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It’s been said to death at this point, but Xbox Game Pass truly is the best value in gaming, giving you access to hundreds of great games for a single monthly fee. Halo and Gears? They’re on there. Dozens of amazing indies? Check. A whole bunch of Star Wars, Madden and FIFA titles from EA? Yep. It’s kind of ridiculous.

There’s just one problem: With so much to play on Xbox Game Pass, figuring out which games to download first can be daunting. That’s why, after many hours of testing (aka playing lots of video games), we’ve rounded up our picks for the very best titles you can play on Microsoft’s subscription service. Whether you’re looking for a competitive online shooter, something kid-friendly to play with the whole family or a role-playing game you can sink dozens of hours into, we’ve got something for you on this list.

One quick note: Some games on this list are only available on specific tiers of Xbox Game Pass. Here’s a quick breakdown of your three options:

We’ve noted which games below are available on which plans to help you find the right subscription for you.

If you’re looking to make the most of your new Xbox Series X or Series S, want to flesh out your PC library or dip into some cloud gaming on your phone, here are our picks for the best Xbox Game Pass games to download right now.

Gears 5

Gears 5 is the biggest and most ambitious entry yet in Microsoft’s flagship third-person shooter series. Its epic single-player campaign puts a refreshing twist on things by delving into the dark lineage of protagonist Kait Diaz while introducing gorgeous open-world areas that break up the satisfying cover shooting with some vehicular exploration. That’s paired with a near-endless amount of multiplayer content, including a full suite of competitive game types and the iconic Horde mode that lets you take on 50 waves of enemies with up to four friends. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members also get free access to the new Gears 5 Hivebusters expansion, which adds even more story content to an already great package.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Sean O'Key/CNN

One of the best “Star Wars” games in years, Jedi: Fallen Order is an epic action-adventure game that puts you in control of Cal Kestis, one of the few Jedi to survive the harrowing events of Order 66. Masterfully blending influences from games like Dark Souls and Metroid Prime, Fallen Order delivers satisfying, precise lightsaber combat while letting you explore a number of breathtaking planets filled with secrets to discover. If you want to live out your Jedi power fantasies — and experience a great stand-alone “Star Wars” story while you’re at it — Fallen Order should be at the top of your download list.

Available on: console

Tetris Effect: Connected

Tetris Effect is the best version of Tetris ever made. Enhance Games turns the world’s most iconic puzzle game into an enrapturing audiovisual experience, with beautiful music and visuals that sync up with every dropped brick. Tetris Effect: Connected gets you everything that made the 2018 original great — including a full single-player campaign and a variety of challenge modes — and adds multiplayer into the mix. You get a full suite of competitive game types as well as an especially awesome Connected mode that has three players team up to take on bosses while clearing lines in harmony with one another. Since just about everyone can grasp Tetris, Connected is a great Game Pass download for those looking for something they can play with friends and family, either locally or online.

Available on: console, PC

Celeste

Celeste delivers a near-perfect marriage of gameplay and storytelling within a compact, challenging action game bursting with heart and style. This pixelated 2D platformer will truly test your reflexes, with screen after screen of tricky levels that require you to make precise jumps and dashes while avoiding traps and enemies. That sense of difficulty meshes perfectly with the game’s narrative, which sees main character Celeste steadily ascend a mountain in an attempt to confront her own mental health. We’re still thinking of Celeste’s touching narrative and addictive yet tough action years after its initial release, making it an easy pick for our list of essential downloads.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Injustice 2

If you’re looking for a fighting game that lets Batman beat up Superman — oh, and Hellboy, Sub-Zero and the Ninja Turtles too — Injustice 2 is for you. This DC Comics brawler is one of the best in its genre, offering explosive combat that’s inviting for newcomers but has plenty of tactical depth for competitive players. The game’s cinematic story mode is essentially a playable superhero blockbuster, with gorgeous movie-like cut scenes that seamlessly transition into in-game battles as Batman and crew take on a Superman gone bad. And with a stacked roster that includes the likes of Supergirl, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Joker and Green Lantern, plus a few surprise guests, you and your friends can easily lose hours putting together your favorite comic book dream matches.

Available on: console, cloud

Forza Horizon 4

There are a handful of great racing games on Game Pass, but none are quite as addictive and exhilarating as Forza Horizon 4. Playground Games’ arcade-style racer sets you loose in a gorgeous open-world Britain, where you can complete races, tackle stunt challenges or just aimlessly drift around while earning style points. With access to more than 450 painstakingly realistic-looking cars (and a few Lego vehicles) and tons of ways to play both solo and online, Forza Horizon 4 is the definitive Xbox driving game for casual fans and gearheads alike.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Streets of Rage 4

