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I Tried Xbox Games For The First Time, Here’s How It Went

I Tried Xbox Games For The First Time, Here’s How It Went

From Halo to Forza, Xbox is full of gems that were incredible to experience for the first time.

In all my 16 years of playing video games, I’ve somehow managed to maintain a rather sheltered existence when it comes to the sort of titles I’ve played. Until this year, I’d not actually experienced anything beyond the (mostly) colourful and friendly realms of Nintendo, which, I know, is a sin in and of itself.

Buying a PS5 changed things for me - gone were the days of only having Mario, Link, Kirby and the like to hang out with, Aloy, Ellie and Kratos are in town now. And broadening my horizons instilled me with a newfound curiosity for what dwelled on the other side - what treasures did Xbox hold? There was only one way to find out.

But before we get into it, take a look at this super satisfying Xbox 360 restoration below. 

And that way was continuing to not buy an Xbox, because holy moly I could not fit another chungus of a console next to my TV now if I tried - that aforementioned PS5 already made me unplug my Wii U, I couldn’t take any more loss. Instead, I took on a laptop built with the sole purpose of being an Xbox Game Pass machine - reviewed and then generously donated by GAMINGbible’s own James Daly (thanks, James).

With this, I finally have the power of Game Pass in my hands, and oh boy does it put PS Plus to shame. Even though the laptop is built for cloud streaming, so I’m limited to the titles that can be played via the cloud, there’s still an unbelievable amount of choice - it blows my mind how soon subscribers can get access to massive new titles, and that Microsoft doesn't lose too much money in the process. No, this isn’t an ad, I’m genuinely just impressed.

Deciding to kick things off with the most Xbox game I could think of, I commenced my journey with a classic. I started with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and my first thoughts? “Oh my god, it’s the music.”

After giving the title screen the time and respect it deserves, I was thrown into the action, and thoroughly enjoyed just how unstoppable Master Chief feels. A cool, stoic hero, respected by his comrades, and a hero to all. Powerful, brave, and unflinching in the face of danger. And then I drove off a cliff. 

The Warthog, my new greatest enemy. /
Xbox Game Studios.

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure how that one happened. As soon as I got given the Warthog, blinded by the power that came with being able to operate a vehicle, things started to go a bit wrong. I hurtled my way down the tunnels of the Halo Terminal, crashing into pretty much every wall on my way, and eventually came to what I soon discovered was a sheer drop. After poor Master Chief brushed himself off, I activated the bridge like you’re supposed to, and continued on my way, and recommenced crashing into everything. It was a good time, and even from my short time playing, I can see why people enjoy this series so much. 

Hungry to catch up with more of Xbox’s two decades of history, I decided to move on to something more recent, and next found myself crashing into more things I shouldn’t have been in Forza Horizon 5. Despite losing some visual clarity thanks to streaming the game, holy moly, the environments in this one are gorgeous. It’s a shame I accidentally destroyed so much of it by ploughing into it with my car. 

Despite that though, this one is so satisfying to play. For a start, the soundtrack seems to be full of non-stop bangers, and I was pleasantly surprised that there’s an actual world to explore here in your car, rather than being confined to defined tracks - for some reason, that detail had passed me by in everything else I’d heard about the game. TL;DR, I now understand how people pour hundreds of hours into this title. 

Forza Horizon 5 is visually stunning. /
Xbox Game Studios.

After sufficiently proving that I should never be trusted at the wheel of a vehicle again, I decided to venture to something a little less fast paced, and found myself in another shooter, albeit of a very different kind to Halo. Namely, I was shooting pictures of dogs in Pupperazzi, which wins the award for 2022’s best punny game name. 

This one does exactly what it says on the tin - see the dogs, pet the dogs, take pictures of the dogs, repeat. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, or on the same level as the likes of Forza in really any way, but does that matter? Absolutely not. Seeing low-poly dogs wearing hats was all I needed for a kick of serotonin, and I love that Game Pass is as full of simple feel-good titles like this one as well as its massive AAA titles. That, and I adore that it completely contradicts every idea of an Xbox game that my older family members had when I was growing up. No big guns or shouty, swearing characters here.

Snapping pictures of dogs, what could be better? /
Kitfox Games.

Finally, I ended up on the title screen of what’s quickly entered the running for my game of the year - Tunic. This gorgeous indie action-adventure is one that I had my eye on since its release, but until now, I’d not had the platform to play it. Until now

This gem is so much more than a Zelda clone with a cute fox on the front (although the fox is very cute) - it’s such a fantastically thought-out treasure-trove of a game. With hidden paths tucked away in basically every corner of the world, and pages of an oh-so-nostalgic game manual scattered around to discover, the whole thing oozes with charm and had me hooked in a way I wasn’t anticipating at all.

Tunic is super charming, and the fox is ridiculously cute. /

I think, all in all, that’s probably my biggest takeaway from my first steps into the world of Xbox, or rather, Game Pass specifically. There’s just such a variety of stuff to explore here, including titles you might never have thought to try if they weren’t just sat there, or something you end up loving way more than you’d ever have expected. It’s genuinely like having a whole pick-n-mix of games at your fingertips - maybe the cloud gaming experience helped out here, given that I didn’t have to download anything, but it’s just so easy to jump into something, give it a try, and if you love it, great, and if not, it’s just one of so many things available as part of a subscription service you’ve already paid for.

And look, I know that I’m late to the party, and that the vast majority of people out there were on board with all this already, but I’m having a really great time, and I’m just glad my induction to this corner of gaming happened late rather than never.

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft Game Studios, Xbox Game Studios

Topics: Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft