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Best Games on Game Pass Monthly Xbox Subscription

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Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 24 Sep 2021


Simply put, the Xbox Game Pass is just outrageously incredible. What better way to enjoy the rest of the day than to indulge in the best games on Game Pass with a monthly subscription that grants you access to so many games, many of which will genuinely get you hooked.

Here, we sift through the very best Game Pass games, as we also cover an impressive review of each under the subscription. So instead of now flicking through the Game Pass library with no idea what to try or guessing what you might have skipped, this review will help you uncover hidden gems that you might have completely missed altogether or help you go straight to the popular ones that are genuinely good.

Some are just as great but couldn't make it to the list, including Gears of War, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Star Wars, The Elder Scrolls, Yakuza 0, Ori, and the Blind Forest, and others.

This list will include games available both on Xbox consoles or PC or even both since most subscription variations cover both. In addition, many of these are now available on Android mobile phones.

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Essentially, Xbox Game Pass is like the Netflix for gaming. Microsoft Xbox Game Pass is a monthly subscription service that gives you limitless access to its whole library of games. Microsoft launched it in mid-2017 and made it available to any subscriber, regardless of whether you are a Gold subscriber or not.

Microsoft has been pushing the use of Game Pass, and it seems like it's going to be an integral service on Xbox going forward, both on PC and on the console. But ultimately, if you enjoy a great game, then Xbox Game Pass is probably one of the best reasons to get yourself an Xbox Series X or Xbox One gaming console. What's more, the library never runs dry because every month, new games are being added.

All you need to do is sign up and immediately access hundreds of games that you can download and play whatever time you want. With all the new games being released, Xbox Game Pass will only get better, with great titles like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Forza Horizon 5 soon launching on Game Pass.

This library holds excellent titles, both in AAA and indie. Game Pass Ultimate also gives you access to some EA Play games. 

What Is the Difference Between Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a combination of 2 programs: Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox Live Gold. Fans who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate have access to both for the 1 monthly subscription cost instead of paying for 2 separate ones. You also get the newer Xbox Game Pass for the PC version, also included with Game Pass Ultimate.

On the other hand, Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that Microsoft offers fans to have complete access to a huge library of games that cover both the Xbox Series X/S and the backward-compatible game titles. Fans can download the titles to their console to play in full for as long as they maintain being a subscriber, and the games they are playing are not removed in the Game Pass library.

What's more, the Game Pass title also supports Xbox Play Anywhere, which gives fans access to engage in hours of combat, role-playing, or single-player games like Halo Infinite or first-person shooters games on their PC, even without the Game Pass Ultimate.

This PC-specific Game Pass version subscription also comes with its own set of games, some of which can cross over using the Xbox Play Anywhere console program. But many titles are exclusive to PC, games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator and Age of Empires.

Does Xbox Game Pass replace Xbox Live Games with Gold?

No, it doesn't. Game Pass is a completely separate service and operates alongside Xbox Live Games with Gold. So as opposed to a single-player match/game, if you want to enjoy hours of multiplayer games, you'll still have to get a Gold subscription to play.

How To Get the Xbox Game Pass?

It's pretty easy. You'll just need to sign up on the Xbox console or the web. Once subscribed, you can also manage the subscription from your console too. On the latest Operating System versions, Game Pass comes with its own in-built tab, "My games and apps," and hours of your favorite games can be directly installed without the need to go to the store.

How Many Games Do You Get?

The library had over 100 games that cover both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward-compatible games in its catalog at the launch. Since new games are added every month, this stretches over to a great selection of original Xbox backward-compatible gaming titles. At this point, the best Xbox Game Pass games include projects of all genres and sizes.

Additionally, every one of the new Microsoft first-party titles is added at its launch. This includes the forthcoming ones as well.

But just as they are regularly added, some games are also regularly leaving Game Pass. Any game that's not by Microsoft Game Studios will likely leave at some point.

How Will You Save Money on Xbox Game Pass?

Just because this is a monthly subscription doesn't mean that there are ways to save some money. You just need to know where to look.

