It seems rather strange to be saying this but 2017 is fast coming to a close. Before we start to party the night away and usher in 2018 though, the Xbox Games With Gold scheme has got one last surprise up its sleeve – four free games being gifted to all Xbox One and Xbox 360 players.
But hot on the heels of November’s offerings that delivered so much (or at least three of the four did), can the free titles being given away during the month of December match up to the quality, or are we being sent a few duds that refuse to let us see out the year with a bang? We take a look at the good, the tempters and the, well, ugly.
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide – Xbox One – 1st-31st Dec 2017 – A Tempter
Kicking December’s Games With Gold offerings off is a game that will only really appeal to a bit of a niche audience – the niche audience that love the Warhammer universe. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide originally released on Xbox One in 2016, but as it is already seeing its price removed, that in itself will probably tell you all you really need to know about the game.
The removal of the £31.99 price tag however is a big one, and should you have been one of those who sat on the fence casting a little eye towards Vermintide when it initially released, will be glad of its inclusion in the Games With Gold program.
But the rest of us? Left 4 Dead-like it may be – but you’ll have to overcome that Warhammer vibe and a bit of repetition first. A first-person shooting adventure with a strong emphasis on melee combat, it’ll be up to you and a team of three friends brought together in seamless online co-op, to fight back against the Vermintide.
And it is this co-op which may well see the game suited to the freeness that the GWG scheme brings. Because if nothing else, it’ll give that side of thing a big old boost – at least in the short term.
Back to the Future: The Game – 30th Anniversary Edition – Xbox One – 16th Dec 2017 – 15th Jan 2018 – An Instant Download
I’m not really sure what I can say about this one other than the fact that any Back to the Future game that has been created by the genius’ at Telltale Games is always going to be good. And this doesn’t disappoint.
It may not have had the hype behind it that Telltale’s other games have had, but released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, just in time for the day when Marty McFly moved forward in time in the first film, the combination of Telltale’s storytelling, and the wonderful characters and world that Back to the Future holds is just too big to ever turn down.
If you’ve never enjoyed episodic adventures, Telltales re-imagining of classics, nor liked any of the films, then it is pretty safe to say that you are in the minority. And that means that you probably shouldn’t bother wasting your precious download limits on a game that you’re not going to ‘get’. The rest of us though – the massive majority that we are – will absolutely adore this game. Grab it the second you can.
Child of Eden – Xbox 360 – 1st-15th Dec 2017 – An Instant Download
Remember Kinect? No, not Kinect 2.0 that was so cruelly ditched by the powers that be at Xbox HQ. I’m on about Kinect for Xbox 360 – the motion tracking tech that kicked off the whole idea of doing away with a controller.
Well, Child of Eden loved Kinect and those who played the game loved the fact that the on-rails shooter was something a bit different to the norm. Bright and colourful, the visual and musical extraordinaire turned out to be one of the most unique and clever Xbox 360 games of the time.
And the best thing about it? You didn’t even need Kinect. Which in turn makes it perfect to be given away now with the Games With Gold scheme. If you never played this game first time around, then make sure you don’t miss it now.
It would be a travesty if you didn’t download Child of Eden.
Marlow Briggs and the Mask of the Death – Xbox 360 – 16th-31st Dec 2017 – Ignore It
So, confession time. I’ve never played Marlow Briggs and the Mask of the Death. In fact, until it was announced as a free Xbox Games With Gold title for December 2017, I’d never even heard of it. But that means I’ve had to ask around friends, family and strangers in the hope that I could find someone who has. And I did. But they weren’t overly impressed – neither with the game itself or its inclusion as a free title this coming month.
The hack ‘n’ slasher has got combat galore, plenty of explosions and enough action to tide you over for at least two weeks – which is a bit of luck because once the fortnight of it being free to download ends, you’ll probably struggle to find much of a reason to go back to it.
If you like the God of War franchise and wish to have a little crack with something along the same lines, then by all means give Marlow Briggs a crack. But it would have been great to have seen the Xbox Games With Gold scheme for December 2017 end on a bigger high.
So there we have it. A look at the free Xbox Games With Gold titles for December and whether they are worthy of an instant download, whether they should be saved for a rainy day, or ignored completely so you can instead focus on something good.
Do you agree with these thoughts? Is Marlow Briggs really worth playing? Don’t forget to let us know your comments by posting in the comments below.
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I bought Back to the Future in the Black Friday sale and then promptly got a refund as soon as I saw it was to be a GwG. Unlike most of Telltale games this one is actually a proper adventure game where you can freely explore, talk to people and solve puzzles. Definitely worth a go!