Tag Archives: games with gold

XBOX 360: Games with Gold: April 2015 Games Notes 30 MAR 2015

Officially kicking off way back in July 2013, Microsoft’s Games with Gold programme has since then steadfastly been rewarding gamers who fork out their monthly XBOX Live subscription with two or more free games a month – a pretty decent reward in my book.

microsoft xbox 360 games with gold call to action banner

Some months are certainly better than others in terms of the free games being given away,  but if you are an XBOX 360 owner with an active XBOX Live account in April 2015, then you’ve most definitely got some pretty decent freebies to look forward to!

(To be fair though, March 2015 was pretty damn good too – the superb Tomb Raider (2013) from Crystal Dynamics was available for the first half of the month, followed up by the excellent BioShock Infinite (2013) the latter!)

To celebrate the Games with Gold programme as a whole, Microsoft is giving away an unprecedented four free XBOX 360 titles for April, three AAA releases and one hit indie title.

This is the list as it stands right now:

As it turns out, I’m scoring big time because I haven’t before played any of the four!

army of two the devils cartel guns blazing

I’m not particularly interested in Terraria (in other words, I don’t bother with Minecraft), but I am VERY interested in Gears of War: Judgment and Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel for their co-op value (time to lock and load, Ryan!) – and then of course there is the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag… seriously, what’s not to love, based on setup alone!

So yes, it looks like my backlog is about to grow a bit again…

assassins creed iv black flag pirates walking

XBOX Games with Gold is finally Heating Up! Games Notes 14 MAY 2014

xbox 360 games with gold logoFinally. I like Microsoft’s Games with Gold initiative which rewards XBOX Live members with two free games every month. It certainly introduced me to a number of titles I might not otherwise have tried, and it definitely laid the groundwork for further digital game purchases from me.

However, it has more often than not felt like a very lacklustre, half-hearted baby brother to the way more exciting rival Sony’s PlayStation Plus programme, primarily because the free games given away by Microsoft are either ridiculously outdated, or deemed to be cop-outs thanks to their lighter Arcade status.

But all of a sudden Microsoft seems to really be taking it up a notch again. April 2014 Games with Gold saw the usual combo of an Arcade and AAA title release, the first being Deadlight (2012), followed by Hitman: Absolution (2012). May 2014 Games with Gold followed that good offering up with Dust: An Elysian Tail (2012), and the super silly but fun Saints Row: The Third (2011).

And now for June 2014 Games with Gold (in which XBOX One now also joins the party), Microsoft is giving away on the XBOX 360 platform three excellent titles: Dark Souls (2011), Charlie Murder (2013) [Arcade], and lastly, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2011).

At this rate I might even become interested in gaming again!

saints row 3 wallpaper

Gaming Update: Crackdown | Magic: The Gathering 2013 Games | My Reviews 20 SEP 2013

I game few and far between these days, with the greatest slice of my gaming time being made up of online FIFA 13 battles with Ryan. That said, here’s a quick round up of my thoughts on the games that I have played over the last couple of months – funnily enough, all coming my way courtesy of the current Microsoft Games with Gold initiative…

Crackdown (2007)

Realtime Worlds’ 2007 XBOX release Crackdown takes place in the fictional metropolis of Pacific City, whose several districts and areas are divided among four islands. The city is controlled by three crime organizations: Los Muertos, of Central American origin; an Eastern European gang, the Volk (Russian for Wolf); and the formerly above-board Shai-Gen Corporation, from East Asia.

Normally, a police-like organization called the Peacekeepers kept the city under control; their forces, however, were overwhelmed by the sudden rise in crime. The city, therefore, sought additional help from “the Agency”, an organization that, in addition to outfitting and supporting Peacekeepers, has used advanced surgical and cybernetic technology to create supersoldiers known as “Agents”.

And as you might have guessed it, it is your job as a super powered Agent to systematically take these bad guys down!

Crackdown is a third person open world action shooter that adds some fun game mechanics to the genre through the addition of abilities like super strength and super jumping. The result is a fairly fun game that sees you running around three very distinct cities, jumping from building to building in order to collect power orbs while shooting at pretty much everything that moves and happens to be pointing a gun at you. (And seriously, there is a pretty decent selection of guns and explosives to do some pretty enjoyable damage to the bad guys).

As a single player game Crackdown is okay, but as a multi-player it really shines. You and a friend leaping around like mad bunnies really does make this explosive game that much more fun, and all in all I have to say that I enjoyed tearing around the city, hijacking cars, blowing things up and taking out scores and scores of bad guys.

The graphics are okay, the voice acting good, and the AI passable (to a degree). A couple of event trigger glitches did pop while we were playing multiplayer but outside of that, Crackdown turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I though it would be – and that’s for a game that is six years old already.

crackdown xbox 360 screenshot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crackdown

Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (2012)

“Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is a video game based on the popular collectible card game of the same name, first published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993. The game was released on June 20, 2012 via Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and iPad, and is the third game in the Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers series. The gameplay follows that of the original card game, however within a more restrained framework.

The core game follows the standard rules of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Each player has a deck of cards consisting of lands and spells, where lands are used to generate “mana”, the resource needed to cast spells. Mana comes in five colors, and cards may require colored or generic (mana of any color) to be cast. Spells come in many varieties, from sorceries and instants which have one-time effects, to summoned creatures which can attack and defend from opponents. Players alternate turns playing land cards, casting spells, and attacking opponents until all but one player’s life total is reduced to 0.”

