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Are the free Xbox Games With Gold titles for July 2016 any good?



It’s time for some new free games as the Xbox Games With Gold scheme prepares to deliver four new free titles for all Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamers to get their hands on. But whilst we’ve seen the quality of the scheme tail off somewhat over recent months, can the offerings for July 2016 bring a much needed summer boost?

Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag this time round.

In fact, it’s so jumbled that if you look at the Xbox Games With Gold titles for July as one whole package, you’re going to be a little disappointed. That said, delve deeper and the individual parts may just be stronger than you think. At least on Xbox One.

Kicking things off on the 1st of July is Banner Saga 2 on Xbox One. The sequel to the stunning The Banner Saga, it may seem like a strange call to give away the second game for nothing whilst we still have to pay for the first, but the timing works brilliantly and it’s good to see the developers have managed to drag the console version of the game kicking and screaming into reality – just a few short months after it was originally released on PC. Whilst we couldn’t possibly comment on the quality of Banner Saga 2 until it’s been played, if the first one is anything to go by, then Stoic Games will no doubt have another huge hit on their hands and Xbox One gamers will have a game that can be enjoyed for a long old while.

Following that up with a mid-July release will be another new game – yes, this time round we’re being spoilt with new Xbox One freebies.

Tumblestone looks to be nothing short of delightful and coming from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild (the guys behind the awesome The Bridge), comes with huge anticipation. Obviously it’s been hugely inspired by Tetris (you just have to glance at the visuals to understand that), but that in itself isn’t a bad thing and we’re keen to check out the competitive multiplayer action, the gorgeous hand drawn art work and the deep gameplay modes that it brings – in fact, 40 hours of campaign points to Tumblestone really delivering. Bringing a multiplayer title to the masses via the Xbox Games With Gold scheme isn’t a new idea, but as we saw with Knight Squad, it most certainly works and gives something that would quite possibly struggle for sales, that much needed boost. We’re going to hazard a guess and say the same stunning success will occur with the release of Tumblestone too.

So, two brand new free games on Xbox One turn out to be pretty exciting affairs. Something which can only be a pipe dream for those long term Xbox 360 players. A dream that will quite possibly never come true either, as yet again Xbox 360 owners get access to two free games that, quite frankly, fail to enthuse.

Whilst there is no debating the quality of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, it’s a game that has passed its retirement and is now looking to kick its feet up in the OAP home in order to see out its last days. Eight years or so is a lifetime in gaming terms and what was once more than a half decent shooter, will probably struggle to now gain much popularity. Yes it’s free, and yes that may tempt some lone Xbox 360 players to dabble a little, but will they still be dabbling a week or two down the line? We highly doubt it.

The same goes for TRON: Evolution, something which wasn’t quite an evolution when it released and is even further from one now. We’re pretty certainly that ‘high mobility combat’ was a bit of a buzzword back in the early 2010’s, but now, it’s something that near on every game will bring as standard. It’s also not particularly lengthy and whilst it is quite possibly a game that fans of all things neon should check out, it will struggle to excite many others.

With both Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and TRON available as part of the backward compatible feature, you’ll also be able to check them out on your super powerful Xbox One. But will you really be spending many an hour in the Rainbow squad, or chasing the neon lights of TRON once more? Chances are you won’t and I suspect Vegas 2 will only really get experienced should a gang of players all jump into the multiplayer together.

So, there we have it. The Xbox Games With Gold scheme for July 2016 is with us and brings four new games to the masses for nothing. But it’s a real mixed bag this time round and whilst we’re looking forward to seeing how Banner Saga 2 and Tumblestone play out, we’re struggling to get too excited about any of the games on offer. Yes, they are all worth a download, and they are all worth a five minute play. But will any of them really get the juices really flowing?

We don’t think so!