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Best Game Pass Games: Top 20 Games On Xbox Game Pass

Best Game Pass Games: Top 20 Games On Xbox Game Pass
Bethesda Softworks | Xbox Game Studios

Written by 

Tarran Stockton

Posted 

28th Oct 2021 16:41

Looking for the best Game Pass games? You've come to the right place. For those of you unfamiliar with Game Pass (previously known as Xbox Game Pass), for a small fee it allows you access to a big library of games that can be played across your Xbox consoles, PC, or mobile. Think of it along the lines of Netflix or Prime Video, but for video games. In no particular order, we've got the rundown of twenty of the best games on Game Pass and the platforms they’re available for.

Best Game Pass Games: Control

Remedy Entertainment

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

From the minds of the folks over at Remedy Entertainment, Control continues their penchant for cinematic third-person shooters with surreal narrative elements. The game revolves around a secret government agency that deals with strange phenomena that breaks the laws of reality. As Jesse Faden, you’ll explore the agency HQ and deal with a paranormal invading threat named the Hiss. The combat is very fluid, with lots of magical abilities for the player to use, and the environments are semi-destructible, leading to chaotic battles that make use of the space available to the player.

Best Game Pass Games: Dead Space 2

Electronic Arts

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.

Best Game Pass Games: Dishonored

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

Best Game Pass Games: DOOM Eternal

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.

Best Game Pass Games: Fallout: New Vegas

Bethesda Softworks

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

Obsidian were tasked with creating their 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 Game Pass Games: Back 4 Blood

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 despatching 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.

Best Game Pass Games: Hades

Supergiant Games

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

Supergiant Games have spent the past ten years designing small but tight experiences, that have all culminated in their Greek mythology-inspired roguelike - Hades. It has an excellent presentation, thanks to Darren Korb’s score, the gorgeously colourful visuals, and larger-than-life characters. The combat is simple but satisfying, constantly evolving with new runs that grant new abilities and reveal new enemies. Another high point is the procedural narrative, that favours replaying the game, complimented brilliantly by the choice to use the roguelike blueprint. 

Best Game Pass Games: Hollow Knight

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 artstyle, 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.

Best Game Pass Games: Limbo

Playdead

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

Back in 2010, Playdead’s debut game Limbo became a surprise hit and demonstrated the potential of the burgeoning indie scene. It’s a 2D puzzle-platformer with a dark and tantalising world, heightened by the beautifully moody black and white artstyle. In Limbo, you’ll play an unnamed boy on the search for his sister. It’s an extremely simple premise, that is explored with a surprising surplus of humanity, despite the very limited ways the game communicates the narrative directly to the player. The puzzle design is also a highlight, making use of physics to progress. Though, they’re always seamlessly integrating into the world as a natural obstacle, so the player never feels like they’re moving from puzzle to puzzle robotically. 

Best Game Pass Games: Halo: Infinite

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. 

Best Game Pass Games: Forza Horizon 5

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. 

Best Game Pass Games: Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role Playing Game

Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: PC

It may be difficult to get into these days, being well over twenty years old and all, but the original Fallout is still a classic and one of the best RPGs ever made. For fans coming at it from the playing the first-person titles first, it may be a big change. It still satirises the retro-future aesthetic of the 50s and 60s but doesn’t engulf itself in the Americana of the world as much as later titles. The world of the original Fallout is brutal and harrowing, there are still the elements of black-comedy that brings levity, but it thoroughly explores the ramifications of a dead world where hope is fleeting, and how its inhabitants respond to that. 

Best Game Pass Games: Mirror’s Edge

Electronic Arts

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

Mirror’s Edge is perhaps one of the best games at effectively creating the feeling of flow state. Dice’s parkour romp through a dystopia - where crime has been culled by the overbearing hand of surveillance, sacrificing people’s freedoms in the name of comfort - is a memorable experience. It’s so mechanically tight and satisfying, too, that it’s endlessly replayable. The level design has a clarity that stops you from ever losing the speed and flow that the game encourages, thanks to a cleverly sparse use of colour and clear geometry.

Best Game Pass Games: Plants vs. Zombies

Electronic Arts

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

Plants vs. Zombies is a surprisingly lovely little tower defence game, where you use a number of different flowers to protect your garden from zombies. It’s simple, but so damn engaging. Throughout the experience, the game drip feeds you more plants to utilise and different types of zombies to fend off, always knowing exactly when to keep it fresh. A game this simple could easily stagnate, but the wonderful presentation, on top of the aforementioned perfect pacing, makes it a game you easily play for ten minutes or ten hours.

Best Game Pass Games: Quake

Bethesda Softworks

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

One of the more recent additions to the Game Pass, Quake was recently remastered and brought to consoles for the first time. It’s a timeless classic and one of the progenitors for the boomer shooter genre. Set in a dark fantasy, sci-fi and Lovecraftian universe, it’s an amalgamation of styles and themes that fits together so perfectly. The soundtrack composed by Trent Reznor is also worth note, bringing an industrialised dark ambience to the experience, that meshes well with the eclectic aesthetics. Quake is a must-play for anyone wanting to experience the shooters of old, and doesn’t feel dated at all - even 25 years on.

Best Game Pass Games: Resident Evil 7

Capcom

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

Capcom’s first-person Resident Evil 7 revitalised the series, after back-to-back mainline entries that strayed further from what made the series so special to begin with. Reigning the focus back in to just a mansion in Lousiana, turned out to be for the best. It brought back the puzzles and metroidvania gameplay of previous entries - though with fewer complications - and added the sadistic Baker family who stalk you throughout the experience. It also introduced series newcomer Ethan Winters, who begins the game on a search for his missing wife that brought him - and the player - into an unforgettable nightmare.

Best Game Pass Games: Crusader Kings 3

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. 

Best Game Pass Games: Subnautica

Unknown Worlds Entertainment

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

Subnautica is a member of the open-world survival genre, that places you into an unfamiliar or hostile environment and tasks you with figuring out how to survive. This time, you’re placed on a water world after your ship crashes, leaving you as the only survivor. Throughout your experience, you’ll explore and craft a new shelter for yourself while maintaining your health and hunger, and exploring the wider world to figure out the mysteries of the planet. Subnautica is also famously terrifying, especially for those with thalassophobia, and will have you second guessing your journeys into the deeper, darker parts of the ocean. 

Best Game Pass Games: What Remains of Edith Finch

Annapurna Interactive

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

What Remains of Edith Finch is a beautifully sombre narrative game, about a family with a curse that has led to the deaths of most of the members. The game begins as you return to the Finch house years after being away, which acts as a framing device for the anthological stories of the different family members, detailing their life experiences and what led to their demise. One standout sequence sees you balancing work at a fish canning factory, while daydreaming about a fantasy world which slowly takes over the screen. It’s an example of a story that can only be delivered effectively through the medium of video games, and touches on the existential ennui of feeling like you're going nowhere in life. It’s use of surrealism and magical realism throughout the experience makes for an enchanting dive into family legacy, that also fills it with unique narrative set pieces.

Best Game Pass Games: Psychonauts 2

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. 

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

 

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