When Microsoft first announced their Games with Gold feature for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, it was an obvious play for the PlayStation Plus crowd. What Sony had been able to do with their feature not only boosted the profile of their premium service, it made PS Plus an almost essential part of the PlayStation ecosystem. And that was (at the time) without requiring PS Plus for multiplayer play.
But, although PS Plus’ Instant Game Collection has grown to become a staple, it wasn’t always that way. It, like Games with Gold, had some growing pains before truly hitting its stride.
Now, though, it appears Games with Gold is ready to hit that stride, as the service boasts several high profile free games, and has unleashed its first set of free Xbox One games. Starting today, Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download and play Max: Curse of the Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault for free.
Much like Sony did with their first PS4 offerings, it appears Microsoft is going the downloadable route first. That doesn’t mean bigger things are in the future, but for now it’s best gamers temper their expectations as far as free Xbox One releases are concerned.
That being said, Max: Curse of the Brotherhood is a decent puzzle platformer, and worth checking out for those Gold members looking for an Xbox One game to play. In it, you control Max, of Max and the Magic Marker fame, who is once again on a magical adventure, this time to save his brother Felix.
On the flip side, Halo: Spartan Assault is actually a port of a Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface game; in other words, its next-gen aspirations came much later. It’s essentially a twin stick shooter set in the Halo universe, only without Master Chief as its main protagonist. Unfortunately, it’s not very good.
Even though the first free Xbox One games might leave a lot to be desired, the good news is that Microsoft is not ignoring their new platform. This move also opens the door for what we hope is a monthly release schedule of Xbox One games for the foreseeable future.
While we don’t expect it will be any time soon, it’s also possible that Microsoft will eventually start including launch titles like Dead Rising 3 and Forza Motorsport 5 in their schedule. In fact, we think that the launch of Forza Horizon 2 later this year would be a perfect time to release Forza 5 as a free Games with Gold title.
What do you think of the first Xbox One offerings for Games with Gold? What games would you like to see added later on down the road?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina