July 2016’s Games with Gold are…

It’s coming up to the end of June, and that means that it’s time to anticipate the next batch of free games that will be offered to Xbox Live Gold members next month. Microsoft announced their next batch of free Games with Gold rewards today, with July’s selection offering The Banner Saga 2 (which is now moving up its release date to July 1st on Xbox One and July 5th on PlayStation 4), and Tumblestone for Xbox One, both all-new indie game releases, along with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 and Tron: Evolution for Xbox 360. The new Games with Gold selection goes live this Friday, July 1st, so if you have yet to redeem Goat Simulator on Xbox One or XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Xbox 360, you have until then to do so. The Crew will remain a free reward on Xbox One until July 16th.

TBS2 - ArtThe Banner Saga 2 will be free throughout the month of July for Xbox One owners with Xbox Live Gold memberships, while Tumblestone will replace The Crew as the Xbox One’s second free game offering, starting on July 16th, and it will remain free for Xbox Live Gold members until August 15th. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 will be free for Xbox 360 for Gold members between July 1st and July 15th meanwhile, with Tron: Evolution replacing it as a free Xbox 360 reward between July 16th and July 31st.

The Banner Saga 2 is a dark and mature strategy-RPG, a follow-up to the original The Banner Saga, a brutal Viking-themed strategy-RPG inspired by classics like Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force. Previously released on Steam for PC and Mac this past April, The Banner Saga 2’s original PC release was highly praised for its return to harsh, but engaging strategy-RPG gameplay, superb visual style, further improved storytelling, and better unit management. While PlayStation 4 owners will get exclusive free bonus content when the game expands to that platform on July 5th, Xbox One owners with Xbox Live Gold will get the entire game free, with the game releasing on Xbox One to purchase for everyone else on July 1st.Tumblestone - Gameplay

Tumblestone is a cerebral new take on block-busting puzzle games, as players compete against each other in action-packed puzzle battles, trying to aim a laser and match three coloured blocks quicker than their opponent can. Aside from the expected competitive multiplayer battles, players can also take on the progressively tougher brain-teasers on offer in Story Mode, where they can stretch their noggins without the stubborn need for direct competition. Tumblestone will release for the first time across many platforms on July 12th, and will be free on Xbox One, starting on July 16th, and running until August 15th, for Xbox Live Gold members. Aside from Xbox One, Tumblestone is also set to release for PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Wii U, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 3.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 presents the second half of Team Rainbow’s efforts to oust a terrorist takeover operation from Las Vegas, Nevada. With the initial attack quelled, players now take control of Team Rainbow commander, Bishop in the game’s story campaign, in an attempt to stop a successive chemical weapon attack on the city, which may lead to an even deeper conspiracy that still has Las Vegas in its sights. The game also sports multiplayer modes, including tactical team-based online multiplayer combat, as well as a Terrorist Hunt mode that will pit players against successive forces of devious terrorist combatants. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 was received well overall, for providing more highly refined and enjoyable tactical shooter gameplay across its campaign and online multiplayer suite, though it was also criticized for being too similar to its predecessor, and not moving the Rainbow Six series forward in any meaningful way. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is also available for PC and PlayStation 3.RSV2 - Gameplay

Tron: Evolution was originally positioned as a loose tie-in to Disney’s 2010 movie, Tron: Legacy, and delivers a canonical story that places players in control of recon program, Anon, who is investigating a conspiracy for programmer, Kevin Flynn in cyberspace world, The Grid. The action-adventure-style gameplay blends acrobatics and combat with its exploration, and also incorporates Lightcycle racing, disc battles, and other elements of the Tron universe. Tron: Evolution also boasts a multiplayer suite, where players can undertake Lightcycle races, disc battles, and simple combat missions against one another. Tron: Evolution received average reviews when it first released in 2010, with its production values and faithfulness to the Tron universe being praised, even if its gameplay was seen as bland and uninteresting across all modes. Tron: Evolution is also available for PC, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable, with re-tooled, minigame-esque versions also being made for Wii and Nintendo DS.

TE - GameplayRemember, you must have an active Xbox Live Gold membership to redeem any free Games with Gold rewards, and maintain that membership to play any free rewards at any time on Xbox One. Xbox 360 owners however may permanently keep any Games with Gold rewards that they successfully redeem, even if they subsequently allow their Xbox Live Gold membership to lapse. All Xbox 360 game rewards are also backwards-compatible and fully playable on Xbox One.

This is another solid month for Games with Gold, especially for Xbox One owners, who are getting two all-new, highly promising indie games to indulge in. Xbox 360 owners are getting a pretty acceptable slate as well, even if Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is a bit more enjoyable than Tron: Evolution, but the Steam reviews have already pegged The Banner Saga 2 as an excellent game, while Tumblestone also looks to be great fun both solo and with others. The month of July may be pretty sparse as far as new game releases go, as usual, but at least these Games with Gold offerings should keep Xbox Live Gold members plenty busy, while they wait for the exciting slate of Holiday game releases yet to come.

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