Game Pass continues to be one of the best deals in gaming. Gamers know it, Xbox knows it, and let’s be honest, the competition knows it. It’s easy to get lost in the wave after wave of new releases, whether they be big-budget titles or smaller indie gems. So easy in fact, you might miss the myriad classics that exist on the service.
We mean classics too. The number of games on Game Pass that have defined gaming as we know it is staggering. Heck, some of them are just fantastic games that need attention. It doesn’t matter if you’ve played these, or if you’ve never heard of them before, these games all deserve your attention.
10 Populous / Populous 2
Populous and Populous 2 are very dated by today's standards. They encompass a lot of classic hallmarks that make them almost alien to the modern gamer. The most obvious being the incredibly invasive UI and somewhat clunky controls.
Beneath off of that, however, is the birth of a genre, and a really good time. Populous was the first God Sim, which, whilst an obscure genre, went on to lay the foundation for games like Black and White, Dungeon Keeper, and to some extent, even Theme Hospital. Peter Molyneux may be the industry’s most prolific liar, but he had some pretty great ideas back in the day.
9 Command And Conquer
Command And Conquer did not create the RTS. To say it did would be demonstrably false, and a little bit silly. That being said, Command And Conquer innovated upon the burgeoning genre in such a way, that its influence cannot be ignored. Few, if any games were as fast, polished, or deep as Command And Conquer at the time.
Even today, Command And Conquer is well worth playing. It has held up remarkably well, and this is made even more apparent thanks to the recent Remaster (which is on Game Pass). The remaster tarts the game up nicely, adds some quality of life improvements, and lets the modern gamer enjoy the timeless gameplay unimpeded.
8 Wasteland Remastered
Wasteland was, at one point, a sad tale. Wasteland lay the groundwork for many CPRGs, such as Baldur’s Gate, and more specifically, Fallout. It then just…went away. Without Wasteland, Fallout might not have ever existed. We don’t want to imagine a world where that became a reality. The best part about Wasteland? It still holds up.
Wasteland was always a phenomenal game that was begging to be explored, absorbed, and built upon. Game Pass has the remastered version of this classic, and as is to be expected, it gave it that modern spit and polish. As a milestone, it deserved to be remembered. As a game, it demands to be played. We mentioned it was a sad tale. That’s because Wasteland now has not one, but two modern sequels. They also just so happen to be on Game Pass.
7 Arx Fatalis
First Person RPGs were once a fairly common thing. Putting aside the obvious nod to The Elder Scrolls series, there were titles like Might And Magic, Eye Of The Beholder, and even Phantasy Star to some extent. Arx Fatalis is another, and it's a hidden gem that not enough people know about.
Set mostly underground, Arx Fatalis has you pottering around interacting with the world, its inhabitants, and its monsters. That last case is mostly through the subtle art of combat. What makes Arx Fatalis so interesting, however, is its magic system. Using a complex, manual rune system, you can bend reality and atomize your enemies. It’s deep, fun, and an absolute blast.
6 Fallout 1 / Fallout 2 / Fallout Tactics
Wasteland may be the first, and arguably best of the genre, but Fallout and its sequels deserve recognition too. The first Fallout is one of the best games ever made. The dialogue alone is so far above most modern attempts to convey a world that you can’t help but get absorbed into the world.
Combat is also fantastic, and all the modern staples of Fallout can find their roots in this first entry – VATs included. Fallout 2 is just as good, and probably where the series peaked, whilst Tactics is a pretty interesting turn-based strategy game that provides more of a beloved universe. All classics.
5 Dungeon Keeper 2
Dungeon Keeper 2 is the sequel to one of the most fondly remembered PC games from the 90s. It helped put Lionhead on the map, and, as a series, has had fans begging for a sequel for decades. Dungeon Keeper 2 is, at its heart, an RTS, but it does a lot of things different from your standard romp.
Firstly, the focus is almost entirely on worker management and base building. You have very limited control over your actual units, combat is highly automated, and the units you can recruit are not just a button press. Keeping your minions fed and happy is a whole other problem you have to solve, as is the ever-encroaching “good guy” expedition. There are many imitators, but none compare to the originals.
4 Doom / Doom 2 / Doom 64
What can be said about Doom that hasn’t been said before? Doom is arguably one of – if not the – most important games of all time. What Doom did for gaming as a whole is almost impossible to quantify. Everything from its gameplay, graphics, engine, level design, and even multiplayer has gone on to inspire and shape thousands of games that came after it.
Game Pass has the original trilogy – of course, we are skipping Doom 3 (which is there), because it's a bit naff. Doom, Doom 2, and Doom 64 are all masterpieces in their own right and should be played at your earliest convenience. Prepare to fall in love.
3 Morrowind / Oblivion
This one might be contentious because we dared to lump Morrowind with Oblivion. Depending on who you ask, you will get people telling you that Morrowind or Oblivion is the greatest game in the series. The truth? They are both stellar RPGs. Morrowind delivers a story and world so alien that it just begs to be explored. Oblivion is more grounded but has more refined gameplay.
It doesn’t matter which one you pick, because both of these games are timeless. Sure they are looking a bit dated graphically – especially Morrowind – but these two games are what catapulted the series into the public eye and laid all the groundwork for the 10+ years of Skyrim we have been subjected to.
2 Quake / Quake 2 / Quake 3
If Doom is a bit too old for you – maybe you don’t like the graphics or the lack of a Y-Axis – then Quake might be for you. Quake, like Doom, is almost unquantifiably influential on every conceivable level. This was one of the first 3D titles, predating the likes of Mario 64 by a year or so – yet it still holds up marvelously.
This is because of top-notch game design, level work, and gunplay. Few games can hold a candle to Quake, and Quake only got more impressive as time went on. Both mechanically, and in terms of technical achievement. Quake popularised speedrunning, Quake 2 lay some very strong foundations for the future of online play, and Quake 3 invented Esports and has code that was once considered to be a mathematical impossibility. Look, they are great, just play them. Heck, Quake has recently gotten a remaster and is staggeringly good as a result.
1 Age Of Empires 2
Age Of Empires 2 is, in many ways, the greatest RTS to ever be created. With just a cursory glance, you can see that it is a step up from the much-loved original. Take a closer look, and you will find a game that is so good, that its community is still shockingly active more than 20 years after it first launched.
Whether you play single player, multiplayer, or dabble in skirmishes, Age Of Empires 2 can, and will, suck you in. The now-defunct Ensemble struck gold here, and their legacy has lasted much longer than the studio itself. The game shows no signs of slowing down – even the excellent fourth entry struggles to escape Age Of Empires 2’s looming shadow.
Source: Read Full Article