It’s not the greatest of deals today, as seven games leave the Game Pass service (some of which are bonafide classics) and only two are offered in return.
The two games are, at least, Game Pass debutants that have appeal to certain gamers. They are Merge & Blade (Cloud, Console and PC) and Soul Hackers 2 (Cloud, Console and PC).
Spare a tear for the games that are leaving. There’s a couple here that we planned to play ourselves, but stupidly left too late (goodbye Octopath Traveller!). They are, in no particular order, Alien: Isolation (Console and PC), Crown Trick (Cloud, Console and PC), Dragon Ball FighterZ (Cloud, Console and PC), Far: Changing Tides (Cloud, Console and PC), Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (Console and PC), Madden NFL 21 (Console and PC via EA Play) and Octopath Traveller (Cloud, Console and PC).
Let’s focus on the positives and take you through the two additions today. Merge & Blade is not something we see on the Xbox that often, even though the PC has its fair share: an auto-battler. If you’ve played Autochess, you will know what’s at play here: units drafted and placed, but with little control from you. But Merge & Blade has a unique take on the subgenre, as it’s using the basic gameplay outline to turn it into a puzzle.
What the hell does that mean? Well, think Tetris meets Total War. You are using the anticipation phase of the battle to merge your units together, making them stronger and readier for the battle that will follow. Then you unleash them, watching to see whether you win. This means single-player rather than multiplayer auto-battling, as you besiege CPU castles and battlefields. Not your average Game Pass entry, we think you’ll find.
Soul Hackers 2 is more of a known quantity, having released last year. We liked this SEGA RPG, handing it a 4 out of 5 in review, saying “whether you’re familiar with the original or not, Soul Hackers 2 is a fascinating supernatural JRPG that excels in character development and storytelling. Sure, the turn-based action is fun thanks to the elemental aspect and the demon variety is excellent, but the dungeons are very underwhelming. Are the dull areas and monotonous requests enough to be off-putting? I don’t think so, because Soul Hackers 2 is still a darn good game otherwise.” Sounds like the ideal try-before-you-buy scenario. Cheers Game Pass.
A few games are on our Game Pass horizon so at least there’s a little bit to look forward to. On March 2nd, there’s the arrival of F1 22 (Console and PC via EA Play); on March 3rd we get the much-anticipated Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Console, PC, and Cloud); on March 14th is the cult-favourite Valheim as a Game Preview game (Console and PC); while on March 28th you can expect MLB The Show 23 (Console). Not a bad set of games, that.
Are you more happy or sad about the leavers and arrivals? Let us know in the comments or on social media.