38 Best Action Games for Xbox Series X / S
Let’s face it, action games have pretty much become the go-to for most people that purchase a console or gaming PC. Even if you are someone who primarily plays other genres of games, you have probably played at least a couple of action games in the last year.
While the action genre is quite wide in terms of the games that it offers, there are a few consistencies. For one, you should expect the game to have fighting of some kind. It could be using the most advanced weaponry available or your bare fists, but it will probably be there. On the other hand, it is possible that you end up causing carnage in an entirely different manner altogether in some games.
If you like action games, you like games that are fast-paced, require quick reflexes, and keep you on the edge of your seat from the moment you load the game to the moment you exit.
Here, we have curated a list of the 38 best action games for Xbox Series X / S. Many of these games are well known and popular with Xbox players, but we are sure you will also find a couple of hidden gems that you have not played before.
It is amazing how Microsoft is able to put consistently put out Halo games that are not only great games but innovate on the previous entries in the series in some way. The Halo series is quite like the Zelda series in this way, in as much as there isn’t a single entry that is considered completely terrible.
The ‘Infinite’ in Halo Infinite is there for a reason. This is the first Halo game that takes an open-world approach, and it manages to string together a coherent narrative without forcing you to play the game in a linear fashion.
Of course, the combat and the multiplayer are of top quality too. While the previous two entries in the series did seem like they were getting a tiny bit stale, Halo Infinite is a true return to form for the series. You play the game through the point-of-view of Master Chief, and there is a lot for you to do apart from the main storyline as well. Overall, we think this is one of the best action games on Xbox at the moment.
Quake Remastered is the updated version of the first entry in the Quake series. We believe it is important to let you know that despite the remaster, the graphics of the game still seem quite a bit dated. It is very easy to tell that you are not playing a game that was made in the modern-day.
However, the draw of Quake games has always been smooth gameplay. While you do not have access to the precision of the mouse and keyboard, the Xbox controller is good enough for a fantastic single-player experience.
The game features all of the story from the first game, as well as online and local multiplayer. The multiplayer is bare-bones, focusing on deathmatch and fragging as opposed to providing a lot of game modes for players to partake in. Still, this is a great game to play regardless of whether or not you played the original.
Gears 5 was on our list of the best Xbox single-player campaign games. This is because the series, just like Halo, has experienced a renaissance by making use of an open world for its single-player campaign.
Just like Halo, players can now play the game at their own pace. You will also have access to a lot of side missions and additional single-player content during or after you are done with the story. This makes the solo experience a lot more pleasurable compared to the fourth entry in the franchise.
The multiplayer has never been something that fans of the series have had many complaints about. As such, it remains largely unchanged apart from the tweaks made to the combat mechanics.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
What would a list of best Xbox action games be without an entry from Activision’s most famous franchise? Call of Duty: Vanguard is another attempt made by the series to go back to its World War 2 roots.
However, this is not just another version of World at War. The game this time has a lot of new content, including the use of war machines that players can try.
The campaign is standard Call of Duty stuff, but the multiplayer is now a lot more chaotic, even by COD standards. Vanguard is the ideal game for players who have not played a COD game in a while to return to the series, and it even has a Zombies mode for those who used to enjoy it back in the day.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is the next game on our list of the best action games for Xbox series X. The game has been designed by the same people that originally designed Left 4 Dead.
The core gameplay is still the same. You play alone or with friends and try to fend off the hordes of zombies that are coming at you and will only get stronger with each wave. However, there are a few new additions and the graphics have been modernized to prevent the game from looking like something out of the last decade.
The only problem with Back 4 Blood is that the game is not nearly as fun when playing solo. The bots do not really have the intelligence to predict what to do next, so it is better to play with humans. Luckily, there is an online mode where you can team up with randoms if your friends are not available for a game.
Grand Theft Auto 5
This list would simply not be complete without this game. While it has been quite a few years since GTA 5 first came out, there is simply no other game like it. Most of the GTA copy-cats have failed to match it in terms of scale, and Rockstar’s efforts show themselves in how smooth the single-player experience is.
Of course, multiplayer has become the focal point for the series in recent years. While the online experience is not as consistent as the solo one, it does mean that the game can provide endless hours of fun even after you have completed the storyline.
There is no reason to explain what you do when you play a GTA game. You can carjack anyone, complete missions to earn money, and basically do whatever you want until you are either busted or wasted. Apart from being a very fun game, this might be a great way to let off some steam too.
Death’s Door was also a part of our list of the best indie games for Xbox Series X / S. This is an amazing platformer that has a rich story with a fairly unique art style. You play the role of a crow who has to fight tyrants, help people, and reap the souls of the dead.
The developers try their best to make the combat in the game as dynamic as possible. Unfortunately, they fail to do so. While you have an assortment of ways to fight enemies including arrows and melee attacks, the combat feels a bit too simplistic.
Apart from the platforming, combat is pretty much the main aspect of Death’s Door. As such, the game can get a bit boring in some places. Thankfully, the story redeems Death’s Door and makes it a great game to play for players who like hilariously dark tales.
Hell Let Loose
Hell Let Loose is your best bet if you are looking for the most realistic warfare experience possible on consoles. It was also on our list of the best military and war games for Xbox.
In many ways, Hell Let Loose ends up sacrificing fun to make the game appear more realistic. The game combines FPS with RTS elements, with both teams having to make use of resources and one player being a commander that controls the strategy of the team.
The battle rages across a dynamic frontline that is always moving. This frontline can change depending on how successful each team is in its skirmishes. Teamwork is essential if you want to win in Hell Let Loose, and lone wolfing will almost certainly get you killed.
With 100-player battles raging across some of the most well-known battlefields of the Second World War, Hell Let Loose is the closest we have come to experiencing true war on the Xbox. While the game is extremely difficult to pick up and new players may have trouble getting the hang of it, it can be very fun once you understand everything that is going on.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the highest-rated Xbox Series X games of all time. Once you begin playing, you begin to understand exactly why that is the case.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a platformer that takes all the best parts of the genre and somehow makes them even better. The two highlights of the game are the story and the soundtrack.
The story is an integral part of the platformer. However, it is told without the use of too many words. In fact, you will slowly absorb more of the story as you play towards the end. The music, on the other hand, will change throughout the game and adapt to each level depending on what you are doing.
There is no multiplayer (obviously), but the gorgeous graphics become even better once you crank the resolution up to 6K. If your TV or monitor can support such high fidelity, you will be amazed by how breathtaking all the levels look.
The Metro series has produced some great games in the past, and Metro Exodus is no exception. The game manages to combine stealth and action perfectly, with fast-paced levels being mixed in with slow missions that require you to exercise patience.
Survival plays an important role in the game. You have a set of objectives that you need to complete, but you will tackle the game in a non-linear manner. In the end, it will be up to you what you consider to be the most important task to undertake.
Metro Exodus is optimized for both the Xbox Series X and S and features depressingly beautiful vistas for you to explore. The weather can change at a moment’s notice, and the challenges change as daylight fades away and night falls. The only problem, and a slight one at that, is that you will need to have played the previous games to know all of what happens in the game.
If you are into dystopian games, White Shadows will be right up your alley. You are someone who is quite literally at the bottom of the hierarchy, and the entire story revolves around you trying to overthrow those at the top in your quest for a more equal world.
At its core, the game is a puzzle platformer. However, there is enough action sprinkled in that you will find yourself unable to turn your Xbox off until you have finished the game.
The major aspect of the game is the story. White Shadows deals with critical issues, many of which are present in our world today. We were completely surprised by how willingly developers were taking on issues of oppression and suppression.
From start to finish, White Shadows not only makes you think about abstract dystopian ideas but also about what is happening in our world right now. Of course, all of the writing is backed by stellar game design and tight controls that allow for a spectacular playthrough right to the end.
Paint the Town Red
If you load a game with a name like Paint the Town Red, you should know that you are in for some serious carnage. What you may not expect is that the carnage must be caused without making use of any long-range weapons.
In Paint the Town Red, you get up close and personal with all your enemies. You can use your fists, legs, and anything else at your disposal until you start to see the red drip out of the enemies.