Right, by virtue of the fact that I pretty much copied the above straight from Wikipedia, you may immediately (and correctly) assume that I am in fact not a particular fan of card games – which then explains why I really found this particular game to be terribly dull and subsequently didn’t give it all that much game time. (It was tedious I tell you!)

However, to be very fair, Magic: The Gathering 2013 IS a wonderfully implemented game featuring fantastic voice-over artists, sound effects, jaw-droppingly amazing fantasy artwork, and a slick gaming interface – in other words an awesome game if you are a Magic the Gathering fan or perhaps harbor the innate enjoyment of card-based games in general.

Magic The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 xbox game

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering_2013

Gaming Update: Dead Rising 2 | Assassin’s Creed II Games | My Reviews 18 SEP 2013

I game few and far between these days, with the greatest slice of my gaming time being made up of online FIFA 13 battles with Ryan. That said, here’s a quick round up of my thoughts on the games that I have played over the last couple of months – funnily enough, all coming my way courtesy of the current Microsoft Games with Gold initiative…

Dead Rising 2 (2010)

Five years after the events of Dead Rising, former motocross champion Chuck Greene is in the casino town of Fortune City, Nevada, to take part in Terror Is Reality, a controversial sports entertainment game show where contestants kill zombies for money and fame. Chuck needs the prize money to buy Zombrex (a daily medication that suppresses the zombification process) for his daughter Katey, who was bitten by her zombified mother during a previous outbreak in Las Vegas.

However as you might have guessed, caged zombies seldomly stay caged for long, meaning that pretty soon Chuck is running amok to clear his name, save people’s lives and keep Katey from turning into a zombie!

Dead Rising 2 is a 3rd person action game from Capcom that features some fantastically detailed shopping complex environments to move around in and beat up horde upon horde of shuffling zombies (interspersed with the odd crazy and psychopath) with whatever tool or fixture you can find lying about. (Seriously, just about anything can be used as a weapon, and best of all, you can combine multiple items into bigger badder zombie killing devices, some of which get pretty inventive in the process!). All of this open world beat-down action then gets wrapped up in a pretty enjoyable character-driven mystery story and complemented with a great soundtrack, voice acting and cutscenes, the end result being a pretty polished and neat zombie game.

That said, I don’t really enjoy zombie stories, meaning that I didn’t really enjoy this outing, and consequently haven’t bothered finishing it.

However, if you ARE a fan of zombies and their like, then without a doubt you’ll get a proper kick out of it – so worth it if you’re in that boat then.

(Oh, and in terms of gameplay overall, my only real gripe, apart from the plenty of load screens you encounter, is the fact that the strict time limits put on missions and the main storyline stops you from fully exploring the wonderfully built environment and properly exploring the various ways of mowing down zombies like you should have been able to!)

dead rising 2 xbox game chuck greene

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Rising_2

Assassin’s Creed II (2009)

After being forced to relive the genetic memories of ancestral assassin Altair ibn-La’Ahad through a machine known as the “Animus”, Desmond Miles is freed from his imprisonment by Abstergo Industries employee Lucy Stillman and together they make a daring escape.

Now in a safe place and in possession of Abstergo data and an upgraded Animus 2.0, Desmon agrees to re-enter the Aimus and relive the genetic memories of ancestral nobleman Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who lived during the Renaissance period of the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy. An assassin born from the murder of his family, Ezio, and thus Desmond, are now on a hunt to solve the mystery surrounding the age old Knights Templar movement.

If you are a fan of historical pieces then you are going to love Assassin’s Creed and its incredibly detailed conspiracy-driven story line. If you are not, then you are still going to love Assassin’s Creed and its incredibly detailed conspiracy-driven story line.

Seriously, this game is that good.

An absorbing story told via the polished and well executed platform of a 3rd person stealth-action open world game which sees you scaling walls, running along rooftops and causing all kinds of bloody chaos, before slinking back into the shadows or blending in with a cloud to avoid capture. A massive world, beautifully rendered environments, fluid movement mechanics, loads of cutscenes, and some decent enemy AI, all work in conjunction with a great setting, beautiful musical score and enjoyable voice acting to result in a game that is really worth your time to play.

In other words, I REALLY enjoyed this one from Ubisoft.

assassin's creed ii xbox game ezio drawing sword

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_creed_ii

Games With Gold: Crackdown is now Available! Games Notes 01 AUG 2013

crackdown xbox 360 box cover artThe awesome Microsoft XBOX 360 Games with Gold promotion rolls into August and with it, the first free downloadable title for the month!

This time around it is the very manic, very explosive, and very enjoyable co-op 3rd person shooter sandbox title, Crackdown, first released back 2007 courtesy of developers Realtime Worlds and publisher Microsoft Game Studios!

If you want to grab it already, simply go to the Search Games tile under the Games main menu, search for ‘Crackdown’ and purchase away! It’s listed for free, and remember, if you don’t have a credit card on your profile yet, simply press the X button to switch to the ‘Download with Microsoft Points’ option.

crackdown xbox 360 screenshot

(In other words, Ryan and I have some frantic co-op evenings coming up again shortly!)

xbox 360 games with gold logo