Just got an Xbox Series X? Play these 5 games first

If you've been fortunate enough to finally get your hands on an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console, then you will likely be wondering which games you should jump into first.

With Microsoft's new consoles now over a year old, there are plenty of excellent Xbox games for you to choose from, from third-party blockbusters to first-party exclusives. But, with all that choice, it can be hard to choose which you should play first - so we're here to help.

Below, we've put together a list of Xbox Series X/S games that will immediately showcase just how powerful the Xbox Series X actually is - and provide hours of entertainment too. While you can expect many of these games to look (and sometimes perform) better on the Xbox Series X than on the Xbox Series S, regardless of which console you're playing on, you're going to see a big difference from the last generation.

We've tried to include a mixture of games that will dazzle and delight both adults and children but, remember, if there's nothing on this roundup that takes your fancy, you can always check out our best Xbox Series X games guide for our full list of favorites. It's also worth noting that many of these games are available as part of an Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, both of which could offer better value if you can't decide on just one game to pick up first.

Master Chief and The Weapon

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Halo Infinite

A masterful return

Liberating and expansive gameplay
An evocative and enthralling story
Impeccable sound design
Can only equip one piece of equipment
Reload animations and cutscenes can stutter

Available with Xbox Game Pass

Looking for the newest (and hottest) Xbox Series X release? Then look no further than Halo Infinite - the latest entry in Xbox's most iconic franchise.

Whether you're a seasoned Halo veteran or a lapsed player who hasn't revisited Master Chief since the early noughties, Halo Infinite will feel like a pair of old slippers that have been re-soled - familiar but considerably better.

Consisting of a free-to-play multiplayer and a campaign mode (purchased separately), Halo Infinite truly revitalizes the series. From the campaign's captivating story, vast map and liberating gameplay, to a multiplayer offering that's hard to put down, Halo Infinite is a must-play for both veteran and new Halo players.

Halo Infinite is easily one of the best Xbox Series X games around and is perfect for those looking for a first-person shooter with smooth performance, enjoyable gunplay and a captivating campaign. Not interested in the campaign? Or not quite sure? You can always play the multiplayer for free to see if you want to delve in further.

Forza Horizon 5

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Forza Horizon 5

Speeding your way through stunning Mexico

Amazing range of customization
Well-integrated user-generated content
Gorgeous and varied open world
Bland storytelling
Limited music tracks
Excessive purchasable add-ons

Available with Xbox Game Pass

Want to put your Xbox Series X/S through its paces with some high-speed races through the jungles, fields and streets of Mexico? Then Forza Horizon 5 could be for you.

We've come to expect Forza Horizon games to be visually impressive, and the latest entry doesn't disappoint, offering a stunningly realized depiction of Mexico. Racing-game fanatics will love Forza Horizon 5’s gorgeous open world, and the unlimited gameplay opportunities provided by the customization options, while those less bothered about the actual racing part of it all will simply enjoy exploring. 

Whichever Xbox console you're playing on, you'll be blown away by Forza Horizon 5, which runs at 4K 30fps on Xbox Series X, and 1080p 30fps on Xbox Series S. But if you would rather prioritize frame rate, then there's a performance mode option that will run the game at 60fps (but at a lower resolution). 

Psychonauts 2

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios/Double Fine)

Psychonauts 2

A mindful adventure

Unique levels and characters
Tongue-in-cheek humor
Plenty to collect
Combat is a bit clunky

Available with Xbox Game Pass

Psychonauts 2 is a psychedelic journey that you won't forget. The sequel to 2005's Psychonauts, and following directly on from Rhombus of Ruin, Psychonauts 2 once again follows Raz, a young psychic attempting to join the Psychonauts, an international group of psychic secret agents. 

Psychonauts 2 is a hilarious, heartfelt adventure that embraces a humorous take on mental health while offering unique (and often bizarre) worlds for players to explore. 

If you loved the original Psychonauts, then the sequel is absolutely worth jumping into. If you haven't played a Psychonauts game before, but enjoy adventure platformers like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, then this is likely going to be just your cup of tea. Plus the original game is available on Xbox Game Pass, offering the opportunity to get to grips with the series before you jump into the sequel. 

Sea of Thieves

(Image credit: Rare)

Sea of Thieves

Yo ho ho!

Regular exciting updates
Unpredictability and chemistry of players
Not as fun alone

Available with Xbox Game Pass

Sea of Thieves was originally released for Xbox One back in 2018, but it's had some major upgrades for Xbox Series X/S that make it one of the most beautiful games on Xbox - and one of the most fun. So if you’ve yet to have your maiden voyage with Rare’s popular pirate game, now is the time.

Sea of Thieves is an online pirate adventure that sees you setting sail solo or with a crew in search of action, treasure, and fame as you attempt to become a Pirate Legend. But this pirate voyage isn't quite as straightforward as it sounds and that's where the fun lies. Expect to battle Krakens and skeletons, follow treasure maps where 'X' marks the spot, and explore darkened caverns - all before drunkenly playing musical instruments in the tavern after a long day of pirating. And that's just some of what you can do in this excellent online adventure.

Sea of Thieves benefits from a sizable boost to its frame rate on Xbox Series X/S. Previously capped at 30fps, with the occasional drop when things get particularly hectic, the game now runs at silky-smooth 4K/60fps on Xbox Series X and 1080p 60fps on Xbox Series S, with significantly reduced load times. The result is tangible, and may even see you taking a few minutes out of steering your ship to simply take in the stunning views - just be prepared to bail out water when you inevitable crash.

The Touryst

(Image credit: Shin'en Multimedia)

The Touryst

A much-needed holiday

Stunning visuals
Plenty to do
Family-friendly fun
Can be a bit repetitive at times

Available on Xbox Game Pass

You may be tempted to sleep on blocky, action-adventure The Touryst - but absolutely don’t. The game itself sees you playing as a tourist (go figure), who hops around various exotic islands completing tasks for island residents and fellow tourists alike, with the overall goal being to uncover the secret of the ancient monuments located on these islands - but that can wait.

The Touryst may have been released on various platforms before, but it looks and performs best on the Xbox Series X/S. The color and visual fidelity is captivating, which is not a huge surprise given that the game renders at 6K/4K on Series X/S and then downsamples to the target resolution. What results is that you get a vivid tropical experience, super-fast loading times and an overall smooth experience. 

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