19 best Xbox Game Pass games (May 2023): PC, console & cloud games

19 best Xbox Game Pass games (May 2023): PC, console & cloud games
Bethesda Softworks | Xbox Game Studios

Written by 

Tarran Stockton


8th May 2023 14:11


Xbox Game Pass has changed how we think about game distribution, meaning Xbox fans can dip into a huge catalogue of games across multiple genres - but that can make finding the best Xbox Game Pass games a challenge.

That's because there are so many options to choose from on the service, but we've got you covered. The best Xbox Game Pass games are must-download, whether you're looking for story-based titles, a multiplayer horror fix, or something to play in split-screen with friends.

Best Xbox Game Pass single-player games:

DOOM Eternal

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Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile

No one expected DOOM 2016 to be as good as it was, but when it delivered one of the best shooter experiences of the past twenty years, the sequel suddenly had a lot to live up to. id Software again blew our expectations away, with the most bombastic, chaotic, and blood-drunk AAA shooter ever made.

The combat forced you to switch up your weapon choices and tactics for different enemy encounters, turning it into a frantic, gory puzzle. It may have overindulged in its cosmos-spanning narrative at times, but the tight gameplay, pulse-pounding score from Mick Gordon, and ridiculousness of DOOM in general made for one of the best shooter sequels in recent years.

Crusader Kings 3

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Paradox Interactive

Platforms: PC

Paradox Interactive’s Crusader Kings III is the apex of the series, taking the grand-strategy role-playing dynasty simulator and perfecting its presentation and mechanics. Your only task in CKIII is to keep your dynasty alive for as long as possible, through war, diplomacy, intrigue, politicking, or manipulation - the choice is yours. It actively encourages role-playing as your current character through a stress system and skill trees.

The Crusader Kings series is one of the more unique titles on Games Pass, and can easily grab you for 100s of hours, as you fight to make your dynasty stand the test of time. 

Yakuza Kiwami

Yakuza Kiwami promotional image
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Image via SEGA

Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, PC

If you've always wanted to give the critically acclaimed Yakuza franchise a try this is a great game to start with. In this first instalment, you play Kazuma Kiryu, who has recently been released from prison after taking the fall for his best friend.

As he emerges into a world that has completely changed you must navigate through the intricate world of the Yakuza, the intricate criminal underbelly of Tokyo that is on the brink of a civil war after ten billion yen has gone missing from the Tojo Clan's coffers.

If you're already a Yakuza fan, Xbox Game Pass also features the Yakuza Remastered Collection, which includes Yakuza 3, 4, & 5.

Hollow Knight

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Team Cherry

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile

Soulsborne Metroidvania games are in right now, and of the current crop that isn’t from From Software, Hollow Knight is the best. The first thing that stands out is the really pronounced art style, full of thick black lines and shades of colour. It does well to separate the foreground from the background, making the enemies simple but memorable, against grand backdrops that detail a mystical world.

It’s another game with simple combat and movement, but it rewards patience and skill as the challenge can be immense during certain fights - though it’s balanced enough to never become unfair.

Psychonauts 2

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Xbox Game Studios

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile

The sequel to Double Fine’s legendary platforming adventure, about diving into dream worlds and the minds of those with mental illness, is a fantastic experience and one of the best games of the year. It’s mechanically solid and approaches its sensitive issues with a sense of maturity that wasn’t as prevalent in the first entry.

The game is dripping with style and humour, with excellent art and character design, that will stick with you well after your playtime is up. It took years to finally get to players, but the wait was well worth it in the end.

House Flipper

House Flipper Promotional image
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Merge Games

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

House Flipper is essentially a sim that allows you to buy and fix up houses, repair and clean them and then sell them for a profit.

Listen to the specific needs of your buyers or go as creative as you like, the game gives a wide array of design choices making it a relaxing building sim to play in your spare time.

As you level up your handyman skills and sell more houses for a profit, you can fix up your own office too.

Best Xbox Game Pass backwards compatible games:

Dead Space 2

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Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

A titan of sci-fi horror, Dead Space 2 took the solidly scary formula of the first and built upon it. They made the previously mute protagonist, Isaac Clarke, a more proactive part of the game’s story, giving him a voice that allowed players to empathise with him more.

The first game’s atmosphere of suffocating dread was successfully recreated in the next entry, thanks to impeccable sound design and music. Combat is also a standout feature here, tasking you with de-limbing the Necromorphs to incapacitate them, which gives it a strategic edge.


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Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Dishonored is the premium immersive sim on the market, with tonnes of interconnecting systems that lead to emergent gameplay. It gives the player a lot of choice in how they tackle the game, which can be completed without killing or alerting a single character all the way through if the player wishes.

This is complemented by Arkane’s excellent level design that always prioritises player freedom over linearity, but still feels fluid and natural. The painterly art style also adds a lot to the world, which is fully realised thanks to in-depth lore and excellent characters.

Fallout: New Vegas

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Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile

Obsidian was tasked with creating its own Fallout game after Bethesda’s success with Fallout 3, and it’s clear they understood the assignment and then some, going on to blow the previous title out of the water with a modern CRPG masterpiece. New Vegas had the depth of choice fans of the series missed, revelling in the muddied morality of the post-apocalypse with its characters and factions.

