Microsoft is not playing around. Ahead of the Xbox Series X launch, Microsoft is adding many new services and options for users, likely in a bid to convince gamers that they are the better choice once Gen 9 consoles are released later this year. Unlike Sony, Microsoft is clearly aiming their products towards consumer satisfaction, rather than short term profitability. If the strategy works out, Microsoft’s long term profits and number of users could skyrocket.
One such bid to stay ahead of Sony’s Playstation 5 release is Xbox Play Anywhere, a service that gives gamers far more value for money. The service allows gamers to play certain games on both their Xbox One and a PC at no additional cost.
In other words, Microsoft is now selling multi-platform games, which store all progress and achievements on the cloud.
That is insane.
And great for us, because there are plenty of Xbox games we would love to play on PC. Sadly, the current list of supported titles is pretty bare.
Here are five titles we would love to see available on Xbox Play Anywhere.
Halo 5: Guardians — First-person Shooter
You cannot have a wishlist of Xbox titles without mentioning the Halo series. The most recent entry, Halo 5: Guardians, is exclusive to Xbox One.
Why is it so hard to keep a continuing narrative set over multiple games on a single, static platform? Despite not being a fan, even I can see the value of making every game in the franchise available on Xbox Play Anywhere. Porting every entry to PC would be convenient for fans. It would also negate the anxiety of having to upgrade consoles every decade. Seeing as Microsoft seems to be moving in the direction of cross-platform gaming, it would make sense to ensure that all Halo games up until now are accessible to all fans (via PC). This would generate more interest in subsequent entries to the franchise.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game — Beat ’em Up
If you have no idea who Scott Pilgrim is, you need to get your life in order and watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The World starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (available on Netflix). Even though you could quite easily understand the game without the film, it’s an awesome adaptation of the eponymous comic book and you won’t be sorry you watched it.
Speaking of storyline, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game isn’t too keen on expanding a meaningful, symbolic narrative. The charm of the game lies in its retro-arcade aesthetic and anime-style fight sequences. If you spent any time of your youth in an arcade, you’d know this style of beat-em-up is meant to be purely competitive. The point of the game is to survive the 7 levels and defeat all 7 of Ramona Flowers’s exes, so you won’t spend too much time developing characters or finding the deeper meaning behind destroying a lover’s emotional baggage.
Instead, you go from level to level, beating the heck out of enemies in order to move forward. Although Ubisoft could definitely have done a lot more to make this game truly special, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game would serve as a fun distraction — or break — from story-heavy games that require time and emotional investment.
Lost Odyssey — JRPG
The first-ever JRPG I played proved to be so haunting that I became addicted to the genre. Lost Odyssey is truly a gem, and sadly only available on Xbox 360. I haven’t had a 360 for over a decade, but I would definitely pay to play this baby again.
The game revolves around Kaim, an immortal who has amnesia. Throughout the game, Kaim, as well as other immortals, learn more about their past. Together, they attempt to thwart an evil plan to destroy their world. Explaining anything else about the plot is useless, because, like most JRPGs, it is incredibly convoluted and overflowing with emotional angst. Suffice to say that the narrative’s twists and turns were both upsetting and satisfying in turn.
Lost Odyssey will easily eat away at around 60 hours of your life, but it is an engrossing 60 hours that I would happily repeat (the plot is so complicated that many of the nuances of the game have disappeared into forgotten oblivion over the years).
It would be in service of the genre to port Lost Odyssey to Xbox One/PC. I’m positive it would garner an entire generation of new fans who had no idea this game even existed.
Red Dead Redemption — Action/Adventure
Before the massive open world of The Witcher 3, there was Red Dead Redemption.
There is nothing quite like roaming the fictionalized American West (and Mexico) on horseback as gunslinger, John Marston. You can spend over 100 hours taming horses, bounty hunting, and gun fighting your way to the epic resolution of Marston’s quest to save his family.
Considering the massive success of Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, it is pretty surprising that the original is not available on current generation consoles or PC.
Fable II — RPG
With a new Fable game to be released on next-gen (according to the Xbox Games Showcase), it would be prudent for Microsoft to ensure that all three of the previous titles be available on Xbox Play Anywhere. The only game in the Fable franchise that is not available on PC is the second (and some might say the best) installment, Fable II.
It was Fable II that introduced Dog — a constant companion in this game, as well as in Fable III. The second in the series was also the first to allow players to change the protagonist’s gender.
Fable II is once again set in Albion, but this hero’s story begins 500 years after the events of Fable. You play as Sparrow, a homeless orphan with a serious vendetta against the devilish Lord Lucien. The main story revolves around finding three other heroes of legend. Together, you try to defeat Lucien and stop his plans to weaponize the Tattered Spire.
Aside from the intriguing plot in the magical land of Albion, the best part of this series is the British sense of humor that saturates every game. The puns, the satire, and the brilliant voice-over work from some of the UK’s biggest names are what makes this franchise unique. Hopefully, the fact that the upcoming entry will not be published by the now-dissolved Lionhead Studios will not impact on its quality.
If the reveal trailer for the upcoming game is anything to go by, perhaps the quality is only getting better. Are those Ian McKellan’s dulcet tones I hear? If he’s signed on, there is hope yet.