One of the primary benefits of being an Xbox Live Gold member is that you get free games each month. Sure, the service costs around $60 per year, but the games you’ll get are worth far more than that, even if you’re only interested playing in half of them.
Remember, you can redeem your free Xbox One games even if you don’t have an Xbox One yet. If you buy one in the future, you’ll be able to find those games in your account and download them then. It’s like buying a new console and having an instant library of games to play.
Overall, this is a pretty decent month for Xbox Live Gold members, particularly if you have a 360 and missed those games when they originally launched. At any rate, here are the free Games With Gold for June 2015.
1. Massive Chalice
Platform: Xbox One
Original Price: $19.99
Available: June 1 – 30
In this tactical strategy game, you play as the Immortal Ruler who’s responsible for defending your nation against the Cadence, a relentless and formidable enemy. Since you’re immortal, you get to oversee the war effort as the battles rage on for hundreds of years.
Not only do you control the battles in typical strategy game fashion, but you also guide the bloodlines of your heroes, coupling them together to create the next generation of warriors. The resulting offspring inherit traits from both parents, both good things and bad. No reviews are in yet, because the game comes out on June 1, but it sounds like a unique take on the strategy genre. Check it out if that’s your kind of game.
2. Pool Nation FX
Platform: Xbox One
Original Price: $13.99
Available: April 1 – June 30
Metacritic Score: 30
Is it Groundhog Day? Are we having collective déja vu? Microsoft has made Pool Nation FX free to Xbox Live Gold members for the last two months, and is rolling this freebie over once again into June. Maybe third time’s a charm?
Not many gaming outlets have reviewed Pool Nation FX, but the ones that have report that it’s kind of a buggy mess. The graphics look nice, but the load times are excessive and the physics feel wonky. Really, if you’re going to mess up the physics of a pool game, why bother releasing it at all? Pool is physics.
From Pure Xbox:
Pool Nation FX is hugely disappointing. While the trickshot creator is impressive, allowing you to use apparatus and make trickshots that defy the laws of gravity, the game fails to get the basics right and is absolutely littered with bugs. After the generally high-quality action of Pool Nation on Xbox 360, we expected an enjoyable game with addictive game modes and beautiful visuals. The visuals are generally up there – there really are some stellar scenes and outstanding lighting effects to gaze upon – but when you can’t exert any real degree of reliable control in a pool game because the cloth randomly turns to sand between shots and the cue ball rolls differently to the other balls on the table, there’s a problem.
3. Just Cause 2
Platform: Xbox 360
Original Price: $14.99
Available: June 1 – June 15
Metacritic Score: 81
The Just Cause games fit somewhere between Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row when it comes to realism in an open-world environment. Unlike GTA, which keeps things more or less in the realm of reality, Just Cause 2 lets you do all kinds of wild action movie stunts, but it never veers into wildly outlandish material, like Saints Row does.
None of that really matters, however, when you start grappling your way up skyscrapers and parachuting back down, blasting bad guys as you glide. Just Cause 2 was well received when it launched in 2010. If you missed out on it, now’s a great time to play it, because Just Cause 3 is scheduled to come out later this year.
According to IGN:
I haven’t had this much fun with an open-world game in years. Just Cause 2 is over-the-top and insanely fun. There are some issues in the game’s presentation and the checkpoint system is far from perfect, but Just Cause 2 is otherwise a must-play for adrenaline junkies. Rico Rodriguez might just be my new hero.
Platform: Xbox 360
Original Price: $29.99
Available: June 16 – June 30
Metacritic Score: 69
Thief is a game that’s perfect for the Xbox Live Gold freebie treatment. It’s the latest game in a highly respected series, but it received fairly tepid reviews when it launched last year, causing many gamers to skip it. But just because reviews weren’t outstanding doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing.
This game puts you in the sneaky shoes of a master thief and has you do two things that are very fun to do in video games: steal stuff and do stealth kills. There’s not much story holding the game together, but that doesn’t matter so much when you get to sneak through a dark and dreary city, pocketing everything that’s not nailed down.
Thief is a great escape for those of you who yearn for more stealth experiences, but it doesn’t really offer up anything exciting. The story and characters are somewhat forgettable, most of the missions are straightforward, and the locales tend to blend together after a while. Having said that, there’s a lot of potential here if you dig deep down into the game’s ingenious difficulty sliders and challenge modes. In that sense, Thief succeeds as a bold stealth game, despite its bruises.