Best Xbox One games to play on Series X

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After a strong start, the Series X has hit a bit of a lull in terms of new releases as we wait for the next wave of heavy hitters to hit the platform. Thankfully, some of the Xbox One-era’s best games have been enhanced to leverage the power that the Series X has to offer, making it a great time to revisit some stellar titles that you might’ve missed the first time around.

In most cases, you won’t need to pay anything extra for these performance improvements either, so if you already own these titles, you’re all set thanks to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system that will automatically let you play an optimised version of the game.

Here are eight Xbox One titles that you’re going to want to experience on the Series X.

Samurai Shodown

With full support for 120fps (frames per second), the Xbox Series X enhanced edition of Samurai Shodown marks an important moment for the fighting game genre. For an experience that requires split-second counters and parries, the doubling of the framerate is a literal game changer that makes it difficult to go back.

There’s no other fighter on the market that can match it in terms of fluidity and responsiveness, setting a benchmark for other arcade fighters to try and match. What’s more, Samurai Shodown pulls off 120fps while maintaining the added clarity of a native 4K resolution output.

Owners of the Xbox One version of Samurai Shodown which was released all the way back in June 2019, automatically get the enhancement for free when played on the Series X while other players have the option of buying the re-released version.

In a world where fighting games are associated with intricate combos and complex systems, Samurai Shodown strips that all away with its emphasis on careful positioning, reading your opponent and striking at the right time. It strikes an excellent balance in its approachability, making it easier to pick up and play for newcomers while also giving long time fans added depth with some of the game’s deeper mechanics.

The lack of modes and dearth of online players is a bit of a letdown but the engaging one on one combat and the regularity in which the game is expanding its roster with new DLC characters more than makes up for it.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 was already an impressive looking game on the last generation of consoles but Activision has ramped up the image quality, resolution and frame rate to new levels on the Series X. Out of the gate, Tony Hawk 1+2 offers two options: a 4K/60fps ‘Fidelity’ mode and a ‘Performance’ mode that outputs at 2560x1440p resolution and super smooth 120fps.

Regardless of the option you choose, the frame rate is almost unwavering, making for an incredibly responsive game that looks and feels great to play. That said, the game really benefits from the 120fps mode with the added responsiveness making it easier to execute combos and, thanks to the Series X’s support for HDMI 2.1’s VRR (variable refresh rate), any potential dips in performance is smoothed out completely. I’d wager most people that try the 120fps won’t want to go back to 60fps – it’s that good.

Both modes also feature improved shadows and lighting, making for a more impactful presentation overall. Load times have also been slashed with level load times that took around 15 seconds on last gen consoles now takes around 4 seconds on Series X.

Sadly, owners of the original disc version of Tony Hawk 1+2 are left out in the cold with no direct upgrade path while digital owners of the base game will have to pay a $13 upgrade fee to get the enhancements. This is disappointing when many games are offering a free upgrade path for the Series X versions via Smart Delivery. That said, it is absolutely worth it if you have a HDMI 2.1 television that supports 120Hz output.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Though rough around the edges, 2019’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order delivered some great production values and some interesting Metroid style gameplay where access to various areas gradually opened up as you gained new abilities.

On the Series X, you get a choice of two modes which include a 30fps with a dynamic 4K (2160p) resolution that scales depending on the amount of action on-screen as well as a performance mode that runs at a silky smooth 60fps at 1440p (2560×1440). Regardless of the mode you choose, it’s a notable upgrade over the original Xbox One version and well worth checking out especially if you’re a GamePass subscriber where the title is available to play.

Marvel’s Avengers

After a few delays, the next-gen version of Marvel’s Avengers finally arrived late last month and, thankfully, the wait was worth it.

Compared to the last-gen version, users get higher resolution textures, improved reflections, more destruction, better water rendering and farther draw distances. To top it all off the game is rendered in 4K resolution at a silky smooth 60fps (frames per second), making it a night day improvement over the original.

The game also takes advantage of the Series X’s superfast storage to dramatically cut down load times from almost three minutes to a mere five seconds. For those who invested in the game back when it first came out on the Xbox One in September, prepare to be dazzled when you pop the game into your Series X.

Square Enix also released a new set of Hawkeye-focused missions to coincide with the next-gen update. While the new content doesn’t drastically alter the repetitive brawling experience of Marvel’s Avengers, the snappier controls and significantly improved visuals makes this the definitive version of the game.

Forza Horizon 4

One of the greatest racing games ever made, Forza Horizon 4 screams onto the Series X with a native 4K presentation and a locked 60fps as well as a host of other visual improvements such as increased shadow, reflection and particle effects quality. The load times have also been slashed and the laggy menu shuffling and car switching is a thing of the past.

It’s a notable jump over the last gen version and a great time to dive back in with new free cars still being injected into the game every month.

Gears 5

2019’s Gears 5 was arguably the best entry in the franchise’s history and for the Xbox Series X outing, there’s a host of visual improvements including a native 4K pixel count and 60fps for the campaign as well as 120fps support for multiplayer.

The visual quality has been upped to match the PC versions most demanding ‘ultra’ graphical settings while also sporting new features not found on the PC version such as ray traced global illumination. There’s also the recent release of the game’s first story-based expansion, Hivebusters, to draw in those who might’ve already finished the main campaign.

Bottom line is that if you skipped Gears 5 last year, the Series X is a great place to play it for the first time.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The Master Chief Collection has now grown to six Halo games all under one digital roof and it’s been rebuilt in grand fashion for the Series X with support for a hyper responsive 120fps gameplay at 4K resolution. That means you get Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, Halo: ODST and Halo Reach and every single multiplayer mode that looks and plays better than ever before.

What’s more, local splitscreen play for up to four players now runs at a locked 60fps though oddly enough Halo 3 still displays in a bordered mode just like the original. It also packs enhanced graphics settings from its PC version such as the option to expand the field of view (FOV) up to a 120 degrees and the ability to adjust HDR settings in-game.

If you’re a Halo fan eagerly awaiting the release of Halo Infinite later this year, then The MCC is sure to keep you busy in the meantime.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps won our hearts when it first launched in early 2020 with an endearing tale and a soulful aesthetic as well as a gameplay system that is richer than the original. While its debut on the Xbox One was marred with technical issues, on Series X those performance issues are a distant memory with a native 4K presentation and a hyper responsive 120fps as well as higher fidelity audio.

There’s also the option of running the game in 6K supersampled mode at 60fps, which makes the stunning artistry on show really leap off the screen. Regardless of the mode you choose to play in, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a fantastic metroidvania that shouldn’t be missed.

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