When we first picked up an Xbox Live Gold account, we assumed the best and only perk was playing online with friends.
How wrong we were!
Xbox Gold subscribers have the opportunity to download free games, three at a time, from all sorts of genres and developers. In the history of Gold Games, subscribers have been offered excellent titles, from Runbow to Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain!
If you’ve been missing out, now worries! You have time to get in on the fun.
Xbox games with Gold: to May 15
Marooners (Ending 5/31)
Need a new party game? Give “Marooners” a chance!
Step into the vaguely island world of Marooners, where everyone plays a small chibi-esque character hell-bent on destroying the others with bombs, boxing gloves, and environmental perils! Don’t get confused: different maps and mini games change, but the goal never does. Survive.
If you’re worried about wasting your time, don’t be! Marooners pushes you right into the action. You’ll figure out if the game’s for you real fast.
For our part, we enjoyed our trial run online and even won our final game! Thanks to the simple controls and lack of highly complex strategy, anybody can step into the fray and feel like a master within minutes. Combined with the rapid pace, your party will probably be laughing together in less time.
Verdict: if you have space on the hard drive, definitely download Marooners. Share it with some friends. Party hard.
Outcast: Second Contact
Oof. Just oof.
Say hello to “Outcast: Second Contact.” Why second contact? Because it’s a remake (2017) of the original (2001) game, “Outcast.” The first received critical acclaim. Playing the 2017 version feels like sleeping in a wet cardboard box during winter.
Let’s go through the plot quickly: when an experimental portal threatens to create a black hole, Major Vernon recruits his old friend Cutter Slade, an alcoholic ex-marine, on a mission through the portal to save scientists, retrieve a probe, and stop the black hole.
It sounds cool, but don’t get excited. After the slogging, 14-minute opening cutscene, you arrive at the slowest opening tutorial in history. The controls feel weird, the user interface takes a while to figure out, the controller makes little sense, and the graphics and game design are okay at best.
Verdict: some Games with Gold are legendary. Some are interesting and compelling deviations from the triple-A titles. But we won’t be playing this one for free.
Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
This game is…wow. But in a good way!
We didn’t expect to enjoy Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (EDF:IA) as much as we did! It feels like the creator said, “Give me the destructible environment of Rampage with the horde battles of Destiny.” Then someone said, “What about the storyline?” To which the creator responded, “Huh?”
Summary: aliens attacked earth. They have insects. Now, to borrow a quote from Left for Dead 4, your job is to “kill all sons of bitches.”
There are four classes of soldier. The normal guy, the submachine gun dude, the nearly indestructible tank, and the Iron Man suit-wearing soldier with unlimited homing missiles. As one of these venerable soldiers, you will fight ants, hornets, and alien spacecraft in defense of Earth.
The fighting can feel repetitive, but like we said, the same goes for Destiny. The graphics aren’t the best, but c’mon, it’s a 360 game. The story may be pretty shallow, but you get it, this game isn’t about plot. Frankly, we were surprised by how long it entertained us with new enemies, soldiers, and buildings to destroy.
The verdict: if you enjoy a shameless run-and-gun, give EDF:IA a try!
That ends the news on fresh Games with Gold until May 15. We hope you enjoyed the update and found something new to try!