There are dozens of fantastic things to play on Game Pass, both on the family of Xbox consoles and PC.
So really, the question isn’t ‘what are the best games on Game Pass,’ but rather, ‘how do I narrow them down’?
Since Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda brought their exemplary stable of time-sink RPGs to the service, Game Pass has built a rock-solid core of forever titles you can always count on being ready to install.
From there, it continues to swap in quality indies and in addition to Microsoft’s first and second party games.
Plus the recent purchase of Activision Blizzard promises to add even more blockbuster titles to the catalogue in the not too distant future.
Whether you’re looking for your next month-long obsession or just a way to burn a lazy Sunday afternoon, here’s a curated selection - in no partiuclar order - of the best Game Pass games for Xbox and PC.
The best Game Pass Games on Xbox and PC
- Oblivion, Skyrim, the Fallout games, and every other Bethesda game
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
- Forza Horizon 5
- Halo Infinite
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- Dead Cells
- The Ascent
- Hitman Trilogy
- Crusader Kings 3
- The Forgotten City
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
- Enter the Gungeon
- Total War Warhammer 3
- Hollow Knight
- Football Manager 2022
- Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
- Stardew Valley
- Wasteland 3
Oblivion, Skyrim, the Fallout games, and every other Bethesda gamePlatforms: Xbox, PC
If you’ve never played them, then I’ll let you into something of an open secret: Bethesda RPGs are a little bit good.
Whether it’s the high fantasy world of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, the quirky post-nuclear wasteland of Fallout, or the whale-oil-punk Victoriandustrial cityscapes of Dishonored, pretty much everything on offer from Bethesda absolutely rules.
And that’s to say nothing of the more shooter-focussed side of things - DOOM and Wolfenstein are also both excellent - as well as the underrated sci-fi immersive-sim, Prey, which has one of the best opening sequences around.
On PC, you also get access to some of the pre-Bethesda entries into series they later acquired. Of these, Fallout 1 and 2 come highly recommended if you’re interested in exploring the franchise lore - but be aware, they are very unforgiving by modern standards.
Plus, there's the tantalizing prospect of the eventual Elder Scrolls 6 on the horizon as well.
For the sake of space, yes these all count as one on the list.
Yakuza: Like a DragonPlatforms: Xbox, PC
The cult Yakuza series has long threatened to boil over into the mainstream, and this turn-based transition with a brand-new protagonist is as perfect a time as any to get involved.
Combining the sublime and the ridiculous, Like a Dragon continues Yakuza’s meticulous recreation of the backstreets and red-light districts of Japan - this time focusing on Yokohama - while taking the series’ trademark wacky humour to the next level to incorporate tropes you’d see in more typical and fantasy turn-based RPGs.
Debuff enemies with demoralising insults, breathe fire with cheap booze and a lighter, or swing a handbag like a makeshift flail to split some skulls.
In your downtime, take on the roster of new and returning minigames from blackjack and darts to batting cages and karaoke.
Mass Effect: Legendary EditionPlatforms: Xbox, PC (Game Pass Ultimate required)
Part of Xbox’s team-up with Electronic Arts to include EA Play titles on Game Pass, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is another swathe of generation-defining RPGs, this time following Commander Shepard across a trilogy of space opera epics as they defend humanity and the galactic alliance from a mysterious and hostile foe.
Mass Effect 2 is often held up as one of the real gold standard games of the last 15 years, as you build a crack squad of specialists, Ocean’s Eleven-style, to pull off a high-stakes mission against impossible odds.
But really, if you can get past the 360/PS3-era feel of some of the gameplay, the whole series is as compelling as it ever was. And the Legendary edition graphical rework makes things a lot easier on the eye as well.
Even if you already played them when they first came out, remember: the Legendary Edition includes all of the DLC you were probably too broke to fork out for at the time, so there’s possibly even new stuff in there for long-time fans.
UnpackingPlatforms: Xbox, PC
If saving the world is too much pressure, why not lower the stakes and revel in the joy of tidying up?
It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.
Set across different snapshots in time, chill out with this satisfying, serene and contemplative indie experience.
Forza Horizon 5Platforms: Xbox, PC
A racing game that’s just as fun for hardcore speedsters and people who don’t usually like racing games, Forza Horizon 5 offers customisable races, a moreish collect-a-thon of beautiful cars, and a varied open-world version of Mexico that’s fantastically well designed.
If you’re the kind of player that only picks up a controller between track days, you can crank the difficulty for a true test of your driving mettle. Or if you’re like me, every time you mess up a corner you can use the seamless rewind function to whiz back to where everything was going smoothly and pretend you’re still the racecar boss you always dreamed you were.
Forza Horizon 4 is also great and a relatively similar experience, just set in the southwest of the UK. So if you’d rather explore Yeovil than the Yucatan, check out the previous entry instead.
Halo InfinitePlatforms: Xbox, PC
One of the best things about Gamepass is that you get a lot of the top-tier exclusive Microsoft-backed games from the day they’re released and Halo Infinite is one of the best.
