October 2015’s Games with Gold are…

Microsoft has revealed the free games that Xbox Live Gold members can look forward to redeeming this October. As usual, two free games will be offered on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, though Microsoft is employing a bit of a different strategy for this month, and doubling up one of the games to show up on both platforms.

VH - Promo ArtRegardless, as usual, you must have an active Xbox Live Gold membership to redeem any free game rewards, and maintain said membership to play them at any time on Xbox One, though Xbox 360 will allow you to keep any free Games with Gold rewards permanently, even if you subsequently allow your Xbox Live Gold membership to lapse.

October’s first free game rewards will go live exactly a week from now, on Thursday, October 1st. Thus, if you have yet to redeem The Deer God on Xbox One, or Crysis 3 on Xbox 360, you have until next Thursday to do so, at which point, they will return to their original paid pricing for Xbox Live Gold members. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will remain free on Xbox One until October 16th, at which point it will be replaced by the second free Games with Gold reward for October.

With that said, let’s see what Xbox Live Gold members can snag free of charge for the proper start of Fall next month!

First, on Xbox One, Valiant Hearts: The Great War can be redeemed for free throughout the entire month of October. This puzzle-driven adventure game by Ubisoft was inspired by real-life letters written during WWI, and places you in control of several personalities simply trying to survive the horrors of The Great War. We reviewed the game for its launch last year, awarding it a solid 78% score, where we praised its inspired art style and emotional storytelling, even if we did take issue with a handful of tonally confused sequences and the general lack of real challenge. Valiant Hearts: The Great War is also available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android.TWD - Promo Art

The second free Xbox One game for October, which will be free between October 16th and November 15th, is Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season. This next-gen upgrade of the award-winning episodic adventure game, which boasts improved resolution and performance in contrast to the last-gen console builds, places players in charge of a new batch of personalities, set within the post-apocalyptic world of the Walking Dead comics. Taking control of former teacher and murder convict, Lee Everett, players must try to make their way through the harsh, zombie-filled world, while also looking after a little girl named Clementine, across five separate episodes of tense survival storylines. The first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead game has been immensely well-received, and even took several Game of the Year wins during its launch year of 2012. The game is also available for PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Ouya, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 4.

On this note, The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is also being awarded as the second free Games with Gold reward on Xbox 360 for October, between October 16th and October 31st, to be exact. This is not the first time that Games with Gold has offered the same game across both Xbox One and Xbox 360, though it is the first time that two different generations of the same game have been offered in the same month. Regardless, the Xbox 360 version of The Walking Dead is completely identical to its later Xbox One port, beyond a small downgrade in resolution and performance. It’s probable that this is being done by Telltale to increase the audience of the game and generate more interest in time for DLC release, The Walking Dead: Michonne, which is scheduled to launch this Fall.

MGSV - GameplayIn any case, the first free Games with Gold reward for Xbox 360 this October, which will be free between October 1st and October 15th, is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Previously offered as a free Games with Gold reward on Xbox One, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a demo-style prequel to the recent blockbuster release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Taking place in 1975, shortly after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, legendary hero, Big Boss must infiltrate a prison camp to liberate his allies. The game was well-received for its refined stealth-action gameplay and production values, though it was extensively criticized for being extremely short, beatable in less than an hour, and essentially serving as a paid demo for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom PainMetal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is also available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PC, and allows you to transfer clear data for bonuses to a copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on the same platform.

This is clearly a big month for story-driven games on Games with Gold, though, despite the fact that each of these games are great in their own right, a pessimist could rightfully call this month’s Games with Gold lineup rather lazy. Telltale’s The Walking Dead is fantastic, and an absolute must-play, but having it take up two separate slots in this month’s roster is indeed lazy, not to mention a bit of a cheat for owners of both an Xbox One and an Xbox 360, particularly with the backwards compatibility update dropping for the public in November. It would have made more sense to choose another Xbox One game, then just make the Xbox 360 version of The Walking Dead backwards compatible on Xbox One.

Likewise, having Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes show up yet again on Xbox 360, a month after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain finally launched at the start of September, feels weak and annoying. The game is not only very brief, and never should have cost money in the first place, but has already been offered as a freebie for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in previous months, so chances are, unless you’ve been stubbornly avoiding upgrading your console, you already redeemed it. At least Valiant Hearts: The Great War is a good freebie for Xbox One however, even if it was also previously offered as a free reward for PlayStation Plus members on PlayStation 4.

Keep revisiting Eggplante for all news and updates on Games with Gold, and other Xbox incentives.