A new month is on the horizon and that means four new free Xbox games will soon be available to download – at least if you are the proud holder of a valid Xbox Live Gold membership. But after a fairly solid couple of recent offerings being sent our way, do the free Xbox Games With Gold titles for March 2017 deliver the goods?

Well, you know what, they ain’t half bad.

Kicking the month off is a title that got hyped to the nth degree upon its release, with most of that coming thanks to its utterly awesome prequel. Yes, Borderlands 2 will soon be yours and this native 360 title shouldn’t be missed. With the power of Xbox One Backwards Compatibility behind it, and a whole host of content included, you’ll find one of the very best, most addictive shooters of the 360 era.

Shooting and looting is the name of the game, and no matter which of the various Vault Hunters you choose from, will find a huge world full of strange creatures, mutated psychos and one of the biggest, baddest villains we’ve ever gone up against – the unmistakable Handsome Jack. It brings one of the best Xbox 360 solo campaigns that we have ever played, but if you can find yourself some friends to join you will find something even more special. With a whole load of new players being given the chance to hit the world of the Vault Hunter, Borderlands 2 may just be one of the best Xbox Games With Gold titles to date.

Running alongside Gearbox’s masterpiece from the start of the month, is something slightly different – the hauntingly, insane Layers of Fear.

Previously making the most of the Xbox Game Preview scheme, Layers of Fear sends you off onto a creepy journey of madness, threatening to mess with your head at every opportunity. With little in the way of enemies to worry about, this psychological thriller comes with an utterly brilliant atmosphere – at least if you like that kind of thing. It does however get rather repetitive and once you’ve opened one wardrobe door to find the scares inside, you’ve opened them all.

With only a few hours of game time to be had with Layers of Fear, it’s most definitely the weakest option available this month, especially when you consider it is sitting alongside Borderlands 2, the game that forever keeps giving.

Once we get to the middle of the month, things change up a bit with the 360 offering changing from Borderlands 2 to a much underrated indie gem, Heavy Weapon.

Now, if you’re looking for a bit of mindless shooting, then Heavy Weapon will just about cover your needs. It’s not going to blow you away, but with a bit of multiplayer action in place, will allow for a good fun time. And if we’re honest, occasionally all we really want in life is a good, fun, solid, mindless bash. Just don’t expect to still be playing it in months to come.

What you may still be playing months down the line though is Evolve, another of the big hitters for this month’s Xbox Games With Gold scheme.

Primarily a multiplayer shooter, Evolve does however only really work should you manage to coerce a group of like-minded mates into the fight, because you see, if you leave things to the Xbox Live online service that it heavily relies on, you may just be left wondering what all the fuss is about.

The visuals are first class and Turtle Rock must be commended with what they have attempted to do – and that is to deliver a first class multiplayer title that a group of friends can hugely enjoy. And for the most part, that is exactly what will happen with your time with Evolve because the core gameplay is excellent.

Unfortunately, it also lets itself down on more than one occasion. Firstly, if you don’t have mates, or are left to wander the vast world alone, then you’ll get pretty damn bored by what is on offer. Whether you’re playing with mute real world strangers, or are left to pretend that the tacked on single player campaign with idiotic AI is actually any good, you’ll forever be left wanting someone else on your team to chat to.

Because you see, that’s what makes Evolve great, hunting down a huge big monster with a group of friends. And with it being the Ultimate Edition that is being gifted for nothing, you’ll not just get the base game to mess around with, but all manner of add-ons too, with The Monster Expansion Pack, Hunting Season 1, and Hunting Season 2 all included.

So, the Xbox Games With Gold scheme for March 2017 does just about deliver the goods. The two big stand out titles – Borderlands 2 and Evolve – really do need you to ensure some friends are available and ready to come along for the ride, at least if you wish to experience them properly, whilst the two smaller games, that of Layers of Fear and Heavy Weapon, will just about suffice for a single player. But whether you’ll be playing either of those by the time the month is out is anyone’s guess.

But hey, free is free and we’re not going to sit here and complain about any of the latest games to be gifted our way.

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Chris (CrippyD)
Chris (CrippyD)
5 years ago

I thought Evolve was quite rubbish in the Beta, but I was playing with randoms so that probably killed the experience a bit. I’ve never played any of the other games so its a few more to add to my new 4tb hard drive.

5 years ago

Great month but with the Handsome Jack Collection I would rather just buy that for $20 over playing the 360 version for free.