Master Chief returns to the fore in this shiny, semi-open-world adventure that combines fan-service-y Halo lore for returning fans with classically-styled but endlessly engaging first-person shooting that has that unique series-defining feel.
The game also includes an incredible online multiplayer mode that manages to be incredibly competitive and frenetic, but with a very different tempo to reflex-heavy FPSs like Call of Duty and battle royale games.
It’s not all seriousness and po-faced drama however, Halo Infinite is also a lesson on how to own a lukewarm first impression, packed full of Craig the Brute memes and off-the-wall unlockable skull cheats.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen OrderPlatforms: Xbox, PC (Game Pass Ultimate required)
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order asks, ‘What if Dark Souls, but with an easy mode and with lightsabers that go vroom?’
Taking shameless inspiration from the tough-but-fair RPG trend and layering it with the quintessential Star Wars aesthetic and lore we all know and love, Fallen Order is a fantastic romp up there with the best Star Wars games.
Thanks to the recent next-gen graphical update as well, it looks better than ever.
HadesPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Escaping Hell isn’t easy, especially if you’re from there.
Hades is a beautiful indie roguelike beat ‘em up filled with great characters, fun writing and voice acting and challenging gameplay that’s simply divine.
Determined to break out of the Underworld and meet the rest of his godly family on Mount Olympus, every time Prince Zagreus is defeated by the hell’s guardians he wakes up back where he started.
As you build up your skillset and beat new bosses run-after-run, you unravel more of the twisty story and the secrets of the Gods.
Dead CellsPlatforms: Xbox, PC
One of the best roguelites anywhere, let alone on Game Pass, Dead Cells combines brutal combat and hardcore platforming with a memorable dark pixel aesthetic to create something as engrossing as it is rewarding.
While it can take a while to get a grounding in its shifting, labyrinthine world, collecting stat-altering power ups and building out your character from a massive roster of equipment adds an interesting element of experimentation to the mix.
If you like your games to put up a fight, Dead Cells is a willing opponent.
The AscentPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Do you love Arnold Swarzenegger? Do you love Blade Runner? Do you love action movies of the ‘80s in general?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you will also love The Ascent, an indie cyberpunk RPG that plays out as a third-person, twin-stick shooter.
Despite being made with a tiny core team, the world and environmental effects on show here are low-key some of the best we’ve seen this generation. While the pumping story and meaty gameplay are sure to propel you through the relatively brief and well-paced runtime.
Hitman TrilogyPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Oft forgotten and underrated as a series, the three most recent Hitman games offer level after level of excellent assassination sandboxes to mess around in.
Hitman 2 and 3 are particularly great, with tons of memorable setpieces like the country manor murder mystery - where you impersonate a detective solving a previous crime while simultaneously killing the suspects.
Grabbing the whole trilogy as one package lets you binge through as much as you can muster without having to eke out every possibility, but it’s just as fun to replay the same scenarios to attempt all of the grisly permutations.
SpiritfarerPlatforms: Xbox, PC
There’s a lot of death in Spiritfarer, but not in the usual video game sense.
Here, Stella, along with her pet cat Daffodil, ferries the spirits of the recently deceased across the ocean to their final resting place through the Everdoor, fulfilling their final wishes and giving them peace before saying goodbye one last time.
Tear-jerking, heart-warming, and satisfyingly rewarding in equal measure, it’s a joy to build up your ship, take on new passengers, and collect new resources and recipes to keep everyone happy throughout this unique story.
Crusader Kings 3Platforms: Xbox, PC
Schmooze, stab and seduce your way to a prosperous kingdom in Crusader Kings 3, where you take on the world to establish your family as the dominant dynasty across the Middle Ages.
This isn’t just some turn-based war simulator where you LARP at contracting dysentery though. All manner of statecraft is available to you when it comes to dealing with rivals, letting you take the high road of conventional diplomacy, the clandestine route of a few poison ear drops in the bedroom, or a straight-up muddy pitchfork fight between peasant armies should the need arise.
Endlessly surprising as you connive your way to the top, fall back down again, then claw up the rungs once more as your disposed king’s rightful heir, Crusader Kings 3 shows that even though the weight of a crown wears heavy, it’s a lot of fun to try and keep it from toppling.
The Forgotten CityPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Is your favourite part of open-world RPGs talking to people in a fantasy world rather than hitting giant crabs? Then The Forgotten City is just the game for you!
Originally conceived as a Skyrim mod, this time-bending indie whodunnit is as compelling a mystery as any classic tale.
Exploring preserved Greek and Roman ruins, you collect evidence and conduct interviews with a memorable cast of characters to unravel the secrets of your situation.
Ori and the Will of the WispsPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Both Ori and the Blind Forest and the sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps are on Game Pass, and both are brilliant.
In a crowded field of 2D adventures, the Ori series is a standout thanks to its vast and varied storybook world, pin-point gameplay and exceptional vibes.
