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The best Xbox One X games

Even with the arrival on the Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft’s Xbox One X remains a technical feat. Unlike the PS4 and PS4 Pro, the Xbox One X feels like a new console generation compared to the base Xbox One.

In addition to targeting higher resolutions, the One X delivers higher frame rates, HDR, and more, sometimes even matching the new Xbox Series S. Which games look best on Microsoft’s enhanced console, though?

We’ve rounded up the 10 best Xbox One X games, all of which are able to harness the extra power of the One X to deliver high frame rates and resolutions.

Further reading

Gears 5

The Coalition Studio

Gears 5 is a breath of fresh air in a series that started growing stagnant a few years back. Between an excellent story, a series of levels with open-ended exploration, and plenty of things to unlock in multiplayer, Gears 5 is one of the best in the series.

It’s also one of the best looking. Gears 5 is a technical marvel, even on a standard Xbox One. However, it looks and runs best on an Xbox One X. Unlike most enhanced games, The Coalition put some serious work into Gears 5‘s One X patch, ensuring the game runs at 4K and 60 frames per seconds in the campaign and multiplayer.

Although the PC and Xbox Series X versions look better overall, Gears 5 on Xbox One X looks incredible. Frankly, it’s a game that shouldn’t look or run nearly as well as it does given the hardware.

It doesn’t run at a true 4K/60, however. Dynamic resolution comes into play during intense scenes, adjusting the resolution downward, and there are frame rate dips into the 50s. Still, there isn’t a better game to show off the power of the Xbox One X than Gears 5. 

Read our Gears 5 review

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5 Guardians
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Halo 5: Guardians always targeted 60 fps, even the base Xbox One. To achieve that frame rate, 343i used a dynamic 1080p resolution, which would often drop even lower on the base Xbox One.

The Xbox One X solves that issue. 343i’s enhanced patch includes 4K resolution at 60 fps, with similar performance to Gears 5. You won’t hit a native 4K often, but the dynamic resolution does a good job smoothing out the rough edges. Plus, at a silky smooth 60 fps, the occasionally lower resolution hardly matters.

343i also tweaked the level of detail (LoD) in the One X patch, ensuring far away objects show much more detail on the One X than on the base Xbox One.

Halo 5: Guardians certainly isn’t the best Halo game with its rather forgettable campaign. However, multiplayer remains a treat in Guardians, which will have to be enough until Halo Infinite (hopefully) launches next year.

Read our Halo 5: Guardians review

Devil May Cry 5


Another technical feat, Devil May Cry 5 runs at 4K and 60 fps on the Xbox One X. That’s all the more impressive considering Devil May Cry 5 comes from Capcom, not one of Microsoft’s first-party studios.

The game really shows Capcom’s RE Engine at work, which is the same engine behind the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 (those games look equally as nice on Xbox One X). To hit 4K, Devil May Cry 5 uses image reconstruction, rendering fewer pixels while filling in the gaps to achieve native 4K.

And native 4K looks great, but it’s not without flaws. The One X version is basically the same as the Xbox One version, just with a higher frame rate and resolution. Certain lighting and other effects aren’t present like they are with the PC, PS5, or Xbox Series X versions.

Still, Devil May Cry 5 is a treat on Xbox One X. Even with some occasional dips below 60 fps, the game runs smoothly throughout, and the 4K resolution goes a long way in making the overall image look cleaner.

Read our Devil May Cry 5 review

The Witcher 3

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Witcher 3 still looks great, even as it nears six years old. It’s one of the prettiest games on PC, and it holds up surprisingly well on the Xbox One X.

Like a lot of One X enhanced games, you have a choice between performance and quality modes. Quality runs at a consistent 30 fps at 4K, while the performance mode uses a dynamic resolution to run the game at 60 fps. The performance mode can hit 4K, but it can also drop as low as 1080p. It sits between the two for the most part, hovering around 1440p.

Unlike the three titles above, however, The Witcher 3 comes with visual enhancements outside of resolution and frame rate. The One X version includes higher-resolution textures, ambient occlusion, high-quality shadows, and better texturing filtering compared to the base Xbox One version.

Read our The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Story
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the most recent in Ubisoft’s long-running franchise, harnessing the power of the AvilNext 2.0 engine like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Origins before it.

Valhalla matches those titles when it comes to visual fidelity on Xbox One X. The game uses a dynamic resolution between slightly above 1440p and 4K, similar to the Xbox Series S, and it runs at a locked 30 fps. It also matches those titles in terms of gameplay, cementing itself as one of the best Assassin’s Creed games.

