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Happy New Year, folks. If you're anything like me, you'll have used the festive period as an excuse to buy yourself a new console you can't afford. So, what's in store on Game Pass, along with the other free games available for the new year? That's what I'm here to tell you.
That's right, I'm back with my favourite free game picks right now, including great games from various subscription services. You just can't get rid of me.
Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? I'm doing dry January, something I'm extremely excited about. Knowing I'm going to spend the whole month spry and chipper will give me even more time to churn through all these brilliant freebies every week.
Get Back In The Battlegrounds
PUBG: Battlegrounds is free! Woah!
The Battle Royale game gave the genre a huge popular burst back when it first came out. I played it to death and remained absolutely terrible at it.
Well, after rumours that the game would go free-to-play soon, it's finally happened! While we're still waiting on information on PUBG 2, you might as well grab yourself the OG for the low, low cost of absolutely nothing.
It's available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on the game's website and console storefronts.
Sort Of Civ
Galactic Civilizations III is a 4X turn-based strategy game developed by Stardock Entertainment. It's been pretty well-received critically and will be a great pick for fans of the Civilization series, along with players new to the turn-based strategy genre.
You aren't limited to humans fighting for victory and engaging in diplomacy though - you can choose to play as all manner of alien species, progress through a huge technology tree, and learn about the history and stories of all the galaxy-wide civilisations.
It's one I'll definitely give a try, particularly with the amount I played Civ V back in the day. I only stopped because I kept nuking my friends and they didn't want to play with me anymore, to be fair.
Galactic Civilizations III is free on the Epic Games Store until January 19th.
Garrus And Co
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass!
Maybe now is the time to give the series another try if you're anything like me and bounced off it when you became too annoyed that a leading character was named 'The Illusive Man'. Maybe you're one of those Mass Effect superfans who writes fanfic about Garrus and that big-eyed scientist alien.
Whoever you are, it's definitely worth giving Mass Effect: Legendary Edition a go. It's an iconic franchise for a reason, and while you wait for the TV show to come out, you can jump back onto the Normandy and start romancing the extraterrestrial creatures who inhabit your spaceship and who report to you as their boss.
Unpleasant workplace dynamics aside, you can relive the Mass Effect 3 ending too, something fans of the series have always loved, right?
The Outer Wilds
Coming in at number 3 on the GamingBible 2019 game of the year list, The Outer Wilds is one of the most critically-acclaimed games of that year. It's also one I never got around to, and have felt like I've been missing out on every time someone gushes about how bloomin' amazing it is.
Ewan's review sums it up, really.
"If I could get all of you to play one game in 2019, it would without hesitation be Outer Wilds. It’s a beautiful, melancholic game that speaks to the adventurer in all of us – perhaps more than any other game I’ve ever played."
It's free on Xbox and PC Game Pass right now and is best played blind, to the point that I've avoided learning too much about it for fear of ruining it for myself. It's a game of discovery. Ewan described playing The Outer Wilds for the first time as feeling like an "indescribable magic", and that's all I need to know to be convinced.
Persona 5 Strikers
I love Persona 5. For all its flaws, it was a game with characters I wanted to spend time with. It's rare for me to actually spend the ludicrous number of hours required to finish JRPGs, and Persona 5 did it for me. I even played Persona 5 Royal, sinking another huge amount of time I'll never get back just because I want the best for Ryuji.
Persona 5 Strikers is set after the events of the original game and offers you the chance to get back in the saddle as the leader of the Phantom Thieves. If you miss that rag-tag group of losers, that'll be all the convincing you need.
If you aren't sure, check out James' review. He describes it as "a fantastic game," and says "it embraces the hack and slash genre without losing that signature Persona feel". That's what you need, and it's available as a free PS Plus game until February 1st.
What a selection! From full-on freebies to superb subscriptions, 2022 is going to be a genuine delight. There's an obscene number of gems available for no extra cost to the extent that any resolution to game less might just have to be postponed for a month.
I hope your January is going well though, and do encourage you to live your best life. I'm currently watching Green Planet and treating myself to some delicious homemade ramen. The trick is to just absolutely drown it in miso paste. Seriously, the more the better.
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