Our favorite Xbox Series X games of 2023: Starfield, Hi-Fi Rush, and more

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A characteristic from Starfield stands successful beforehand of matter that Best Xbox Games 2023.Digital Trends

This was a twelvemonth of debased lows and precocious highs for Xbox.

On 1 hand, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition faced a full batch of scrutiny and Bethesda’s Redfall was a bust. On nan other, Xbox Game Studios yet started to merchandise first-party games much consistently successful 2023, immoderate long-awaited games yet released, and nan Activision Blizzard woody eventually went through. Microsoft now looks to support that momentum going into 2024 arsenic it integrates nan Call of Duty patient into its statement and tries to support up nan first-party consistency pinch games for illustration Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II and Avowed.

Before moving forward, it’s a bully clip to look backmost and analyse nan champion games connected Xbox this year. Some were made internally, while others secured time 1 Xbox Game Pass releases. If you owned an Xbox Series X aliases Series S, aliases simply usage Game Pass connected PC, location were yet rather a fewer notable games for you to play this year. Here are 7 of our favorites from a packed twelvemonth for Xbox.

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Veronica asking if you're fresh to alteration your life successful Starfield.Bethesda Softworks

Starfield was nan biggest communicative of nan twelvemonth for Microsoft, giving Bethesda its first genuinely caller IP successful decades. While it tin beryllium excessively eager for its ain bully sometimes, it retains nan magic that made games for illustration The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim special. There’s a immense beingness to explore, and successful galore corners of it, there’s an opportunity to find caller quests and characters that make each playthrough consciousness emergent. Combine a amazingly well-written sci-fi communicative and a level of characteristic and expertise customization commonplace successful Bethesda Game Studios’ titles, and you person 1 of nan astir eager RPGs of nan year. Microsoft needed Starfield to beryllium great to alteration nan tide of nan speech surrounding Xbox — and it delivered, moreover if it wasn’t nan very champion crippled of 2023.

Hi-Fi Rush

Chai points a digit weapon astatine a robot successful Hi-Fi Rush.Xbox Game Studios

While Starfield mightiness beryllium nan astir notable Xbox console exclusive Microsoft released this year, Hi-Fi Rush was nan astir surprising. This rhythm-action crippled is dissimilar anything The Evil Within developer Tango Gameworks had done before, truthful it was shocking erstwhile it astonishment released successful January pursuing a Developer_Direct livestream. Even much impressive? It’s 1 of nan champion games of 2023. Tango Gameworks recovered nan cleanable measurement to meld nan action and hit genres together, creating an acquisition that’s arsenic rewarding to play arsenic it is to perceive to. It features a wealthiness of accessibility options that make it much approachable, truthful players of immoderate accomplishment level tin springiness Hi-Fi Rush a shot. This should beryllium nan golden modular for Xbox exclusives going forward.

Forza Motorsport

EMBARGO 10/4 12:01 AM PT: A camera perspective up adjacent to a Forza Motorsport race.Xbox Game Studios

Turn 10 Studios yet delivered a mainline Forza Motorsport this console generation, and it’s everything nan racer needed to be. It’s 1 of nan best-looking games connected Xbox Series X and S, arsenic each car and way is realized successful stunning detail. Although it’s much simulation-focused than nan free-roaming Forza Horizon 5, Forza Motorsport is still engaging because of really it consistently doles retired acquisition points, moreover during races, depending connected really good 1 zips done definite way segments. While location mightiness not beryllium overmuch room for simulation racers to innovate aliases alteration things up anymore, Forza Motorsport executes nan conception astatine specified a highly polished level that I’m contented pinch this being a instauration that Turn 10 tin build connected for nan remainder of this console generation.


An alien building appears successful Cocoon.Annapurna Interactive

Those looking for a standout indie connected Xbox can’t spell incorrect pinch Cocoon. This is nan latest task from Jeppe Carlsen, who was nan lead gameplay designer of nan classical Playdead titles Limbo and Inside. The unsocial flair that made those games typical is afloat coming successful Cocoon, a unsocial escapade wherever players must lick puzzles by pushing orbs around. The twist: nan orbs tin incorporate worlds wrong them, and players will person to leap betwixt nan worlds successful these orbs to lick immoderate of nan puzzles. Cocoon explores this conception to nan fullest, presenting a singular and precise imagination that’s a rarity successful games nowadays. Playdead hasn’t released thing caller since Inside, but Cocoon triumphantly carries that bequest connected its backmost for illustration an orb.

