Are you the proud new owner of an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S? Well then, you’re ready to experience the full power of your brand-new gaming console—and that means you should be looking for video games that can do things that simply weren’t possible on previous Xbox systems.
Unfortunately, that isn’t an easy ask. Unlike the transition from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, the step-up to the Xbox Series X|S is much smaller and more akin to upgrading your PC than going up an entire tier.
Sure, the Xbox Series X|S is quite powerful, but a lot of its games are still designed to run on the old console. That said, here are some Xbox Series X|S games that will actually push your console to its limits.
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Despite being one of the few launch games for the Xbox Series X|S, Watch Dogs: Legion didn’t garner much critical acclaim.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthwhile open-world game, especially since developer Ubisoft is in the habit of keeping its games well-supported after launch.
Watch Dogs: Legion supports ray tracing, meaning the hallmark of video game graphics—wet pavement—looks as spectacular as you’d expect.
Control was one of the first games to really show off ray tracing when it hit PCs back in 2019. With Control: Ultimate Edition, it’s bringing ray tracing (and a host of other graphical features) to the Xbox Series X|S.
And that’s not all! Control: Ultimate Edition not only turns up the pretty on consoles, but it also includes all the DLC that was previously sold alongside the original game. If you have yet to play Control, there’s no better time than now.
The Tales series hasn’t had an easy time in the years leading up to the release of this entry. Tales of Zesteria and Tales of Berseria were quality games by franchise standards, but they looked like PlayStation 3 games—mostly because they were.
Tales of Arise moved up to using the Unreal Engine, and the franchise has seen a major graphical upgrade in the process. Add to this beautiful environment art and solid combat mechanics, and you’ve got a game worth playing through all of its 60+ hours.
7. Doom Eternal
Yes, Doom Eternal is technically impressive. The first time you find yourself staring at ray traced reflections in a pool of demon blood is certainly an interesting moment. But the art is what really puts this graphical powerhouse over the top.
While Doom often kept things claustrophobic, Doom Eternal’s environments make better use of space and verticality. Plus, the disturbing vistas in certain levels look even better on the Xbox Series X|S consoles than they did on the Xbox One.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon was another game that arrived near the launch of the Xbox Series X|S, and regardless of what console you play on, the game looks fantastic—but it’s better on the Xbox Series X|S.
The realistic city environments combined with the over-the-top enemies and combat make this a game that’s hard to stop gawking at. As if the fantastic combat and storytelling weren’t enough, there’s plenty of the weird factor that Yakuza series fans love, too.
5. Dirt 5
The game may be called Dirt 5, but it’s got plenty of DNA from Codemasters’ criminally overlooked Onrush. That was a great looking game thanks to its sense of speed and use of color.
Dirt 5 keeps the color and sense of speed, but combines it with the “simcade” feel of the Dirt series. Rally racing games aren’t often that graphically impressive, but Dirt 5 is a wonderful exception.
4. Gears 5
A word of warning: Gears 5’s story isn’t going to make much sense if you haven’t already played through at least Gears of War 4 (and probably the three games leading up to that one). Of course, if you’re only going to play online or just want to blow stuff up in the campaign, that’s not a big deal.
While Gears 5 launched as an Xbox One game, it’s been enhanced for the Xbox Series X|S consoles. Already an impressive-looking game, it looks even better on the newer hardware.
While you’re waiting for Halo Infinite, why not brush up on the Master Chief saga with Halo: The Master Chief Collection? Unlike Halo 5: Guardians, The Master Chief Collection actually has enhancements for the Xbox Series X|S consoles.
There’s also a whole lot of game here since it includes Halo 1–4 as well as Halo: Reach and Halo: ODST. Did we mention it’s on Xbox Game Pass? Yeah. Now you have no reason not to play it.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla may not reinvent the series’ trademark open-world gameplay, but it sure does look nice. Whether you’re running on the Xbox Series X|S or even the Xbox One X, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a game that’s constantly nice to look at.
It’s also a long game, even before you glance at DLC. If you’re looking for a great-looking game to last you a while on your Xbox, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is absolutely worth picking up.
Forza Horizon 4 was already a gorgeous game with its Xbox Series X|S enhancements, but Forza Horizon 5 was built specifically for the new consoles. The fact that this latest installment in the series takes place in the picturesque county of Mexico doesn’t hurt either.
Much of the gameplay is similar to what we saw in Forza Horizon 4, but that’s not a bad thing. Forza Horizon has been at the top of the open-world driving game genre for a while now, thanks to its mix of thrilling racing and relaxing exploration.
Even if Forza Horizon 5 only offers more of the same in a beautiful new setting, that’s no problem at all.