Xbox Game Pass Update for February (Includes a few January stragglers)

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Well, February so far has brought us Final Fantasy XV and two co-op games. (Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Death Squared). In reality, the games leaving (Just Cause 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City) are a much bigger draw.

That said Xbox Game Pass is an embarrassment of riches. I am unsure when I will have even a fraction of the free time needed to scratch the surface of the games still on offer.

Next Up Hero

Next Up Hero seems a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, it is a twin stick shooter. It has procedurally generated levels and a plethora of heroes to play with.

On the downside, the heroes are a bit samey. There is little purpose outside of the minute by minute game play. The arenas may be procedurally generated, but after taking Next Up Hero for a spin the arenas don’t seem all that different from each other. More palette swaps than anything else. If you can choose the hero to use in the early going, I haven’t figured it out how yet.

Indivisible

Here is what I said during my Games to Buy Week of October 8th, 2019 roundup. Well, here is some colorful game play. That is more like it. I am no fan of side-scrolling platformers, but the games in the Shante series such as Shantae: Half-Genie Hero are an exception. Indivisible takes Shante, mixes in some BlazBlue character design and a great action RPG combat system and paints it all with vivid colors and great graphics. It’s as if sunshine is pouring out of my console. Of all the colorful options offered this week, Indivisible is definitely my top pick.

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Here is what I said during my Games to Buy Week of May 16th, 2019 roundup. On one hand, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a critically acclaimed gorgeous game. On the other hand, it is a linear puzzle filled escort mission. I will give the critics the benefit of the doubt on this one.

To its credit, all reports are that A Plague Tale is a meaty tale running a good fifteen hours. And you get to kill people using an army of rats. Just don’t go in expecting Dishonored 2 and everything should be all right.

Sea Salt 

Here is what I said during my Games to Buy Week of October 15th, 2019 roundup. A real-time strategy game where you play as the Lovecraftian God Dagon and gather your minions/worshippers to kill all the humans? Okay, this is going the list for me. Disappointments include pixilated graphics, a lack of checkpoints and difficulty spikes, and it looks like you are mostly killing sailors instead of mall shoppers or coeds. Still, this could be a Pong ripoff and with that description and I would want to try it out. Does it have any topless killer mermaids like the movie Dagon? I am guessing unfortunately no.

Despite all this, I am always up for a game where you play the bad guy. For example, the video game industry keeps threatening to entertain me with a game where I can play as a great white shark casually eating swimmers at various beaches. The industry hasn’t stuck the landing as of now but hope springs eternal.

This is where the recent Friday the 13th game was such a disappointment. I want to play as Jason the indestructible monster attacking skinny dipping coeds. Not some poorly controlling tank that fears firecrackers.

As for now, I have to make do with games that are often not technically designed as bad guy simulators such as Fable II, Skyrim, and Sims 4.

Update: There is a new shark eating people game coming out on May 22nd 2020 (Maneater) so hope springs eternal.

Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour

Fishing Games are a hard sell for me. I have so many games from Red Dead Redemption 2, Breath of Fire 3 and 4, to fellow new Game Pass games such as Final Fantasy XV and My Time At Portia.

Fishing Sim World does not start strong with one of the ugliest character creators I have ever seen. Look I am not expecting Saints Row 2 or the Sims 4 here but the least you could do is put your best foot forward.

This collection of heads and bodies would embarrass the woeful Madden character creator. The clothing options are even worse a collection of beige and boredom that looks like Old Navy or a particularly boring Target men’s department sponsored them.

With this as the start I really saw little reason to join one of the fishing tournaments. Everything seems just the wrong side of amateurish and I have plenty of video game fishing, I could do. I understand Yakuza 6 has some out of this world spearfishing which I would have known about if I didn’t spend all my time at the maid cafés.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

I included two videos here because opinions on this game are quite mixed. Some feel it is the worst thing from Bethesda since Fallout 76. Others think it is even worse than Fallout 76. I have never been a fan of forced cooperative gameplay so this one is a no go for me. My takeaway is to ignore the blurb on the box as the single player here is nigh unplayable.

Death Squared

Multiplayer puzzle high jinks that are Portal lite. You have seen these types of puzzles before. It looks well made so if you are looking for a puzzle games to play with friends this might be up your alley.

Final Fantasy XV

While I own a few Final Fantasy games and have been meaning to buy more, I have not played a Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy VII. Which was eight Final Fantasies ago (not counting spinoffs) and twenty-three years ago.

Oh dear God I am old. In all fairness, Final Fantasy VII (along with Parasite Eve) sparked an interest in video games for me. Not till The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion did I play a video game that so changed the paradigm in my mind of what video games could do.

Final Fantasy XV will change no one’s mind about video games. It may change a few minds about Final Fantasy games though. With a real time combat a large and colorful open world and a K-pop band as your main characters, this isn’t your father’s Final Fantasy game. And that is a good thing.

What do I think? It is purty. I am not yet sold on spending forty hours with these lads, however. I watched the companion movie Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV which I enjoyed but again it really didn’t make me want to immediately pick up a controller and continue the story. Obvious bad guys doing bad guy things and Sean Bean dying are not exactly plot twists that will set the world on fire.

Being on Xbox Game Pass is just the tonic however for me to at least give it a spin for a couple of hours and that might be all it takes for it to get its hooks in me. It better have a snowboarding mini game though.

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Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