Best Xbox Series X Exclusives in 2021

After spending an entire console generation playing catch-up with Sony, Microsoft has no plans to let Sony gain the upper hand as far as exclusives games go this time around. They’ve even confirmed numerous Xbox Series X exclusive gaming titles with more expected. But, so far there are not many new Xbox Series X exclusives released yet for the next-gen console. However, in this article, we have created this list of the best Xbox Series X Exclusives so far. And of course, these games are available on the Xbox Series S as well.

With that said, Microsoft does have other things going for them. Case in point, the Xbox Games Pass. Plus, the Xbox Series X has better backward compatibility. Not to mention, the Xbox Series S looks like a great option for console gamers on a budget. Now let’s get into these Xbox Series X exclusives.

Gears 5

Release date: September 6, 2019 | Developer: The Coalition | ESRB: Mature 17+

Was it ever really a surprise that Gears 5 would make its way to this list of best Xbox Series X exclusives? The latest installment in the Gears of War franchise will get a much-improved look at the better hardware of the Xbox Series X courtesy of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system. This includes 4K 60fps capabilities, 120 FPS versus multiplayer, and further improvements graphically.


As for the game itself, Gears 5 is a third-person shooter set just right after Gears of War 4, albeit the focus this time around will be more on Kait Diaz who must uncover the origins of the Locust and the truth behind her family history.Gears 5 is arguably the biggest game in the franchise yet as it features a great campaign along with excellent PVP and PVE multiplayer modes including “Escape” where players will have to fight their way outside from inside a Swarm hive as they attempt to destroy it.

The Medium

Release date: January 28, 2021 | Developer: Bloober Team | ESRB: Mature 17+

The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game that evokes the classic Silent Hill games. It is set in the 1980s in Krakow, Poland, where players take control of Marianne, a spiritual medium that can travel between this world and the afterlife.

The macabre game takes full advantage of next-gen hardware by bringing the horrific melding of the real world and the beyond to life. Although the story and gameplay aren’t for everybody, it is the ideal game for those who like puzzles, clever gameplay mechanics, as well as a rich narrative that explores pain and trauma. As a bonus, The Medium runs in dynamic 4K on the Xbox Series X and 1080p on the Xbox Series S.

Sea of Thieves

Release date: March 20, 2018 | Developer: Rare | ESRB: T for teen

Sea of Thieves is a highly social first-person action-adventure pirate game developed by Rare. Players cooperate with others to explore an open world via a pirate ship. This game encourages players to either befriend other pirates out on the sea or betray their alliances for gold and glory. It is a fantastic co-opt multiplayer open-world game

Sea of Thieves has also been optimized for the Xbox Series X. You will be able to play it at 60 frames per second at full 4K resolution on Xbox Series X and 60 FPS at 1080p on Xbox Series S. There are also other performance improvements such as greater processing power that allow for lower load times. 

Call of the Sea

Release date: December 8, 2020 | Developer: Out of the Blue Games S.L. | ESRB: Everyone

What would you do if your spouse was lost in the South Pacific?

Most women would mourn, but eventually, move on. After all, the South Pacific is not a small place. Not Nora though, because, nothing will apparently stop her from trying to figure out what happened to his late husband.

Set in the 1930s, the plot of Call of the Sea is interesting, but not as much compared to its graphics.

Atypically beautiful, Call of the Sea mixes painting-like graphics with next-generation weather and lighting effects to achieve something that would have probably been impossible to do years ago.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release date: July 27, 2021 | Developer: Asobo Studio | ESRB: Everyone

Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most ambitious games available today. It seeks to simulate flying across the entire world, which is, safe to say, no easy feat. Although it still falls short of giving you the entire earth as your proverbial playground, Microsoft Flight Simulator does let you fly through the majority of it.

The best part is that Microsoft Flight Simulator runs buttery smooth on the Xbox Series X and S. It runs at a dynamic 4K resolution with visual detail presets similar to ultra settings on the PC. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series S lowers the resolution to 1080p with acceptable compromises in graphics.

TLDR; Flight Simulator has to be the most well-optimized game ever released. The game allows console gamers to experience full flight simulation for the first time. Nothing comes close to watching the world pass you by while you’re inside the virtual cockpit of a plane and laid back on your couch.

The Ascent

Release date: July 29, 2021 | Developer: Neon Giant | ESRB: Mature 17+

The Ascent is a futuristic cyberpunk top-down shooter looter that’s made in the same mold as Blizzard’s Diablo games. It’s set in a capitalistic society where a group called the “Ascent Group” effectively owns and runs everything. However, the entire hierarchy collapses one day, leaving you to figure out how to fend for yourself while you investigate the reason behind this societal collapse.

The entire campaign of The Ascent is fully playable as a solo player, but players will have the option to team up with up to three other players in four-player co-op play.

Conclusion

Microsoft wants the Xbox Series X to do better than the Xbox One did in terms of exclusive games. This time around, they’ve got far more exclusives lined up, and are working closely together with more developers, both big names and indie ones.

Whether or not these moves will pay off is something that only time will tell. But, currently, Microsoft’s focus on backward compatibility holds back the Xbox Series S/X in the exclusives department. However, this is a huge plus if you’re open to playing older titles on the Xbox Series S/X as you can enjoy either better graphics or support for higher frame rates, if not both. The company’s support for legacy games on its flagship console is outstanding, to say the least.

Microsoft desperately lacks something that can go toe-to-toe with the God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn franchises that Sony has going for them, and while their exclusives are excellent, they’re mostly unproven or underrated franchises that might or might not be enough to help the Xbox Series X get the sales to push that it needs. Hopefully, we’ll see more and more Xbox Series X exclusives as time goes on.

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