A Microsoft Xbox One wireless controller, taken on September 3, 2015. (Photo by Joby Sessions/PC Gamer Magazine/Future via Getty Images)
Future via Getty Images—2015 Future Publishing
February 5, 2020

Microsoft’s Xbox One X is the most powerful console available on the market. If you want to play a game in true 4K, with the clearest visuals and highest resolution, but don’t want to drop more than $1,000 for a high-end gaming PC, the Xbox One X will take care of your needs.

Even better than the system itself is the Xbox Game Pass. For $9.99 a month, Microsoft gives players access to a rotating list of 200 games. These aren’t third tier and C-list games either. Right now you can play The Witcher 3, The Outer Worlds, and Gears of War 5 on Game Pass without having to pay $60 for each full game.

Below is a list of the 10 best games you can play on the Xbox One X. Of the set, you can play eight on Game Pass right now. The other two — Hitman 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 — are games that look and run better on the Xbox One X than any other console.

Sea of Thieves

There’s no other game on the market like Sea of Thieves, which simulates the life of a pirate by pitting the player against the pitiless sea. Crew up with friends and run a pirate ship, or try to make a go of it on your own. It’s dangerous out there on the sea, though —other groups of players patrol the waters looking for new blood to terrorize and rob. Go on grand adventures, fight skeleton pirates, and struggle to survive in the Xbox’s most unique game.

Buy now: Sea of Thieves, Amazon

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive is one of the most criminally underrated games of the generation. Developed by Insomniac Games, the people behind the PlayStation’s excellent Spider-Man, Sunset Overdrive is a fast-paced open-world action game where you’ll traverse a city by sliding across rooftops and shooting at mutants. If you’re looking for the spiritual sequel to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, this is it. It’s a bright and colorful explosion of 2000-era punk rock energy that begs the player to climb every building, shoot every mutant, and slide down every guardrail.

Buy now: Sunset Overdrive, Amazon

Gears 5

Gears 5 is the continuation of the long running Gears of War franchise. Playing the single-player campaign without playing the previous games in the franchise is like jumping into the final season of prestige television without knowing the plot. Thankfully, the older games are available on Xbox’s Game Pass. Multiplayer has always been Gears’ strong point, however, and Gears 5 delivers some of the franchise’s best online moments.

Buy now: Gears 5, Amazon

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians is like world-class fan fiction. The story is fun, but it feels like it was written by a fan and isn’t quite up to the level of the franchise’s best installments. But the gameplay, multiplayer, and level design all stand out. If you own an Xbox One or are a first-person shooter fan at all, then you have to try Halo 5.

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Buy now: Halo 5: Guardians, Amazon

Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3 took a lot of flack when it came out. It’s not remarkably different than Crackdown 1 or 2, but that doesn’t matter. Sometimes you just want a game you can play at the end of a long day and not think about too much. Crackdown 3 is perfect for that. Players control a super cop patrolling the city of New Providence in a dystopian future. The gameplay consists of jumping really high, collecting orbs, and unleashing super powers on bad guys. Also, Terry Crews is there, and we all love Terry Crews.

Buy now: Crackdown 3, Amazon

Forza Horizon 4

It’s hard to find a good racing game these day — 2017’s Gran Turismo Sport on the PlayStation 4 was a disappointing entry in the franchise. Thankfully, racing fans have Forza Horizon 4. Set in an open-world Great Britain lookalike, Forza Horizon 4 lets players race in more than 450 different licensed cars. There’s dynamic weather, a constantly updating roster of events and races, and servers boasting up to 72 drivers at a time.

Buy now: Forza Horizon 4, Amazon

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

If you’ve watched Netflix’s The Witcher, then playing through the game is a no-brainer. Like the other games on this list that appear on other consoles, the Xbox One X version of The Witcher 3 is the most gorgeous version. Geralt’s journey through war-torn Temeria pops to life on the Xbox One X, and the monsters he encounters on his journey are so grotesque and beautiful they deserve the best presentation possible.

Buy now: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Amazon

Red Dead Redemption 2

Chances are you’ve already played Red Dead Redemption 2. But if you haven’t played it on the Xbox One X, then you haven’t seen it at its best. Red Dead Redemption 2 on the Xbox One X is a visual feast. The PlayStation 4 and base Xbox One can’t render Rockstar’s cowboy simulator in true 4K — instead, they upscale lower resolutions and run the game at low frame rates. Only the Xbox One X can run the tale of outlaw Arthur Morgan in devastatingly gorgeous 4K. The difference in the visuals is startling.

Buy now: Red Dead Redemption 2, Amazon

Hitman 2

Playing Hitman 2 is like tip-toeing through an intricate and masterfully constructed clockwork theme park. In each scenario, Agent 47 has to take down a target, but the way the player can accomplish this goal is shockingly freeform. It’s possible for the bald assassin to walk up to his target and shoot him in broad daylight, sure, but the clever player can spend hours setting up the perfect kill. See the target feeding watermelons to hippos in his private reserve? Push him in. Need to take out the head of a cartel? Dress up like a famous tattoo artist, wait for the boss to come in, and give him body art he won’t forget.

Buy now: Hitman 2, Amazon

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Yes, there are two Halo games on this list. Why? Because Xbox and Halo go together like peas and carrots. After you’ve played through Halo 5: Guardians, you can step into the shoes of the original Spartan, Master Chief, and relive the first four games in the franchise. Players can play through the games as they remember them, complete with the original graphics, or change to the remastered version with the push of a button.

Buy now: Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Amazon

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