The quests were top-tier, allowing for multiple solutions based on the character you carved out for yourself in-game, never pulling punches when it allowed you to be evil. The world of Fallout is a harrowing one to inhabit, and New Vegas is the best modern Fallout to encapsulate that, delivering a narrative on the cycle of violence, power, and how our species’ hubris dooms us to repeat the same mistakes.

Best Xbox Game Pass games for multiplayer

Battlefield 2042

Battlefield 2042 Promotional image
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Electronic Arts

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4, PS5

Battlefield 2042 is a highly popular first-person shooter set in a near-future world where you must team up with your squad mates to succeed on the South African battlefield, equipped with cutting-edge weapons and vehicles.

The maps are some of the most expansive in the genre, with the Xbox Series X|S version capable of hosting up to 128 players in online multiplayer mode. Meanwhile, online co-op is for two to four players.

Back 4 Blood

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Warner Bros. Games

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile

Back 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to the ever-loved Left 4 Dead games, a series predicated on violently dispatching hordes of zombies and special infected with a team of friends. It may not be Left 4 Dead 3, but it does evolve the genre, making the most of the 12 years since the last title.

The omnipotent game director is a fantastic returning element that curates the experience, adapting difficulty and enemy variety to keep players on their toes, never letting you feel comfortable at any point. The card system also throws in more variety, allowing you to alter your playstyle at the beginning of runs. It’s the best of the current crop of coop zombie shooters, and with four friends is a guaranteed blast.

State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition

State of Decay 2
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Undead Labs

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X

The popular zombie survival game is back with the State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, including an added map, weapons, challenges, and cross-platform multiplayer for up to three friends.

State of Decay 2 sets you in Trumbull Valley, an open-world map infested with zombies which you must try to survive whilst hunting for resources to grow your own survival base.

Grow crops, build an infirmary, workshops and more as you try to win against the horde.

Minecraft Legends

Minecraft Legends promotional image
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Mojang Studios

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Minecraft Legends is a story-mode version of Minecraft which explores a storyline of a Piglin invasion threatening the Overworld which you must stop with the help of a trio of deities.

The game can be played in either single-player or co-op with up to 8 players, it also features cross-platform compatibility.

The core gameplay loop sees you battling different skirmishes as you kick back the Piglin horde and unlock better troops. If you'd like to know more about the game before you download it, check out our Minecraft Legends review here.

Gang Beasts

Gang Beasts Promotional image
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Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

Gang Beasts is a slap-stick game which can be played with up to eight players in online co-op and up to four in local multiplayer.

Gang Beasts use rag-doll physics to pit players against each other in a bid for survival. Outwit other players and be the last person standing in increasingly difficult obstacle course levels and hazardous environments.


Valheim trailer image
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Coffee Stain Studios

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Valheim is a Viking-themed early-access survival game that allows players to build their own Viking hall.

Explore the wilds and fight mythical beasts from Nore folklore as you gather materials to grow stronger and build a grand Viking stronghold and ships.

Play with up to ten others in online co-op, and advance from humble beginnings to staunch defenders of your own base.

Halo: Infinite

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Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Halo: Infinite was always going to be one of the best Game Pass games, as it is easily one of the services' biggest titles. This highly anticipated sequel sees the triumphant return of Master Chief, with the biggest world the series has ever seen in Zeta Halo. It dons a semi-open world structure which might seem a bit at odds with series-long fans but holds onto that tight-knit gunplay. That's not even to mention the utterly fantastic multiplayer which perfectly captures the old-school multiplayer arena shooter vibes. While the battle pass progression may need some work, you'll undoubtedly be up late grinding for those limited-time skins. 

Forza Horizon 5

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Xbox Game Studios

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

If you are a fan of Forza Horizon 4 then you'll love Forza Horizon 5. This expansive sequel takes what worked for the previous entry and places it in the tropical setting of Mexico. With over 500 cars to collect, weekly seasonal content, and an entire world to explore, Forza Horizon 5 is a delight for players that love to hit the open road. Whether you are playing with friends or drifting around on your own, there is a wealth of content that will ensure that your Game Pass subscription is worth every penny. 

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI promotional image
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Firaxis Games

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS 

Civilization VI is the ultimate turn-based strategy game where you build your own dynasty against a backdrop of political choices, urban expansion and wars against key historical figures.

As the most recent title of the franchise, Civilization VI challenges you to make important decisions to oversee the expansion of your empire. The game can be played solo or with a group of up to four players.

Goat Simulator 

Goat Simulator Promotional image
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Coffee Stain Studios

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4

Goat Simulator is the ultimate silly sandbox game that lets you play as a goat, wild and on the loose, equipped with hilarious rag-doll physics.

You gain points for causing as much chaos and destruction as possible as the seemingly invincible goat and can interact with almost everything in your path.

Now you know all of the best games on Xbox Game Pass, why not take a look at the best VR games to escape reality for a while?

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