Buyers Guide

Xbox Game Pass – Games You Might Have Missed: May Edition

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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 put a bit more focus on some co-op titles to enjoy with your friends along with the usual selection of goodies, let’s take a look.

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RESIDENT EVIL 5

RE5 originally released in March 2009 and follows on from the series shake-up provided by RE4 in 2005. Returning hero Chris Redfield, who has clearly been spending a bit of time pumping iron since we last saw him, bulges his way into Africa on the trail of a shady corporation dealing bioweapons. Taking a note from RE0, Chris has an ally to aid him with his mission in the form of series newcomer Sheva, who is thankfully playable via co-op. Together the pair set off across the brightly lit setting of Africa, fighting through shanty towns, tribal villages, secret tombs, sinister labs and…..a boat. RE5 ramps up the action, testing your bowel control by opting to overwhelm you with large, panic-inducing hordes of frenzied enemies more akin to the Los Ganado from RE4 instead of the slobbering Zombies of old. A plethora of elaborate weapons and items are on hand to upgrade along with a host of collectables to add replay value.

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RE5 may be remembered more for its heavy action, elaborate biceps and questionable costumes (Wesker dressed like David Bowie anyone?) than being an atmosphere lead survival horror. But what this entry lacked in traditional series allure it made up for with some decent set pieces, competent co-op and tons of classic cheesy CAPCOM dialogue. Although not the best RE title by franchise nature this is certainly one of the best co-op shooters to grace the market and definitely worth firing up for a romp especially if you have a friend to enjoy the experience with.

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SNIPER ELITE 4

WW2 has been a prominent setting in games for decades, whether is balls to the wall action shooters, alternate fictional history or more sabotage-based affairs, this dark moment in history has never failed to provide a solid backdrop for some memorable titles. Rebellion Developments Sniper Elite series is one such, with the fourth entry in the series whisking you off to 1943 Italy to investigate reports of a new Nazi weapon being developed that could spell certain victory for the Reich. Each level plays out as a miniature sandbox with a selection of primary and sub-objectives to complete. After a quick intro to each mission and fine-tuning your loadout you are left to your own devices on how to complete these missions and the freedom to do so is what really sells this title.

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Gameplay takes a few nods from the flawed masterpiece that is MGSV The Phantom Pain, you can go in guns blazing or take a hint from the title and do some good old-fashioned sniping. Tagging enemies, watching patrol lines, setting traps and sabotaging equipment give you a huge array of opportunity to complete your mission. Knock someone out ensuring they will be in view of a passing patrol only to watch them rush to the aid of their comrade to be blown sky high by the crafty landmines you placed near the body? or throw a lure to draw out enemies picking them off one by one while using the sound of passing planes to mask your gunshot? Or why not get a friend to join you in co-op and form some truly outrageous strategies for defeating the Nazi regime! The choice is yours and worth taking as very few games give you this amount of freedom yet remain structured enough to keep you on track and you will never tire of seeing those x-ray kills bringing home the impact of a well-placed shot, right up main street!

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ASHEN

Ashen is a souls like title, with a simplistic yet engaging story. The god of light has disappeared sending the world into darkness and it’s down to you to restore light and ultimately save the day. As you set out across the gorgeously designed land you meet a selection of denizens to bring back to your settlement, which acts as the hub for your adventure, speaking with them will help build up the bigger picture of the story as it unfolds. Don’t let the soft graphics fool you, the monsters and enemies present throughout the world are sinister and formidable but truly reflect the landscapes they inhabit, be it dank woods, claustrophobic caves or frigid wastelands.

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Borrowing heavily from the now infamous Dark Souls formula the combat is simple in premise but difficult to master. The key difference here is the focus on co-op, having an AI companion with you that is thankfully well-programmed offers good support allowing solo play to be enjoyable and engaging. Despite also borrowing from the souls ass about face way of playing with friends, co-op is where the true adventure can really come to life and provides a much fuller experience while also taking a bit of the edge off of the challenging gameplay. One for souls fans or anyone who has considered trying this popular genre.

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STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC

“When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm!” Ok so KOTOR isn’t quite that old but this absolute classic from the glory days of BioWare….before the dark times….before the EA! Is rightfully considered to be one of the very best Star Wars games ever created and a turning point for RPG’s of the day as it paved the way for titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Though showing it’s age a bit with dated graphics and menu heavy moments KOTOR still holds a place in many gamers hearts.

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Released in 2003 and set during the old republic, some 4000 years prior to the events of the movies, The Jedi and Sith orders are both in full swing and war is ever-present across the galaxy. You create a character and choose from one of three classes which can later be fine-tuned with Jedi or Sith abilities as you level up and progress through the story. In true RPG fashion choice making is key to shaping your character and their alignment with the light or the dark, ultimately affecting the outcome of the story that will see you playing for a good 50-60 hours. If you haven’t tried this classic and yearn for a solid Star Wars experience deep with lore and rich with character freedom then you can’t go far wrong with giving this a try, “No! do, or do not! There is no try!”

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RAGE

Can’t decide whether to grab RAGE 2 after it just hit the shelves? Then why not take the time to check out the original and see what it’s all about. Best described as Borderlands meets Mad Max meets DOOM, this popular 2007 title from the Shamans of Shooters at ID Software has you awakening from a vault and thrust into a beautifully designed, bustling and dangerous wasteland where you must do whatever you can to survive. That’s pretty much the story, but it’s the gameplay that stands out here. Full of chunky, bloody, explosive combat with an array of weapons and devilishly designed enemies along with vehicle combat and upgrades to acquire, RAGE has everything you need for a pickup and play experience that still manages to contain some depth thanks largely to its great cast of characters and set pieces.

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OBSERVER

Observer is set in 2084 after a digital plague has wiped out thousands of augmented civilians subsequently causing war and allowing a giant corporation to seize control and implement its new police force, The Observers. You take control of one of these Observers, played by none other than Rutger Hauer, who through his augmentations can hack into the minds of both the living and the dead to highlight key items of interest integral to solving the twisting and turning narrative that unfolds with dark tones but also touches on espionage and humanity. This indie psychological horror will likely get your attention by taking a cue from the grimy and bleak visuals of the future first introduced in Ridley Scott’s cyberpunk classic Blade Runner. This is one for those who want something a bit thought-provoking and eerie with a more narrative focused experience.

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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!

What have you been playing from the fine selection on Game Pass? Anything you think we should take a look at and add to next months list? Get in touch via social media or leave a comment below and let us know!

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