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The 7 best games to play on Xbox Game Pass

Considering Microsoft's new subscription service? Here's a few good reasons

Netflix for games. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, that’s basically what Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass is offering on Xbox One.

Stump up £7.99 per month and you’ll be able to download any of the 111 games in the service’s initial catalogue. If you’re not fussed about playing the latest titles, then it’s a thoroughly tempting proposition with plenty to be digging into. The line-up includes plenty of big-hitters from both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One roster, among them the likes of Halo 5: Guardians and Sunset Overdrive.

What should you be playing first though? We’ve delved through the Xbox Game Pass listings to pick out its seven must-plays. Seriously, you don’t want to be starting out with Farming Simulator 15. Game Pass is available now to Xbox Live Gold subscribers and hits everyone else on 1 June.

Additional words by Andrew Hayward

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

Last year’s Gears of War 4 was a welcome return for everyone’s favourite alien splatter-fest, reminding everyone why they’d fallen in love with it in the first place.

That reason was of course the original game, and that’s available on Game Pass in its Ultimate Edition guise. That means it’s been remade specifically for Xbox One and so delivers the same cover-based shooter carnage as the original but now in extra-ritzy graphical form. And if that has you hooked, the Xbox 360 versions of Gears of War 2, 3 and Judgment are also available to download on Game Pass.

Basically, if you’re new to the adventures of Marcus Fenix and his preposterous chainsaw-machine gun ‘Lancer,’ then you’ve got a treat ahead of you.


Even though this isn’t the recent remastered version, the original BioShock still stands up as one of the most influential games ever made. Set in the underwater dystopia of Rapture, this first-person shooter weaves a masterful tale of power and corruption told through a rabble of uniquely perverted citizens.

It’s the kind of game that’ll have you chewing over its ending for days… and not in a Mass Effect 3 kind of way. Better yet, the entire series – including BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite – is ready and waiting for you on Game Pass.

DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition

A forgotten gem this, DmC might not have set the sales charts alight when it first hit stores, but it remains a bold reinvention for the series. One that still has us hoping for a sequel several years later.

As you’d expect, DmC‘s delivers big time on visceral combat and eye-popping foes, but what makes this entry so compelling is Dante’s reinvention as a more likeable kind of demon slayer. Well, that and the fact showing a giant, horned monster what for remains immensely satisfying.

Sunset Overdrive

Insomniac Games’ Xbox One debut is a little rough around the edges, but almost everything else between them is uproarious, electric fun. Sunset Overdrive plays like a wild hybrid of Crackdown, Dead Rising, and even Tony Hawk as you glide along wires and vault over buildings, all while firing ridiculous weapons at energy drink-fuelled zombies.

It’s super weird, but largely wonderful, and despite a lot of different influences in play, the over-the-top shenanigans ultimately make Sunset Overdrive feel like nothing else.

Also ReadSunset Overdrive review


Don’t let the adorable, cartoonish Indiana Jones-esque look steer you wrong: Spelunky is tough as nails and revels in it. This rougelike gem plays like an old-school 2D platformer, in which you leap around obstacles and wallop foes, but there’s a key difference.

When you ultimately die – which probably won’t take long when starting off – you’ll find that your hero starts over in a totally new world. And another one after that. And so on and so forth. Every playthrough is unique, yet all similar in how they punish you… and reward skilled play.

Payday 2: Crimewave Edition

Don’t want to go solo? Well, Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is surely one of the best cooperative experiences in the Game Pass library right now, as it delivers a series of high-intensity heists to play through with a squad of four.

With a blend of stealth, strategy, and all-out action, you’ll infiltrate each target, grab the loot, and attempt to make it out alive as police or guards swarm. It’s frenzied, chaotic stuff, and while you can go it alone, the sheer thrill of a well-executed team robbery is tough to match.

XCOM: Enemy Within

Sure, the excellent XCOM 2 is now available on Xbox One – but with Game Pass, you can loop back on its brilliant predecessor, XCOM: Enemy Within. Blending the Enemy Unknown base game with a load of new content, Enemy Within is an utterly enrapturing turn-based tactical experience, putting you in command of a team of elite soldiers as you try to battle back the alien invasion.

With a satisfying mix of combat and off-the-battlefield strategising, you could easily play XCOM for 100 hours and still have plenty more to enjoy. And maybe by that point, XCOM 2 will have been added to Game Pass.

Also ReadXCOM 2 review

Profile image of Robert Leedham Robert Leedham Ex-Editor, Stuff magazine


Rob has written about gadgets for a while now, so his party trick is the ability to name every phone being used in any given train carriage. He can also give you a definitive ranking of Super Mario games if that sounds more interesting. Please don't ask him anything about washing machines though. Or fridge freezers. Or Southampton F.C.'s transfer policy.

Areas of expertise

All gadgets imaginable from phones to robot vacuums and beyond.

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