Sometime last month around the time that Gears Tactics launched on Steam I remember talking to Robert and saying something around the lines of while I was really excited to play it as a fan of the Gears series, with everything else on the go right now I can’t justify that price tag for it to maybe sit in my Steam library untouched. May as well wait for a sale I thought to myself. Then Robert brought up that it was part of his Game Pass subscription and that got me thinking, how much is that a month up here in the North? Turns out the first month was $1.15 CAD, then about $16-$20.
Now was it worth it? While I have yet to actually play Gears Tactics at the time of this writing as I do plan to Stream it for ExtraLife on June 24, I would say that it has been more than worth it.
Since spending that whole $1.15 for the first month on the Xbox Live and Game Pass package, I’ve gone through Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Sonia’s Review on her site) and Halo 5. I’ve finally got around to playing JumpForce, State of Decay 2, Indivisible, Crackdown 3, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, West of Dead and a few other things on top of finally having Xbox Live and getting together with some friends to play Gears 5’s Horde Mode that we had all been meaning to since finally having gotten pretty good at Gear of War 4’s.
Just there alone would have cost a pretty penny and while I’m not a stranger to Games on Demand services such as Utomik and Stadia, Stadia has a LONG way to go and while the libraries are different, Utomik is PC based while the Game Pass touches both the XB1 and the PC offering a lot more flexibility.
If I had to rate my console choices from first to last, it would be based off of personal gaming preferences more than the actual consoles themselves. The Nintendo Switch has really been catching up to the PS4 and the XB1 in the past year with a solid library and a new home for indies and ports such as Mutant Year Zero and the latest XCOM 2 Collection. Combine that with other solid releases such as the Xenoblade series and its portability, and I often find myself curious as to whether I want something on my PlayStation or would I rather the Switch as it allowed me to just take it with me and play on the go. Less now with Social Distancing, but that’s a different story.
So just from that you can see that my XB1 was barely in the equation for when I’ve been thinking of picking a game up. I own the Halo series which just last summer I decided to go through most of them in about a week to take the Master Chief Collection for a real spin and finally play ODST once it was added. I own just about every Gears title short of Judgement. But outside of that? My XB1 library contains Quantum Break and ReCore and I have yet to play either. I just haven’t gotten around to them. I’ve honestly used it for Reviews as most titles I could get for the other platforms where I generally have solid libraries for. It’s not that it’s a bad system, and hell, I love the controller over the rest, but I love my obscure JRPGs and they can’t really be found here.
And this is really where the Game Pass has come in. State of Decay 2, JumpForce, Hellblade, these were all titles that I figured I would eventually get around to playing but I just never did. With more time now than we had before though, I figured why not take these titles out for a spin since the most it’s going to cost is the time to download which even there isn’t long with my internet connection.
The catalog itself has a decent range of titles from small indie games from Kemco to large AAA Microsoft blockbusters and the only thing you need to do is view it and download it. Hell, there’s even “an app for that” as the Game Pass lets you handle everything from your phone. It’s not like trying to get things off of Sony’s PSN app which can be a bit of hassle sometimes or browsing Nintendo’s site in mobile, it takes seconds and then it’s done. To top that all off, when I found out you could even be rewarded for it I was shocked. Gaining points for logging in, playing Game Pass games and getting achievements? If it gives me money to spend off Xbox’s Marketplace and I’m doing it anyways? Why not?
Speaking of the catalogue though, I was surprised that there’s such variety for both the XB1 console and for Windows. Sometimes a title is available for both, sometimes it’s already rotated out but in either case, there’s a solid selection of old and new keeping it fresh which is amazing as it lets people experience tons for an extremely low price. Added bonus is that I’ve noticed a title could be cheaper to buy for yourself if you do currently have the Game Pass to keep it after it’s gone.
Now while everything that I’ve seen and played was under an amazing value, in today’s sphere you do kind of have to pick and choose. My internet package leaves nothing to be desired as it’s a 1GB connection. Let’s be honest, we review and I don’t want to wait forever to review the title in question. I want to do it now. I have Netflix that I pay for my mother. Through Amazon Prime my partner and I got an addon that lets us watch the Food Network and HGTV. These all add up. So with the cost of about 20$? It was going to be a time to time affair unless I splurged for a year’s worth. Subscribe when I need to, don’t when I’m overall too busy. It’s what I do with Utomik which has a great catalogue.
And that WAS the plan until we were amazingly treated to a full year’s worth of Xbox Live and the Game Pass in order to cover Minecraft Dungeons. So with that said, we’ll be back with plenty of other reviews such as JumpForce, West of Dead and Indivisible shortly as well as others over the course of the year.
So a big thank you to our PRs for that one, I’ve been having a blast and my console has actually been running more often than not!