10 best video games for the Xbox Series X

Calling all gamer fanatics. From RPGs to roguelikes, Stacker counted down 10 of the most critically acclaimed games for the Xbox Series X.

Posted

A joystick controller for the Xbox Series X console.

vfhnb12 // Shutterstock

Since its release in November 2020, the Xbox Series X and its more affordable companion, Xbox S, have made a strong case for being among the best game consoles ever invented. Building on the Xbox legacy, the systems have a reputation for pristine gameplay and crystalline graphics. Both consoles have also been designed to reduce loading time and render games into a consistent 4K resolution, even though the Xbox Series S sometimes plays games at lower graphical quality than the Series X.

Microsoft has neglected to release hardware sale data throughout this generation of consoles. However, Xbox head Phil Spencer told the New York Times in January 2022 that the Series X and S have sold more consoles than "any previous version of Xboxes." That would place the pair of consoles at over 12 million sales through 2021, according to estimates.

With that in mind, Stacker compiled this list of the 10 best video games on the Xbox Series X using data from Metacritic. Games were first ranked based on their Metascore (out of 100), which is aggregated from critic reviews. Any ties were broken based on Metacritic's user score (out of 10).

You may also like: 100 of the best science fiction novels of all time

#10. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

A still from "Tony Hawk

Vicarious Visions

- Metascore: 89
- Metacritic user score: 6.6
- Release date: March 26, 2021
- Developer: Vicarious Visions
- Genres: Sports, individual, skate/skateboard

Based on the most iconic skating games ever made, "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2" have been bundled together into one fully remastered pack, rendering some of your happiest childhood gaming memories into modern HD. That means you'll get to experience all the same levels, tricks, and playable characters without the old-school glitches and pixelation.

First released on PlayStation in 1999, the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" pack is also now available to play on PC, PS4, and Xbox consoles and includes the same generation-raising soundtrack of yore. In its review of the remastered games, Eurogamer said that, alongside the graphic improvements, the movement now feels much cleaner than the original games; on the Xbox Series X, the game has "a much more stable image in motion and fewer untreated edges."

#9. Deathloop

A still from "Deathloop."

Blindlight

- Metascore: 89
- Metacritic user score: 7.2
- Release date: Sept. 20, 2022
- Developer: Arkane Studios
- Genres: Action, shooter, first-person, arcade

"If at first you don't succeed… die, die again!" So goes this innovative game's tagline. In this Groundhog Day-inspired adventure, you have to try and escape reliving the same day over and over by finding a way to stop the time loop that's been placed upon the poor inhabitants of Blackreef island. Originally released as a Playstation 5 and PC exclusive, this game finally came to the Xbox Series X/S in September 2022. The Xbox version is pretty much the exact same game, except it now includes an extended ending as part of a recent free upgrade.

#8. It Takes Two

Annabelle Dowler and Joseph Balderrama in "It Takes Two."

Hazelight Studios

- Metascore: 89
- Metacritic user score: 8.7
- Release date: March 26, 2021
- Developer: Hazelight
- Genres: Action-adventure, linear

One of the greatest co-op games of all time, "It Takes Two" is a genre-bending adventure game designed entirely with two players in mind. Alongside your friend of choice, you'll play as Cody and May, two humans with marital problems who are turned into dolls. This game is filled with glorious chaos, emotional resonance, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Your job is to guide the dolls back to marital bliss.

GodisaGeek.com loved the experience of the game, raving: "It Takes Two is without a doubt one of the best platformers I've played in the last decade. The level design is incredible, and the amount of ideas in terms of its co-operative elements make every second of it so much fun to play."

#7. Microsoft Flight Simulator

Two planes flying over water in "Microsoft Flight Simulator."

Asobo Studio

- Metascore: 90
- Metacritic user score: 7.9
- Release date: July 27, 2021
- Developer: Asobo Studio
- Genres: Simulation, flight, civilian

If you ever feel like giving your console a good workout, "Microsoft Flight Simulator" is the game for you. While the franchise celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year, it received plenty of renewed interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's not hard to see why.

With travel restrictions in place worldwide, those in lockdown could traverse the entire planet from their living room with the latest Flight Simulator's Earth-spanning realism. The game allows you to fly everywhere from Mount Everest to the Sahara desert; it only recently came to Xbox Series X and is due to be released on older consoles in the near future. While a game as expansive as this might test the limits of your console's capacity, surprisingly, it seems to work almost just as well on the Xbox Series S.

#6. Rogue Legacy 2

The title screen of "Rogue Legacy 2."