You can buy a Game Pass subscription and apply it to your account by using a code. These codes can be bought from different third-party retailers, and one great place to keep an eye on is Amazon. Here you commonly get deals, including offers such as buy 1-get-1 free on 3-month subscription codes. 

1. What Remains of Edith Finch

Developer: Giant Sparrow Game Studios

Publisher: Annapurna Pictures

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

Genres: Adventure game, Indie game, Adventure

Release Date: 25 April 2017

Estimated Hours: 2-3 hours

When they are gone, their books will still be piled up in the hallways while the clutter spills through the house. This is What Remains of Edith Finch, an inquest for history by way of exploration. The developer is vivid, giving an involving setting: a family home.

It'd surprise you just how this sad little game surrounded by death can also be staggeringly filled with so much life and such stellar performance. In the aftermath of sudden deaths, a family will flee their home. Yet, these hallways and bedrooms remain unchanged for years and serve as a walk-in memorial. A place you feel close to your departed and beloved.

The developer takes you back to the Finches, a family that moved to America in 1937 from Norway. They have endured more sudden death than most. The tragedy was so frequent on the Finches that they were once tagged as America's 'most unfortunate family.' In just 7 decades, more than 10 Finches have died either in or near this family home.

Your first-person character, Edith Finch, takes a deep dive into the family's history.

 

  • Pros
  • Despite the subject matter, the developer brings out a beautiful and fun narrative
  • The game runs quite well both on docked and handheld mode
  • It has simple controls that anybody can handle
  • Great graphics and image capture
  • Great story
  • Cons
  • Small technical hiccups once and awhile

2. Horizon 4 Forza

38%
Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition – Xbox One
4,509 Reviews
Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition – Xbox One
  • Seasons change everything. For the first time in the racing and driving genre,...
  • Britain like you’ve never seen it. Discover lakes, valleys, castles, and...
  • Master driving in all seasons. Explore a changing world through dry, wet, muddy,...
  • New content every week. Every week, a new season change brings new themed...

Developer: Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games

Publishers: Microsoft

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

Genres: Racing

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Estimated Hours: 60-80 hours

It's the world’s greatest automotive festival where Dynamic seasons change everything. In Forza Horizon 4, your first-person character can either go it alone or team up with characters to explore beautiful Britain with a deep history in this shared open world. In Forza Horizon 4, the open-world racing has just never looked as beautiful as it does here.

Forza Horizon 4 combines a beautiful nostalgic world on 4 hugely distinct maps into 1 with a constantly rewarding and self-renewed racing experience that you won't really be able to tear yourself away from. In 4 Forza Horizon, the developers, Playground Games, didn't just up their bar. They literally blew the doors off.

Horizon 4 Forza retains a lot of what made Forza Horizon 3 one of its class's best first-person racer titles. The stunning image capture, visual quality, sound design, and story slowly develop the game into a match that you really wouldn't ever want to leave. The massive array of incredible automobiles, the extensive and completely customizable career mode that have become the hallmarks of each Horizon series are all applied here.

What’s new in the match and image story is just how effectively Forza Horizon 4 has done its shifting seasons for regularly refreshed match challenges and a steady supply of rewards. The virtual in-game season will also change on each real-time week to bring a whole new look and feel to the racer match world. This is alongside a couple of season-specific challenges.

With each passing day, there are more new Forzathon challenges to be completed, and with every hour, there's a live, online match event that you can participate in, alongside close to 11 other drivers who you work with towards a shared goal.

  • Pros
  • Midlands match madness is largely made possible by the new default nature of Horizon 4 as an online, multiplayer, and shared-world racer since all the other non-traffic cars that are cruising that same open-world are actually human players
  • A glimpse of all the 4 seasons during its 4-5 hour introduction phase
  • After the prologue’s first 'year,' the seasons then rotate weekly, both online or offline
  • A petrolhead paradise that supports the biggest cast of cars that's ever been in the series, with the most eclectic rides ranging from the 59-KG Peel P50 microcar to the insanely large Unimog
  • The visually stunning image on an open world
  • It's a multiplayer
  • Features 450+ licensed cars that multiplayer game characters can pick
  • A stunning amount of detail on its image and visual variety
  • Solid handling with all the vehicles you can unlock
  • The online functionality creates a great image and impression of this dynamic multiplayer world
  • Cons
  • The live events can be tedious
  • Repetition eventually sets in

