Game Pass offers many great games exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem, such as Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Gears of War, but for those that are curious of what exists beyond the subscription service, then this list will help those players get started with some of the best action games currently on the market, or are coming in the near future, in no particular order.
11. Dead Space
2023 Is The Year of Horror Remakes
The list of best action games begins with Dead Space, which released on January 27 on Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC, 15 years after the original.
In Dead Space, players act as Isaac Clarke, an engineer tasked with venturing out into the depths of space, and boarding the USG Ishimura, which went dark during a mining operation. Isaac must uncover the truth of what happened, and in doing so, must face the undead Necromorph species.
Dead Space is the best of both worlds between the video game design of older times with new improvements to graphical fidelity, performance, and gameplay, that further immerse players into its world. Dead Space offers a new game plus mode, which players will want to take advantage of since Isaac’s suit and arsenal of weapons offers many upgrades that make replaying this survival horror experience so satisfying.
10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Teamwork Is Recommended, If Not Necessary
For competitive multiplayer gamers looking for something with a bit more depth than the stereotypical Call of Duty experience, then Rainbow Six Siege might be just the thing they’re looking for. Shooting through walls, kill cams used to mark enemies, unique characters with special abilities, and more, Rainbow Six Siege is the ultimate competitive FPS multiplayer experience. However, players beware, as there is a bit of a learning curve to this one, and it operates slower and more methodical than other fast paced PVP shooters.
In Rainbow Six Siege, there are defenders and attackers who are trying to either wipe out the defenders or detonate the bomb they are protecting, and depending on which team players are on will dictate the approach to winning.
Rainbow Six Siege was released on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, but was optimized for PS5, and Series X/S to run at 4k with a wider field of view, and even in 120hz for TVs that support it. The game recently received cross progression, and even cross play between Xbox and PlayStation players.
9. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the sequel to Fallen Order, and before Fallen Order there were not many single player Star Wars games that allowed players to use a lightsaber, believe it or not. However, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor takes lightsaber combat to the next level, and is an improvement from the original, which its gameplay takes inspiration from the Souls Bourne games by From Software.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor once again follows the protagonist Cal Kestis 5 years later, or so, from the first game, which takes place after the events of Episode 3.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was well received by critics and gamers alike, but there are technical difficulties, such as resolution and performance issues, that hold it back from greatness. Even so, it is an improvement over its predecessor in almost every way, from platforming, and pacing, to combat and scale.
8. Diablo IV
Diablo IV is the highly anticipated action role-playing game from Blizzard Entertainment that released 11 years after its predecessor, Diablo III. Diablo IV is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X/S, and PC.
The mother of Sanctuary, Lilith, must be stopped in Diablo IV, which sets itself apart from the previous installments of the franchise by allowing players more freedom on where to go and what to do in a world that is much darker than before, rather than the previous entries that were more linear in gameplay. The five different classes, Rogue, Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer, and Necromancer, allow a level of flexibility on how players choose to take down enemies with friends in its online modes, or even fight other players in PVP zones.
Now is the perfect time for players to venture out into the world of Diablo IV with the first season that released July 20th, and new seasons expected to come out on a quarterly basis, and expansions on the way. There is plenty of content to enjoy in this hack and slash role playing experience with a fantasy setting unlike any other.
7. Resident Evil 4
The remake of what is considered to be one of the greatest survival horror games ever made, Resident Evil 4, is now available on PS4, PS5, Series X/S, and PC.
The franchise’s long-time protagonist, Leon S. Kennedy, introduced in Resident Evil 2, which also saw its own remake, is tasked with rescuing the President’s daughter in the outskirts of Europe, and in so doing, uncovers a cult who plans to unleash Las Plagas, the evolution of the T Virus, upon the world.
Resident Evil 4 Remake has a New Game Plus mode, which is not only fun in its own right, but like Dead Space, is necessary for players to obtain 100% completion. The game also has a horde mode called Mercenaries and is getting a VR update for the PlayStation VR 2 that is expected in the near future.
