Console gaming

5 Xbox Game Pass games to play while social distancing

Having fun while being required to stay home is easy!

No one expected 2020 to start the way that it did. In the past month, COVID-19 derailed our normal way of life, much like it already had elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, many of us are under curfew and are recommended not to leave our homes.

Still. who said that self-isolation has to be dreary? We have video games to take us away from unexpected stressful situations. With Xbox Game Pass, subscribers have access to over 150 video games to experience. Here are five of my favorite games on the service – you should check them out if you’re looking for something to play while stuck at home.

Yakuza 0

I’m primarily an Xbox gamer, but PlayStation and Switch are part of my daily life. Since 2006, the Yakuza franchise has been one of my favorites. The PlayStation-centric series finally made it to Xbox, and I’m thrilled. Those looking for a Grand Theft Auto style experience may be disappointed, but Shenmue fans will find a lot to love.

Yakuza 0 is a prequel to the original game that serves as an introduction to protagonists Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima.

Xbox Game Pass gives Xbox players their first introduction to the Yakuza franchise.

Players are treated to a gripping narrative set in 1980’s Japan, at a time when crime families are at war over an empty lot. Between intense action gameplay, hysterical sidequests, classic arcade games, and mini-games like karaoke, mahjong, poker, blackjack, baseball, and bowling, you’ll have close to 60 hours of content on your hands. Yakuza 0 is the perfect jumping point for Xbox owners to become acquainted with one of the best franchises available at the moment.

A Plague Tale: Innocence

If you’re looking for an excellent  third-person adventure, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a must-play game. Set during The Hundred Years’ War, A Plague Tale follows a girl named Amicia De Rune, as she is trying to escort her younger brother to find a cure for his lifelong illness. The duo are on the run from the Inquisition and a horde of rats that are killing everything in their path. Between these two threats, death lurks at almost every corner.

While most action games encourage combat, A Plague Tale: Innocence highlights how fragile life is. Amicia doesn’t have a health meter and can die pretty quickly. Fighting is allowed, but usually as a last result. What A Plague Tale does so well is that it makes every encounter feel meaningful. You’re playing as children, and each of their actions feels believable.

The 10 hour campaign has scares, twists, tension, memorable set-pieces, and an identity, unlike many other games out there. I was hooked all the way until the credits started rolling. It’s been five months since beating the game, and I can’t stop thinking about Amicia and Hugo. A Plague Tale: Innocence is an game that fans of stealth, action, and history will have a blast playing.

Afterparty

Going to Hell has never been so much fun! Afterparty is the follow up to Night School Studio’s masterful debut, Oxenfree. Players take control as Lola and Milo, lifelong friends who die and end up in Hell. The duo believes that their deaths are a mistake, and look to Satan for an explanation.

Fortunately, there is a way to go back to Earth. They have to beat the devil in a drinking contest, but the problem is that Satan is a bottomless pit. Afterparty takes the common perception of Hell and completely throws it out the window.

The studio’s version of the underworld is vibrant, lively, and honestly, a pretty awesome place to explore. The writing in Afterparty is top-notch, with some excellent comedy. Between Janina Gavankar, Ashly Burch, and Dave Fennoy, characters are memorably brought to life by a stellar voice-cast. Offensive, smart, and devilishly clever, Afterparty is an unforgettable descent into debauchery, with a surprising amount of heart.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Technically, this entry is a cheat, but the bundle is too good to pass up. Halo: The Master Chief Collection features the first four mainline Halo games, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo Reach. That’s 6 full campaigns with multiplayer for each game. On top of that, the collection includes every multiplayer map, the firefight mode, forge, and Spartan Ops from Halo 4. You also have the option to play cooperative online or offline.

Between 700 achievements, countless playlists, and so many different ways to play, this is a treat for anyone who enjoys the Halo franchise. Xbox and Halo are synonymous with each other, and if you haven’t experienced one of the best franchises in first-person shooter history, there’s no better bundle than Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Slay The Spire

Thanks to Xbox Game Pass, one of my favorite games in 2019 was Slay The Spire. It’s a roguelike card game that will test even the most seasoned gamer. Starting at the bottom of the titular spire, players must climb their way to the top, taking out enemies as they go. Players must deal with monsters, thieves, curses, traps, and tough decisions on their adventure. Dying starts the player from the bottom of the spire and forces them to start again, losing progress along the way.

Slay The Spire blends card-based strategy and the roguelike genre on Xbox Game Pass

Gameplay is simple to pick up but difficult to master. You have four characters to choose from, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and play styles. It’s relentless, challenging, and sometimes stressful, but it’s also fun and deeply rewarding.

Perfect for long binges or short bursts, Slay The Spire is your latest addiction waiting to happen. I’ve been playing it almost every day, and I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.

Xbox Game Pass is one of the best values out there. With plenty of games to discover, you’ll be sure to find your next favorite game. I hope you enjoyed the list of games I love, and maybe they’ll provide you with as many hours of fun, as they have for me.

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Andrew Gonzalez

I'm Andrew! I love video games and mainly play on my Xbox One, but also dabble with PlayStation 4 and Switch. When I'm not playing video games, I'm hanging out with friends, watching movies, rocking out, or debating which Taylor Swift song is the best. I'm a bit of a mixed bag.
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