3. Sea Of Thieves

31%
Sea of Thieves Standard Edition - Xbox One
987 Reviews
Sea of Thieves Standard Edition - Xbox One
  • A shared-world adventure game by acclaimed UK developer Rare Ltd. Xbox Live Gold...
  • Live the essential pirate life in a world rich with Rare’s irreverent charm....
  • A fantastical world of unspoiled islands, mythical monsters and mouth-watering...
  • Xbox One Console exclusive

Developer: Rare

Publishers: Microsoft

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Genres: Action, RPG, Adventure, Persistent Online

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Estimated Hours: 200+ hours

Sea of Thieves features 3 different ships that the player can use; the Sloop, Brigantine, and Galleon. Each comes with its pros and cons. Of these 3 ship choices as you enter Sea of Thieves, the Sloop is small and sleek, the Galleon large and tanky, while Brigantine is well-rounded.

Each of these features has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you'll need to carefully consider on the high seas. The strong cases to be made for each ship mostly depend on your circumstances, and there are some things that you'll need to keep in mind for you to determine which ship is the best. This is a multiplayer game.

The beautiful image of the sea and the freedom that comes in the pirate life awaits in Sea of Thieves. It's a shared-world adventure game filled with unknown dangers and lots of loot for the taking. You can be the pirate you want to be, share adventures with your friends in an open sea world where every sail comes with a crew of players with different intents.

  • Pros
  • Beautiful image rendered to the water and atmospheric conditions
  • Great storytelling
  • Awesome sound profiles
  • Many fetch quests for new adventures
  • Cons
  • Quests can begin to feel a little repetitive

4. A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence (XB1) - Xbox One
472 Reviews
A Plague Tale: Innocence (XB1) - Xbox One
  • A dark third-person adventure set in plague-ridden France
  • Guide orphans Amicia and Hugo though medieval villages as you evade deadly foes,...
  • Avoid the gigantic swarms of rats to keep the young orphans alive, but...
  • Work with other orphans to escape the Inquisition and uncover the mystery of the...

Developer: Asobo Studio

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Platforms: PC (version tested), PlayStation 4 (PS4), PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Amazon Luna

Genre: Action, Adventure

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Estimated Hours: 12-15 hours

In more than many ways, A Plague Tale: Innocence is considered a triumphant narrative adventure that's bursting with originality. It also boasts of a setting that not many gamers have even seen in the gaming space before. We navigate through mass graves in the middle of rotting fields as the Black Death ravages 14th century France.

This is a world that's battered and broken, with echoing hopelessness as the disease obliterates the population. But, this time, Asobo Studio crafts a startling yet adventurous narrative showing what young protagonists must do to survive and save the ones they love.

You, as Amicia De Rune, a young girl coming from a wealthy family, have so far remained safe from this plague inside the bustling estate. Here, the peasants cater to them, ensuring that Amicia never needs as long as her family stays in power. The tale opens in a solemn moment of beauty, grounding you in the setting.

It’s all sunshine and rainbows in the first 20 minutes until things take a turn for the worst. Amicia’s little brother, Hugo, has a genetic secret important to The Inquisition- a ruthless, passionate religious group with some sinister ulterior motives.

They kill all at sight as they hunt down the heroes down. After this bloody pursuit, you eventually manage to escape, which is the commencement of a brutal, coming-of-age journey. Amicia and Hugo’s relationship is the basis of A Plague Tale,

  • Pros
  • An original story
  • Superb setting
  • You star as Amicia De Rune, an excellent heroine
  • Plentiful variety in combat and adventure
  • Combat encounters that can be quite predictable for a more thrilling and alert gameplay
  • Cons
  • An inconsistent voice acting that tones down the drama

5. State of Decay 2

45%
State of Decay 2
540 Reviews
State of Decay 2
  • State of Decay 2 is the ultimate open world zombie survival game Four Player...
  • Xbox One X Enhanced with higher resolutions, steadier framerates and better...
  • Every decision has lasting consequences In the end, how you survive just might...
  • Pre-order now to get the Amazon exclusive Survivor’s Pack Includes the Zed...