It doesn’t have all of the visual enhancements of the Xbox Series S — draw distance is lower on the One X, and some lighting effects are disabled — but for the most part, the Xbox One X matches the Series S when it comes to visual quality and frame rate.

Read our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Image used with permission by copyright holder

After decades of Star Wars games — some great, and others not so much — fans finally have a game where they can feel like a true Jedi — Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s a great game in its own right, and it runs excellently on Xbox One X.

Like The Witcher 3, you have the option between a performance mode using a dynamic resolution targeting 60 fps or a quality mode with 4K resolution and locked at 30 fps.

The performance mode targets 60 fps, but it doesn’t usually hit that. In most cases, the game hovers around 45 fps, sometimes jumping up to the mid-50s in scenes without much going on and dipping as low as the mid-30s during intense battles.

We recommend sticking with quality mode, which really shines on Xbox One X. Instead of frame dips, the quality mode runs at a locked 30 fps, and the bump to resolution makes a big difference. Plus, Fallen Order has excellent motion blur, hiding the choppiness of 30 fps gameplay.

Read our Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order review

Forza Horizon 4

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Developer Playground Games has always been a visual powerhouse, and Forza Horizon 4 showcases that. Unlike Forza Horizon 3 that came before, however, Horizon 4 was developed specifically for the Xbox One X. And it shows.

You have the option between 4K30 quality mode and 1080p60 performance mode, like a lot of other One X games. However, using the One X as lead development console, Playground Games way able to consider elements outside of frame rate and resolution.

Pop-in, for example, is basically a non-issue on Xbox One X. Instead of porting an exciting Xbox One game, Playground had the freedom, as a first-party studio, to optimize Horizon 4 for more powerful hardware, leading to a much more fluid experience overall.

Although you have the choice between performance and quality modes, neither feature dynamic resolutions. Instead, the performance mode runs at a locked, native 1080p, and the quality mode does the same at 4K.

Read our Forza Horizon 4 review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice swamp
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a beautiful game, regardless of where you play it. However, it looks best on Xbox One X. Unlike a lot of One X games, there are actually three visual modes: Enhanced Visuals, High Framerate, and High Resolution.

The High Framerate and High Resolution modes function as performance and quality modes, respectively. Performance mode usually locks to 60 fps, though with a few occasional dips into the mid-50s, while quality mode targets 4K output when possible, locking at 30 fps.

The Enhanced Visuals mode is the oddball. Instead of targeting resolution or frame rate, this mode offers other visual improvements, such as higher foliage density, better fog rendering, and higher shadow quality while targeting 30 fps.

What’s interesting, however, is that all three modes use a dynamic resolution that can go as high as 4K. The performance mode is just more aggressive with lowering its resolution compared to the other two modes. The result of this approach is a game that looks excellent across the board, no matter which mode you choose to play.

Read our Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review

Red Dead Redemption 2

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Red Dead Redemption 2 simply looks best on Xbox One X. It doesn’t have any visual modes, instead opting for native 4K on Microsoft’s enhanced console with a locked 30 fps.

It’s disappointing compared to some other titles on this list, but it’s important to remember just how big Red Dead Redemption 2 is. The base Xbox One provides some reference with a resolution below 1080p, while the base PS4 delivers a native 1080p. Even the PS4 Pro can’t match the Xbox One X, using a reconstruction technique — similar to Devil May Cry 5 — to deliver a simulated 4K on Sony’s enhanced console.

What’s more impressive is that Red Dead Redemption 2 is locked at 4K on Xbox One X — no dynamic resolution scaling here. The result is an image that looks remarkably clean across the board, from mountain overlooks to busy towns and everything in between.

Read our Red Dead Redemption 2 review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)

A solo player in Call of Duty: Warzone
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Performance has always been key with the Call of Duty franchise, and 2019’s Modern Warfare is no different. The game favors frame rate over resolution, targeting 60 fps on Microsoft’s aging Xbox One to the Xbox One X.

Given the Xbox One’s performance in Red Dead Redeption 2, you can imagine Modern Warfare features similar quality issues on the base console. On Xbox One X, it targets 4K with reconstruction techniques, using a dynamic resolution depending on the scene.

Unlike the PS4 Pro, the Xbox One X only scales down the pixel count on the horizontal axis, meaning that Microsoft’s enhanced console is always pushing more pixels than Sony’s.

As far as performance goes, it’s good on Xbox One X, though not great. Resolution is the standout here, as Modern Warfare already runs at 60 fps on all of the current-gen consoles. That’s the target on Xbox One X, too, though it occasionally dips into the 50s while rendering more pixels than the other consoles.

Read our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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