Being an Xbox Live Gold subscriber means you get free games each month. The service costs around $60 per year, but the games are worth far more than that, even if you’re only interested in playing a fraction of them. (If you’re a PlayStation owner, check out Sony’s similar service, PlayStation Plus.)
Each month, Microsoft gives away two games apiece for Xbox One and Xbox 360. Thanks to backwards compatibility, you can play all of the Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One, which means Xbox One owners effectively get four free games each month instead of two.
It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t have an Xbox One yet, you can redeem your free games either on Xbox.com or your Xbox 360. Then if you buy an Xbox One in the future, you’ll be able to find those games in your account and download them for free.
Without further ado, here are the free Games With Gold for September 2016.
1. Earthlock: Festival of Magic
Platform: Xbox One
Original price: $30
Available: September 1 – 30
If you grew up playing games like Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana, you’ll want to keep an eye on Earthlock: Festival of Magic, a turn-based RPG that comes out the day it goes free on Games with Gold. It’s about a group of heroes on a quest to save the world (no surprise there), and it’s layered with deep systems, like skill trees, multiple combat stances for each character, and a feature that lets you take on more enemies for more experience points. Even if it doesn’t live up to the games that inspired it, at least it’s free.
2. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
Platform: Xbox One
Metacritic score: 67
Original price: $10
Available: September 16 – October 15
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is the first of three offshoots to the stealth assassination games you’re probably already familiar with. Instead of letting you roam free in an open world, this sub-series drops you in a side-scrolling action platformer that hinges heavily on stealth mechanics.
This installment is set in China in 1526, just as the Ming dynasty begins to fall. You play as Shao Jun, the last assassin in the Chinese Brotherhood. Much of the gameplay consists of you sticking to the shadows to sneak up on patrolling guards. If you’re feeling bold, you can disguise yourself as one of them or whistle to distract them. Along the way, you’ll see famous landmarks like the Great Wall, as well as a few well-known historical figures. The game didn’t get great reviews, but it’s worth a look for anyone who wishes we were getting a brand new Assassin’s Creed game this year.
3. Forza Horizon
Platform: Xbox 360
Metacritic score: 85
Original price: $20
Available: September 1 – 15
Some gamers are dead-set against racing games, but if you have even an inkling of interest, Forza Horizon is well worth a try. That’s because it’s the first installment of one of the best racing series around. The game takes place in an open world, with the starting lines of a wide variety of race types scattered around the map. You’ll race on the road, on the dirt, and even go head to head against an airplane. Things get a little nuts in Forza Horizon, but that’s half the fun.
4. Mirror’s Edge
Platform: Xbox 360
Metacritic score: 79
Original price: $15
Available: September 16 – 30
If a studio had said it was making a first-person platforming game prior to 2008, most people would have said it couldn’t be done — at least not in a way that anyone would want to play. Mirror’s Edge proved those people wrong. It has you run, jump, roll, and do all kinds of parkour acrobatics, all from a first-person perspective. The worst part about the game is that it only lasts six hours, and there’s not much reason to replay it once you’re done. But if you haven’t given this cult classic a shot yet, now’s the perfect time to try it.