December is the time for giving, but it’s also the time for receiving and both Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will be receiving plenty of goodies this coming month. The Xbox Games With Gold scheme for December sees no less than five games stripped of their price tag. But is free always good? We take a look at how this month’s promotional scheme shapes up.
It all kicks off with a brand new Xbox One game hitting our consoles for nothing. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing for Xbox One came in under the radar with its Games With Gold announcement but if the PC version from a couple of years back is anything to go by, then we should be in for a bit of a treat. The story-line is apparently engrossing, the characters are well assorted and it comes with a dark, gothic art style; in fact, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing looks set to bring joy to the roleplaying console fan. Hopefully.
Come the middle of December and we’ll see a cross generation title going free. Thief has already been gifted out to all Xbox 360 owners (Games With Gold – June 2015), but now Xbox One gamers can get in on the action. If you’re one of those who has just moved over from the older gen up to the current machine, then you’ll probably be pretty disappointed in this offering. But those who have been camped in the Xbox One tent since the beginning should be more than happy. Thief is a fairly decent game and whilst not completely ground breaking or indeed right up there with other Xbox One titles, for nothing, it will at least bring a good few hours of stealthy enjoyment.
Prior to that however, Xbox 360 owners will be granted access to Castlestorm for nothing. Much like the Thief deal, Xbox One owners will have already picked the game up previously as the Definitive Edition (the better of the two) went free back in May 2015. But there are very few people in this world who would have already played it on One and then moved back to the 360, so it only really appeals to those still running exclusively on the 360. And we’re not exactly sure if it will be a big draw.
From December 16th and heading on through to the eve of 2016, Xbox helps us celebrate Christmas with two free games on Xbox 360. Sacred 3 and Operation Flashpoint aren’t world beaters but they will bring something different for gamers to get their hands on. With both making the most of the Xbox One Backwards Compatible scheme, appearing on both consoles for nothing, we’d be hugely surprised if you spent too much time hacking and slashing your way through Sacred 3…and even more surprised should Flashpoint even care to interrupt your Black Ops 3 session for anything more than two minutes. In their own right, they are both average titles, and seeing as they’ll be free, we shouldn’t complain too much, but it’s only going to be those sole 360 owners in dire need of a new title whom will check them out.
Overall then, and December may be bringing five free games to the Xbox Live Gold masses, but delving deeper, it’s not a particularly outstanding month for free games.
Let’s just hope Xbox are holding something big back for the new year!
December Games With Gold Rating:
Xbox One – 3.5/5
Xbox 360 – 3/5