Xbox Game Pass is a service that’s so good, it’s overwhelming. So much gets added to the service every single month that it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in your backlog. We feel the same! That’s why every month we’ll be compiling the very best games added to Game Pass to help you decide what to play next. Here are the Xbox Games Pass’ highlights for the month of May 2021!
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Builders is what happens when Dragon Quest marries Minecraft in Dragon Quest Builders 2.
It has the customisable crafting, building and block-breaking of Minecraft with the exploration, progression and makeup of Dragon Quest. Builders becomes more than just the sum of its parts with its unique take on a sandbox JRPG. Builders’ more structured gameplay is perfect for those who want to express themselves through block building but find Minecraft’s wide-open nature intimidating.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 is cute, charming and well worth a try if you’re not put off by its more linear, authored structure and the overly long exposition that’s characteristic of JRPGs.
Ubisoft’s extreme-sports MMO doesn’t get much attention despite being the best – and only – AAA extreme sports game of the generation.
It’s huge, dense with activity and absolutely jaw-dropping to look at. The seas of snow that cover the Alps glisten in the sunset and shimmer in the moonlight.
The scale is awe-inspiring and Steep’s sights had me distracted on more than one race. That’s without mentioning the grounded, varied and satisfying sports themselves. Whether you are soaring through the skies in a wingsuit or sliding down a mountain on a snowboard, Steep is always fun, and when you’re racing at a break-neck pace it keeps you on your toes with risky tricks and escalating challenge.
This is the only Ubisoft open-world that has left me wanting more, even after dozens of markers have been notched off as complete.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Final Fantasy X marks the last time the series used turn-based combat, before setting off for more action. Which is a shame because FFX also marks the point where the series perfected its turn-based combat.
A variety of interesting characters could be swapped in and out of your party mid-combat and this added a level of spontaneity and reactivity to every battle. It became a game about setting priorities, reacting to enemy behaviours and experimenting with different party configurations.
Outside of the combat, the world of Final Fantasy X/X-2 is a joy to explore. Spira’s lush beaches, green hills and alien forests haven’t been replicated in other Final Fantasy games. It’s a world that’s beautiful and interesting with deep lore and tragic events. Every area of the game contributes to the melancholy world building in a different way that propels X’s momentum non-stop.
Throw in some of the series’ best musical moments, a heart-fluttering romance and a charismatic cast and you have yourself a certified classic.
Double Fine’s Original Xbox classic has barely aged a day. Psychonauts is still every bit as funny, witty and creative as it was in 2005. And this time around, you don’t need to wait almost 2 decades for a sequel since Psychonauts 2 is due out this year.
So, what better time to catch up on the brain-invasion that made this such a cult-classic.
The original Psychonauts is endlessly creative with its bending levels, irreverent humour and clever puzzles, and I can’t wait to see what the minds at Double Fine are able to create after 3 generations of console enhancements.
Plus, the non-existent load times and auto HDR on the Series X|S completely remove any barriers to entry for those worried about the original’s age.
It leaves the Asylum of the first game and fully drenches itself in biblical terror. Christian and satanic cults clash while you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. Flashbacks to some repressed religious trauma also reoccur throughout the game creating a frenzy of existential, theological horror.
Outlast 2 plays much like the first game; you have no form of defence and the game is structured around evasion. Hiding, running and sneaking through Outlast 2’s haunting environments is what much of the game consists of, with a healthy dose of resource management.
The Outlast series is undeniably dark, literally. It’s impossible to understand the environments without using the night vision on your handy camera, and the battery needs to be managed appropriately. It creates a quality of perpetual anxiety with a light source that’s quickly disappearing while being drenched in the dark. Play this one with headphones.
There are other titles that are also worthy of a mention. Knockout City is a brand-new EA Original multiplayer game, debuting onto XGP. If an action-dodgeball game sounds like your thing then give it a try. And further to that Square Enix extends their support of Game Pass with Just Cause 4: Reloaded, compiling all the DLC for this chaotic open-world game in one place. Then there is the behemoth that you will either love or hate as FIFA 21 sprints into the service. There’s not much more I can say about EA’s annual option.
Two new ‘Dad games’ arrived on Xbox Game Pass recently too: SnowRunner promises the next generation of off-road truck simulation and is actually very, very good whilst The Catch: Carp & Coarse looks like the most detailed fishing sim that I’ve ever seen. Publishers should definitely start advertising titles as ‘Dad games.’
And finally for May’s standout Xbox Game Pass titles is an addition to a genre we love. You see, we adore indie games here at the TheXboxHub so have to give a shout out to the gorgeous, The Wild at Heart – a mix between Pikmin’s ‘tiny people management’ (I’m on a roll with these descriptions) and Don’t Starve’s paper aesthetic.
But what have you found available through Xbox Game Pass in the recent weeks that has kept you gaming? Let us know in the comments.