The best Dolby Atmos Xbox Series X games can transform your gaming experience with the wonders of surround sound. It’s safe to say that Dolby technology has been leading the charge for several years now, as even Apple has opted for Dolby Atmos over the alternatives.
Fortunately for Xbox owners, it has been available on the platform since 2019. While not every game offers native Dolby Atmos support, the ones that do offer exceptional audio quality and provide a truly immersive experience.
Dolby describes its Atmos technology as “the most significant development in cinema sound since surround sound” and while this may be hotly debated among audiophiles, there is no doubt that Atmos at least provides a compelling surround sound solution to more people than ever before because it works on any pair of headphones.
Dolby Atmos Games Xbox Series X
As gamers testify, surround sound can be extremely beneficial, whether you’re playing competitively or just want to be fully immersed in a fantastic game world. Dolby Atmos tries to make it easy by giving the impression that the sound is coming from all sides as well as from above, and the effect can often be amazing.
These Dolby Atmos Xbox Series X games show what the surround sound format can do. If you’re looking for a list of the best Xbox Series X games in general, you’ll find them in our linked guide. Otherwise, here are the best Xbox experiences currently available.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Warzone has a great soundtrack. The game’s audio has an astounding amount of detail, whether you’re loading a clip into one of Warzone’s many weapons or holding your breath as you line up for a long-range sniper shot, every action sounds incredibly realistic.
Dolby Atmos, however, adds an extra layer of fidelity to an already great-sounding game. With players regularly falling out of the sky and running around the floors below when you’ve holed up in a building, Dolby Atmos can really help you pinpoint the exact location of your enemy…before it’s too late. In a game where margins are often razor thin, you’ll need every competitive edge you can get.
Read our full Call of Duty: Warzone review
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
A truly magical game for the Xbox Series S/X, Ori and the Will of the Wisps has exceptional visuals and a heart-wrenching story – but it doesn’t skimp on sound quality either. Even though the game takes place entirely on a fixed 2D plane, Dolby Atmos does a great job of separating subtle sounds to help you immerse yourself in the maze-infested levels teeming with hostile creatures.
The game’s evocative orchestral soundtrack also benefits from the added clarity that Dolby Atmos provides, with each stringed instrument really driving a powerful crescendo at some of Ori’s more perilous moments. This is not an experience you want to miss.
Forza Horizon 4
Racing at top speed through the British countryside is a spectacular sight in Forza Horizon 4 – but thanks to Dolby Atmos support, the drive sounds wonderful. You can really feel what it’s like to take control of some of the game’s ridiculously expensive supercars: the engines create a cacophony of sounds as you drive through a tunnel or frantically drive under the festival arch when it’s raining.
Thanks to the game’s multiple camera angles, you can shut out the cheering crowds in the cockpit view and enjoy Forza Horizon 4’s excellent radio stations, or really listen up close using the hood camera as your car’s tires burst up the asphalt. It’s every car lover’s dream.
Read our full Forza Horizon 4 review
Resident Evil 2
Dolby Atmos makes the presence of the marauding Mr. X in Resident Evil 2 is even more terrifying, as are the hordes of zombies you encounter. The breathtaking sound of Mr. X’s heavy approaching footsteps will be all too familiar to those who have played Capcom’s excellent remake, but with Dolby Atmos enabled, the threat can feel painfully real as it quickly approaches.
However, scaring yourself silly has its advantages. Dolby surround sound can help you pinpoint exactly where Mr. X is lurking before he unceremoniously barges through the nearest door to rip your throat out. Of course, that doesn’t make his presence any less unsettling, but whatever advantage we can get to get away from this tall weirdo, the better.
Read our full Resident Evil 2 review
Gears 5 is the perfect all-round showcase for Dolby Atmos surround sound. You’ll be exploring vast open areas like the frozen wasteland and fighting in claustrophobic underground corridors, so there are plenty of environments and locations that have their own distinctive soundscapes.
Whether you’re slicing through stringy locusts with a chainsaw or hearing the blood-curdling cry of “juveniles” before an imminent attack, Gears 5 delivers convincing surround sound that’s worth the Dolby Atmos licensing fee. It can also serve as a subtle competitive advantage in multiplayer, as it’s easier to detect when an enemy is lurking behind a barricade that can be penetrated from behind.
Read our full Heats 5 review
How to make the most of Dolby Atmos
Despite what you may have heard, Dolby Atmos works on any headphones, but you’ll need to buy a license if you want to use it, which costs $15 / £10.99 / AU$19. Some TVs, such as the LG OLED CX, also support Atmos through the TV’s built-in speaker; however, if you really want to get the most out of Dolby surround sound, we’d advise opting for a high-quality pair of over-ear headphones, or a Dolby Atmos surround sound setup if you really want to go all out.
Most people will probably choose headphones because of the practicality and lower cost, and if you go that route, we strongly recommend opting for a pair of open headphones instead of closed ones. Open-back headphones provide a much better soundstage than closed-back pairs, which really helps bring the surround sound to life. You want the sound to seem to be all around you, not in your head, so to speak.
The Dolby Atmos app for Xbox Series X also lets you choose from a variety of equalizer presets – and even create your own. This is a great tool for customizing the sound to your liking, especially if you crave more bass or want to crank up the treble to hear footsteps better. With the settings locked, your games will never sound better.
The best Dolby Atmos equalizer setting
While choosing the best Dolby Atmos equalizer comes down purely to personal preference, we noticed one interesting quirk. The “Movie” preset provides a significant audio boost compared to other options and is focused on creating virtualized surround sound that is great for single-player games. The “Movie” equalizer is also a winner if you’re using high-impedance headphones, which require more power to drive at higher volumes.
While we’ve found that using the “Movie” and “Details” options gives you a rich, cinematic spatial experience that outperforms other equalizers in terms of volume, if you’re playing competitive games, we’d go with the “Game” equalizer with performance turned on, as this equalizer prioritizes accuracy positioning. It’s also a more natural sound that some people may prefer overall.