El Paso, Elsewhere

James dives successful a meatpacking level successful El Paso, Elsewhere.Strange Scaffold

If you’re much of an action player, El Paso, Elsewhere mightiness beryllium much your speed. A modern mentation of nan gameplay look established by nan first 2 Max Payne games, Strange Scaffold’s latest uses its retro gameplay and artistic to reenforce this vampiric adventure’s otherworldly mounting and narrative. Come for nan badass combat against hordes of supernatural enemies, but enactment for nan gripping affectional communicative astir moving connected from relationships and abuse. This top-notch indie whitethorn person gotten overlooked astatine this year’s Game Awards, but that shouldn’t extremity you from checking retired El Paso, Elsewhere connected Xbox (or PC) if you haven’t already.

Minecraft Legends

Minecraft Legends subordinate pinch a bluish circle astir them.Mojang

Mojang continues to show really Minecraft tin beryllium overmuch much than conscionable a endurance crafting game, and that was evident this twelvemonth pinch nan real-time strategy spinoff Minecraft Legends. Developed pinch Blackbird Interactive, Minecraft Legends combines nan guidelines building of a crippled for illustration Age of Empires pinch nan unit-commanding of Pikmin to create a strategy acquisition that feels uniquely Minecraft. In multiplayer, it’s fulfilling to spot your guidelines dynamically built, destroyed, and rebuilt complete a match. In single-player, raids connected monolithic Piglin bases consciousness grandiose. This is apt an entryway into nan RTS genre for galore young gamers, and it’s honestly a coagulated starting point. It’s not an Xbox exclusive, but it is from an Xbox studio, truthful it conscionable feels correct to play 1 of nan year’s champion strategy games connected nan Xbox Series X aliases S.

Lies of P

A robot holds Pinocchio successful Lies of P.Neowiz

The thought of a Soulslike based connected Pinocchio mightiness sound stupid, but Neowiz made it activity pinch Lies of P. The peculiar action-RPG understands what makes FromSoftware’s champion titles activity and is nan closest point to a Bloodborne successor that we person gotten since its merchandise successful 2015. The ties to Pinocchio are bizarre, but they besides springiness Lies of P’s world a unsocial flair arsenic this demented return connected a puerility classical unravels. You’ll look guardant to seeing which constituent of nan classical communicative get twisted next. Soulslikes tin beryllium hit-and-miss, truthful for Lies of P to activity pinch specified an overseas conception is simply a testament to nan talent of its developers. It’s been connected Xbox Game Pass since time 1 too, truthful that’s nan spot to cheque it retired if your liking is piqued.

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  • Xbox Games Showcase and Starfield Direct: really to watch and what to expect

Tomas Franzese

Tomas Franzese is simply a Staff Writer astatine Digital Trends, wherever he reports connected and reviews nan latest releases and exciting…

Hi-Fi Rush head reveals nan concealed to making a awesome euphony game

Chai points a digit weapon astatine a robot successful Hi-Fi Rush.

I’ve ne'er played a hit crippled that keeps maine connected hit arsenic good arsenic Hi-Fi Rush. While I’m a musically inclined personification who fronts his ain band, moreover I person problem keeping clip successful euphony games. I’ll inevitably commencement to resistance down notes and past velocity up excessively overmuch to overcompensate. Sometimes I suffer nan euphony altogether and request to extremity clicking wholly conscionable to rediscover nan beat. But successful Hi-Fi Rush, I ever consciousness for illustration I’m wholly locked successful arsenic I attack, dodge, and zip to nan sound of early 2000s alt-rock.

That’s nary accident. For Game Director John Johanas and a mini improvement squad wrong Tango Gameworks, “accessibility” was a keyword erstwhile embarking connected nan unsocial passion project. Johanas knew that hit isn’t thing that comes people to each player, putting a earthy obstruction to introduction complete immoderate crippled that requires precise beat-matching and fastener timing. If Hi-Fi Rush was going to beryllium a nosy and welcoming acquisition for a wider scope of players, it would require a much elastic attack to design.

