Whilst the initial skepticism surrounding Microsoft’s PS Plus aping Games With Gold promotion may have abated with the recent inclusion of Dead Rising 2, it would not be surprising to hear a collective groan go up from the Internet following the announcement of Microsoft’s free games for September.
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 will be the next title available to download for free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers and is available from the 1st of September through to the 15th.
The second Game With Gold title for September has also been confirmed – Tom Clancy’s Rainbox Six Vegas will be available free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers from the 16th September until the end of the month.
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 : 1st – 15th September
Not to be confused for the most recent videogame edition of the worlds premier trading card game, Magic 2013 was first released June 2012. Essentially a stripped down version of the card game, Magic 2013 is a somewhat bewildering choice of title given the more reaching appeal of last months Games With Gold titles and the strength of September’s Playstation Plus offerings.
Even with an admittedly niche appeal, Magic 2013 nonetheless represents an accessible and enjoyable portal into the worlds longest running and most successful trading card game. Common complaints with the title include the lack of true deck building tools and a limited card pool though these limitations are the chagrin of hardcore Magic fans and not the part time Magic players which Duels of the Planeswalkers targets with its soft entry level and enjoyable multiplayer.
Ultimately though, if you have not heard of Magic the Gathering then it is probably not for you. This in itself highlights the problem with the decision to make Magic 2013 a Games With Gold title – those that are likely to enjoy Magic 2013 will most probably already own the more recent Magic 2014 or be avid players of the card game.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbox Six Vegas: 16th – 30th September
A franchise which was once king of the online console shooter, Rainbox Six has faded into relative obscurity in recent years with Ubisoft’s ‘it’ll be ready when it’s ready’ approach to showing off Rainbox Six: Patriots.
Happily, Rainbox Six Vegas is a fun, if not creaky example of the days before Call of Duty dominated the genre. Sitting somewhere between the low scale twitch shooting of Call of Duty and the hardcore PC shooter, Rainbow Six was built for teams of highly skilled players to show off their abilities.
The closest modern example I can think of is Battlefield 3’s Close Quarters expansion – Rainbox Six’s pace is liquid in that you are often getting up against cover, monitoring choke-points before then engaging in pitched, room to room battles. Rainbox Six rewards skillful players who know map layouts to a tee.
In a move which differentiates it from many modern shooters, players in Rainbox Six could stick to cover and fire around corners or down corridors. This addition alone significantly changes the ebb and flow of a round – effectively choking a hard-point fully would allow a team to take control of the game. This in itself changes the way players approach the game in that the best counter to one teams control of such a choke-point would be carefully coordinated flanking and teamwork – Rainbox Six always rewarded considered and tactful play in a way which Call of Duty does not.
Fond memories of the multiplayer persist even if, by now, the servers are relatively deserted. A spike in numbers will no doubt occur come the 16th of September which may, hopefully, prompt Ubisoft into showing off the latest iteration in this historic series.
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