you from escaping an area and generally interfere with your plans to escape the time loop. (The online multiplayer is also addictive and flips the reels. You play as Julianna, chasing Colt and thwarting his murder plans. )

If you play through the territories repeatedly (and again and again), equip yourself with plates that give supernatural powers and more powerful weapons and trinkets that you can embed both in weapons and in yourself. This will allow you to customize your playstyle or equip yourself in the best way to survive Julianna and thwart this assassination. Rewards for each period and area include repeat explorations with secret weapons, hidden conversations with NPCs, and many world-building lores you can discover for yourself.

Originally a limited-time PlayStation exclusivity, Deathloop landed on Xbox in September 2022.

Overwatch 2

Even though Blizzard has improved the entry level for new players this time, Overwatch 2 still has a steep learning curve. Stick to it, and you can indulge in the best team shooter. Overwatch 2 has a simple goal: stand on or near a target and keep the other team away long enough to win. In practice, it is much more complex. To the untrained eye, games may seem like colorful chaos, but Overwatch 2 has a simple goal: stand on or near a target and keep the other team away long enough to win.

In practice, it is much more complex. Blizzard reduced the number of players in each team from six to five. This, along with extensive character enhancements, has made the gameplay faster and more entertaining than the original Overwatch. There is more emphasis on individual impact, but you still need to work well with your teammates to get a win.

Now with a cast of more than 30 heroes, each with different skills and play styles, you will surely find a few Overwatch 2 characters to connect with. The first new heroes are all great things to play. There are many great (although often quite expensive) new skins that you can also equip them with. The game also looks and sounds great, thanks to Blizzard’s trademark. At least until you figure out how to play Overwatch 2, you can be amazed at how good it looks.

Control

Take Alan Wake’s weird Twin Peaks narrative, smash it with Quantum Break’s frenetic powers and shooting game, and you’re in control. If you are a woman looking for your missing brother, you will quickly learn that there is a thin line between reality and fantasy. It’s catnip for anyone who grew up loving the X-Files and the supernatural. It’s also a prime example of a creative studio working at a creative height, refining and evolving the open-world formula that has dominated games over the last decade.

The controls on the last generation Xbox are a mixed affair, with the One S struggling a bit, but the One X is superior to the PS4 Pro in terms of fidelity and smoothness. With the introduction of the next generation consoles, an ‘Ultimate Edition’ was created that brought the ray tracing and the higher frame rates that PC gamers enjoyed consoling gamers. Although you will receive these benefits only as a next-generation owner, it includes all the released DLCs. It is the edition we recommend buying, even if you do not plan to upgrade immediately.

Halo Infinite

Master Chief’s latest adventure may not make much sense narratively, but it’s fun to play. After the mediocre efforts of 343 Industries over the past decade, Halo Infinite manages to breathe new life into Microsoft’s flagship franchise while remaining true to the love of Elements fans. The main campaign is more open than ever and, at the same time, offers you new freedom of movement with a reliable grappling hook. And the multiplayer mode is wonderfully addictive (although 343 still needs to speed up the experience progress), with various maps and game modes to prevent things from getting too stale. The only thing that keeps it from greatness is its confusing and disjointed story, but it’s different from Xbox fans have many options regarding huge exclusivity.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 deftly walks a fine line by being an extremely deep and complex racing game that almost anyone can easily learn and play. The game has hundreds of cars you can endlessly customize to suit your driving style and dozens of courses spread over a beautiful fictional corner of Mexico. If you increase the difficulty, one mistake will sink your entire race, and the online competition can be just as fierce.

But if you’re new to racing games, Forza Horizon 5 does an excellent job of getting you up and running. The introduction to the game will quickly give you a taste of the four main types of races that you will encounter (road racing, cross-country skiing, etc.).) and features such as the rewind button mean that you can quickly erase errors if you try to go too fast on a turn without having to restart your run. Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful and fun game suitable for almost any skill level. It’s easy to do a few races and go on with your day, or you can sink into it for hours and try to become the best driver you can be.

Gears 5

Gears 5 tries to be many things and does not succeed at all. However, if you are a Gears of War fan, there is much to love here. The cover shooter gameplay that the series helped Pioneer with feels great, and the campaign, while not narratively ambitious, is fast and full of bombastic set pieces to pique their interest. The various multiplayer modes are not great as they stand, but Gears 5 is worth it for the campaign alone.

It’s also a real graphical showcase, one of the best-looking console games ever. Microsoft has done a great job optimizing for all platforms and use cases, with high-resolution and ultra-high frame rates (up to 120 fps on serial consoles).

Nier: Automata

It took us more than a while to get here, but Nier: Automata finally arrived on Xbox One in the summer of 2018. And boy, was it worth the almost 18-month wait. Taking the razor-sharp fight of a Platinum Games title, Nier puts him in a world created by everyone’s favorite maniac, Yoko Taro. Don’t worry; you can mostly just run, shoot and punch your way through the game, but when you’re done and finish and finish this game, you’ll be drawn into a really special narrative, one that has never been done before and will probably never be done again. It’s an unmissable experience that feels unique on Xbox because it’s never been so well supported by Japanese developers.