While it might seem like a kids game - and it certainly is ‘fun for all the family’ as they say - there’s a deeply satisfying core here of great design well executed that makes it an absolute must play.
They’re not very long games either, making them a great fit for a couple good weekends of play with a one month subscription, rather than getting bogged down in some 100 hour epic.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy HavocPlatforms: Xbox, PC
In the madcap world of Japanese visual novels, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the very best.
Each attendee of the prestigious Hope’s Peak Academy is known throughout the world as the ‘Ultimate’ practitioner of their chosen profession, but when they’re trapped in the school by the terrible teddy bear Monokuma, their only chance of escape is to murder one of their classmates - and get away with it.
Bursting with iconic characters, quotable lines, and an off-beat soundtrack that’s stickier than super glue, the whole Danganronpa series is well worth your attention.
TunicPlatforms: Xbox, PC
A gorgeous, polygonal Zelda-like, Tunic evokes the nostalgic spirit of your favourite adventures without feeling too derivative or outstaying its welcome.
Where a lot of modern action RPGs lean into the trend of super-hard worlds filled with punishing combat and every obstacle being a pain-in-the-neck, here you guide your foxy friend across a mysterious and mystical island filled with interesting secrets and great map design.
When everything else feels a bit serious, Tunic is a purer game with great art and a beautiful heart.
Enter the GungeonPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Where a lot of video games are just obsessed with guns, this one is made of them.
A roguelite shoot-’em-up with ammo crates full of devious and silly enemies, fun environments and weapons to collect, Enter the Gungeon is arrestingly replayable as games come.
SuperliminalPlatforms: Xbox, PC
We all don’t have quite as much cash as we’d like to spend on games, so when ingeniously innovative puzzle games like Superliminal come along that are super creative, but also very short, it’s understandable that most people opt for something meatier.
But when it’s included in Game Pass, there’s no reason not to dive into this memorable and mind-bending mystery where you can never quite believe your eyes.
Total War Warhammer 3Platforms: PC
The latest instalment in one of gaming’s best suited crossovers, Total War Warhammer 3 combines the epic fantasy lore of Warhammer with the grand strategy of Total War to create a fantastically immersive experience.
Whether you’re more into playing the good guy and stemming the tides of evil as one of the human factions, or raising hell with the demonic Gods of Chaos, there are plenty of unit types to manoeuvre and tactics to master across a weighty campaign and strategic multiplayer.
Hollow KnightPlatforms: Xbox, PC
An awesome metroidvania-style RPG exploring a tiny world of bugs underground, Hollow Knight is a meaty slice of 2D action, pitting you against brutal bosses and perilous platforming sections across your journey.
It’s not all about the gameplay though. There’s plenty of hidden lore to unearth, the roots of which will leave you mulling over the history of this forgotten creepy-crawly kingdom for long after you roll the credits.
Football Manager 2022Platforms: Xbox, PC
You can now dive into the all-consuming world of Football Manager as part of your Game Pass subscription, but be warned, you might never be able to cancel again.
Crunching an unfathomably huge amount of data to sim as realistic as managerial experience as possible, Football Manager 2022 is the truest test of your footballing mettle around, since all that stands between humiliating defeat and resounding victory is your tactical nouse.
With an ever-increasing amount of real-world licences, deep lists of real players and an almost overwhelming degree of control at your fingertips, it’s no wonder people often apply for actual football management jobs with a list of their FM achievements on their CV.
Resident Evil 7 BiohazardPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Disgracefully scary in the beginning, this exceptional soft reboot of the legendary series proved there’s always a way for a talented team to freshen up an older concept with new ideas.
By incorporating the best elements of the first-person horror craze that preceded its release, but without losing the puzzly, desperate gameplay and deep lore that made Resident Evil a standout in the first place, Capcom struck gold with Resi 7 and have been riding the wave ever since.
Stardew ValleyPlatforms: Xbox, PC
Beloved with good reason, Stardew Valley is a deep and subtly gorgeous farming sim where you inherit your grandad’s homestead and build it back into a thriving ranch.
You raise cute animals, cultivate a huge variety of crops, explore a sprawling network of underground tunnels and meet new friends in the nearby town as you build your own beautiful rural life.
Think rebuilding a farming business is too big a task for you alone? Well, the whole of Stardew Valley was pretty much made by one person, so there’s no excuse to not give it your all!
Wasteland 3Platforms: Xbox, PC
The original Wasteland dropped back in the ‘80s, but its mutant brand of post-nuclear americana went on to directly inspire the core of another series you might have heard of - the first two Fallout games.
Revived in the classic mould of high-camera, strategy-laden RPG, Wasteland 2 (also on Game Pass) and Wasteland 3 take the kooky heart everyone loves in Fallout and crank it up to an extreme degree.
As you help the Arizona Rangers win the trust and support of Colorado’s strongman leader The Patriarch, you’ll decide the fate of a mercantile gang who only wear halloween costumes, free the elves in Santa’s drug workshop, and take on a vicious cult that worship a truly terrifying creature: Ronald Reagan.