Cellar Door Games

- Metascore: 90
- Metacritic user score: 8.0
- Release date: April 28, 2022
- Developer: Cellar Door Games
- Genres: Action, role-playing, platformer, roguelike, 2D

You'd be hard-pressed to find a run-based game more captivating than "Rogue Legacy 2." You'd also really struggle to spend any less than a few hours playing it each time—it's just that addictive. The aim is simply to repeat as many runs as possible while gaining progress and upgrades after each death, so nothing you do in the game will ever really feel like a waste of time.

Cellar Door Games released the original "Rogue Legacy" in 2013, and its sequel received plenty of great upgrades, including a leap from 2D into a 3D world. The game is still only available to Steam and Xbox consoles, and it's also the first major roguelike game to be released in the Steam era.

You may also like: Main Street of America: Route 66 attractions state by state

#5. Forza Horizon 5

A car driving at a high speed in Forza "Horizon 5."

Playground Games

- Metascore: 92
- Metacritic user score: 8.2
- Release date: Nov. 5, 2021
- Developer: Playground Games
- Genres: Racing, simulation, automobile

Historically, car and racing games have always been a good barometer for the general state of gaming consoles. If you really want to show off your system's capabilities, you'd better make an incredible car game showing off exactly what your console can do. For Xbox Series X, that's where "Forza Horizon 5" comes in. With its excellent motor sensor and expansive, open-ended world exploration, the game certainly highlights the console's capabilities while still working well on the Xbox One. The fifth in the Forza Horizon series is an exotic update on the British-based "Forza Horizon 4," with a new, sunny, volcano-laden setting in Mexico.

#4. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe

The cover screen of "The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe."

Crows Crows Crows

- Metascore: 93
- Metacritic user score: 8.5
- Release date: April 27, 2022
- Developer: Crows Crows Crows
- Genres: Adventure, 3D, first-person

"The Stanley Parable" has always been a difficult game to talk about because so much of its pleasure can be derived from the surprises at each turn. The game, which follows the office worker Stanley, is a meta masterclass in skewing expectations. Notoriously, the game seems to play you rather than the other way around. The ultra-deluxe version is a significant expansion on the original, with plenty more labyrinthine walkways, choices, and outcomes. Originally released in a 2013 exclusive to PC, the game is now finally available for console and can be played across Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

#3. Hades

A still from "Hades."

Supergiant Games

- Metascore: 93
- Metacritic user score: 8.6
- Release date: Aug. 13, 2021
- Developer: Supergiant Games
- Genres: Action-adventure, linear

Supergiant's phenomenal roguelike "Hades" released in 2020 to rave reviews and came to Xbox Series X in August 2022. Bringing Greek mythology to a 4K resolution, the game will have you battling for your life in the ancient underground. Along the way, you come into contact with a pantheon of gods who will both aid and try to destroy you. Your ultimate goal will be to return to Persephone, your mother. What stands in the way is a unique, innovative dungeon-crawler full of unique visuals and artwork.

#2. Persona 5 Royal

A still from "Persona 5 Royal."

Atlus

- Metascore: 94
- Metacritic user score: 8.4
- Release date: Oct. 21, 2022
- Developer: Atlus
- Genres: Role-playing, Japanese-style

The ultimate RPG experience, "Persona 5 Royale" is one of the most celebrated character-driven games of its era. Released in 2017, the game had you playing as a teenage boy in Japan who is falsely accused of a crime. You'll then have to try and save the world, splitting your time between working odd part-time jobs, making friends, taking exams, and then having to battle monsters and convincing others to fight alongside you.

Essentially a PS3 title at its core, the game came out on PS4 a few years later with a few tweaks and improvements. It's been a long time coming, but the game is now finally available on non-Playstation systems, though its predecessors aren't slated for Xbox releases until 2023.

#1. Elden Ring

The title screen for "Elden Ring."

Bandai Namco Entertainment

- Metascore: 96
- Metacritic user score: 7.6
- Release date: Feb. 25, 2022
- Developer: From Software
- Genres: Role-playing, action RPG

Despite only being released in 2022, "Elden Ring" has already been touted as one of the best video games ever. Much of the praise is due to boundary-shifting visuals, intricate lore, and exquisite worldbuilding. The game was even praised by "Game of Thrones" author George R. R. Martin. According to Digital Foundry, the game can run at a fixed 4K resolution on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. According to IGN, though, the shadow resolution and filtering are better quality on the Series X than the Series S.

You may also like: Popular fads from the year you were born