The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the latest consoles from Microsoft, are releasing on November 10th, 2020 — and while there are plenty of new games to play at launch, there are thousands more available thanks to the console’s integrated backwards compatibility. There’s never been a better time to revisit tons of classic games. So we’re going to list our top picks for unique, weird, special, and all-around classic games for all three previous generations of the console.
Many of the games on our list are available on the Xbox Games Pass. Microsoft’s subscription service gives you instant access to a huge library of games — both current and backwards compatible. We’ll label any game on our list to let you know if you’ll get them included with an Xbox Game Pass subscription. The subscription starts at $11.99/mo, or $16.99/mo for the Game Pass and Gold bundle. Check out the full Game Pass Library here.
Best Backwards Compatible Games On Xbox Series X | S:
- 1-5 Must-Play Xbox Original Games
- 5-10 Must-Play Xbox Original Games
- 1-5 Must-Play Xbox 360 Games
- 5-10 Must-Play Xbox 360 Games
- 1-5 Must-Play Xbox One Games
- 5-10 Must-Play Xbox One Games
Must-Play Backwards Compatible Games | Xbox Original
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory [Stealth Action | NOT On The Game Pass]
At the time, Splinter Cell revitalized the stealth genre and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the high watermark in this sneaky series. As Sam Fisher, you use a variety of weapons and gadgets to carefully sneak through high-security facilities, all to uncover a sinister plot involving instigating war between North and South Korea.
Panzer Dragoon Orta [Rail Shooter | NOT On The Game Pass]
An under-appreciated game for its time that’s now seen a huge resurgence in popularity, Panzer Dragoon Orta is a beautiful rail shooter where you ride on the back of a dragon and blast waves of uniquely rendered enemies. The art design and music make this shooter something special.
Jet Set Radio Future [Action Platformer | NOT On The Game Pass]
Skate through the streets of a hyper-stylized Tokyo and enjoy fast-paced platforming. Jet Set Radio Future is an Xbox Exclusive sequel that pits your rag-tag gang of spray-painting skaters against the police state. It’s a fun, extremely colorful, highly creative adventure.
SSX 3 [Sports Racing | NOT On The Game Pass]
The best of the best when it comes to snowboarding, SSX 3 is a fun and fluid racer that’s been impressively upscaled on the Xbox Series X. There’s no better time to revisit the most fondly remembered game in the SSX series — and it’s still really fun to this day.
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath [Action FPS | NOT On The Game Pass]
The final new game in the Oddworld series was a big departure from the rest. Stranger’s Wrath sets you on a weird Wild West world, where you play as a bounty hunter capturing critters. It’s one of the most unique FPS games of all time, and well-worth checking out if you missed it.
Continue to the next page for recommendations from the Xbox OG era.