Microsoft announced Wednesday the free titles coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in February as part of the Games with Gold program. Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers can look forward to one of the entries in the Gears of War saga along with a unique mash-up between a collectible card game, rogue-likes, and an action-RPG.
New free games will be added to Games with Gold on Monday, February 1, starting with Hand of Fate for the Xbox One and Sacred Citadel for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The former will hang around as a free download until the end of the month, while the latter will lose the mega discount on February 15.
The big guns of Gears of War 2 will then become available for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One from February 16 to the end of the month. It will be joined by the Xbox One stealth-action title, Styx, which will be available at no cost until March 15.
Hand of Fate was originally released to the Xbox One almost a year ago and is easily the most unique game in the February deck of Games with Gold. It manages to mix in deck-building that determines how a dungeon romping adventure will play out as an action-role-playing game. The challenge is just as much in the setup of drawing and choosing cards to play as it is in the combat itself.
The Metacritic scores for Hand of Fate hovered around an 80 for the Xbox One version. It was praised for its unique premise and execution, but lost points for a few technical issues at release along with a simple combat system.
Sacred Citadel is a side-scrolling brawler based on the Sacred franchise from Deep Silver. The game received a Metacritic score of 63 from its 2013 release. While it is a throwback to the days of pumping quarters into arcade brawlers like Streets of Rage, the gameplay and story don’t quite mesh well. It’s worth a try as a free download though.
Gears of War 2 is an interesting game to throw in for Games with Gold in February. It was included as part of the Gears of War Ultimate Collection for the Xbox One which gave all four Gears of War titles for the Xbox 360 away for free. Granted not everyone purchased the console collection, so this is a good opportunity for those that missed out on the promotion.
The second entry in the Gears of War franchise introduced the seminal Horde mode along with many multiplayer improvements over the original. The backwards compatible title performs the best of the four Gears titles tested by Digital Foundry. Only minor slowdowns were reported in some areas of the game.
Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth game that was a retail release for the PS4 last October, along with the PC and Xbox One. Players control the titular character, who also happens to be the first goblin from Focus Home Interactive’s fantasy world, Of Orcs and Men.
The game received mixed reviews and currently sits at 69 on Metacritic for the Xbox One version. Reviewers enjoyed the character and stealth challenges in Styx, but knocked the title over some control issues and flawed mechanics.
An Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is required to download games for free with Games with Gold. A 12-month subscription retails for $59.99, but you can regularly find it discounted to anywhere between $35 and $50 through online and physical retail outlets.
How do you think the February Games with Gold titles measure up for the Xbox One and Xbox 360? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Gears of War]