The Best Open-World Games for Xbox Series X

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As soon as Xbox Series X hit the market last year, backward compatibility immediately gave it a catalog filled with hundreds of incredible Xbox One titles. In the following months, however, it put together its own roster of games and next-gen updates that utilized its increased processing power to the fullest. Nowhere is this more evident than in open-world games, which radically benefit from reduced load times and increased frame rates.

If you’re looking for the best open-world games on Xbox Series X, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. For this list, we restricted our choices to games that have either launched on Xbox Series X or have received next-gen updates to improve their performance. The Witcher 3, Skyrim, and plenty of other great open-world games are still playable on the system but don’t yet have a next-gen update, so they’ve been excluded.

Instead, you’ll want to take a look at these nine games that showcase the power of your new Xbox Series X.

Further reading

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

The latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series was an instant success — and the best way to experience the rolling hills of England is on next-gen consoles. Faster loading screens, 4K resolution, and 60 fps are all supported by Xbox Series X, making this the most visually stunning Assassin’s Creed game to date.

You’ll step into the blood-soaked boots of Eivor as they trek through swamps, raid villages, and slowly build a Viking empire. Gameplay is reminiscent of most other games in the franchise, featuring a mixture of stealth, melee combat, and upgradeable skills. Its open world is one of the most exciting options on Xbox Series X — especially if you’re a history buff, as you’ll see long-forgotten renditions of iconic cities such as London and York.

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion player flying over city.

Ubisoft’s first next-gen installment of Watch Dogs brought players to a dystopian London brimming with places to explore and secrets to uncover. Not only does the city offer thousands of locations to discover, but you can run around it as a variety of characters since literally every NPC you encounter can be recruited to your cause and turned into a playable crew member.

Whether you’re hobbling around as a granny stealing cars or sneaking through construction sites, the world of Legion is filled with ridiculous opportunities, and it’s a must-play for an Xbox Series X owner.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves skull floating in sky.
Sea of Thieves

The popular pirate simulator has been enhanced for Xbox Series X, offering the usual suite of 60 fps, 4K resolution, and significantly reduced load times. Its nautical world was always worthy of your time, but with these enhancements, there’s more reason than ever to experience the seafaring fun.

Sea of Thieves is best played with a few friends, as you’ll need their help to navigate the dangerous waters without getting attacked by other pirates. Its massive open world is still plenty enjoyable by yourself — although you’ll need to be extra vigilant for black flags on the horizon.

No Man’s Sky

View of planet surface in No Man's Sky.
Hello Games

Hello Games has done an incredible job reworking No Man’s Sky into a game worth playing. Its procedurally generated universe means there’s an endless supply of planets to explore and creatures to discover, and its next-gen upgrade provided a much-needed graphical boost on Xbox Series X. It’s also seen more than a dozen updates over the past few years, adding things like base building, functional multiplayer, and a well-developed story.

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Player flying above cliffs in Immortals.

Immortals Fenyx Rising takes you to a sprawling world inspired by Greek mythology. You’ll face off against a litany of demonic creatures on your journey to save the gods, and you’ll discover seven distinct regions along the way.

While the game didn’t sell as well as other Ubisoft titles, there’s no doubt it’s an incredible game worthy of your time. Its open world is brimming with side quests and hidden content, its combat is fast-paced and visceral, and it features an engaging story that’ll motivate you to explore every inch of its mythical world.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

An airplane flies over a city in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Featuring the entirety of planet Earth, games don’t get more open world than this. Pick from one of a dozen planes, set your flight plan, then hit the runway as you soar through clouds and get an aerial view of nearly every square inch of our world.

Unlike most other titles on this list, Microsoft Flight Simulator plays at a much slower pace. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day, although you can turn off all of the flight assist options and turn it into a serious flight sim. But no matter how you play, you’ll be treated to one of the biggest open worlds in gaming.

The Ascent

Mechs shooting a chaingun in The Ascent.

The Ascent proves there’s still plenty of unique ways to explore the saturated cyberpunk genre. Played from a top-down perspective, this ARPG shooter mashup boasts one of the most well-developed cyberpunk aesthetics in all of gaming — in fact, some would argue its world is more alive than the notoriously popular Cyberpunk 2077.

While it’s a bit smaller in scale than others, there’s no denying its open world is packed full of quests, characters, and storylines worth exploring. Combat is fast and strategic, although you can make things a bit easier on yourself by teaming up with a few friends. It’s available as part of Xbox Game Pass, so there’s a strong chance you can download it tonight without dropping a dime.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 NPC looking out of car window.

Speaking of cyberpunk, no open-world list would be complete without mentioning Cyberpunk 2077. It’s still rough around the edges on last-gen consoles, but Xbox Series X can handle its demanding requirements without too many hiccups.

Several updates since launch have made it a much better game than it was in 2020, with improved stability and hundreds of squashed bugs bringing it closer to what fans expected Cyberpunk 2077 to be at launch. Whether you’re hacking into minds, barreling down highways in supercars, or ducking behind cover in frenetic shootouts, Cyberpunk 2077 still manages to bring a fantastic open world to the table — despite some of its flaws.

Saints Row: The Third Remastered

Saints Row player with explosive weapons.
Deep Silver

With a reboot on the way, now is the perfect time to dive back into Saints Row. Xbox Series X fans, in particular, will want to check out Saints Row: The Third Remastered, as it includes everything that made the original game an instant classic, but modernizes it for new-gen consoles.

Improved frame rates, 4K resolution, and radically reduced load times make the Remaster the best way to experience the fictional — and absolutely gigantic — world of Steelport. It’s broken up into a variety of different islands, where you’ll encounter hundreds of mini-games and side quests, dozens of vehicles available for the taking, and rival gang members located around every corner.

It’s also included as a pre-order bonus for certain editions of the upcoming Saints Row reboot, making it an ideal time to pick them both up.

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