6. Call of Duty: Vanguard
The multiplayer maps are vibrant, interesting, nostalgic, and highly detailed, and the gunplay is fast paced. Call of Duty Vanguard marks the return of the franchise to its World War 2 roots, but does so in a way that capitalizes on all of the improvements made to the later renditions. The multiplayer operates like classic boots-on-the-ground Call of Duty games of the past with perks reminiscent of Black Ops and the original Modern Warfare.
A return to form in Call of Duty Vanguard is a breath of fresh air in a franchise where there are predominantly more Modern Warfare’s and futuristic oriented Call of Duty’s now than the historical fictions of the past.
Vanguard has continued to impress in its maps, modes, graphics, and successful boots-on-the-ground gameplay that make it worth looking into for new and returning players.
5. Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy faced controversy early on due to its affiliation with J.K Rowling, but even so, there is a great game here burried underneath the rubble of its own weight.
Hogwarts Legacy answers the question to what a Harry Potter game could be at its fullest potential, and it does so in an immersive open world that will have players traverse on their broomsticks and engaging in battles using wands for magic spells.
Hogwarts Legacy, a critically acclaimed video game, is a welcome addition to the Harry Potter canon, which began with the Harry Potter saga and extended into the Fantastical Beasts movies, that allows fans and players to feel like real wizards is a massive magical world.
4. Elden Ring
Elden Ring is the culmination of everything From Software has been building to since Dark Souls. It takes the formula that the developers had perfected in Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 and then expands it out into an open world, revolutionizing the formula.
Gone are the days where there are quest markers that take up space on the screen telling the player where to go, as exploration is the key to progressing in Elden Ring.
As a result, players will surely not be able to find and do everything, which is part of what makes Elden Ring so revolutionary in that the journey will be the same but also very different for each player depending on how they choose to tackle the open world.
Elden Ring is the ultimate From Software experience, and what’s truly remarkable about it is just how much it respects the player by not wasting their intelligence or time.
Right away, it places players right into its world and gives them all the tools they need to journey through this epic fantasy. Players can now travel to different locations from anywhere in the open world, being able to jump is integral to the gameplay, and they can now traverse through the environment on their own steeds.
3. Gotham Knights
The launch for Gotham Knights was rough, but many updates since have improved aspects of the game’s performance. It is not Batman Arkham, but that doesn’t mean Gotham Knights isn’t fun in its own right and offers a unique experience and gameplay loop.
On the plus side, Gotham finally feels like a living breathing city, as pedestrians walking on the street will talk to the player’s characters with various cars moving up and down the streets. When a gang of enemies is defeated, the players must rush out of the area, as Gotham Police, SWAT, and medics will show up to clean up the aftermath.
Gotham Knights has various unlockable suits and cosmetics, although it is disappointing that there isn’t the much-requested Batman skin for Nightwing available based on his unique Batsuit design from the comics.
2. Battlefield 2042
Battlefield 2042 had a rocky launch to say the least, but for players looking for bigger scale multiplayer battles, then 2042 is the game for them with its 128 player, 64 vs 64 multiplayer matches. The large battle arena includes vehicles and environment effects, like tornadoes and sandstorms, that keep players thinking on their feet.
The game’s graphical fidelity is impressive, and its multiplayer design allows a certain amount of freedom in how players choose to play.
Starfield is arguably the most anticipated game for Xbox and PC, and is in development by Bethesda. With over 1,000 planets to explore and the ability to build outposts and spaceships, Starfield is the Sci-Fi RPG game of the generation, which is even being compared to Red Dead Redemption 2 but in space.
The hype is real for Starfield, as Bethesda’s new game aims to be the flagship title for Xbox, and judging by what’s already been shown, it surely looks to be the case.
Starfield is to release on Xbox Series X/S and PC on September 6th, 2023.