Every single month we hear the same old thing about the Xbox Games With Gold titles. “We don’t want that rubbish – we want decent games, we want AAA blockbusters, we want something different”. Well, the free Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles being given away during the month of July pretty much tick those boxes. What’s the chances there will still be complaints?

I guess the big dogs at Xbox HQ can’t win, because even though July is seeing a decent game (Assault Android Cactus), a AAA blockbuster (Splinter Cell: Conviction) and something different (Death Squared), there will be many out there who immediately dismiss the former because of its cutesy visuals, will complain that Conviction isn’t the best Splinter Cell game, and will moan that Death Squared is ‘only for puzzle fans’.

But they’d be wrong, because the free Xbox Games With Gold titles for July 2018 really ain’t all that bad at all – in fact, at least two of the four are ‘must-plays’ in my opinion, and even then the other two will be hugely appealing to some.

And whilst I’m happy to sit here and take the usual flak from the doubters, let me try and at least convince you why by taking a deeper look at each of the free games.

Assault Android Cactus – Must play

Free from now until the 31st July

I can see it now – “What the god damn hell is this rubbish?”. Go on, admit it, you had those exact same thoughts.

Well, forget what you initially thought about Assault Android Cactus, because the second you get to grips with the fast paced twin stick shooting action found within, you’ll discover exactly how good a game it really is.

Hugely addictive in both short bursts and the longer gaming sessions, Assault Android Cactus puts us firmly into the shoes of Constable Cactus as she teams up with a number of friends in order to save a stricken spaceship from utter destruction. Expect to find a great variety of weapons, plenty of levels and enough gameplay draw to see Cactus become the surprise GWG hit for July 2018.

Just keep an eye on that battery, yeah? Because without it, you’re toast.

Death Squared – Consider it! 

Free between 16th July – 15th August

If you’ve got a mate alongside you then Death Squared should be right at the top of your agenda.

A cooperative puzzler that focuses on colour, Death Squared ensures that team work is key as you attempt to help move some cute robots to colour-coded goals. As is seemingly always the case though, expect to find traps and hazards galore, and you’ll need to use all your cunning and nous in order to find workarounds and success.

Story mode, a party offering and the more hardcore Vault option sees Death Squared deliver a multitude of opportunities to those looking for a new puzzler, and whilst you may struggle to really enjoy everything it brings as a solo player, should you be able to call on a friend then you’ll no doubt be playing this until the next free games arrive.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown – Consider it!

Free between 1st-15th July 2018

It was back in 2012 when we first saw Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown appear in our lives, but if you were one of those who experienced it then, you’ll no doubt still hold great love for it now.

A fighter of stunning quality (at least for 2012), Final Showdown saw SEGA deliver on all previous promises to create what is essentially the definitive edition of Virtua Fighter 5. And if you like fighting games, a definitive edition of an already great fighter is something that you should be flocking to.

Don’t expect to be wowed by the visuals, and you may well prefer a modern battler more appealing, but for something that is coming in for free, the great mechanics holding it all together should well suffice.

Splinter Cell Conviction – Must play

Free between 16th-31st July 2018

And then we find ourselves at the feet of Sam Fisher, as Splinter Cell Conviction gears up for a bit of free love.

And love is exactly what this game should get because not only does it bring a Splinter Cell title to the masses, or ensure that the iconic Sam Fisher gets the chance to hit up a whole ton of new gamers, but it brings a rather damn brilliantly gritty story-line alongside the usually great SC mechanics.

With Conviction proving that Splinter Cell could still hold its own after the slightly disappointing Double Agent, Ubisoft were on to another winner when this game arrived back in 2010 – yes, 8 years ago! And whilst it may not fully stand up with the more modern hugely open worlds that frequent our gaming lives now, you might be surprised by just how good it still is.

The immediate love that the original game got back in 2002, and the heights of the stunning Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory won’t be hit, but now it’s free, well… what’s the chances Ubisoft reveal a new Splinter Cell on the back of Conviction arriving via Games With Gold?

We certainly hope that to be the case.


So, for all the naysayers out there, when you do indeed sit back and take a look at the free titles on offer throughout July 2018, and begin to understand the type of game each one is, the Xbox Games With Gold scheme for July does a reasonable job of providing the goods.

Yes, we’d all love to see the real big hitters arriving for nothing, but we have to remember that these are free games, and each and every one should be appreciated. In fact, every single one is infinitely better than getting access to a Gold Bundle for SMITE. Surely we’d never get a Gold pack thrown in to the Games With Gold scheme…

What do you think? Do the free games being gifted via the Xbox Games With Gold scheme for July 2018 appeal to you? That comment section down below is just begging for your thoughts.

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