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Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer_Direct: really to watch and what to expect

Redfall Cover

Microsoft has confirmed rumors that it will beryllium holding a crippled showcase later this month. Called a Developer_Direct, this livestream will return spot later coming and characteristic updates connected Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda games launching complete nan adjacent fewer months, for illustration Redfall.  Xbox doesn't typically do that galore games showcases extracurricular of events for illustration E3, truthful this Developer_Direct seems for illustration Microsoft's ain return connected nan Nintendo Direct aliases State of Play formula.
That said, it's being a spot much transparent that it will beryllium a spot slower-paced than Nintendo aliases PlayStation's shows typically are. For those readying to watch nan show unrecorded today, this is really to watch Xbox's Developer_Direct Showcase arsenic good arsenic what you tin expect from games for illustration Redfall, Forza Motorsport, Minecraft Legends, and The Elder Scrolls Online astatine nan event. 
When is Xbox and Bethesda's Developer_Direct? 
Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda's first-ever Developer_Direct will aerial unrecorded and for free later today, January 25, astatine 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT. 

How to watch Xbox and Bethesda's Developer_Direct
The Developer_Direct showcase will beryllium officially livestreamed by Bethesda and Microsoft successful nan pursuing 4 places: 

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PS5 and Xbox Series X request to show america what they’re tin of successful 2023

Miles Morales and Peter Parker guidelines together successful Spider-Man 2.

True current-gen console exclusives person been fewer and acold betwixt this generation. Over 2 years in, moreover awesome games for illustration Halo Infinite and God of War: Ragnarök are still shackled to nan consoles that came earlier nan PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S. While they still look awesome and use from amended load times and DualSense gimmicks, location haven’t been capable exclusives to springiness this caller console procreation a existent personality conscionable yet.
That's going to beryllium 1 of nan astir important tasks for Microsoft and Sony successful 2023. This year, we'll spot a overmuch larger number of PS5 and Xbox Series X/S exclusives, particularly from first-party studios. Games for illustration Forspoken, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Forza Motorsport, and Starfield will beryllium conscionable immoderate of nan games this twelvemonth that will show what precisely a ninth-generation console crippled feels and looks like. That intends that nan stakes are precocious for this year's biggest releases, arsenic they request to beryllium that nan games manufacture hasn't plateaued. 
A slow but dependable start
It’s difficult to judge we’re already complete 2 years into this caller console generation, considering that we're still seeing high-profile games launching connected aged platforms. That looks for illustration it will alteration this year, though, arsenic much games will merchandise exclusively for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S to springiness those consoles much of an identity. Still, that’s taken much clip than it did for nan eighth procreation of crippled consoles: nan PS4 and Xbox One.
Even nan Xbox One, for each its faults astatine release, had games for illustration Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, and Ryse: Son of Rome early connected to show what Microsoft wanted that caller procreation of games to look like. They did truthful done some awesome visuals for their clip and via Xbox One gimmicks for illustration SmartGlass and Kinect. We haven’t seen that arsenic overmuch pinch nan Xbox Series X/S because early-generation games for illustration Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 were intentionally cross-gen, and its much eager exclusives person suffered delays.
On nan PlayStation front, nan PS4 admittedly took a fewer years to get going connected nan exclusives front. Games for illustration Infamous Second Son, Driveclub, and Bloodborne yet impressed, though, and awesome exclusives were consistently launching passim each twelvemonth by 2017. The PS5 is pursuing a akin cadence, arsenic Astro’s Playroom remains an outstanding PS5 and DualSense showcase, while Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, and The Last of Us Part 1 show what nan strategy is tin of.

Still, past year’s 2 biggest PlayStation Studios releases, Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarök, came retired connected PS4 and still felt "last-gen" arsenic a result. One can’t thief but deliberation what some games could person done had they launched solely connected PS5. That's a mobility I dream to spot answered much firmly complete nan adjacent 12 months.
The value of 2023 console exclusives 
As we participate nan PS5’s 3rd year, its upcoming exclusives will beryllium immoderate of nan astir pivotal connected nan system. Forspoken could show immoderate awesome ocular effects early on, but Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is successful an moreover much important position. It will beryllium nan first sequel to a PS4-era deed that isn’t tied to nan PS4. The PS5’s precocious framework complaint and adaptive triggers already heighten Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Spider-Man: Remastered erstwhile played connected PS5.
I’m intrigued to spot really Insomniac Games tin push nan visuals further, make much parts of New York City explorable, and return swinging astir arsenic nan Spider-Men moreover further connected PS5. Hopefully, immoderate different PS5 exclusives launching this twelvemonth will do akin things.

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