Another month, another great selection of titles added to XBOX GAME PASS! With such a wealth of titles, your friendly neighbourhood bearded gamers have once again cherry-picked a selection that you may have missed. This month we have bloody adventures, high octane racing, ghoulish delights and….shapes.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you take control of Talion, a human ranger who is unenviably stationed on The Black Gate. When the dark hoards brutally sacrifice Talion and his family to awaken to Elf Wraith Celebrimbor, things go tits up and your soul ends up merging with the Elf Lord and resurrecting Talion thus becoming The Gravewalker. From here you simply walk into Mordor in a quest to discover the backstory and history of the Elf Lord and seek out the ones who set you to your grim fate for a dose of good old-fashioned revenge. Along the way you encounter a host of memorable enemies that in true LOTR form all sound like they are from the east end of London, all brought to life with stunning detail and amusing personalities as well as everybody’s favourite loin cloth donning villain, Gollum.
Featuring a mechanic known as the Nemesis system, each enemy encounter can create its own sub-story. If an enemy defeats or escapes you they are granted promotions within the evil ranks. They also become stronger, gain followers and remember your combat style making them tougher with each encounter. You can also recruit these brutes to do your bidding, setting up assassinations, ambushes and generally turning the dark army against itself. Thankfully there is a generous skill tree to unlock all wrapped in gameplay that is best described as Assassins Creed meets the Arkham series. Made for a mature audience, Shadow of Mordor is violent, bloody and a memorable open-world adventure that any Tolkien fan would enjoy!
Developer Monolith Productions spent time with Peter Jackson, Warner Bros staff and Weta Studios to ensure Shadow of Mordor felt like a solid extension to the LOTR movie universe.
Lets’ face it, we all love that classic quote “In space, no one can hear you scream” well there are plenty of people to hear you scream in PREY, but most of them will be screaming along with you. Taking control of Morgan Yu (you have the option of selecting a male or female version of this character) you set off for Talos 1 space station which is happily orbiting the moon. Your brother is on board and decides it will be a good idea for you to get involved with some experiments relating to an organism known as the Typhon. Spoiler alert, it all goes horribly wrong and it’s up to you to save the day by battling this organism and getting to the bottom of what really going on while trying to save, or not save as many crew members as you can.
PREY is an extremely stylish and slick FPS that is easiest to describe as Bioshock mixed with Metroid. Created by the wizards at Arkane Studios who previously brought us Dishonored, this open exploration space station is full of surprises, inventive weapons and all manner of powers to imbue yourself with throughout your fight for survival. Giving the player plenty of choice on how to tackle missions and with a selection of endings to unlock based on your actions, this is one game you should definitely check out if it passed you by at launch.
Although not directly related, PREY is a very loose spiritual successor to the 2006 Xbox 360 title of the same name.
Combat racing has always been a popular genre but has sadly become a bit scarce in options over the past generation. Tipped as a spiritual successor to Rollcage which some of you may remember from the PlayStation 1 days, GRIP is a fast-paced, industrial set combat racer that has all the classic elements you would expect. Varied track selection, a nice range of buffs and weapons to use on your opponent, healthy selection of race types, a decent campaign and of course some good old-fashioned multiplayer carnage.
What really set’s GRIP apart is it’s flat bodied/double sided vehicles, all of which can be customised to one degree or another, this vehicle design allows you to drive up walls, on ceilings and generally make yourself feel nauseous while travelling at high speeds. Though maybe not the most balanced combat racer ever to hit the consoles, GRIP is certainly fun enough to have a crack at with some mates and has that great pick up and play feel for when you haven’t got much time on your hands.
GRIP started life as a kick starter project but was taken down and pushed to early access on Steam before coming to consoles.
You may be a king or a little street sweeper but sooner or later you dance with the reaper. And when that day comes let’s hope you don’t end up in this Graveyard! Taking the role of an unfortunate soul who awakens from an accident to find himself in a medieval land and tasked with being The Graveyard Keeper, this life sim (or death sim) RPG sees you aiming to restore this decrepit graveyard to former glory with addictive and morbidly charming freedom once things get going. Every day a new body will arrive and it’s down to you to perform autopsies and determine the quality of the body and dispose of appropriately, I mean, you wouldn’t want a low-quality corpse in your graveyard, would you? Just chuck it in the river and keep costs down, what’s the worse that could happen….. Fortunately, you have a trusty talking skull to guide and advise you throughout this undertaking.
Featuring heavy inspiration from the hugely popular Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper makes no bones about keeping you busy. On top of the day to day of Graveyard upkeep which will initially see you pulling up weeds, destroying boulders, cutting down overgrowth etc you can develop your generous skill tree set while performing tasks such as farming, harvesting, mining, fishing and dungeon crawling all in the name of generating revenue for the church. You are not alone in this land, however, the local town is full of NPC’s to interact with, build relationships and perform quests for while you hope and pray that you’ll awake one day back in your own world!
Recently a free DLC pack was added which allows you to resurrect corpses to do your bidding, allowing you to better manage tasks such as resource gathering.
Before the days of nostalgic throwbacks being all the range and happily accepted as they are today, a little title from The Behemoth was released called Alien Hominid. Featuring an arcadey, chaotic, side-scrolling shooter gameplay beautifully presented in a hand-drawn art style, this challenging yet entertaining title sees you take control of an Alien under constant assault from government agents across various locations including Area-51.
Pick up and play is the order of the day here, one hit kills for both you and the enemies will see a sense of frantic panic turning into something that resembles skill and timing to get through the campaign. Plenty of pickups are available along the way to help you out as well as a selection of vehicles to operate at certain junctures. A selection of multiplayer modes are also on hand if you fancy getting some friends involved and claiming those all-important sofa bragging rights!
Alien Hominid began life as a flash game before being released on the XBOX, PS2 and GameCube in 2005 and was given a HD overhaul for XBL Arcade in 2007.
Thomas Was Alone
After a glitch in the system, several AI’s have now become self-aware and developed personalities within a computer mainframe. Each AI is represented by a brightly coloured shape and has very distinctive personalities and traits that you will learn and utilize as you progress through the campaign. Solving progressively complexing puzzles that unfold in a 2D side-scrolling journey, each level will see you overcoming a selection of obstacles and exiting via a doorway that will match the shape of whichever character or characters you are currently controlling.
Praised on launch for it’s great use of narrative that adds a huge amount of personality to each shape, Thomas Was Alone has a surprisingly complex story that unfolds at a steady pace while balancing the difficulty progression of the scenarios you face in your quest to uncover the chain of event’s that lead to you being self-aware. As far as puzzlers go you can’t go far wrong with downloading Thomas was Alone and giving it a try for something a little bit different but also surprisingly engrossing.
Each shape has a distinct personality all brought to life by the fantastic narration performed by Danny Wallace, who has also provided voice work for multiple Assassins Creed titles.
With more than 100 titles on offer at any given time, now is the time to get on board with what might be the best value for money on the gaming market right now!
Like the sound of any of the mentioned titles or there is something we should add to next months list? Leave a comment or get in touch via social media!