Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Xbox Series X|S)

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Xbox Series X|S)Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Date: 26th Oct 2021 (USA)

After the fairly average effort that was Marvel's Avengers, we guess nobody was really expecting all that much from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, although with Eidos Montreal at the helm here we certainly hadn't lost all hope.

As it turned out, we needn't have worried, as what we've ended up with is a rip-roaring adventure that's packed full of hilarious banter between its band of misfit heroes - heroes that, for us, have never been more endearing - some wonderfully colourful and quirky alien worlds, and lots of proper, actual, you're going to make us cry emotion.

Yes, the gameplay is all pretty straightforward stuff that isn't gonna set the world on fire, but it's serviceable, it's fun, and it's bolstered to no end by the writing, world-building and absolutely gorgeous graphics on offer here. This really is one of the very best adventures we've been taken on with Xbox Game Pass this year.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Xbox One)

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Xbox One)Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Xbox One)
Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: BioWare
Release Date: 14th May 2021 (UK/EU)

One of the all-time great RPG trilogies returns in a cracking remastered collection that sees Shepard and co. looking and playing better than ever before. Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings all three Mass Effect games together and gives them a facelift, 4K visuals, 60FPS gameplay, rejigged combat and massively improved loading times, resulting in a super-smooth and fully modernised adventure. If you were a fan of the series when it originally released this revisit will take you right back to your glory days, whilst newcomers can prepare to gear up and indulge in some deep Sci-fi RPG action that's never felt better to get thoroughly lost in. Welcome back, Commander Shepard.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes (Game Pass Ultimate)

Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Xbox One)

Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Xbox One)Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Xbox One)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive / Developer: Monolith Productions
Release Date: 28th Aug 2018 (USA)

The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit based Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of the highlights of the Xbox One's early days back in 2014, and it was followed up by the even more ambitious Middle-earth: Shadow of War in 2017. Both are fantastic, but the latter is the only one currently available on Xbox Game Pass.

We recommend giving it a try, even if you're not a big Lord of the Rings fan, as the combat is highly satisfying (it's somewhat similar to the likes of Ryse: Son of Rome), it features a jam-packed open world, and it'll keep you busy for the long run, with an estimated time to beat of around 50 to 100 hours.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Monster Hunter: World (Xbox One)

Monster Hunter: World (Xbox One)Monster Hunter: World (Xbox One)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 26th Jan 2018 (USA)

Monster Hunter struggled to captivate a mainstream audience in the West. That was until Monster Hunter: World, which managed to make its complex systems accessible for newcomers to the series, inviting many more players to see what all the fuss is about.

Tackling towering beasts either solo or cooperatively always feels like a daunting feat, and whether you're five hours in or ten, it never gets old. The process of tracking it down, luring it out and exploiting its weakness is a constant learning process that is captivating. Its RPG systems and levelling up gear encourage going out to tackle more and more, creating an engaging loop that never ceases to thrill. A must play.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

NieR:Automata (Xbox One)

NieR:Automata (Xbox One)NieR:Automata (Xbox One)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: PlatinumGames
Release Date: 26th Jun 2018 (USA)

NieR:Automata is a game that continuously gains momentum. As each scenario plays out, the story dramatically unfolds, its fast paced combat becomes more demanding, and its plot beats become even stranger. It's a game that's hard to describe, but one that's an absolute rollercoaster of a ride.

It also encourages repeat playthroughs, each delivering different paths, plot points and further exploration of its world to create one of the most unique RPGs out there. With the remake of NieR Replicant also available for Xbox, now is the perfect time to dive in and experience this absolute treat.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... (Xbox One)

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... (Xbox One)NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139... (Xbox One)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: Toylogic
Release Date: 23rd Apr 2021 (UK/EU)

This updated version of Yoko Taro's 2010 masterpiece introduces a host of modern gameplay tweaks, a well-judged graphical overhaul, refined combat controls and more, resulting in the ultimate version of a one-of-kind gaming experience.

Fans of the original will revel in this chance to return to Nier's uniquely strange world, whilst newcomers are given the benefit of gameplay enhancements that smooth over some the craggier elements of a cult classic that you really should make an effort to try at least once. Nier Replicant is absolute magic.

  • Xbox Game Pass? No

Nobody Saves The World (Xbox Series X|S)

Nobody Saves The World (Xbox Series X|S)Nobody Saves The World (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios / Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Release Date: 18th Jan 2022 (USA)

Canadian developer Drinkbox Studios never lets us down with the sterling quality of their indie releases, with the likes of the superb Guacamelee series, Severed and Mutant Blobs Attack rounding out an impressive back catalogue.

And so it is we've all been waiting with baited breath for their latest game, Nobody Saves The World, to finally arrive, with the studio once again absolutely nailing it. This is a colourful and clever dungeon-crawling romp with a bevvy of smart mechanics up its sleeve, including the ability to transform into everything from a robot, to a ghost, dinosaur, rat and warrior knight as you blaze a trail through its wonderfully well-designed dungeons and boss battles. As we said in our review, "this is one of the slickest indie RPGs we've played in quite some time."

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes

Outriders (Xbox Series X|S)

Outriders (Xbox Series X|S)Outriders (Xbox Series X|S)
Publisher: Square Enix / Developer: People Can Fly
Release Date: 1st Apr 2021 (USA) / 1st Apr 2021 (UK/EU)

People Can Fly's 2021 action RPG may not get off to the best of starts, with a story that's a little clunky in its opening hour, but give it a chance and Outriders will reward you in the form of some wonderfully addictive combo-centric combat that we've had an absolute blast with.

It's all about the looter shooter action here, with an endless array of ridiculous guns to collect that, alongside your protagonist's array of crazy superpowers, are a joy to mix and mess with. Outriders is explosive, flashy and addictive stuff that hinges on pulling off big combos by getting clever with your skills and weapons against excellent enemy AI, leading to constantly engaging shootouts.

There's a refreshing simplicity to the loadouts, modding and upgrading systems too, a decision that keeps menu time to a minimum and lets you get on with the non-stop slaughter of your enemies in the most spectacular manner possible. With a New Horizon update recently released that refines and adds to the systems already present, as well as introducing a few features fans have been crying out for, such as transmog, there's never been a better time to jump in here.

  • Xbox Game Pass? Yes