IT’S no surprise out there the value and huge selection of games on Xbox’s popular platform of Game Pass that it can be hard to pick a game to play.
While they do offer great options such as ‘Choose my next game’ where the platform will pick a game based on your previous experiences, sometimes we just need to make a good old fashioned list of the top 5 games you should be playing if you haven’t already. I will also do my best not to spoil anything about these games in case you have yet to experience them.
Picking 5 games out of a growing list of (at the time of writing) 463 games in total is a daunting task. While these might not be objectively the best games, they are games I honestly believe you should experience – which is why I present to the GOA community my suggestions for The Top 5 Xbox Game Pass Games you should play:
For fans of space combat games and dog fighting, Chorus is an ode to the past Star Wars space flight action games. While i’m sure they were not perhaps an inspiration, this definitely fills a void for people who were perhaps left feeling a bit underwhelmed by 2020’s Star Wars: Squadrons which was a first person perspective on space combat, Chorus takes a third person perspective and I feel it makes all the difference in the games presentation.
The game itself lets you play as the remorseful Nara, who thought the game you unpack her past for some great story writing, while some critics found the storytelling to be a bit lacklustre, there was no denying the lore and actual overall story. Nara starts the game working as a run of the mill flight pilot finds herself then needing to confront her past as a cult member and then needing to reunite with her old starcraft known as Forsaken, a living weapon that she had left in her past to confront her future.
The game’s combat and upgrade mechanics in an open-world setting is really where the most fun is to be had and truly let you play the game as you want.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
With the sequel A Plague Tale: Requiem set for later this year, now is the time to jump on board and see what all the hype is amongst this franchise’s loyal fans.
This heavily story driven title takes place in mediaeval times in 14th century France where you play as the games lead character Amicia de Rune and will at times take over her little brother Hugo, whom she is protecting since their world was turned upside down when their home is destroyed and they go on the run from the Inquisition, trying to find answers.
This game is very stealth & puzzle heavy but the games overall arc from just trying to protect your brother for the sake that his IS your brother to ultimately caring for him speaks volumes in the game’s writing. Not only is the story between Amicia and Hugo fascinating, but the side characters you meet along the way are some of the best of its year of release in 2019.
Also, just a heads-up: if you have a fear of rats, you might want to miss this game; they fit a LOT of rats on the screen. I promise though, it’s great for the story.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
If you haven’t played Bioware’s space epic The Mass Effect Trilogy by now, its the perfect time to jump in and see what all the critics have been raving about since back in 2007 when this series jumped into the gaming world.
Fresh off the success of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game where Bioware was able to have a fresh take on the series, likewise they set out to create their own space opera with no restrictions.
This RPG series set in the far future started off as just that, an RPG/Action hybrid with all the ambition in the world that was, from the get go, planned as a trilogy that would carry the weight of your decisions across a huge galaxy letting you decide its fate – from who you collected as a squad mate, who lived or died and even your love interests with hundreds of hours of gameplay to decide. Having played this game since its inception, I was fully invested in the lore and story Bioware had created, truly showing their mastery of involving you in the fate of the galaxy.
You create your own Commander Shepard as either a male or female character as humanity tries to establish themselves in the galaxy. Starting off from an exceptional soldier in humanities space ranks you are sent on a mission to prove your worth to become earth’s first Spectre, an elite agent of the Space Citadel who would investigate the goings-on of the galaxy with no-one to answer to.
Mass Effect 2, arguably the best of the series, changed up the formula from a full on RPG to a more action-oriented series which carried over to the third and final game of the trilogy. While the ending of the game garnered controversy over the promises made from Bioware at the start of their ambitious claims that every decision across the three titles would come to a head, there is no denying that the journey was an absolute treat for gamers.
Taking a break from space and mediaeval setting is a more recent setting in games from Remedy Entertainment, the studio that has bought many cult like hits such as Max Payne, Alan Wake and more recently Control comes one of their more underwhelming games, Quantum Break.
Quantum Break was an experimental game of its time blending Remedy’s fantastic third person shooting mechanics, along with the bullet time effect of its previously referenced Max Payne game but with a twist. It had a TV show like intermission between its chapters filled with Hollywood talent such as Shawn Ashmore of (at the time) X-Men fame, Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones), Dominic Monaghan (LOTR & Lost) with new staple/muse Courtney Hope who was the main protagonist of Control in this time bending story based on time travel and the end of time.
The game blended all the previously mentioned shooting and bullet time mixed with time powers such as time manipulation and a magnificent story where all choices matter and write the script of the TV show portion of the game which can be streamed or take up a hefty amount of storage space on your Xbox’s hard drive (roughly 160gb) as it was roughly 20-30 mins per episode in between the main gameplay areas.
This game should not be missed, as it has something for all returning Remedy fans in its universe as it delves into Alan Wake territory in some areas – but its overall story will leave you wanting more due to its ‘Ah HA!’ moments as it all unfolds to explain Sam Lake’s take on time travel.
Last on the list is The Gunk, a fun action/adventure title that blends in platforming and surprisingly calming gameplay mechanic of cleaning up all the ‘Gunk’
When your team of scavengers arrive on an uncharted world in search of their riches and scraps, they not only find a brimming new world of resources. They also learn of the planet’s long lost civilization. Only finding lost languages that they cannot comprehend, but upon finding one of the aliens that then tells them of ‘The Gardener’ who is responsible for this land’s beauty being destroyed. It’s now up to you and your companion to rid the world of its destruction and return it to its former glory.
I wouldn’t go as far as to compare this game to the likes of Stardew Valley and other farming sims, not for its gameplay style, but the satisfaction of walking into a new area and ridding it of the Gunk that has inhabited this strange world. There is a certain calming effect that makes the game all so satisfying.
So there we have it – My list of 5 Xbox Game Pass games you should play if you haven’t already. Don’t forget to hit up the socials (including https://twitter.com/gameonaus) and let us know of any other hidden gems out there we may have missed!