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13 best games on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to play right now, from Halo to Hades

These are the best titles available now, whether you love racing games or platformers

<p>The subscription service gives gamers access to a huge library of titles </p>

The subscription service gives gamers access to a huge library of titles

Since its introduction in 2017, Microsoft has offered gamers great value with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Much like a Netflix subscription, users can pay a monthly fee to access a library of over 100 titles for playing on Xbox consoles, PC and even via the cloud.

Titles such as Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 are currently available through the service and new games are announced on a monthly basis.

We can also expect to see a large number of upcoming exclusives, as Xbox has made a number of shrewd acquisitions of publishers including Bethesda and more recently Activision.

Bethesda titles such as Doom Eternal and Skyrim have made their way onto the service, so it won’t be long before we see Activision titles start to appear as well.

Activision currently owns a lot of properties, including Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush.

With that in mind, these are our top picks for all the games currently available on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

How we tested

When picking the best games on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate we considered how well suited they are to the platform and whether they can be played on console as well as PC. We also took into consideration which games have been best received and if they are likely to stay on the service for long.

If games are no longer part of the Xbox Games Pass subscription, they will be removed from this list and updated with new alternatives to make sure your subscription is being put to good use. We’ve linked here to the Xbox site, but if don’t have Game Pass and want to buy the titles individually, scroll down for links to other retailers.

The best games available on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are:

  • Best overall Halo Infinite: £54.99, Xbox.com
  • Best racing game Forza Horizon 5: £54.99, Xbox.com
  • Best stealth Sniper Elite 5: £79.99, Xbox.com
  • Best sidescroller Hollow Knight: £12.49, Xbox.com
  • Best simulator Microsoft Flight Simulator: £47.99, Xbox.com
  • Best puzzle game Unpacking: £16.74, Xbox.com
  • Best co-op game It Takes Two: £17.49, Xbox.com
  • Best roguelike Hades: £20.99, Xbox.com
  • Best RPG Mass Effect: Legendary Edition: £23.99, Xbox.com
  • Best platformer Psychonauts 2: £54.99, Xbox.com
  • Best game for childrenMinecraft: £24.99, Xbox.com
  • Best adventure Tunic: £24.99, Xbox.com
  • Best strategy Crusader Kings III: £41.74, Xbox.com

‘Halo Infinite'

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Release Date: 8 December 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

Halo Infinite is the most confident the Halo series has been in years. The campaign follows Spartan supersoldier Master Chief as he continues the fight against the Banished on the ringworld of Zeta Halo with the help of a new AI known as “The Weapon”. Opening up the world for Master Chief to explore at his leisure was an obvious direction to take the series in and with added mobility thanks to the grappling hook, moving through these environments has never been so much fun. In a series first, the Halo Infinite multiplayer portion of the game is also free to play, so it’s worth looking into even if you’re on the fence about committing to Game Pass.

Read the full Halo Infinite review

‘Forza Horizon 5'

Best: Racing game

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Playground Games
  • Release Date: 4 November 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

Forza Horizon 5 just wants you to have a good time. From its lush jungles to arid sandstorms, this fictional depiction of Mexico plays host to the Horizon Festival, where racers all over the world come to drive cars and drive them fast. With over 550 vehicles to choose from to race across 11 unique biomes, there is plenty of driving to be had across dynamic courses that make Horizon’s world feel truly alive.

‘Sniper Elite 5'

Best: Stealth

Rating: 8/10

  • Publisher: Rebellion
  • Release Date: 26 May 2022
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS4, PS5

With its large and well executed environments, Sniper Elite 5 is a strong follow up to 2017’s previous entry in the series, with a healthy balance of open-ended approaches and a clear direction. Maps are large enough to revisit and rediscover new areas as well as acting as an endless playground to perform trick shots and discover its secrets.

Where it does falter is in the occasionally stilted AI that is either fiercely intelligent or completely helpless. That said, it’s a worthy follow up in its own right and fans will appreciate the continuity of previous games. A newly implemented invasion mode also allows players to enter other games as an enemy spy for a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Read the full Sniper Elite 5 review

‘Hollow Knight'

Best: Sidescroller

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • Release Date: 24 February 2017
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Mac, Playstation 4

Hollow Knight is a 2D Metroidvania action-adventure game that puts players in the shoes of a nameless knight to explore the kingdom of Hallownest, defeat its bug-themed bosses and uncover its mysteries. It can be unrelentingly difficult but it’s never unfair, giving players ample opportunity to return to the site of their demise and reclaim their progress before its lost. The sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, has long been in development and fans of the original have been anticipating its release since it was first revealed in 2019. Until then, see what all the hype is about in this quietly foreboding indie darling.

‘Microsoft Flight Simulator'

Best: Simulator

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Asobo Studios
  • Release Date: 17 April 2020
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

If you’re looking for a realistic simulator to test your knowledge of aviation then look no further than Microsoft Flight Simulator – the closest you can get to sitting inside an actual cockpit. Fly anything from two-seater Cessnas to wide-body commercial jets from any airport in the world. With real-time weather mapping and accurate satellite imagery, the world is yours to explore in genuine awe-inspiring detail.