When it comes to action, this game has more than enough for even the most hardcore gore fan. Of course, it does come with pixelated graphics that make the game seem a bit less extreme than it really is. The only thing to remember is that while the combat mechanics are very fun, there isn’t much variety in terms of content. As such, Paint the Town Red can get boring quite quickly.
The next game on our list of the best Xbox action games is Psychonauts 2. The game has received some of the highest praises from critics out of all the Xbox Series X games, and it is easy to see why once you load into the game.
You play the game as Razputin Aquato, a renowned psychic who has just realized his dream of joining the Psychonauts. However, the organization is in disarray, and you will need to use all your powers and training to save it and prevent the bad guys from resurrecting their leader.
The story is not just to help you get through the game either. It focuses on mental health and how humans deal with various emotions. It manages to do this in a somewhat hilarious manner, simultaneously making you think and laugh.
Luckily, there is no need for you to have played the first entry in the series in order to understand the story. However, both of these games are available on Game Pass and are worth a try.
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a co-op game that is meant to be played by two people together. In fact, this might be the ideal game for couples to play. The story revolves around a couple with a failing marriage that have been turned into dolls.
Throughout the game, the major objective is to find your daughter so that you can turn back into normal-sized human beings. Of course, the story has the two characters connect with each other on a level they never have before. Will they be able to save their marriage in the end?
The game has received numerous accolades from critics, and with good reason. While the game cannot be enjoyed alone, it is perhaps the best Xbox action game for two people to play together.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege took the world by storm when it first came out, and there really isn’t a game that can compete until now.
This is because Siege has a really unique formula. There are two teams of operators, all of whom have different load-outs and special skills. These operators compete across a variety of game modes and highly destructible environments.
The destructible environments allow for a lot of creativity. You never know where the enemy may end up coming from, and the same goes for your enemy and you. While the first half of the round is usually spent planning the attack, the latter half is full of action and excitement. In fact, there are many rounds (especially when playing with randoms) full of chaos, and that is usually where the best Siege memories are formed.
Mortal Kombat 11
It can be difficult to maintain quality in a series when you are 11 games in, but Mortal Kombat somehow manages to do it. The combat is still as exquisite as ever, and all 37 of the characters in the game have a completely unique move-set that you will need to slowly master.
There are not one but two campaigns that you can play through. Both of them are related to each other and have you trying to prevent Kronika (the villain) from rebooting history. Of course, the campaign also has you primarily fighting enemies, so it can get a bit boring after a while. Still, the stories are worth sticking around for.
Of course, the multiplayer is where Mortal Kombat 11 truly comes to life. You can play locally or online, and there are basically no limits to how far you can develop your skillset.
Battlefield games have always been known for providing semi-realistic combat and prioritizing action in their intense multiplayer battles. Battlefield 2042 takes the series back to its roots, by taking the series to the future.
The year is 2042, and warfare has advanced to the point that it is almost completely different from modern-day conflicts. You will have access to advanced weaponry, both classic and new game modes, and a short but sweet single-player campaign that may not be able to compete with other games on the list, but does a good job of acquainting you with the game’s mechanics.
Battlefield 2042 is not the best game in the series by any means. However, it offers a welcome break from the series’ focus on the World Wars in the previous entries, which we found offered nothing new and mainly recycled features from other games into the Battlefield mix.
Wreckfest was a game that was also on our list of the best racing games for Xbox Series X / S. While racing games do not tend to pack as much action in them as some of the entries on this list, Wreckfest is completely different.
Just like Rainbow Six: Siege has destructible environments, Wreckfest has destructible vehicles. Not only are you racing all of the other competitors, but you also have tools at your disposal to wipe them out. Once the race begins, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want in your bid to finish ahead of all the competitors.
Wreckfest is part racing and part battle. While the single-player experience is quite good, the multiplayer is where you end up having the most fun. In fact, this may be one of the most entertaining and hilarious games to play with friends. There is nothing better than hearing the scream of someone you know after you completely wreck their car on your way to victory.
Devil May Cry 5
When we talked about Mortal Kombat, we talked about how it can be very difficult to keep churning out quality games once you are deep into a series. Devil May Cry 5 does not manage to rise up to the heights of MK11, but it still manages to hold its own.
