After an uneven console cycle with the Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest consoles are aimed at getting the ship back on course. The Xbox Series X is a next-generation powerhouse that rivals gaming PCs, while the Xbox Series S is an affordable stopgap for those who are curious about trying new games.
There’s no shortage of games to play on either console thanks to Xbox Game Pass, which gives players immediate access to a library of titles old and new. That built-in catalog is an extra value on top of all the new games available on the system that take advantage of its impressive technical specs. When it comes to first-party exclusives, the Series X is still growing. Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 gave a good boost to the console’s library following a somewhat sparse first year. More games are also on the way. Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition will bring exclusives like Starfield and Redfall, and the potential addition of all Activision Blizzard games would further bolster that list, but the console’s real strength lies in third-party support.
We’ve combed through the current batch of new Xbox games to put together an updated running list of titles that new console owners shouldn’t miss.
From the creators of the hit animated sci-fi show Rick and Morty, High On Life is a surprising shooter that delivers a fun, space-y adventure with that classic hit-or-miss Justin Roiland humor. The story finds a nameless protagonist and their sister flung in the middle of an alien conflict while their parents are on vacation. We won’t spoil the story here but it’s a lovely little adventure full of hijinx, shootouts, and in-jokes.
If there’s one franchise just about everyone wants but can only get on one console, it’s Nintendo’s Zelda titles. While we can’t actually get the official adventures of the tunic-wearing hero of Hyrule, we can get games heavily inspired by them, with one of the best being Tunic. This game has you take control of a little fox in a green, well, tunic, wielding a sword and shield. If you imagine Link, only with fox features, that’s the main character. And the inspiration doesn’t just stop at the visual design, but the gameplay, too. You explore a big, confusing world full of puzzles and monsters to fight while learning the distinct language of the land. The twist of collecting the game’s manual in the game itself is a simple but fantastic way to really engross you in the experience.
In a year that lacked many compelling Xbox Series X exclusives, Pentiment stands out as a narrative-focused adventure RPG set in 16th Century Europe. Sporting a unique art style and engaging story for murder, mystery, and impactful choices, Pentiment is one of the best games published by Xbox Game Studios in some time. Its a bit subtler on the RPG front with its persuasion system and character backgrounds, but it should appeal to fans of that genre just as much as it would to adventure game fans.
Sim, puzzle, and more
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