On Xbox One X and Series X, they effectively have the best version of Nier: Automata, just before a fan-patched PC game. On Series S and One S… not so much, but you’ll at least get consistent frame rates on the Series S and a satisfactory experience on the One S.

Ori and the Blind Forest

At a time when “Gears Halo Forza” seemed to be the beginning, middle, and end of Microsoft’s release plans, Ori and the Blind Forest was a triumph. It’s a confident part of the pixel-perfect platform popularized by Super Meat Boy and the rich, unfolding worlds of Metroidvania games. You will die hundreds of times as you explore the title forest and unlock abilities that will help you reach new areas. It looks and sounds great — like Disney is great — and while its story is pretty secondary to the experience, it’s interesting. Or maybe I’m not doing much to push the boundaries of its genres, but everything it does it right. Its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, are very much “more of everything,” so if you like Blind Forest, it’s also worth a visit.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the game that no one but Rockstar, the team behind the GTA series, could make. Only when a studio is so successful can it put millions of dollars and hours of development into a game. Rockstar’s simulation of a crumbling frontier world is exciting and serves as the perfect backdrop for an atypically measured story. While the studio’s gameplay may not have evolved massively, RDR2’s writing and characters will stay with you.

While Rockstar has not yet considered it right to properly update Red Dead Redemption 2 for the next generation, owners of the Series X will at least benefit from the best experience of the last generation (Xbox One X) with improved loading times. On the other hand, the S series will receive the ONE version, but with an improved 30 fps lock and faster loading.

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village is great. It’s a Gothic fairy tale masquerading as a survival horror game, and while this is a fresh vibe for the franchise, it’s not an unwelcome development. The characters and enemies in Village are full of life — even if they are undead — and Capcom has given a delicious twist to the idea of vampires, werewolves, sea creatures, giants, and creepy dolls. The game retains its horror, puzzle, and action roots and has Umbrella Corporation’s fingerprints. It just feels like developers have had fun with it, and so have you.

A word of caution before you buy it: This game doesn’t play great on every Xbox. Things are great with the X Series: it is possible to enable ray tracing in case of occasional frame rate problems or to turn it off and get a perfect 4K / 60 presentation. The S series has a ray tracing mode, but it needs to be playable. However, the S Series does a good job with ray tracing turned off. The 1080p / 60 mode of the One X is also fantastic, although the quality mode feels very jerky. However, no mode feels comfortable to play if you own a basic Xbox One or One S.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not just another Dark Souls game. The Samurai Adventure from Software is a departure from this established formula, replacing slow, weighty fights and Gothic despair with camouflage, grappling hooks, and short sword fighting. Although it’s still a difficult game, it’s much more accessible than soul games — you can pause it! The result of all these changes is something that is still immediately recognizable as a FromSoftware title, but it’s a separate thing, and it’s very good.

This game was not very loved by its developer or publisher because, even though next-generation consoles should be able to run it at 60 fps without any problems, the S series is set at an inconsistent pace of 30 fps. While the Series X doesn’t quite hold 60, either. Nevertheless, it is more than playable.

Lost Judgement

This is the second adventure of Private Eye Takayuki Yagami. a spin-off of Sega’s popular, pulpy and convoluted Yakuza saga. He lives in the same Kamurocho area, the same yakuza gangs roam the streets, and there are very occasional crossovers of side-story characters and, well, weirdos. But instead of punching punks in the face in the name of justice or honor, which was the style of Yakuza protagonist Kazuya Kiryu, Yagami fights with the power of his lawyer badge, drone evidence, and … sometimes (say: often) he kicks the bad guys in the face.

The sequel is even closer to a kind of serialized TV drama, punctuated by fights, chases, and melodrama. For anyone who has played the series before, it treads familiar terrain but with a more serious (realistic) story that focuses on bullying and suicide problems at Japanese high schools, which are involved in countless acts that encompass the legal system, politics, and organized crime.

Yagami has several fighting styles to master, while there are love interests, batting cages, mahjong, skate parks, and more activities to immerse yourself in for even more hours. Lost Judgement looks great on the PS5. Fights are fluid, and the recreated areas in Tokyo and Yokohama are usually full of pedestrians, shops, and attractions. While Yakuza Like a Dragon takes the franchise in a new (turn-based, more ridiculous) direction, Lost Judgment maintains the beating playstyle of the Yakuza series, with a new hero who finally enchanted us.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s hard to stress enough how good a Deal Game Pass is for Xbox owners. For $ 15 per month, you get access to a changing and growing library of games. The company explains which games come and go in advance so that you will not be surprised by a game that disappears from the subscription service just when you reach a final boss. There are 11 games mentioned in this guide, seven of which are currently available with Game Pass. The full library is wide-ranging, and although Microsoft’s cloud service is still in the beta phase, you will have access to many of the games on your tablet, phone, or browser via xCloud at no additional charge.

Read More: 10 Most Awesome Xbox One Games To Buy

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