Table of Contents
There are a total of 18 absolute bangers highlighted here, alongside a handful of honourable mentions to boot. So, let’s take a look at what we’ve chosen shall we?
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Xbox One)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
As if the arrival of the fantastic Assassin’s Creed Origins wasn’t enough, Ubisoft also treated us to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Xbox Game Pass just a few months later. This installment challenges you to “write your own epic odyssey and become a legendary Spartan hero”, and it’s an absolute blast. Taking the series’ shift to an RPG format to all new levels, Odyssey is an enormous, exciting and all-encompassing entry in the franchise that still looks and plays every bit as great as it did when it first hit shelves back in 2018.
In our original review, we called it the best Assassin’s Creed game yet, which was true until Valhalla came out! With deep RPG elements, tons of loot, unlockable skills and an overwhelming array of side quests and activities surrounding an epic main campaign set in one of the most impressive game worlds we’ve ever seen, this one is essential for AC fans and anyone who loves an epic RPG adventure.
Chained Echoes (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Deck13 / Developer: Matthias Linda
Chained Echoes debuted on Xbox Game Pass to incredible reviews in December 2022, making it one of the best-rated Game Pass launches of the year. This SNES-esque RPG may well fly under the radar for a lot of folks, but it’s definitely worth your time if you’re up for some classic JRPG action.
There’s a surprisingly substantial experience to dig into here — you’re looking at 30 to 40 hours of gameplay overall – in which you’ll “travel around the vast continent of Valandis to bring an end to the war between its three kingdoms”. A big chunky RPG with a tiny download size on Xbox Game Pass, something of a win-win situation we reckon.
Citizen Sleeper (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Fellow Traveller / Developer: Jump Over The Age
Jump Over The Age’s Citizen Sleeper is a wonderfully unique life sim/RPG that looks and feels like nothing else we’ve played recently.
In this fantastically evocative and stylish game you assume the role of a Sleeper, a low budget synthetic being on the run from the corporation that built you. Stowing away in a cargo hold during a genuinely claustrophobic opening sequence, you soon find yourself washed up on Erlin’s Eye, a decrepit space station that’s jam-packed full of interesting characters, places, and secrets to get stuck into exploring.
With multiple endings to mop up as you peel back layers and dig deeper into Eldin’s Eye and its inhabitants, Citizen Sleeper is a unique and thought-provoking adventure that’s truly taken us by surprise, and was easily one the best things to hit Xbox Game Pass in 2022.
Crusader Kings 3 (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Paradox Interactive / Developer: Paradox Development Studio
The critically-acclaimed strategy game Crusader Kings 3 actually launched on PC Game Pass all the way back in September 2020, and that’s probably still the best place to play it (it works best with a keyboard and mouse), but it’s also now been remade for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S with a brand-new control scheme for consoles.
There’s a real tough learning curve here, admittedly, but if you can get past that, you’ll find yourself immersed in a deep and fulfilling grand strategy experience unlike any other, in which your goal is to lead your dynasty to greatness in a Middle Ages epic that spans generations. And even if you’re on Xbox One (which the game hasn’t been ported to), you can play Crusader Kings 3 through the magic of Xbox Cloud Gaming, so everyone’s a winner!
Death’s Door (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Devolver Digital / Developer: Acid Nerve
Acid Nerve has followed up the wonderful Titan Souls with this Zelda/Souls inspired action adventure that looks sublime and plays even better.
Death’s Door is a beautiful, intricate little thing with surprisingly tough combat, clever puzzles and a world that’s chock full of secrets and hidden areas for you to find as you blaze through its bosses, unlocking new skills that allow you to access to more areas as you go.
There’s a ton of style and atmosphere here, and it’s a game that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Death’s Door is a perfectly pitched slice of magic from a developer everyone should really be starting to sit up and take notice of.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (Xbox One)
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: BioWare
Remember what it was like to have a new Dragon Age game? It’s been eight long years now since the release of 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition, but despite its age it still remains a fantastic RPG to sink your teeth into on Xbox Game Pass.
A huge world packed full of wonderful characters and, yes, dragons, await you here in a game that we sort of shuffled off playing once The Witcher 3 arrived on the scene, but this is an RPG one that absolutely deserves to be returned to if you can make time. Bioware at the top of their game is better than most things, let’s face it.
Fallout: New Vegas (Xbox 360)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks / Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Yes, we could have plumped for any of the Fallout efforts currently available on Xbox Game Pass, but Fallout: New Vegas holds a special place in our hearts.
Coming so soon after Fallout 3 we weren’t really expecting much more than a re-tread of that game, but what we actually got was an improvement in every way, giving you far more reasons to engage with the nuke-blasted world around you, as well as some proper ramifications to be faced depending on the decisions you make along the way. Fallout 4 my be the latest and prettiest entry in the franchise, but for us Vegas is yet to be topped.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Xbox One)
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: BioWare
One of the all-time great RPG trilogies returns in a cracking remastered collection that sees Shepard and co. looking and playing better than ever before. Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings all three Mass Effect games together and gives them a facelift, 4K visuals, 60FPS gameplay, rejigged combat and massively improved loading times, resulting in a super-smooth and fully modernised adventure.
If you were a fan of the series when it originally released this revisit will take you right back to your glory days, whilst newcomers can prepare to gear up and indulge in some deep Sci-fi RPG action that’s never felt better to get thoroughly lost in. Welcome back, Commander Shepard.
Monster Hunter Rise (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Monster Hunter Rise landed on Xbox Game Pass in January 2023 after a well-received debut on Nintendo Switch a couple of years ago, and it’s easily one of the best Xbox Game Pass games that Capcom has provided us so far.
There’s definitely a fairly steep learning curve to this one if you’re entirely new to the series, but it has been streamlined quite nicely this time around and, if you spend a little time learning the ropes, you may well find yourself thoroughly addicted to this unique monster-smashing spectacular.. We gave it a “Great” 8/10 score in our review, and the Sunbreak DLC has only added to the fun. There’s a reason why this series has been around for such a long time.