Happy New Year everyone! We think 2022 has the potential to be one of the biggest years in gaming yet. With so many big titles coming out, some new hardware, and a full year of the new generation under our belts, we can’t see a downside for this year in gaming..
As we enter the new year, we’re expecting another strong year for Game Pass as well. Not only can we expect some new releases to come straight to the service, but we’re also anticipating playing some all-time classics as they’re added to it throughout the year. January is starting off no different by kicking off the year with some bangers. Not really interested in what’s coming? Why not try what’s been on the service for a while. These are our choices for the month.
One New – Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
One of the greatest video game franchises ever, Mass Effect was the must-play sci-fi RPG/third-person shooter of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 generation of consoles. The game was revered for its multilayered conversations and dialogue choices that would impact not only the outcome of events in the game, but events in future games. It made repeat play-throughs a must and gave everyone a different experience to talk about with friends. It’s hard to explain now, but getting together and discussing what choices led to which outcomes was a huge point in the franchise’s favor back when it first came out.
While many people felt the final ending of Mass Effect 3 as a low point for the franchise, it’s still an experience that is worth going through. It’s a perfect game for Game Pass because it gives everyone who hasn’t played it before a reliable entry point. Anyone who hasn’t played it can jump in for the first time ,while those of us who haven’t experienced it since the originals can see all the upgrades that were made in the Legendary Edition. This is the absolute must play on Game Pass this month.
One Going Away – Kingdom Hearts III
The biggest title leaving this month is Kingdom Hearts III. The climactic finish to the Xehanort Saga, Kingdom Hearts III is what some gamers wanted for 15 years. However, many of them were surprised to see that all those “spin-off” games that had been releasing over the years were actually establishing the main plot of the third game. Was it worth the wait? That depends on who you ask. The ending of this game left a lot of people feeling mixed and frustrated, because while it closes one chapter, it left open another.
That said, we still recommend this game because we’re sure some of you have been putting off completing the Kingdom Hearts trilogy for one reason or another. We don’t recommend making this your first Kingdom Hearts game, but if you want to see the absurdity and go in completely blind, we can’t stop you. The game is leaving on January 15, so play it while you can.
One Staying – Unpacking
Unpacking came out towards the end of 2021 and flew under the radar. It started to make some noise right as the new year hit and unfortunately missed out on a handful of Game of the Year lists because of that. It’s following the traditional indie path of spreading through word of mouth and then getting more popular as time goes on. One of the reasons it’s been getting popular has been because of Game Pass, which lets people try it out.
So, what is Unpacking? It’s puzzle game where you unpack a room, but the puzzle is less about where items should go and more about learning new details about the person for whom you’re unpacking. As the games goes on, you learn more about this person and see how they’ve changed or stayed the same throughout the years. Where the game truly shines though is in the details. You can spot small recognizable pieces like a Nintendo Game Cube, or a divot in a painting from where the fridge door has opened into it. Finding those small details and experiencing the very simple and relaxing gameplay makes this a great game to pop on whenever you’re stressed out. We recommend at minimum giving it a try.
Games coming to Game Pass in January
Gorogoa (Cloud, Console, and PC) – Available Now
Olija (Cloud, Console, and PC) – Available Now
The Pedestrian (Cloud, Console, and PC) – Available Now
Embr (Cloud, Console, and PC) – January 6
Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Console and PC) – January 6
Outer Wilds (Cloud, Console, and PC) – January 6
Spelunky 2 (Console and PC) – January 13
The Anacrusis (Console and PC) – January 13
Leaving on January 15
Desperados III (Cloud, Console, and PC)
Ghost of a Tale (PC)
Kingdom Hearts III (Console)
Mount & Blade: Warband (Cloud, Console, and PC)
Pandemic (Console and PC)