2-6 Xbox Game Pass: A Buffet of Games

Games as services is not something I am quite fond of, but it seems to be the future. Lately it seems, all you have to do is to blink and you’ll discover a game developer announcing an exclusive launcher for their flagship games.

Whether it’s Rockstar with their announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Ubisoft with the latest Assassin’s Creed. If you want to buy a game, you have to install their launcher and live inside of their ecosystem. And we know that they’re going to offer all kinds of lootboxes (surprise-mechanics) and additional DLC that are exclusive to their platform.

I hate that I currently have 7 launcher/platforms on my PC:

  • Steam
  • Origin
  • Uplay
  • Epic Game Store
  • GoG
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Battle.net

And Google Stadia is around the corner (I am eagerly awaiting this to fail).

The only shining bit of light I can see is how Microsoft has approached this trend of games as a service with their Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass

For about $6/month I can have unlimited access to a gallery of games that I am able to immediately download to my PC. I’m not streaming them, so I do not have to fuss with latency or connection speeds. And I’m not paying full price for a game I will lose interest with or does not run well on my aging graphics card (GTX 950).

I wanted to play the new Obsidian game, Outer Worlds, but I also didn’t want to drop $60, so I started my free trial and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with this decision and I’m going to keep my subscription active.

The only small annoyance I have is that the Xbox Game Pass app from the Windows Store is a bit sluggish at times, but it’s also a beta app that will likely receive more updates as the service develops. It’s still only a few months into this being available for PC, so I’m not too worried. It’s a very small thing.

If you’re looking for a convenient way to play games on your PC at a fairly affordable cost, you should take advantage of the $1 first month trial and see if it’s right for you.

2-5 Going Back: Previously On LOST

Returning to a game you haven’t picked up in months can be a frustrating experience. Outside of feeling disconnected from the narrative of whatever game you’re attempting to hop back inside of, you have also likely forgotten a number of other aspects of the game: controls, attack patterns of bosses, and where you are in the game (literally, somewhere on a giant map unsure of your next step).

DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I wish more video games took a page from television serials and provided a “Previously on…” kind of recap. Dragon Quest XI, which I’m currently playing does just this and it’s a brilliant addition to an already stand-out game. I am glad the developers recognized that in a game that is potentially 120+ hours long, that it might be useful to have a short recap while your game is loading, explaining that your character was last on this island battling this evil demon and your next goal is to find maguffin A so you can restore order to the blah blah blah.

What often happens to me when I return to an older game is that I start a brand new save, so that I can re-familiarize myself with the game’s narrative/controls and then once I feel like I’ve recalled enough of the game, I will hop back into my older save which has more progress.

I do also wish that outside of a “Previously on…” type of feature, that more games would allow you to replay the introduction/tutorial because that would basically solve the problem of not knowing how to play the game after so many months (or even years) of inactivity.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

2-4 Unlocking the D6: It Only Took Me 9 Months and 223 Attempts

So I apologize but this next post is going to be a deep in the weeds, very “you need to understand the meta of the game” kind of post. And if you’re not a fan of the roguelike game Binding of Isaac, well then what I’m about to say isn’t going to mean much. Though maybe you can at least appreciate the dedication and the sense of accomplishment for what I’ve just done in this game.

Binding of Isaac, Unlocking the D6 Item

I finally unlocked the D6 by defeating Isaac in the Cathedral using ???. This is not easy. I’ve been trying to do this for months and months and I’ve failed again and again and again. The reason being that unlike most other dungeon runs, you have a very limited number of hits that you can take and the ability to replenish your life is also at a premium.

The Binding of Isaac is my “forever game”. There’s something about htis game that has just taken root inside of my soul and it’s the game I keep on going back to. I may pick up other games but I always return to this one.

I should also note that this is a game that keeps on giving, there have been at least 3 major expansions DLCs, one of which will be released later this Winter. And I’ve only scratched the surface. I still have some characters to unlock and a number of secret endings that I’ve yet to see. It will be a sad day indeed when I’ve unlocked everything this game has to offer.

Thank you Edmund McMillen.