Developer: Undead Labs

Publisher: Xbox Game Studios

Genres: Survival game, Shooter Video Game, Fighting game, Adventure game, Nonlinear gameplay

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Release date: 13 March 2020

Estimated Hours: 200+ hours

Civilization has fallen, and the dead have risen. Now it's up to you to scavenge for the resources, gather the survivors, and build a solid community in this post-apocalyptic world. This is a world where you will define what it means to survive the ultimate zombie survival.

This is an open-world survival-fantasy game that is set just after the zombie apocalypse. You have a small community of survivors who want to rebuild civilization. But, overall, you make all the decisions on how that happens.

You get to decide who you're going to recruit in your team, where you'll settle your community, how to upgrade and fortify your base, and even when it’s time to move to a better place. You also get to select which survivors to bring along as you go on a scavenging sweep for the food and ammunition you need. Finally, as your character, you also decided who you're going to use to fight off the zombies attacking the base.

You'll also need to choose how to deal with the other people who come into your town. For example, are you going to be friendly and accommodative or aggressive as you defend your territory?

Each player’s experience in this sandbox is unique, and every character in the community has their own unique set of skills, so no 2 communities can ever be the same. The challenges that you face also vary in each game, based on who you're going to recruit and the decisions that you're making along the way.

It includes a co-op multiplayer support that lets you visit friends' communities as you help them through a tough time and bring back rewards to your own communities afterward. The alternate game modes also include a full 10-hour narrative campaign with a 4-player zombie-slaughtering siege defense mode. Overall, this is one of the best-ever done versions of a zombie apocalypse.

  • Pros
  • It is a much bigger world
  • Much better visuals
  • More activities that won't make it repetitive
  • Better than the prior game
  • Well captures the feeling of a nondescript rural or suburb
  • It can be thrilling with the tense around being able to balance your needs with the risk inherent to attain them
  • Co-op mode that allows multiplayer mode
  • Cons
  • Some directions can be unclear
  • The combat is not so thrilling
  • Comes with bugs, even at its best of times

How Do You Choose the Best Games?

Gaming is an activity that we can all enjoy and, quite frankly, some could really use to ease off. But even then, when it comes down to choosing the best games on Xbox, most people, understandably, would get stuck at the point, "What to play?"

But like other games, the process of choosing the Game Pass games that you want to has more to do with your personality than the actual game itself. Ultimately, everyone is different. The best games on Xbox you enjoy might largely depend on factors such as age, gender, the culture you're surrounded by, the place you live, level of education level, and so much more.

What Are The Statistics?

Surprisingly, the demographic set of gamers currently is much more diverse than most people would think. According to experts:

  • The average age of gamers lies at 34 years old
  • Almost half of the gamers are women
  • 67% of parents enjoy and regularly play video games with their kids each week
  • People with a higher level of education are more likely to buy these games

So, what does all this mean? For starters, it means that video games aren’t just for children as commonly perceived. It also means that with all the video game genres and titles, something is bound to make you happy.

And developers use these statistics to come up with the best games on Xbox that are built to help you relax as you virtually do things that you enjoy doing or that interest you.

So, here are a few steps you can use to help you choose the perfect game for you.

A) What Helps You Relieve Stress?

Gaming is considered a remedy for entertainment. Just perusing through the game genres available in the store can give you an idea of why most people find it quite overwhelming with all of the options.

Some people prefer the fast-paced nature of action/adventure match games with the need for both hand and eye coordination. This can also be overwhelming for some people who prefer the slow-paced nature of story/strategy games. But for others, that adrenaline-fueled combat and action help them shed off the anxiety that comes with workdays.

In this case, it is an action/adventure gameplay genre that's best suited for you. On the other hand, maybe the intense laser focus needed to solve puzzle gameplay helps you forget about those stressful 3 pm work meetings. Then it's strategy gameplay that has your name on it.

