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After an uneven console cycle with the Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest consoles are aimed at getting the ship back on course. The Xbox Series X is a next-generation powerhouse that rivals gaming PCs, while the Xbox Series S is an affordable stopgap for those who are curious about trying new games.

There’s no shortage of games to play on either console thanks to Xbox Game Pass, which gives players immediate access to a library of titles old and new. That built-in catalogue is an extra value on top of all the new games available on the system that take advantage of its impressive technical specs.

With the Series X and Series S finally out in the world, we’ve combed through the current batch of new Xbox games to put together a running list of titles that new console owners shouldn’t miss.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

The next generation of consoles started out as big as possible thanks to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The Series X|S launch title is an open-world behemoth that amps up everything the Assassin’s Creed franchise has to offer with a Viking twist. With a main story that’ll keep players occupied for over 60 hours and a seemingly endless list of activities to complete, it’s the kind of game that can be played for months on end.

There’s a lot to enjoy in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla due to its wealth of systems. Whether its building a settlement, discovering organic quests throughout the world, or crafting the ultimate raiding machine, the game offers a lot for players to sink their teeth into. Not every mechanic totally hits its mark, but few really miss either. The result is a sprawling epic built for the kind of players who just want to lose themselves in a game world.

Read our full Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Microsoft

Sega’s Yakuza series has been on the rise for quite some time. The niche franchise gained steady popularity in recent years just in time for Yakuza: Like a Dragon to usher in next-generation consoles. What once was a weird oddity is now an ace in the hole for Microsoft thanks to high critical praise that made it one of the next-generation’s most-talked-about launch games.

Unlike previous Yakuza games, Like a Dragon trades in beat-’em-up action for turn-based combat. Players put together a party of four character who brawl together in battle and can use the environment to their advantage. While that core concept is a departure for the franchise, it still retains its signature wackiness with unpredictable missions and sidequests. For players who have never played a Yakuza game before, Like a Dragon is a perfect jumping off point that starts a fresh chapter for the franchise.

Gears Tactics

The Gears of War franchise has always been known for its fast-paced action and larger-than-life gunplay. So it might be surprising to hear that Gears Tactics, a spinoff the popular shooter series, is a turn-based strategy game where players methodically plot out attacks.

Surprisingly, the genre flip isn’t as drastic as it might sound. This is still very much a Gears of War game, complete with cover-based shooting, oversized weapons, and hordes of aliens. Compared to other strategy games, Gears Tactics is much heavier on action. Enemies spawn frequently and players are able to do much more in one turn than just move and fire one shot. For those who love the Gears universe, it’s a fresh take on the franchise that reimagines the pace of a strategy game.

Read our full Gears Tactics review

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