For the most part, DMC 5 does not innovate on the previous games in the series in any major way. The combat mechanics are still largely the same, and there isn’t a lot that is new in this game. However, if you are someone who has enjoyed the franchise so far, you will find yourself right at home.
Lastly, the one major area where the game has received an upgrade is in the graphics department. The developers were quick to tout just how amazing the visuals look in DMC 5, and we must agree with them. Enhanced for the Series X and with support for HDR10, DMC 5 is a feast for your eyes.
Dying Light 2: Staying Human
Dying Light 2: Staying Human takes all that was good about the original Dying Light and makes it better. The game does everything on a larger scale: From the combat and the exploration to the story and the characters.
The game is set at a time when one of the last remaining human settlements in the world is under siege by Zombies. You are one of the few individuals willing to take on the risk of fighting them, but you are handicapped by memories that you cannot explain.
As such, there are two stories running at the same time through the single-player campaign. The first one revolves around ensuring the survival of the human race, while the second one deals with the personal struggle of your character.
There is the ability for you to play the game in co-op with up to three other friends. However, unlike many other games that provide a co-op mode, Dying Light 2 is just as gripping and exciting when played alone.
Outer Wilds is another one of those games that makes you think: Why hasn’t any other game developer explored this idea before?
The game is equal parts exploration, adventure, and action. You play as a space recruit who has a mission to save the universe from death. The key component is that the universe keeps on ending after every 22 minutes.
At the end of those 22 minutes, you get to keep your progress and use what you have learned in the past to try and change the fate of the universe. This means that each of those 22 minutes is completely different from the previous one. The challenges become more and more difficult as you near the end, and you have complete control over the pace at which you attempt them.
It is up to you whether you want to complete the game in as little of those 22-minute periods as possible or simply hang back and let things unfold in a deliberate manner. No matter what, you will find yourself having a lot of fun trying to save a universe destined for death.
Hitman games have tended to be a mixed bag in the past, but Hitman 3 has learned all the important lessons that those games had to offer. This is as close to perfection as a Hitman game can get.
The game puts you in various scenarios where you have to take out a specific target. While there is a linear path that you can follow to kill the target, you don’t have to adhere to it. You are free to explore and come up with ways to kill the target in the fastest time possible. In fact, there are many YouTube videos with people attempting to complete each level in just a few seconds.
There are more than enough missions to keep you occupied with Hitman 3 for a while. On top of that, all of them offer a significant amount of replayability as you attempt to come up with more ingenious ways to kill the target.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
It seems that going open-world is the norm for previously linear series, and AC Valhalla is no different. The game this time explores the world of the Vikings. You are free to traverse the land and the seas, where a lot of hidden dangers and colorful characters await.
As is the case with open-world games, you can choose to pursue the story at your own pace. There is a lot of additional content and side quests as well, so you have the option to continue playing the game long after you finish the main story.
The choices you make end up impacting the story and your settlement at later points in the series. This is Assassin’s Creed like you have never seen it before, and you get to experience it all in 4K HDR10 if you have the Xbox Series X.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
You should have known that there would be more than one Call of Duty entry on our list of the best action games for Xbox Series X and S. Black Ops Cold War follows the Black Ops storyline in an extremely loose manner. This means that you can play Cold War even if you have not played any of the previous entries in the series.
The game puts you in the 1980s, and your primary objective is to prevent the destabilization of the global political landscape. You get to play some of the most iconic characters in the series, including Mason, Woods, and Hudson. The Black Ops games have always tried to go big on the single-player side of things, and Cold War is no exception.
When it comes to multiplayer, you should expect the standard Call of Duty experience. You have access to numerous game modes, and you can also play the new and improved iteration of Zombies.
Control is the next game on our list. This is a game that puts you in the role of someone who works at the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), and it is your job to investigate and interact with paranormal activity in the area.
When a new paranormal force known as ‘The Hiss’ comes into the fray, it is up to you to control it. However, this is something that has never been seen before, and it will take everything in your power to curb its spread.
