Best Xbox Series X backwards-compatible games

Best Xbox Series X backwards compatible games
Image Credit: Ubisoft (Image credit: Ubisoft)

UPDATE: Praise Zeus! Assassin's Creed Odyssey has received an update for next-gen consoles which delivers improved performance for the Xbox Series X version of the game. Details below!

As Microsoft's most powerful console to date, the Xbox Series X promises enhanced visuals and performance for optimized games, both new and old.

That said, many games from previous Xbox generations will still receive automatic improvements – even without official next-gen support. 

Thanks to the new console's impressive hardware, games with uncapped frame rates and dynamic resolution scaling are finally able to reach their full potential on Xbox Series X. 

Additionally, the console's move to SSD storage allows games to unpack data at blisteringly fast speeds, meaning a drastic reduction to loading times across the board.

On top of this, the Xbox Series X boasts a new feature called Auto-HDR, which employs machine learning to deliver a higher peak brightness and a wider color spectrum for games that aren't officially HDR-enabled.

On that subject, here are the best Xbox Series X backwards compatible games which run better without dedicated optimization. It's worth noting that many of the games below are available to play right now on Xbox Games Pass Ultimate.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Considered by many to be the best modern Assassin's Creed game (meaning since the series moved into full-blown RPG territory), Assassin's Creed Odyssey receives some fantastic benefits when played on Xbox Series X.

Thanks to the game's dynamic resolution scaling, the game is able to reach its full 4K resolution target more frequently when played on Xbox Series X. When played on Xbox One X, Assassin's Creed Odyssey's resolution will drop as low as 2,944 x 1,656 whenever the on-screen detail gets too intense.

However, on Xbox Series X, Assassin's Creed Odyssey is able to sit at the full 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution almost consistently, making it the best way to play the game on a console.

Additionally, Assassin's Creed Odyssey has just received a new patch for next-gen consoles, which brings the game's frame rate up from 30fps to a silky-smooth 60fps, instantly breathing new life into the game. 

If you started Assassin's Creed Odyssey last generation but never got around to finishing it due to its epic length, now's the time to boot the game back up again and experience it by 2021 standards. 

Its next-gen refresh also gives you a chance to check out the game's Fate of Atlantis expansion, which fully embraces Greek Mythology, allowing you to rub shoulders with gods and goddesses.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Undoubtedly one of the greatest RPGs to release on Xbox One, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is even better when played on the Xbox Series X. On top of offering all the previous Xbox One X enhancements, including a performance mode which runs at 60fps, loading times are significantly reduced thanks to the Series X's SSD. 

As pointed out by Xbox News, fast travel in The Witcher 3 is near-instantaneous now, with the next-gen console not even giving the game a chance to put its loading screen up.



(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Although Remedy Entertainment's terrific game Control is set to receive a paid next-gen upgrade, the last-gen version of the game already runs better on Xbox Series X than it did on One X without official optimization. 

For starters, the One X version's staggering loading times are drastically reduced when running off the Series X's SSD, and the frame rate hitches that plagued the last-gen version have disappeared on Microsoft's latest console, resulting in a far smoother experience overall. That said, Control's frame rate is still locked at 30fps on Series X.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal

(Image credit: iD Software)

Doom Eternal is a fast-paced game that already looks excellent on last-gen consoles, however, its resolution was known to drop on Xbox One X during particularly hectic gameplay moments. Thankfully, that same dynamic resolution scaling allows Doom Eternal to play at full 4K resolution consistently on Xbox Series X – all while maintaining a silky 60fps frame rate.

Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World

(Image credit: Capcom)

Another game that is seeing huge benefits on Xbox Series X without any optimization is Monster Hunter World. The One X-enhanced version of the game offers three graphical settings to choose from: Prioritize Resolution, Prioritize Framerate and Prioritize Graphics. 

That said, because the game's frame rate is uncapped regardless of which mode you choose, the Prioritize Resolution setting will give you a fairly consistent 60fps experience at native 4K when played on the beefy Series X.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

(Image credit: Square Enix)

While Xbox players wait for Final Fantasy VII Remake to break free from its current Sony exclusivity, they could opt to revisit the magnificent Final Fantasy XV on Xbox Series X, which boasts a significantly improved experience without official next-gen optimization. 

Depending on whether you favor resolution or frame rate, Final Fantasy XV has you covered. High mode offers dynamic resolution scaling, which is able to deliver a consistent native 4K resolution at 30fps. Meanwhile, the Lite setting drops the resolution down to 1080p, but with the added bonus of an uncapped frame rate, which delivers very fluid 60fps gameplay despite the game's massive (if mostly empty) open-world setting.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

(Image credit: Ninja Theory)

The Xbox One X version of Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice already offered dynamic resolution scaling across all three of its graphical setting modes (high frame rate, high resolution, and enriched visuals), which means the game is now able to achieve 4K resolution regardless of which option you choose on Xbox Series X. 

That said, picking the high frame rate mode will allow the game to play at 60fps, making it the ideal choice for those who want the best of both worlds.

Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2

(Image credit: EA / Respawn Entertainment)

One of the best and most criminally underrated games of the last generation, Titanfall 2 benefits from the Xbox Series X's hardware without any sort of next-gen optimization. 

Having already been granted with dynamic resolution scaling on the Xbox One X, Titanfall 2 is now able to run at a native 4K resolution on Xbox Series X without any fidelity drops to speak of – that means the game gets the full 4K/60fps treatment on Microsoft's new console, which is reason enough for fans to play Titanfall 2 again, or for newbies to try this brilliant game for the first time.

Not sold on Microsoft? We're helping you buy PS5

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.