‘Unpacking'

Best: Puzzle game

Rating: 8/10

  • Developer: Humble Bundle
  • Release Date: 1 November 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Nintendo Switch, Mac

Moving into a new house is arguably the most stressful thing people put themselves through. So how can you turn that experience into a meditative and relaxing game? As it turns out, unpacking virtual cardboard boxes is much easier. Each level sees you in a snapshot of a person’s life, from arriving in a college dorm to finding a first apartment. Each item reveals more about the person it belongs to and finding the perfect place for it is as satisfying as snapping in the final piece of a jigsaw.

‘It Takes Two'

Best: Co-op game

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Hazelight
  • Release Date: 26 March 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5

A game about a married couple trying to navigate through a divorce as anthropomorphic dolls doesn’t sound like a good time, it sounds like a great time. Players must work together as either Cody or May to navigate through a series of different mechanics that tie into the themes of their marriage woes. In one instance players will be changing the flow of time or cloning themselves before finding themselves navigating a boat down dangerous rapids. The amount of different genres It Takes Two throws at you is as expansive as the story is endearing. Just don’t get attached to the elephant.

‘Hades'

Best: Roguelike game

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Supergiant Games
  • Release Date: 6 December 2018
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5

If at first you don’t succeed, die, die again. That’s the mantra of Supergiant Games’s critically acclaimed roguelike Hades. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades who wants nothing more than to escape his father’s realm. With assistance from the gods of Olympus, players navigate through the ever-changing halls of the underworld as they journey to the world’s surface. If Zagreus fails in his attempts, he is sent back to the start and must make his escape again. The game’s excellent writing, gameplay loops and soundtrack all amalgamate into a beautifully realised depiction of Greek mythology and its denizens with modern sensibilities. It’s a masterpiece.

‘Mass Effect: Legendary Edition'

Best: Role-playing game

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: EA Originals
  • Release Date: 14 May 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS4

Now a decade old, the Mass Effect trilogy is one of the most celebrated and controversial role-playing games ever made. From its branching dialogue trees to its divisive conclusion, players will take Commander Shepherd and the crew of the Normandy across the galaxy as they unite the galactic community against the Reapers. With enhanced visuals and quality-of-life updates. Each decision you make can affect the outcome of subsequent games in the trilogy. If you missed it the first time around, there’s no better way to come aboard and interrupt Garrus in the middle of his calibrations.

‘Psychonauts 2'

Best: Platformer

Rating: 8/10

  • Developer: Double Fine Productions
  • Release Date: 25 August 2021
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS4

Underappreciated in its time, Psychonauts on the original Xbox and PS2 became a cult hit for its wacky setting, humorous dialogue and interesting mechanics even though it sold poorly at launch. Now with Psychonauts 2, developer Double Fine Productions is able to pick up exactly where it left off, as if the last 16 years happened in the blink of an eye.

You play as Razputin, a new Psychonaut recruit who is able to enter people’s minds, explore their subconscious and overcome the physical manifestations of their psyche.

The gameplay has changed very little since the PS2/Xbox era and while the art direction hasn’t aged particularly well on the new generation of consoles, it’s a shot of nostalgia for anyone who played the original or who simply misses the bygone days of mid-2000s platformers.

‘Minecraft'

Best: For kids

Rating: 9/10

  • Developer: Mojang Studios
  • Release Date: 18 November 2011
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS4,

Minecraft has never lost steam since its earliest public release in 2009, and it continues to have a dedicated player base over a decade later. Its simple art style, mechanics and environments not only make it a perfect toybox for children to explore, but the ideal place to create elaborate structures. People of all ages are able to construct anything, from a simple house to a full-scale recreation of the Taj Mahal, made possible thanks to Minecraft’s creator mode. There’s no wrong way to play Minecraft, but there are plenty of right ones.

‘Tunic'

Best: Adventure

Rating: 9/10

  • Publisher: Finji
  • Release Date: 16 March 2022
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC

Tunic is something really special. Before anything else, it’s a clear love letter to the old-school action-adventure games of the Eighties and Nineties. Beyond that, it’s an ingenious, brief and occasionally challenging masterclass of modern game design that feels much bigger than the sum of its parts.

Tunic can be completed in just 12 hours, but there are plenty of hidden secrets to be found beyond that timeframe. It’s the type of game internet forums will be pouring over to extract every detail from. To say any more about it would be pulling the curtain back too far. It really needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

‘Crusader Kings III'

Best: Strategy

Rating: 9/10

  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Release Date: 1 September 2020
  • Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS5

Crusader Kings III is what is known as a “grand strategy” game, meaning there is more emphasis on long-term planning than simply combat. It’s an immensely complex system but real-time strategy fans will find the amount of options available incredibly rewarding.

The gamespans entire dynasties and puts players in control of members of a medieval family across generations as they grow their influence. Players can commit to murderous plots to secure power, fabricate a claim to a rival territory or strategically marry off family members into neighbouring kingdoms to curry favour.

There is a mind boggling number of interconnecting systems at play and anyone looking to become the next Machiavelli will appreciate everything this game has to offer.

The verdict: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate games

Halo Infinite is our top pick for the definitive Xbox experience. If you’re hoping for more of the classic action from the original Halo trilogy then this is the strongest title that 343 Industries has released in many years and is certainly worth your time.

Another strong contender is Forza Horizon 5,an off-the-walls racing game that throws caution to the wind and lets players speed full-throttle without worrying themselves about realism.

It’s safe to say that all of these are at least worth trying if you haven’t done so already. Some games are more demanding of your hard drive space than others (looking at you, Microsoft Flight Simulator) but if you’re able to load up on even a few then you will be making good use of your membership.

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