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10 Essential Games To Install When You Sign Up For Game Pass

Game Pass is one of the best things to happen for gamers on a budget. For just $15 a month, players have access to hundreds of games spanning almost two decades. Regardless of what your favorite genre is, odds are, you'll find something for you, even if its there for a limited amount of time.

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With that said, there's so much content available that making a decision on what to download first can be a little overwhelming. In many ways, there is such thing as too much of a good thing, and unless you have a gameplan, there's a chance you can spend hours searching the seemingly endless catalog available. So, we've decided to make it a little easier for those who have either recently signed up for Xbox's gaming Netflix or are contemplating jumping in.

10 Fable II

When looking back at the greatest games available on the Xbox platform, few will stack up against the 2008 Xbox 360 classic Fable II. Developed by Lionhead Studios with Peter Molyneux at the helm, Fable II offers players a plethora of playstyles with some deep mechanics. Building off of the simple good or evil choice system implemented in the first game, players are also offered "purity" vs "corruption", "funny" against "scary", "loved" or "hated", "wealthy" or "poor", while also altering the time period to something more akin to the Empirical Colonial Era.

Mix that with the classic Fable sense of humor and deep — for its time — customization option, and you have an immersive world that gives as much as players want to take away from it. Oh, and you get a dog.

9 Shenmue I & II Collection

For players too young to remember the Sega Dreamcast era, Shenmue was a game that diehards swore by. Completely changing how players experienced video games, this unorthodox RPG implemented a strong dose of realism. This includes an internal clock and timed incidents. Not only this, but NPCs have a tendency of not being completely honest as players try to find the men that killed his father. The second title didn't make its way to North America until the Xbox came around, so the series is tied almost as closely to Microsoft as it is Sega.

Now, both games have been ported to modern consoles and the collection is available on GamePass. With a stunning amount of content, its worth a playthrough for anyone who can stomach the less-polished late 90s, early 2000s gameplay.

8 Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 is easily the best Real-Time-Strategy game available on consoles. Now, it's not like there was an extremely high bar before this, but its still an impressive feat. Developed with console gameplay in mind, 343 Industries, with the help of Creative Assembly — the developers behind the Total War franchise — managed to build a game that offers a fun, fast-paced RTS, but one that expands the Halo universe for fans of the franchise.

Offering "rock-paper-scissors" style gameplay, this game feels different than others in the genre, and with some fantastic audio-visual work, every piece of combat feels extremely impactful. This is a must-play for any Xbox One owner.

7 The Outer Worlds

Obsidian — one of the best RPG developers in the game — released a new open-world adventure. Under normal circumstances, that should be enough to sell a game alone. To make it better for Game Pass users can get this game day one — October 25, 2019. Now, depending on when you read this, it might not be available, but a big-time RPG like this would be a day-one purchase for many players. For Game pass players, that can happen at no extra cost.

Since it's not out as of this writing, we won't comment on the quality of this title — and we're ranking it a little bit closer to 10 because of this — but we're placing this on the list as it would be a must-have purchase regardless.

6 Rare Replay

Back in the 1990s and into the early 2000s, there was no developer as renowned as Rare. Working on Nintendo consoles exclusively, the studio pushed out classic after classic with titles like BattletoadsDonkey Kong CountryBanjo-KazooieConquers Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark. So, when they split from Nintendo and moved to Microsoft, fans were caught off guard. Now, years after changing ownership, Microsoft and Rare have celebrated their storied past with this — the Rare Replay.

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With 30 games from the developer's iconic three-decade run, there are some missing titles — Donkey Kong Country and James Bond 007: GoldenEye stick out — but even without some of their biggest accomplishments, this is one of the best compilations around.

5 Forza Horizon 4

While Sony cornered the market regarding racing games for years, the Xbox brand fired back with Forza. While the franchise proper is known for its realistic, borderline-simulation gameplay, Horizon offered more arcadey gameplay. Developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios, Forza Horizon 4 puts players in an open world England, with locations that are so carefully crafted, they look straight out of real-life.

Those beautiful visuals are nothing without the game's tight controls and gameplay modes that can help even the most unseasoned players get a hang of things. For any gearhead, Forza is the best franchise to jump into, and Horizon 4 is some of the most fun you can have in the franchise.

4 Ori And The Blind Forest

While Ori and the Blind Forest is now available on the Nintendo Switch just like Cuphead, for a moment in time, it was easily the best exclusive game on the platform. Designed as an artistic Metroidvania, players take control of the forest spirit, Ori, and their friend Sein, as they battle enemies and solve puzzles.

The gameplay is as rewarding as imaginable, but where players will really get their money's worth is in the visuals. With a beautiful hand-painted aesthetic, the color pallet presented as players explore the forest, this game is a treat for the eyes, and easily one of the prettiest games of this generation.

3 Halo: The Master Chief Collection

When gamers think of Xbox, one franchise comes to mind, Halo. The first-person-shooter franchise defines the platform and redefined the genre altogether.  As a compilation, Halo: The Master Chief Collection includes completely overhauled versions of the first three games in the series along with O.D.S.T. As part of Microsoft's history, this is an interesting title to download, but what makes it essential is how good these titles are.

Each game in the collection hold up extremely well without the facelifts, but now, they're even more playable. Mix this with a thriving online community, and you have a game that can offer hours of content.

2 Sea Of Thieves

Sea of Thieves was ripped apart upon its release as there wasn't a whole lot of content. To be fair, it deserved every bit of criticism. After a huge advertising campaign selling players on fun pirate content, the game launched and didn't really have much. It was a fine game from a technical standpoint, but there just wasn't a lot there. Now, however, after some recent updates, Sea of Thieves has a new lease on life.

Offering other versions of gameplay, and a whole new story mode, there's so much more to the game than ever before. On top of that, as a big-time online game, there's also the addition of some fantastic single-player content too. That's not to downplay the multiplayer game mode, however, the game was built from the ground up with that in mind, and it shows — in a good way.

1 Gears Of War 5

Gears of War 5 is the first real expansion to the franchise's formula in years. Keeping the traditional cover-shooter-with-timed-reloads gameplay, Gears of War 5 offers less claustrophobic environments, with a bigger pseudo-open-wold. On top of that, the game shifts focus to Kate Diaz, players are also offered a protagonist that's familiar to fans while also new in terms of being a playable character.

The online is also something to be praised as well. The multiplayer community is great, and "Horde Mode" is as fun as it has ever been. For every reason players play games, Gears of War 5 checks that box.

NEXT: 10 Xbox Games That Will Mock You For Playing On Easy

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