Longing for the days of arcade-style beat-’em-ups you could blow an entire afternoon with alongside your friends? Add Streets of Rage 4 to your queue. This new entry in Sega’s beloved brawler series perfectly modernizes the fisticuff action — complete with dazzling combos and stunning hand-drawn art — while preserving the pick-up-and-play fun that made the original games so popular. With co-op support for four players locally and two online, as well as a trove of unlockable characters that will make Streets of Rage fans uppercut with glee, Streets of Rage 4 is a great pick for anyone who wants to spend a few hours beating up bad guys as if it were the ’90s.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Minecraft Dungeons

Microsoft

I’m not even a Minecraft fan, and I love Minecraft Dungeons. A cooperative hack-and-slash adventure featuring Minecraft’s iconic characters and worlds, Dungeons delivers an accessible spin on the action-RPG genre while offering plenty of depth and challenge for more seasoned players. With lots of character customization and support for up to four players all wrapped up in Minecraft’s charmingly blocky aesthetic, Dungeons is a great pick for family game nights and serious grind sessions alike.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Sunset Overdrive

Perhaps the most criminally underrated game on this list, Sunset Overdrive is an irreverent, neon-soaked shot of delightful open-world action. Part Ratchet & Clank, part Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, this colorful apocalyptic adventure makes the act of moving and shooting a joy as you can grind on rails, run on walls and use all manner of creative weapons to take out energy-drink-infused zombies (yes, you read that right). If you need a break from the many overly grim and serious action games out there — or just want to catch up on one of Microsoft’s best hidden gems — Sunset Overdrive is the exact type of foul-mouthed fun you’re looking for.

Available on: console, PC

Doom Eternal

id Software

Doom Eternal takes the gleefully addictive hyperviolence of 2016’s Doom reboot and cranks everything up to 11. This is pure first-person-shooter adrenaline at its finest, as you’ll rapidly jump and dash around huge combat arenas while using all manner of shotguns, rifles and chainsaws to strategically dismember each demon in your way. Eternal is far bigger and more ambitious than its predecessor, with some platforming and puzzle-solving to break up the bloodshed as well as a ton of collectibles for completionists to go after. If you’re looking for a satisfying, fast-paced shooter to help you blow off some steam, few games do it better than Doom Eternal.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Looking to really make your new Xbox Series X or Series S sing? Check out Ori and the Will of the Wisps. This gorgeous, Pixar-esque 2D platformer is especially stunning on Microsoft’s new consoles, with support for silky 120 frame-per-second gameplay at 4K resolution that makes Moon Studios’ dreamlike adventure world look more alive than ever. And whether you’re playing on the new hardware, your PC or your Xbox One, Will of the Wisps is simply a great action experience, with dynamic traversal and combat, a sprawling game world and a moving story. If you’re new to the franchise, you can also check out 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest on Game Pass.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Resident Evil 7

In the mood for something spooky? Turn the lights out and add Resident Evil 7 to your queue. This gripping horror romp is a must-play for new and old Resident Evil fans alike, as it reinvents the franchise with tense first-person gameplay and a creepy new family of antagonists while staying true to the puzzle-solving, exploration and survival gameplay that made the original games so special. And with its direct sequel, Resident Evil Village, due this year, now is the perfect time to catch up. Just be sure to brace yourself for jump scares, some truly gross environments and one really unsettling grandma.

Available on: console, PC, cloud

Katana Zero

Few games exude cool like Katana Zero does. This unforgiving and slick 2D action game challenges you to slash and dodge your way through a bleak neo-noir world, with plenty of satisfying ways to creatively take out enemies with weapons and traps. Its white-knuckle action is broken up by interactive and increasingly mystifying cut scenes that slowly unravel the story of your deadly assassin, adding a compelling “just one more level” quality that will keep you coming back. We’ve played a lot of great indie games on Game Pass, but Katana Zero’s mix of fun combat, interesting storytelling and sheer style make it a major standout.

Available on: console, PC

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

No Xbox library is complete without Halo, and the Master Chief Collection gets you nearly every entry in Microsoft’s defining first-person shooter series complete with visual upgrades and endless multiplayer options. It’s a great way to catch up on Microsoft’s most popular series for the first time, revisit some entries you may have missed (seriously, play Halo: Reach) or spend dozens of hours fragging friends either on the couch or online. And with tons of customizable graphics options on PC and up to 120 frame-per-second gameplay on the Xbox Series X or Series S, the Master Chief Collection makes classic Halo look better than ever. We still regularly find ourselves hopping into Microsoft’s epic anthology package to get a few online matches in, making it a no-brainer for your download queue.

Available on: console, PC

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

the witcher 3
CD Projekt Red
the witcher 3

While CD Project Red is currently grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons with Cyberpunk 2077, its previous game, The Witcher 3, remains an all-time classic. This popular role-playing title is widely praised for giving players a massive fantasy world to explore, complete with memorable characters, a deep combat system that blends swordplay and sorcery, and a gripping story that you can shape with your in-game choices. If you’re looking for a Game Pass title you can sink dozens — if not hundreds — of hours into, add The Witcher 3 to your list.

Available on: console, cloud