My three months with Game Pass and why I won’t be renewing – Reader’s Feature

Three months for free seems like a good deal (Picture: Microsoft)

A reader gives his verdict on the games he played during three months of free Game Pass and explains why he still subscription services.

For a number of reasons, I’ve always been a little apprehensive when it comes to the potential impact of Game Pass on gaming. As we’ve seen with streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, the subscription model, by its very nature, relies on constantly offering new content, often to the detriment of the overall quality of what’s available.

I was also wary of being locked into a system where my choices would be limited to whatever Microsoft are able to add to their service. Fortunately, I was given a free three-month PC Game Pass subscription when I purchased a new laptop, and so took advantage of it to try as many of the games available as I could.

As you’ll see, it was a bit of a mixed bag…

Starfield (5/10)

Being the most widely discussed exclusive, I decided to check out Starfield first and it was simply a baffling experience. Whether it be the space setting, that is made pretty much pointless by the constant need to fast travel, the enemy AI that is the worst I’ve seen for 20+ years, the myriad of superfluous systems (crafting, outpost building), or the dull main questline I was constantly left scratching my head as to what exactly the developers were thinking whilst designing this game. I stuck with it for 20 hours or so hoping it would get better, but it never did.

Cocoon (6/10)

I’ll admit that aside from a few exceptions (such as Portal) I’m generally not a fan of puzzle games, and as has often been the case with this genre I ultimately found this to be a pretty frustrating experience. Early on the puzzles are all fairly simple but once you gather multiple orbs it often becomes a mission of trial and error as you try to figure out the solution the developer planned. The aesthetic is great, and I’m sure puzzle fans will find plenty to enjoy, but it’s just not a game for me.

Sea Of Stars (6/10)

An unashamedly old school Japanese role-player, Sea Of Stars features some great pixel art and modern updates to the formula, but in the end it doesn’t really offer anything new. After a dozen hours or so I already felt as if I’d seen everything the game had to offer, and the second half of the game became a bit of a slog.

Cassette Beasts (8/10)

Cassette Beasts is a pretty blatant Pokémon clone but, with its vast array of beasts, the Metroidvania style exploration and fun cast of characters does enough to differentiate itself from Nintendo’s flagship title and makes for a very good game in its own right.

Hi-Fi Rush (6/10)

I heard plenty of positive things about this game, but truth be told the gameplay never quite clicked with me. The combat is decent enough, but the rhythm action aspect doesn’t really add anything and after just a few hours it all became very repetitive. Matters are not helped by the fact that there is a lot of wandering around between battles, with a character that doesn’t move particularly fast.

Arcade Paradise (7/10)

The washing and cleaning tasks initially prove fairly addictive and purchasing new machines with which to expand your arcade offers a satisfying award. The arcade games themselves, which you will spend a lot of time playing in order to increase your income, are, however, no more than passable in terms of quality and in the end I became tired of the daily gameplay loop before seeing this game through to its conclusion.

Rollerdrome (8/10)

Rollerdrome is a third person arena-based shooter, the twist being that you’re on roller-skates and performing tricks recharges your ammo. I had a tremendous amount of fun with this game and the unusual mix of genres make for a great combination. There aren’t a huge number of levels, but each contains multiple challenges and the additional lure of trying to improve your score means it offers a fair bit of replayablity.

Final Verdict

So, after three months of Game Pass what is my overall opinion? To be honest, it remains much the same. The service undoubtedly offers value for money if you’ve got the time to play at least a few games each month, but unless Microsoft suddenly start producing a string of must-play exclusives I won’t be paying to sign up.

I’d still rather pay for individual games on PlayStation, Switch, or Steam that I know I’m most likely to enjoy; especially since waiting until games are on sale means you won’t pay much more than you would on a monthly subscription anyway.

By reader drlowdon

The reader’s features do not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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