Microsoft’s June showcase gave us a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the future of the company. After the unmitigated disaster of the Redfall launch, Microsoft really needed to provide some kind of lifeline for Xbox fans; gamers were getting worried that the studio had nothing up its sleeve in terms of killer apps, but that turned out not to be the case.
We may not have learned quite as much about games like Fable as we wanted to, but we’re still excited for the upcoming Xbox lineup; Starfield and Forza Motorsport have our attention in particular. Before then, though, we have a pretty impressive August to get to. Here are the best Xbox Series X/S games for August 2023!
Gord (August 8th)
Depending on how this one goes in the review stakes, the journalists will have a field day. “Gordlike” if it’s good, “Gordawful” if it’s not; these jokes write themselves. We’ve got a lot of hope for this intriguing-looking single-player survival game, though, inspired by Slavic mythology and seething with dark atmosphere as it seems to be. You must build a settlement and protect it from the horrors that encroach upon it from the bleak wilderness beyond your borders, and who doesn’t want to do that at the height of summer?
WrestleQuest (August 8th)
Don’t let its cutesy pixel art facade fool you; this is a real tribute to everything that’s sweaty and glorious about professional wrestling. You’ll take a clueless rookie up through the ranks to achieve wrestling greatness, aided by the likes of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Andre the Giant. Wrestling matches are already somewhat similar to classic RPG combat; they’re infused with drama and mostly determined away from the ring, so we reckon the over-the-top scraps of WrestleQuest will impress.
Atlas Fallen (August 10th)
Atlas Fallen should be a great balm if you’re hankering for another huge open-world experience after exhausting Tears of the Kingdom (and potentially Forspoken from earlier this year as well). Set in a massive desert kingdom, the game sees you traversing the sands with a gauntlet that can transform into various different weapons, slaying monsters and trying to get to the bottom of the kingdom’s ruin.
Stray (August 10th)
D’awww. Look at the little kitty. In all seriousness, Stray might not quite have been the unfettered cat simulator we were all hoping it would be (you may want to look to Little Kitty, Big City for that experience), but it’s a compelling enough cyberpunk yarn, and getting to play as the adorable orange cat on the game’s cover is an added bonus. Meet robot pals, explore a dystopian nightmare land, and curl up to go to sleep in the least convenient places you can find. What’s not to love?
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew (August 17th)
Arr, there be pirate treasure to discover, me hearties. If all of the pirate adventures on the market right now are a little too hands-on for your taste, you’ll almost certainly get a kick out of the real-time tactics game Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. It comes from the folks behind Desperados III and Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, so you know what you’re getting; big maps full of enemies, traps, and alternate routes to discover.
Madden NFL 24 (August 18th)
If you’re going to play Madden NFL 24, then you’ll want to do so on Series X or Series S rather than Xbox One, because that’s where all the big new improvements are. The game’s new SAPIEN system, for instance, won’t be present in the Xbox One version, but it’ll give “more body definition and variation” to players’ physiques on the next-gen edition. The new FieldSENSE system is also designed to increase on-pitch realism and make the game feel more authentic.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (August 18th)
Everything we’ve seen of this disturbing-looking multiplayer horror game has us feeling unsettled, which we’re sure is in keeping with the intended experience. You’ll get to play either as a killer or a victim (sound familiar?); as the former, you’ll sneak around and try to escape, and as the latter, you’ll stop the victims from fleeing in whatever brutal and gruesome manner you see fit.
Immortals of Aveum (August 22nd)
Having been delayed beyond its originally-intended July release date, we’re confident that Immortals of Aveum will provide exactly the kind of linear magical shooter experience that we’re craving right now. As battlemage Jak, you will blast your way through your enemies by using a series of upgradeable spells, creating devastating combos and forging your own path forward by creating your own unique magical builds.
Blasphemous 2 (August 24th)
The original Blasphemous was a dark, brooding, and thoroughly underrated Metroidvania that dripped with atmosphere. We’re expecting more of the same from the sequel, which is no bad thing at all; some of the boss designs in the original game have kept us awake long past our bedtimes, and if we don’t see at least one multi-limbed allegorical horror in this sequel, we’ll eat our liturgical mitres. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, though, because those things look pointy.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (August 25th)
It’s been far too long since the last major Armored Core game, so we’re excited to get stuck into another round of weighty mech combat and build customisation. If you’re new to Armored Core, it’s definitely worth saying that you shouldn’t go into this series expecting robot Dark Souls. If you want that, you should play The Surge (or not, as the case may be). This is a different beast, but this sixth instalment is promising to be more accessible than the previous games, which is good for newbs like us.