Best Games on Xbox Game Pass for PC Windows Central 2021
Xbox Game Pass is finally available on Windows 10 PC, bringing over a hundred games for a relatively low monthly fee. Whether you're new to PC gaming or just new to PC Game Pass, it can be a bit daunting to trudge through the entire catalog to find what to play first, so we've listed nine of our favorites to get you started. All of the games listed here are included in Xbox Game Pass for PC but can also be purchased separately at a discount for your subscription.
- Must-play: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Take to the skies: Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Epic JRPG: Dragon Quest XI
- A game of extremes: Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Out of this world: The Outer Worlds
- Build a space empire: Stellaris
- Apocalypse RPG: Wasteland 2
- Goretastic tactics: Gears Tactics
- Alien infestation: Prey
- Manage Football: Football Manager 2019
- Battle slimes, build a shop: Moonlighter
- A dark world: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Must-play: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of Xbox Game Pass's greatest titles, owing to its stunning environments, precision platforming, and evocative story. Ori tells the tale of a cat-like spirit on a quest to save his world from corruption, and it's available on Xbox Game Pass for both PC and console.
Take to the skies: Microsoft Flight Simulator
Take flight in a huge fleet of licensed real-world planes in this unprecedented simulation game. Microsoft Flight Simulator parses real-world weather and land data to create realistic topography and meteorological phenomena in real-time. Soar the skies above well-known wonders of the world and land in some of the world's most iconic airports, and hey, it has VR now too.
Epic JRPG: Dragon Quest XI
Dragon Quest explodes onto Xbox Game Pass with its 11th installment, Echoes of an Elusive Age. The quintessential JRPG experience, Dragon Quest is a turn-based RPG full of quirky characters, gigantic boss battles, and surprising plot twists. Available now in Xbox Game Pass, Dragon Quest XI is a gem in a woefully underserved genre in 2020.
A game of extremes: Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The legendary Yakuza franchise has spawned a turn-based traditional JRPG spin-off series, starting with Like a Dragon. Telling the story of Ichiban Kasuga, you emerge from prison betrayed by your former clan and family. You'll team up with a crew of misfits like yourself and embark on a quest to unravel a gangland conspiracy while indulging Yakuza's notoriously wacky side quests and events.
Out of this world: The Outer WorldsStaff pick
The Outer Worlds is a fun sci-fi romp for fans of Bioware and Bethesda RPGs of old, complete with Obsidian's biting wit, gorgeous stylized visuals, and addictive combat. This is a must-play Game Pass title.
Build a space empire: Stellaris
Stellaris is a staggeringly deep space strategy game where you can build your very own empire. Will you be an alien cyborg hivemind hell-bent on destruction or a peaceful xenophile who wants to unite the galaxy? The choices (and consequences) are yours.
Apocalypse RPG: Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 is a landmark classic cRPG that was crowdfunded by the game's fans. The franchise inspired Fallout, with its gritty post-apocalyptic environment, tactical gameplay, and tongue-in-cheek humor. Ahead of Wasteland 3's launch in 2020, be sure to give Wasteland 2 a try on Game Pass.
Goretastic tactics: Gears Tactics
Gears Tactics is an awesome turn-based strategy game set in the popular Gears of War universe. Take on Gabe Diaz and his growing army of scattered C.O.G. soldiers and vengeful civilians and take the fight to Ukkon, the architect of the Locust's monstrous bio-engineered warbeasts.
Alien infestation: Prey
Prey is another shooter from Bethesda, albeit with a completely different tone. Set on a lonely space station, Prey has you uncover a mysterious alien infestation as you dig deeper into illegal off-world experiments. With tremendous world-building and thoughtful, near survival-horror style shooting combat, Prey is an underrated gem well worth a try.
Manage Football: Football Manager 2019
One of the most popular simulation games on Earth, Football Manager is a realistic business management game that tasks you with the day-to-day running of your very own football club. Manage budgets, player transfers, matches, and more, now with Xbox Live achievements for good measure.
Battle slimes, build a shop: Moonlighter
Moonlighter is one of the most unfairly overlooked games of 2019, and thankfully it's now free to try, so you no longer have an excuse! Moonlighter is a cute Zelda-like game where you fight your way through randomly-generated dungeons, acquiring materials to sell in your very own shop. It's cute, addictive, and awesome.
A dark world: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Hellblade is an award-winning narrative adventure game from Ninja Theory that takes place in a Hellish world plucked from Norse mythology. The protagonist, Senua, dives into the depths of Helheim in an attempt to rescue the soul of her brother, with some of the most stunning character work and audio in the business.
Turn-based tactics: Mutant Year Zero
Mutant Year Zero is an eccentric turn-based strategy game with light RPG elements set in an apocalyptic world based on the eponymous tabletop game. As a group of mutant stalkers, it is your job to venture into the forgotten wastes and recover supplies and tech, although there are more profound mysteries out there to uncover.
Cult hit: Undertale
Undertale is a unique RPG with a retro aesthetic. Playing as a child lost in a world of monsters, you'll meet all sorts of wild and wacky characters as you attempt to ascend back to the human world, filled with choice and consequence.
Test of skill: Hotline Miami
Hotline Miami is a fast-paced top-down shooter where your positioning and reaction time is as essential as your ability to plan ahead. Set in an alternate 1980s version of Miami, you'll carve your way through a seedy criminal underworld at the behest of mysterious messages on your answering machine. You know, for reasons.
Survive the apocalypse: Metro Exodus
Metro Exodus is a slick and stunning shooter set in the ruins of a post-societal Russia. A violent nuclear apocalypse has wiped out most of civilization, and Artyom and his band journey out on a reinforced steam train to see what lies beyond Moscow's metro tunnels.
So much to try
During the beta period, as Microsoft ramps up the associated app and service, Xbox Game Pass for PC costs just $5 per month. I'd argue that even at its full price of $10, it represents some of the best value deals in gaming, giving access to tons of games you'd otherwise have to buy separately.
Slipping in at the top spot we have The Outer Worlds, which by itself makes a month of Xbox Game Pass for PC totally worth it. Set in a distant colony controlled by corrupt corporations, you wake up from deep hyperspace sleep to find civilization on the brink of collapse. Travel across various unique planets in a game where your decisions affect the outcome of every quest. Oh, and if you want, you can just kill every character in the entire game if that's to your liking.
Mutant Year Zero is another personal favorite. Despite having pretty wacky-looking characters and plenty of humor, the story is actually dark and deceptively well-realized. The combat is aggressive, but not what I'd consider unfair by any stretch, focusing a little more on positioning and tactics rather than luck-based hit percentages.
Finally, I have to give a shoutout to Moonlighter. If you're looking for something a little more light-hearted and easy-going, Moonlighter is a good choice. The combat is slick and well-executed, complete with a large RPG-style upgrade system that'll have you losing track of time with all its addictiveness.
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