With only a week left in arguably the greatest month of the year (happy birthday to me, remember?), it’s no surprise that the folks at Xbox have already revealed September’s Games With Gold lineup.

As always, Xbox One’s Gold subscribers have access to four games, since every Xbox 360 title offered through Games With Gold supports backwards compatibility.

Xbox One owners will be able to pick up Earthlock: Festival of Magic, which is a brand new turn-based role-playing game that was successfully funded via Kickstarter back in 2014, by developer Snowcastle Games.

According to the project page, you’ll “Enter a beautiful world haunted by its fateful past and join a party of unlikely heroes on their journey to rescue Amon’s uncle from an ancient cult and uncover the secret of the Earthkey.

Aesthetically, it reminds me of a more westernized take of the Tales series, but given its turn-based nature I highly doubt that’s where they drew their inspiration from.

As an RPG fan, this is the title that intrigues me the most.

Also up for grabs on the Xbox One is the first entry in the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy, China.

Abandoning the series’ 3D exploratory nature in favor of a 2D story-driven stealth game is a neat idea for a mere spin-off, but even as a fan of the core series I just couldn’t get in to China. The artfully designed cut-scenes were great and I thought the central character was fine, but the gameplay itself needed a little more time under the microscope.

I’m not sure if things got better with Chronicles‘ Russia or India chapters, since China clearly didn’t hold my attention. Maybe I’ll give it a second chance, though.

mirrorsedge

On the 360 side of things, Xbox Live Gold subscribers will have access to the first-person parkour platformer Mirror’s Edge (the original, not this year’s reboot).

This is one of those games that received a lot of hype, but didn’t connect with me when I eventually played it for myself. Although it looks pretty, I felt the controls were too cumbersome to be enjoyable and eventually called it quits after roughly two hours.

Also available on Xbox 360 is the open-world arcade racer, Forza Horizon. With the third game in the series slated to release on September 27th, this’ll be a great opportunity for the uninitiated to get their feet wet.

Since I’m genuinely terrible at racing sims, I’ve always preferred the Horizon series to the core Forza Motorsport experience.

So how about it, folks? See anything interesting?

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13 thoughts on “Xbox Games With Gold for September 2016 Announced

  1. Did I just see a current day turn based RPG?? That’s fantastic since I feel like a lonely curmudgeon since it seems like I’m one of the fes people who still likes those where everyone else either prefers or is okay with action ones. Ah I won’t start the rant that you don’t deserve. I’m happy to see it should suffice ;)

    Even though it’s not my birthday month, I 100% agree with you about September lol. It’s been my favorite month/time of year for a long time. I’m not even sure why, but I love summer’s end, and I loved it even before I found out that FFVII’s North America release was on 9/7/1997. That little tidbit just made me love September more! Happy early birthday! I hope you’re planning something fun :)

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    • Oh, I meant August is my favorite month (my birthday was on the 20th), haha.

      I *love* turn-based RPGs, since it’s the era I grew up in, and thankfully there’s still plenty to choose from on modern consoles. Perhaps the biggest JRPG coming our way, Persona 5, is fully turn-based, not to mention I Am Setsuna, the fairly recent Pier Solar and the Great Architects, and the 3DS’s Bravely Second. Dungeon crawler RPGs are making waves too, like the Etrain Odyssey series, Stranger of Sword City, and Persona Q, which all have turn-based combat systems. Developer Compile Heart (and their in-house publisher Idea Factory) churn out new turn-based RPGs on the regular, like Fairy Fencer F, Hyperdimension Neptunia, Megadimension Neptunia VII, etc., so it’s nice to see developers still feel the need to sate our desires for the old-school feel of menu surfing.

      You’re not alone!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oops! Well August is still *close* to September lol, but you remind me of what my brother does with his birthday. He’s a July baby, and he calls it “the month of awesome,” and celebrates the entire time so I fully approve.

        Yassss! Omg I’m so happy to hear that. I…just have a huge issue with action RPGs replacing turn based. I sort of consider Legend of Zelda a more action based RPG so I can’t knock the entire sub-genre since I absolutely love LoZ, but I’m much prefer to watch it than to play it (even though I’m not awful at playing). I don’t have an issue with them if that’s what you like, but my biggest gripe is that Squeenix is going that way, and it really bums me out :( One of the selling points of Final Fantasy for me was the fact it was turn based, and while combat was important/necessary, it was more strategic and I could focus on the stories, which I loved. The fact that the remake is going to more than likely be action based really upsets me, and when I read how they said that “turn based is outdated” my heart just sank. It’s like…I get that they have to appeal to younger players to stay competitive, but it’s the old school gamers that are their foundation, and in many ways, they seem to be alienating their fan base.

        Anyway, I’m glad I’m not alone! I am Setsuna is on my list to play!

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      • I Am Setsuna is Square Enix, and they’re releasing a batch of Dragon Quest games on 3DS soon, so turn-based isn’t entirely dead… just maybe to Final Fantasy, which is unfortunate. How fucking AWESOME would it be if the next FF was a hand-crafted pixely retro turn-based RPG? They could make a monster game that way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny; I’m finding how much Squeenix has their hands in so many things. Someone posted about the company Taito, and I googled the company just to see, and they’re not owned by Squeenix now.

        *grumble* Seriously why end turn based on your flagship game *grumble*

        Have you ever seen the 8-bit demo someone made of FFVII? O.M.G. This is just showing my gamer age, but I would never stop throwing money at them. I know it’s going backwards, but it would be so adorable and quaint, and sprites just seem to have more of an enduring graphical quality than the polygons, which seem even more outdated. Sprites are pretty timeless whereas the polygons look really dated. I don’t personally care and get used to it fairly quickly, but 8-bit sprites would be amazing.

        I can’t wait to see this DQ re-release! I need a 3DS so badly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you checked out Pier Solar and the Great Architects? It’s a solid sprite-based love letter to JRPGs. Came out on more modern consoles in 2014, but the team actually made it for the Sega CD and Dreamcast way after both consoles died a painful death. Really fun game.

        Cosmic Star Heroine is another sprite-based RPG, but that one isn’t out yet. I think it’s this year, maybe next? Axiom Verge has AMAZING sprites in it and came out last year. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but Hyper Light Drifter’s sprites look like they took 10 years to make, lol.

        I love me some sprites!

        Apparently sprite work is arduous and expensive, so not a lot of developers do it anymore. At first glance it looks like it’d be much easier than crafting polygons, but that’s definitely not the case. Explains a lot, really.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just added them to my list! Ah Dreamcast. That’s how I played Grandia II. I wonder if that game is available anywhere else. I’d love to play back through it in addition to Grandia (I), which I’ve never seen.

        I have Hyper Light Drifter on my radar from a review by the Well-Red Mage! That looks absolutely amazing.

        Wow, I never would’ve guessed that! I can understand why it’s not as popular though since it’s seen as more antiquated AND it’s more work, but I still think they’re timeless.

        Thanks for the leads!

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      • Well-Red Mage is great, haha. Grandia 2 just came out on PC via Steam earlier this year, actually. Grandia 1 is available on PS3 and Vita as a PSone Classic, I think?

        Hyper Light Drifter has that look and feel that I love, but I hear it’s brutally difficult… and that’s not a selling point for me. That’s literally the only thing preventing me from spending the full $20 on it, though I’m sure it deserves it for the pixel work and soundtrack alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s fantastic because I have a PS2 and a Steam account!

        Aw yeah that turns me off, too. I’m okay with a challenge, but I don’t like when it’s more impossible than The Impossible Game. I may see if I can find an LP of it so I don’t have to wallow in my own failure.

        Liked by 1 person

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