It's already that time of the month where Microsoft is giving gamers the heads-up on what new games they can get their hands on for free in December through the Games With Gold program. The four new titles are actually all pretty cool and should keep you busy until Christmas.
Over on the Major Nelson blog they rolled out details on the four available games for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
There's Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition for the Xbox One that will be available for free between December 1st and December 31st.
The original Outlast from Red Barrel will be available between December 16th, 2016 and January 15th, 2017 for the Xbox One.
Xbox 360 gamers will have access to Outland between December 1st and December 15th. The game is also backwards compatible, so even if you don't have an Xbox 360 you can still get the game and play it on the Xbox One.
Last, but not least, is Criterion Games' Burnout Paradise, the open-world, multiplayer racing game for the Xbox 360, which will be available for free between December 16th and December 31st.
That's actually a pretty diverse collection of games. You have a first-person horror game in Outlast, you have a side-scrolling, action-puzzle game in Outland, you have a racing game in Burnout Paradise and you get an awesome open-world, action-martial arts experience with Sleeping Dogs.
Out of them all, Sleeping Dogs was easily one of the best games I've played throughout all of the seventh generation. In fact, it's one of the few of the many open-world games that I've actually replayed. The only other open-world title that I repeatedly played over and over again was Electronic Arts' _The Godfather _(The first one, not that crappy sequel).
However, in the case of United Front Games' Hong Kong gangster-drama, it just does so many things so right. The fighting system is actually easy to learn but complex and difficult to master. It's one of the few games that made fighting multiple opponents a real joy and it nearly rivals Assassin's Creed when it comes to cinematically dispatching multiple enemies at one time. That's not to mention that there are some cool John Woo-inspired shootouts, a great set of racing mini-games and tons of smaller side-quests to complete.
Sleeping Dogs was probably the first open-world game I played where I sought out and completed every single side-quest because I enjoyed it so much. It's a really, really amazing game.
My only worry about the free games is that Burnout Paradise was a ghost town the last time I played it a few years back. A large part of the game was reliant on the multiplayer aspect, but with no one playing it's going to be tough to convince people to dive back in. Maybe giving the game away for free will revive the online community? It would be a cool way to spend Christmas because it was easily one of Criterion's best, not quite as good as Burnout: Revenge, but it's good.
Once again, the free Games With Gold are only available for those who are Xbox Live Gold subscribers.