Gone are the days when I buy games on launch day — no matter how tempting Baldur's Gate 3 appears. I simply don't have the time. And games are getting more expensive, too. It also seems wasteful when I already have an extensive backlog of games that I have yet to start. That's why I feel video game subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass and Sony PlayStation Plus make perfect sense for me. These Netflix-like services let me try more games than I normally would.
The flipside is that you usually won't find the latest releases on these services. But occasionally, there are Day-One games, though this seems to happen more often with Xbox Game Pass. In fact, out of this shortlist of Xbox Game Pass games, four are Day-One titles. So you'll easily get your money's worth (S$10.90 a month for Xbox Game Pass or S$9.99 a month for PC Game Pass) if you just play a couple of these games.
Does Starfield live up to expectations as the year's most anticipated Xbox game? No. But it's still a mostly fun experience once you get past its clunky user interface and numerous bugs. I found the exploration to be middling, the planets and other procedural-generated locations all feel the same after a while. But the main and side quests are pretty solid, and worth spending your time on.
Lies of P
Lies of P could almost pass off as a game by FromSoftware. That's how good this Souls-like game — which can be summed up as Bloodborne meets Sekiro, but with killer puppets — is in terms of gameplay and atmosphere. You play as Timothée Chalamet, I mean Pinocchio, in a dark, goth-inspired city inspired by Belle Époque-era France. Lies of P even makes some interesting tweaks to the gameplay that I wouldn't mind seeing in a future FromSoftware game.
Sea of Stars
Sea of Stars wears its influence on its sleeves. It's a homage, a love letter to the classic JRPG titles in terms of design, gameplay, and, of course that pixel art style. There are some tweaks to combat and traversal for the modern audience, but this is a game that should be familiar to anyone who has ever tried a JRPG. It even features a few tracks from Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda. It's also available on PS Plus Extra.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Horror fans will be thrilled with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Inspired by the 1974 horror movie with the same name, this online survival horror game pits three family members against four victims in one of three maps. Whether you're playing as a family member or victim, each character has an ability, perks and attributes that can be leveled up as you progress. It's a scary multiplayer experience that works best if you're playing with friends.
Venba is the perfect example of a game that many of us would skip — if it wasn't available on video game subscription services. For a game priced at S$14.50 on Steam, it's pretty short at around an hour, which means you get less out of it than going to the cinema. But you'd be missing out. Venba is a lovely visual-novel game that tugs at the heartstrings, especially for second-generation immigrants. And you might even learn to cook some delicious Indian food while you're at it.
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