Xbox Game Pass is one of the greatest values in gaming today, as it not only provides Netflix-like access to some of the biggest games on day of release, but it also provides a great catalog of off-the-beaten-path games that you may never have tried unless they were on Game Pass.
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Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and while there are some games that seem like they will never leave Game Pass, many games are only available for a limited time and eventually leave the service.
There are seven games leaving soon, along with their current score on Metacritic (date not certain, but likely by February 28th):
While you should certainly try them all if you can (they are included in your Game Pass subscription, after all), if you’re limited on time, I suggest you try them in the following order:
#1 Octopath Traveler
Octopath Traveler was rather revolutionary when it released, due to its HD-2D graphic style, which has now been used in quite a few other games, such as Live a Live and Triangle Strategy, plus the game itself was very well received for both its gameplay and story.
With Octopath Traveler 2 releasing very soon (Feb 24), if you care at all about RPGs, you owe it to yourself to check out the original Octopath before it leaves Game Pass.
As an additional point of reference, IGN gave Octopath Traveler 9.3/10 and Gamespot gave it 8/10.
#2 Dragonball FighterZ
Dragonball FighterZ was developed by Arc System Works (of Guilty Gear fame) and took the popular characters of Dragonball Z and put them into a first class 2D fighting game with fast action and beautiful cell shaded graphics.
I played it using Xbox’s Cloud gaming service (since I have too many games downloaded) and it actually worked very well. Only a few glitches and it didn’t impact the fighting at all. Really fun game with amazing cell shaded graphics. I can only imagine what a new X-Men and/or Marvel fighting game could be like if they used this style.
If you like Dragonball or fighting games at all, you owe it to yourself to give this a try before it’s gone from Game Pass.
For additional reference, IGN gave it 8.5/10 and Gamespot gave it 9/10.
#3 Far: Changing Tides
Far: Changing Tides is a beautiful, calming yet involved side scrolling game similar to Inside or Untangled, but without the creepy dystopian vibe (or pulsing flesh piles). Your character is sailing a seemingly make-shift vessel down some type of river and you need to disembark from the vehicle and solve puzzles to open doors and clear the way for your ship. Far: Changing Tides is such a great game I’ll probably end up buying it after it leaves Gamepass. You should at least give it a try. It’s very good.
For additional reference, IGN game it 7/10 and Game Informer gave it 8.25/10.
#4 Crown Trick
Crown Trick is an interesting turn-based RTS-type game, where every action you take counts as a move, but it’s not slowly turn based like the games of old. Your character moves in real-time, but every movement is grid based and counts as a “turn” so the enemies move and attack with each movement as well.
Great cartoon-looking graphics and an interesting story plus fun gameplay make this a game you should really try before it leaves Game Pass. It’s a hard one to fully appreciate in videos.
For reference, while critic reviews are somewhat lacking, 86% of the more than 4,000 reviews on Steam are positive.
#5 Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation is largely based on the look and feel of the first Alien movie, which is one of its strongest qualities.
You play as Amanda, the daughter of the protagonist of the original movie, Ellen Ripley, and you are looking for information about your mother who disappeared during the events of the original movie.
When you arrive at the space station where your mother was last rumored to be, something is terribly wrong, and you end up in a very similar position as your mother did in the first movie, being stalked by a killer Xenomorph who can kill you effortlessly.
The graphics, sound and overall atmosphere are outstanding, but the actual gameplay can get repetiitive and frustrating after a while. Regardless, if you are a fan of sci-fi horror, 80s movies, Alien or any combinations of these, you owe it to yourself to at least briefly try Alien Isolation and see if it’s for you.
As a point of reference, IGN gave it 5.9/10 but 92-95% of the more than 36,000 reviews on Steam are positive.
#6 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Lightning Returns is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, and introduced a more action-oriented style of gameplay that was mostly successful at creating a compelling experience, but unfortunately stumbles when it comes to story.
If you played some of the other entries in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, but never got around to this one, you might want to give it a try before it leaves Game Pass, however it’s mixed reception indicates that it shouldn’t be too high on your priority list of games to play before they leave Game Pass.
As a point of reference, IGN gave it 7/10 and GameSpot gave it 5/10.
#7 Madden 21
Not that there’s anything terribly wrong with Madden 21, but with Madden 23 now on Game Pass it seems this is the least compelling of the list to play before its gone.
IGN gave it 6/10 while it gave Madden 23 7/10, so there’s an additional data point for you to consider.