The game has been upgraded to play at 1440p with a 4K output on the Xbox Series X. You have the option of playing at 60 FPS, or maxing out the visual effects including ray tracing at 30 FPS. While the graphics will mesmerize you for sure, the gameplay is not lacking in any particular way either.
Hades is the second game that places you in a time-loop. You have one goal: To escape the underworld. The good thing is that it is physically impossble for you to die. Once you die, you simply respawn at the beginning. Your progress is rolled over from the previous tries, and the world is once again procedurally generated.
Many reviewers have called Hades one of the best games to come out in modern times. While we would not go that far, it is still an amazing game that can provide almost endless levels of replayability.
Greek mythology is rampant throughout the game, although there isn’t much of a story for you to focus on here. Still, the game manages to provide something new on every playthrough, and that is why you should give Hades a try.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon was also a part of our list of the best Japanese games for Xbox. While we said that we doubt if Hades was one of the best games of modern times, we do believe that Like a Dragon is.
The game takes Yakuza’s formula of tackling real issues in a satirical manner and adds just a few tweaks to make it even better than it previously was. The combat is now turn-based, and it works surprisingly well.
On top of that, the story will have you in stiches at some points and have you pondering over the fate of your characters at others. This game is a true rollercoaster ride, and is something that action and Yakuza fans will surely enjoy.
Destiny 2 is a game that has been out for a long time, but that does not mean that you should ignore it. Having one of the most loyal player bases out of all the games on this list, it is a game that has the potential to provide endless hours of entertainment.
The developers constantly update the game and add new content. If you are someone who used to play Destiny 2 in the past but haven’t played it in a while, simply hop back on and take a look at all of the new stuff that you can do.
Once you are done with all the single-player content that you wanted to play, you can go to the multiplayer and test your skills against other players. Mind you, the skill level is quite high in online matches as many of the players have been playing the game since it first came out. Still, even getting stomped in Destiny 2 is very fun.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Once upon a time, Star Wars was considered to be one of the best gaming franchises in the market. After a couple of botched games, that does not seem to be the case anymore. However, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to Star Wars just yet. Squadrons is a game that redeems the series in many ways.
The game focuses on battles in space, with each player commanding a space ship. The objectives of the battles is fairly straight forward, protect your space ship while trying to destroy the enemy’s. However, there is a lot more depth to the game than that.
For one, the space ships are a bit difficult to drive and shoot from. This creates a high skill ceiling in online battles that allow you to outplay your opponents in creative ways.
There is also a story mode, one which seems to be loved and hated by an equal number of people. It is definitely a new and unique take on the Star Wars franchise, but we think it ended up working out very well.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Crash Bandicoot games are often overlooked by hardcore fans of the action genre. However, the games regularly score some of the highest ratings by critics and users alike.
This time, Crash and Coco are back for an adventure on a scale never seen before. Their job is not just to defend this universe, but all the multiverses. This means that you will be fighting Neo Cortex and N across a variety of universes, each with their own wacky setting.
While the the fourth iteration of the Crash Bandicoot series manage to keep the core elements the same, it operates on a much larger scale. There are more characters for you to play, more abilities, and a lot more levels that are almost completely unique from the previous ones. It’s About Time may be one of the best Crash Bandicoor releases on the Xbox ever.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City was initially released as a mod for Skyrim. Due to its popularity, it is now a fully-fledged game available on multiple consoles.
The Forgotten City is set around 2,000 years ago in an ancient Roman city that was mysteriously destroyed. You now have the power of the time-loop availalable to you and have to figure out what was it that caused the death of the city.
As is the case with these games, your progress does not reset once the city has been destroyed. Instead, you get as many tries as you need to find out the causes behind the city’s death and prevent it from happening.
The game has changed in many ways from its days as a mod for Skyrim. For one, the visuals are breathtaking on the Series X. Secondly, the amount of things you can do and the people you can talk to is much higher in the standalone game than the mod, making this game worth a purchase even if you played it during your Elder Scroll 5 days.
Elden Ring was one of the most hyped games of 2022, and with good reason. It takes the Souls-like formula and expands it in every way imaginable. It is absolutely insane how the game creates an open-world setting where the exploration is rife with difficult obstacles and unexpected occurances.
