Xbox Game Pass for PC has been cruising along since its reveal in June. Last month, the subscription service added Goat Simulator and Torment: Tides of Numenera. This month, Microsoft will add seven more PC games, including a handful that I’d highly recommend playing through if you haven’t already.
July 4 releases
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
If you haven’t played Shadow of War or its predecessor Shadow of Mordor, it’s worth trying out simply for its Nemesis System. This system randomly generates Uruk captains that you have to take down in order to undermine the structure of the Uruk army. Of course, they want to kill you just as badly. If they do end up getting the upper hand on you, they will get promoted in the army and become much stronger. They will even remind you that they killed you once, and they aren’t afraid of doing it again. Dispatching a captain that you’ve been fighting over several battles is one of the best feelings in the recent years of gaming.
Undertale is a quirky indie game developed by Toby Fox which released to a ton of praise back in 2015. It follows the events of a child falling down a hole into a world of monsters. It’s well-regarded for the ability to either slay every monster that you come across or find a way to deal with each one passively. Taking the passive route in Undertale is really interesting, as it shows the gentle side of the monsters in the world. That said, the violent approach can be worth it just to listen to the Megalovania track that plays towards the end.
My Time at Portia
After some event destroyed civilization, humanity has crawled out of their hideouts underground and are ready to rebuild. My Time at Portia is a crafting-based game where players gather resources, build new items, and reconstruct a town to live in. There are even some light sections of combat in the game, although the crafting and town building are the real stars of Portia.
July 11 releases
Dead Rising 4
Even if Dead Rising 4 was not as revered as earlier games in the series, it brings back Frank West for another adventure filled with zombie slaying. The game takes place in the open-world setting of Willamette, Colorado, which series aficionados will recognize as the place where the first zombie outbreak started. I remember watching the game’s E3 2016 presentation and was blow away by just how many zombies were in each area of the game.
If you miss retro side-scrollers filled with military stylings and tons of C4, look no further than Blazing Chrome. It is reminiscent of Metal Slug and Contra, so this game will likely scratch an itch that few others have been able to recently. On top of that, it features co-op gameplay. So, draft your best buddy to help you stave off the extermination of humanity!
Timespinner fuses together a couple of my favorite games: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Prince of Peria: The Sands of Time. Exploration is very much like a Metroidvania, with the main character, Lunais, searching for upgrades that will let them get into new areas of the castle. You can also find sands that will allow the Lunais to pause time to navigate hazards a little easier.
If you’re in the mood for a fun point-and-click adventure game, you would do well by checking out last year’s Unavowed. The narrative explores various supernatural happenings in a delightful pixelated art style. Possibly the coolest part of the game is the deep dialog system, which lets you have conversations in a Bethesda or BioWare style. In that same vein, Unavowed has a huge cast of companion characters that you can take into missions with you. Having different characters will open up different dialog and aid in the solving of puzzles.
Are the Xbox Game Pass for PC July offerings worth it?
I think it’s a simple answer: yes, they are worth it. That’s especially true if you’ve never had a chance to pick up Middle-earth: Shadow of War or Undertale. But even if you’ve played both of those, Dead Rising 4 is good, zombie-wrecking fun. And it also has a handful of more mellow games to unwind with. Not to mention it gives you access to a ton of other games like Metro Exodus, SteamWorld Dig 2, and Superhot, to name a few. Plus, if you have an Xbox One and Game Pass Ultimate, you’ll also receive LEGO City Undercover on July 11. This all sells the package for me.
If you are currently in the market for some new PC hardware, select AMD hardware will also land you three free months of Xbox Game Pass for PC. So, you can try out the service just for upgrading your PC. Which you were going to do anyway, right?