What are the best Xbox games you can get your hands on in 2022? With Microsoft continuing to push its multi-platform strategy, the company’s gaming ecosystem now includes the newly-released Xbox Series X|S as well as Xbox One and PC. We’ve seen plenty of crossover between the three platforms, so pinning down which games to talk about can be tricky, but we think we’ve done a pretty good job.
In recent years, Microsoft has been busy snapping up some of the industry’s best talent by acquiring studios left, right, and centre. On top of that, the past several months have given us some of the best Xbox games in years with the return of major flagship franchises.
For our picks of the best Xbox games to play, we’ve gone for a selection that includes brand new must-play exclusives that show off the console’s power, old Xbox faithfuls, and a handful of likely less well-known options.
The Best Xbox Series X Games
As ever we’ll be closely monitoring this list as new Xbox games arrive, adding those titles worthy enough to make the cut. As we push through 2022, we’ll hopefully see exclusive upcoming games like Hellblade II, Starfield, and Scorn step into the ring. For now, let’s took a look at best games Xbox players can dive straight into.
- Forza Horizon 5
- Halo Infinite
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps & Ori and the Blind Forest
- Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Gears 5
- Sea of Thieves
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Psychonauts 2
- Scarlet Nexus
Forza Horizon 5 is one of the best racing games in general, and it’s definitely at its best on the Xbox Series X. You’ve never played a better-looking racing game than this, and the way the recreation of Mexico weaves from one biome and one event to the next makes it stunning to play too. If you want to make your way around a huge world and just soak in the sheer beauty of it all, Forza Horizon 5 is one of the best Xbox games around for that. Oh, and Forza Horizon 4 looks pretty special with its Series X upgrade as well…
It might have been a year late, but Halo Infinite was worth the wait. 343 Industries have really nailed down the feel of Halo, while also taking the series in a new direction. The campaign and Master Chief’s battle against the Banished now has an open world structure, with the Zeta Halo providing a great playground that’s made all the better by having a new grappling hook. Then there’s the multiplayer action which is just a lot of fun, and fully free to play if you don’t fancy the campaign. There’s more to come for Halo Infinite, such as co-op campaign and changes to multiplayer progression, but it should be high on your “to play” list for Xbox and PC.
This is a bit of a cheat, because we’re actually going to go ahead and include both Ori and the Will of the Wisps along with Ori and the Blind Forest here, because they’re both excellent games. The Ori games are very challenging “Metroidvania” titles where you guide a little forest spirit through increasingly challenging situations. If you want something that feels a little retro but with loads of modern extras, then check this out.
Microsoft Flight Simulator should be the dullest console offering of the new generation, but it’s not. Exclusively on PC and Xbox Series X|S, Flight Simulator lets you take out a growing hangar of different light aircraft as you explore and traverse planet Earth, and it’s a perfect example of zen gaming. Peaceful, tranquil, and yet utterly immersive, you can’t take your hands off the controls for fear that your aircraft will plummet into the ground. While the only real downside is that you’ll have to take off again, you’ll still lose precious moments you could have spent performing yet another fly-by of your house.
Gears 5 might have released a year before the Xbox Series X came out, but it’s easily one of the best looking games on the new hardware thanks to a free game update that enhanced lighting and other effects. Not only that, but The Coalition released Gears 5: Hivebusters, a DLC campaign to play through solo or in three player co-op that takes the series to new and truly gorgeous locations. If you’ve completed Gears 5 in the past, then Hivebusters is well worth checking out (and bundled in with Game Pass Ultimate).
Not a fan of the Gears series’ chunky cover shooter combat? How about a slick XCOM-like spin off in Gears Tactics?
Nobody would have expected Sea of Thieves to grow into the fantastic game it is today when it launched, but here we are. Sea of Thieves is a multiplayer pirate game that basically lets you live out any and every dream of the high seas you’ve ever had. If you want to play it and make up a crew to sail around looking for booty, then you can, if you’d rather get into ship-based combat, then you can, and if you want something more relaxing, you can always just go fishing. There’s been years of updates that have improved and polished the game, not to mention a whole Pirates of the Caribbean tie-in story that you can play with your swarthiest chums.
It’s always cool to see a long-running game series mix things up a bit, and that’s exactly what Yakuza: Like a Dragon does. Rather than being an action game, Like a Dragon goes full RPG with turn-based battles, characters who serve different roles, and some of the strangest summons in gaming history. Basically, if you’re looking for a good time, get on this. Make sure you check out our Yakuza: Like a Dragon guide series to get the best head start and scoop some of those hard-to-find collectables.
Sure, Halo Infinite might be the shiny new thing, but it can’t hold a candle to the absolutely vast collection of Halo gaming that you get within Halo: The Master Chief Collection. You’ve got the entire Xbox and Xbox 360 saga with Master Chief at its centre as you start, continue and then finish the fight against the Covenant, but there’s also Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach and Halo 4 bundled in as well. The collection has been significantly updated (and its multiplayer fixed) since its 2014 Xbox One release, so if you’re playing on Series X you get the games in running 4K, dozens of hours of campaign to play through, and more multiplayer game types and modes than you can shake a sticky grenade at!
Want to fully finish the Halo fight? Well, Halo 5: Guardians is also playable via backward compatibility, and there’s also the real time strategy spin-offs Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2. Halo Wars 2 is the first game to feature Halo Infinite’s Banished foes.
Psychonauts 2 is a worthy successor to Double Fine’s cult classic. The platforming and combat gameplay is tighter, the world design is as varied and inventive as ever, and while the story is full of twists, turns and comedic moment, there’s also a wonderful sense of empathy and tenderness throughout. The game has a bit of a leg up over the PlayStation 5 on Xbox Series X. Where the PS5 plays the game at 1440p thanks to running in backward compatibility, the Series X has a native version of the game that can target native 4K. The varied and inventive worlds that Double Fine has created shine through regardless of where you play it.
Scarlet Nexus manages to mix an intriguing story, a constant sense of intrigue, and a wonderful over-the-top battle system together into a game that’s a blast to play. On Xbox Series X it comes with a crisp and clean anime visual style that makes the truly wild enemy designs really stand out as you battle for the future of mankind. This is easily one of the best JRPGs to come out in the 2021, and that’s saying something!