The free games coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 as part of the Games with Gold program were announced Tuesday by Microsoft. Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers can look forward to a Sherlock Holmes game at the start of the month with a Dark Souls-ish action role-playing and the original Borderlands coming later.
The March Games with Gold kicks off at the first of the month with the adventure title, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment, for the Xbox One plus the real-time strategy game Supreme Commander 2 for the Xbox 360. This will be followed on March 16 with Lords of the Fallen for the Xbox One and Borderlands for the Xbox 360.
Naturally, both Xbox 360 titles are also playable on the Xbox One thanks to console’s backwards compatibility support. Those interested in both titles can purchase them from the Xbox Marketplace when they become free via a web browser and they will appear in the install list for the current gen console.
Sherlock Homes: Crimes and Punishment is an adventure game that goes heavy on the investigation side of the gameplay ledger. Players guide Holmes and Mr. Watson through a series of six cases to find clues, interrogate suspects, and deduce where the evidence leads. Reviews on Metacritic for the game were heavily mixed with it praised for the actual cases that needed to be solved, but knocked for sometimes clunky controls and a lack of challenge.
Lords of the Fallen has been compared heavily to the Dark Souls series due to its thoughtful tactical approach to weapons-based combat where players are forced to take it slow and learn from each death. The game follows a character named Hakryn who can be one of three classes – Warrior, Rogue, or Cleric. Progressing through the game’s story unlocks new abilities, but experience can be lost.
The reviews for Lords of the Fallen were mixed with some outlets giving high marks for the less punishing combat, but also received negative marks for being derivative.
Supreme Commander 2 was released to the Xbox 360 in 2010 with a revamped gameplay system that attempted to make the game more accessible to console players. While this upset fans of the hardcore original RTS, it did make the RTS easier to control with a gamepad. This is another title that received mixed reviews on Metacritic with positive notes for the game’s translation to console, but with low marks for missing multiplayer features and the graphics.
Finally, Borderlands was the surprise hit for 2010 with its four-player co-op gameplay, crazy story, and characters, plus loads of over-the-top loot. Gearbox Software managed to blend several genres together into a colorful shooter with a unique art style. It’s probably been played to death already by many gamers, but this is a good opportunity for those that missed out with the original game.
Borderlands does have some noticeable flaws, as mentioned in the many Metacritic reviews. One of the most glaring faults is that it’s just not as fun to play by yourself. You’ll want to grab friends to truly get the most out of the experience even when it is free.
As a reminder, Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360 is currently free to purchase from the Xbox Marketplace until February 29 as part of the February Games with Gold promotion and it is backwards compatible. Additionally, Styx: Master of Shadows for the Xbox One will be free until March 15.
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.
[Image via Borderlands]