This is backed by a wonderful story that captivates you from he very beginning. While the game is extremely challenging and may not be enjoyable for everyone, almost every enemy that you defeat brings with it a sense of accomplishment only found in games like Dark Souls.
Players will find themselves both frustrated and eager to progress, however difficult that might be. Even if games that are extremely difficult are not your thing, we would still recommend that you give Elden Ring a shot. Oh, and by the way, the graphics are some of the best we have seen on any Xbox Series X title.
Sea of Thieves
The next titles on our list of the best Xbox action games is Sea of Thieves. Sea of Thieves was released back when survival games were extremely popular on PC (e.g., DayZ, RUST, etc.). However, while most of the other survival games tended ton be quite similar to each other, Sea of Thieves took a unique approach by basing the game out in the oceans.
The Sea of Thieves of today is vastly different from how the game was all those years ago. Players have a lot of customization options for their ships, and the battles are a lot more intense due to a higher number of weapons at everyone’s disposal.
If there is one thing that we can fault the game for, it is that this is a game that is meant to be played with friends. While you can play it solo, it simply won’t be as enjoyable. This is a problem found in most other games of this kind, so beware if you are purchasing a copy on your own.
WWE 2K22 was also a part of our series on the best wrestling games for Xbox. 2K Games did not release a WWE entry in 2K21, and the wait was definitely worth it.
The last entry in the series (2K20) was known for having a lot of issues and generally not being a game that was fun to play. WWE 2K22 solves that and offer a lot more than any other game in the series has offered so far. You have access to the MyGM mode and all the other game modes that you normally would. You can also play two MyRISE adventures simultaneously. One male and one female.
The only thing to note here is that unless you are a fan of WWE, you may not particularly enjoy the game. The fighting alone does not make this game what it is, and you need to have an emotional attachment to the characters to get the most out of it. Those looking for a great fighting game may want to try Mortal Kombat 11 mentioned above.
Halo: Master Chief Collection
We have already mentioned Halo: Infinite on our list of the best action games for Xbox Series X and S, but there is room enough for another game.
The Master Chief Collection has a total of six games from the Halo franchise. If you are someone who has owned an Xbox since the first edition of the console came out, chances are that you have played some or all of the games in the collection.
If you have not, then this is a great way to try out all of the games that made the Halo franchise what it is today. The good thing is that the narratives in the games are cohesive enough on their own that you can play the games in whatever order you want.
Chivalry 2 is a slasher game that puts you right in the middle of the middle ages (yes). One of our primary concerns with games of this kind has always been that the battles tend to be quite similar to each other. That is not a problem with Chivalry 2, as you can pick from four classes and twelve sub classes.
Chivalry 2 has you taking part in some of the most iconic battles from the era. However, the main part of the game is the multiplayer, where you can engage in large-scale battles with tens of other players in the same server.
While the game is meant to be a very serious battle simulator, we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you just how hilarious some of the online interactions can be. From cumbersome warriors to ingenious trash talk, Chivalry 2 is a game that has it all.
The King of Fighters XV
If you are not a fan of the Mortal Kombat series but still really like fighting games, The King of Fighters XV will get you your fix.
The only reason we have included KOF XV so low on the list is because it does not innovate on any of the previous games in the series in any meaningful way. Still, if you are someone who likes the KOF formula, you are bound to love XV too.
If you are going to purchase the game, we would recommend purchasing the Deluxe edition. It has a ton of additional content not available in the base game at a discounted price. What’s more, the Deluxe edition also allows you to access some of the future DLCs without having to pay.
Ouriders is the last game on our list of the best action games for Xbox Series X / S. This is a shooter with heavy RPG-inspired elements and a great story to back up all of the action.
The main reason for Outriders being on this list is the all-out action gameplay combined with the amount of content in the game. The main storyline is extremely long without becoming too grindy or boring. On top of that, there are numerous additional tasks that you can undertake. There is also an online co-op feature that allows you to tackle the campaign with up to three other friends.
Optimized for Xbox Series X and with crossplay enabled, Outriders is the ideal game for players that want a sci-fi shooter with a lot of customization, both for their characters and for their loadouts.