It all comes down to what kind of story, gameplay, and activities help you relieve anxiety and stress. To help you determine that, you need to dig into your psychology.

However, here are some of the most relaxing games on the Xbox Game Pass that are recommendable:

  • Disneyland Adventures 
  • Star Wars
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Hollow Knight
  • Halo Infinite
  • Dishonored 2
  • Doom Eternal
  • Farming Simulator 17 
  • Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour 
  • Human: Fall Flat 
  • Elder Scrolls
  • Minecraft (Creative mode)
  • My Time At Portia
  • Yakuza 0
  • Pikuniku 
  • The Gardens Between 

B) What Gaming Genre Do You Like? What Skills Do You Need?

Simply put, the game you end up choose needs to capitalize on your natural skills, not make you feel deficient in the skills required. If you’re a naturally gifted problem solver, then dive into hours of a puzzle-solving gameplay simulation. Here are the most popular game genres, matched with skills that they heavily capitalize on:

  • Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi genre - Creativity, pattern recognition, logical thinking, and lots of problem-solving
  • Combat genre: Reasoning fast, great hand-eye coordination, self-confidence, and quick decision-making skills
  • Shooting genre: Great performance under pressure, fast reasoning, team management, and quick decision making
  • Arcade/Platform genre: Fast reasoning, hand-eye coordination, spacial recognition, and great time management
  • Puzzle Genre: Logical thinking, pattern recognition, problem-solving, and organization
  • Racing genre: Fast reasoning, hand-eye coordination, spatial recognition, and quick decision making
  • Role-playing genre: Organization, problem recognition and solving, decision making, communication, and time management
  • Simulation genre: Creativity, decision making, problem-solving, and organization
  • Sports genre: Objective focused, fast reasoning, hand-eye coordination, and performing under pressure
  • Strategy genre: Problem recognition and solving, logical thinking, organization, and time management
  • Survival genre: Creativity, organization, fast reasoning, problem-solving, and quick decision making

Clearly, each game genre will work best with a different set of skills, which is also why one person may enjoy different game genres.

C) What's Your Gaming Hardware?

Different games are made available on different platforms. For example, some top games are only made available for PC via download, while others are only made available on gaming consoles.

Others are only available on mobile devices. Even then, others are only made available on specific gaming console brands.

D) Have You Read The Reviews?

Many gaming review sites give you an in-depth review of each game to help you choose what to play. Although most of the great reviews are done by the fans of the genre, these reviews are largely great because they give you the experience of another user and gamer who's already played that same game. Normally, different gamers tend to lean on certain reviewers.

This might be based on their reviewing style or how they talk about the game. The downside, however, is that at times some gamers might be a little too critical of some games because they're actually being paid off to promote the game. So, who can be trusted?

If you finally find a gaming reviewer or site with most reviews similar to your own on a particular game genre and one that you can trust, then stick by them.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Games on Game Pass

1. Will the Xbox Play Anywhere games be included?

Absolutely yes. With the subscription, gamers can access hundreds of hours to play different Xbox Play Anywhere game titles, such as Sea of Thieves, without ever needing to purchase each of them separately. Furthermore, with the subscription on the Xbox console, you also gain access to future first-party titles that are also included on Play Anywhere.

2. Is the Xbox Game Pass also available on Windows 10?

Yes. There's also one that's specifically dedicated to PC. You can subscribe to a game on Xbox Pass on its own for your PC or as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes a PC, console, and an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

3. Can you play games on Xbox Game Pass offline?

 Yes, it's possible to play games without the internet, but it will require a decent amount of fiddling. To play these games offline, you will need to adjust some settings and designate Xbox as your Home Xbox.

4. Are there any backward-compatible Xbox 360 titles included in Xbox Pass?

The games catalog comes with a good selection of the top games on Xbox, which includes these backward-compatible Xbox 360 titles. It goes on further to include the original Xbox games as well.

5. Can I still access games that leave Xbox Pass? 

The games you install are playable even after they've left the catalog only when you buy them. Even then, you still get a hefty discount as a subscriber when you buy these games, and even these games are yours to keep.

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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