Xbox Game Pass Adds EA Play for no extra charge

EA Play coming this holiday to Xbox Game Pass.

You heard that right, Microsoft is partnering up with EA to add the entire EA Play collection to the Xbox game pass for no extra cost. You might remember EA’s service as EA Access or Origin Access, but it has been re-branded to EA Play.

You will soon be able to play the entire EA Play library with your $4.99 game pass subscription. That includes more than 60 of EA’s greatest games like Battlefield, FIFA, Mass Effect, and Need for Speed titles just to name a few. Also, yes it will be for both Xbox consoles and Windows PC.

In my opinion it would be silly to not have a $4.99 game pass subscription once this comes out. Also don’t forget new members can get game pass for only $1 for the first month.

Full details from Microsoft here.

Microsoft xCloud Out on Sept 15th

xCloud will be included with Game Pass and run on Android devices.

Microsoft had just announced more details surrounding their new xCloud gaming service. In addition to being able to play any game in their game pass library for a monthly fee, the cloud service will be free for Ultimate Game Pass holders. The ultimate game pass subscription costs just $15 per month.

Microsoft states that most titles in the library will be available on xCloud which includes popular games such as Gears of War, Halo, Grounded, Destiny 2, and upcoming games like Tell Me Why. Microsoft revealed a few weeks earlier that all their upcoming games will be immediately available on Game Pass.

xCloud will not be available for PC at launch and will only support Android phones and tablets. They have not yet addressed the situation of iPhones or iPads.

Microsoft also has some hardware displayed on their website that is designed to transform your phones into a full gaming experience by adding proper controls. This includes the Razer Kishi that mounts your phone and their mobile gaming clip that hooks your smartphone onto an Xbox controller.

Razer Kishi

Microsoft xCloud details can be found here

Backwards compatibility preserves gaming history like never before on Xbox Series X

Final Fantasy XIII Xbox Backwards Compatibility

Backwards Compatibility brings 4K resolution and HDR to games with up to 120 FPS on the Xbox Series X

Microsoft continues to impress with new Xbox Series X details. This time, Xbox highlights backwards compatibility (BC) enhancements on the new console. After 100,000 hours of testing, BC titles can achieve 4K resolution, maintain up to 120 FPS, and feature HDR.

While the improvements are impressive, the core of the program is to preserve this wonderful art form we all love. One of my favorite quotes from the update really gets to the core of why sustained backwards compatibility is important.

“In addition to preserving the legacy of our loyal fans who have been with us since the beginning, we enable entirely new generations of gamers to play and enjoy the timeless games from our past while respecting and honoring their creators.”

This is just one of the reasons I am passionate about Xbox. The dedication they have towards preserving past titles as well as enhancing the experiences they offer resonates with me.

Too many games on other platforms have been lost to older hardware that will eventually become inoperable. Xbox has spent the past five years developing their backwards compatibility program. You can even use the same discs you’ve owned from the original Xbox nearly 20 years ago. If you can’t find a physical copy, digital versions are available as well.

With every game being brought with you from the last three generations into the next, the future of these experiences is looking brighter than ever.

Wanna read more about how the Xbox Series X uses its impressive architecture to enhance your favorite games? Check out the whole update here!

Do you want to know what is already possible with backwards compatibility on Xbox One? Take a look at this in-depth analysis by Digital Foundry focused on the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy.

Source: Xbox

Unbiased Review: Gears Tactics, Not the Gears You Know

Gears of War makes an entry into the turn based world.

Microsoft has pulled the old trick once again, releasing Gears Tactics as their turn based game spinning off of the Gears of War world. A little different than how they created Halo Wars as a real time strategy game. Many compare Gears Tactics directly to X-COM.

Gameplay

The Gears of War franchise has largely used almost the exact same gameplay mechanics since 2006 with its original installment. I found myself losing interest after heavily playing GoW2 and a little of GoW3. Gears tactics brings a very refreshing and much needed break from the typical third person shooter style.

This game is immediately enjoyable from the start. I started the game in normal mode and it definitely has a great difficulty balance off the bat, you will easily die if you don’t actually put some thought into your moves.

Each character has a certain number of action moves they can pull each turn, such as shooting, reloading, healing, or tossing nades. They also have an interesting mechanic called overwatch, in which your characters (or enemies) can cover an area and shoot at anyone that moves through it.

Playing this game gave me flashbacks to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which I had beaten a little while ago. You have a set of main characters, and along with them, you can recruit a rotating pool of soldiers as well. There’s also a mix of classes such as support, heavy, sniper, etc.

There is no grid system that you have to move your characters through, which makes the game feel very fluid and open. You will also be using the good old signature GoW slide into cover pretty much every move, which is as satisfying here as it is in third person (so is the chainsaw).

Gears Tactics Trailer

Visuals

The game surprised me with how they blend the bird’s eye view with third person action views. I thought the graphics would be dumbed down like how most strategy games are, but when action scenes are shown, it looks almost exactly like a regular Gears game.

There were times where I thought to myself, “oh the animators/designers definitely cheaped out here, like when I chainsawed someone in the upper body and somehow his legs fall off instead, or when you rescue someone from a torture chamber and he looks fully intact and healthy. But nothing was bad enough to subtract from the experience, I just chuckled to myself and kept playing. Attention to detail is not this game’s strong suite.

This game can push your PC pretty hard; I am running it at 1440p, 144hz on ultra. It looks wonderful and as a PC player, I couldn’t ask for more.

TLDR

If you like strategy games or are a Gears of War player – don’t sleep on this title. I am thoroughly enjoying this and I would recommend it. The combat is surprisingly fluid and the level design is excellent in providing a challenge. Everything that was satisfying in a regular Gears game is still satisfying here – chainsaws, headshots, explosions, sliding around, etc.

You can get Gears Tactics on Steam, but I would recommend getting the Xbox/PC Game Pass from Microsoft for a much lower price.

Entertain Yourself with Xbox Game Pass for PC

Grab the game pass on PC for only $1 on the first month and $4.99 per month after.

Xbox game pass for PC has been around for a little while now, but it has been revamped with updates over the last few months. It’s a great time to re-explore all the PC games it has to offer.

New App and UI

If you are running a windows 10 computer, you might have seen your Xbox apps updating, disappearing, or changing over the last year or so. It seems Microsoft has been trying to find the right formula to properly integrate a game launcher into your PC. Even the current Xbox app is labeled as a “beta”. I personally am enjoying their latest iteration of the Xbox app. The game bar integrates well and includes a game pass specific section, so you can quickly navigate every game you have at your disposal. The social tab is nicely integrated as well and you can create group chats or DMs.

A simple and well organized interface

Some of my game picks:

There is plenty in the library to keep you entertained for a hot minute.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on some of these games!
Check out the Game Pass