It’s August and that means the unofficial start of the video game new year is upon us. For many video game fans, they consider the start of August into the holidays as the time of the year when the biggest titles start releasing. Those big releases continue all the way into March until they start to tail off as we hit the summertime. That means that there are some really big names that we think everyone should be playing this month. Then of course there are the “free games” we all get with our subscriptions so there is plenty to play right now.
There will never be a situation where we don’t recommend the free monthly games. Even if they end up being terrible it doesn’t cost you a dime, beyond what is paid for the subscription, so there is no risk to at least claiming them and seeing what they are. They could be a diamond in the rough, a cult hit, or a game that was fun for the low price of nothing but would have been disappointing at full price.
Games With Gold (Xbox ONE, Xbox Series X/S)
This month Xbox owners who currently have gold membership, or Game Pass Ultimate, will have access to Darksiders III, YookaLaylee, Lost Planet 3, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves. No real must gets here, but for the low price of free, all of them are worth claiming for when there’s a weekend with nothing to play. Darksiders and Lost Planet are action games, while YookaLaylee is a pretty faithful interpretation of the Banjo Kazooie collect-a-thon formula. Mark of the Wolves is a fighting game so it won’t be for everyone, but anyone that’s already tired of Guilty Gear can give this one a shot.
PlayStation Plus Games (PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5)
PlayStation owners definitely got the rougher group of free games this month, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some fun here. This month’s August games are Hunter’s Arena: Legends, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, Tennis World Tour 2. While none of these are particularly incredible single-player experiences, with Hunter’s Arena being the only game that’s action-based, all of them should have an appeal to someone out there. Plants vs. Zombies in particular is loved by many and with the Olympics going on there might be an interest in playing a quality Tennis game. Hunter’s Arena is an interesting mishmash of battle royale and MOBA’s, but can only be claimed by PS5 owners.
Hades (PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox ONE, Xbox Series X/S)
Hades will finally be coming to PlayStation and Xbox consoles this month. It’s been a PC and Nintendo Switch exclusive since releasing in 2020 and it’s won numerous Game of The Year awards making it a must-play. Xbox owners, in particular, should be psyched because it is coming to Game Pass this month so they can play one of the best games from last year practically for free. Anyone that hasn’t played Hades yet really needs to give it a shot. Especially lovers of rogue-like games. Never played one? Don’t worry: this is the perfect entry point into the genre.
Madden 22 (PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox ONE, Xbox Series X/S, PC)
Yep, that’s right. They made another Madden! The latest NFL football simulation is the first one to be made with next-generation consoles in mind and while some players have grown frustrated with the series it’s still one of the biggest releases of the year. In this iteration, they promised an improved franchise mode, an improved homefield advantage, and the typical upgrades we expect.
12 Minutes (Xbox ONE, Xbox Series X/S, PC)
12 Minutes is a concept that isn’t completely unique, but the way it’s being presented feels different and fresh. The main character is having a nice night with his wife when suddenly a man in a suit comes in and arrests them for the murder of his father. These 12 minutes will loop non-stop until the player can solve why it’s looping and why this is happening. Described as an interactive thriller, 12 Minutes has the potential to be one of those experiences that can only happen in video games. It’s also worth playing for the star power in the voice cast alone, with Willem Defoe, Daisey Ridley, and James McAvoy all lending their voices.
Psychonauts 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox ONE, PC)
A sequel to one of the most beloved weird games of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Psychonauts 2 was a game fans have been asking more of for ages. Tim Schafer’s touch for the weird can be felt all over this franchise and this game will surely have more of it. The best part however is that it will feature an invincibility mode for anyone that can’t get through the game without it. This is a feature that every game should have.
No More Heroes 3 (Switch)
No More Heroes is one of the most aggressively weird franchises out there. The series, starring Travis Touchdown, is unashamedly violent and features humor that earns the M rating put on the front of the box. Of course, anyone that watches the trailer above might be a little confused by that sentence because it doesn’t match at all. The idea of a trailer that makes no sense is actually so perfectly No More Heroes that it should make any fans of the franchise excited to finally give it a try. These games are typically cult hits so the fans of it are going to be playing this day one, but anyone that enjoys a good action game might want to give it a try. Just maybe look up the previous games first to get an idea of what you’re in for.
If indie games are a genre then the Metroidvania format is the most common type of game within that genre. However, because it is so full of them that means the developers still making that kind of game need a hook that stands out Grime using an art style that fits the name it’s given, with a dark hole for a head, and the ability to copy enemy abilities just might be the hook it needs to stand out. The art style may put off a few people, and attract others, but as long as the gameplay is fun that should be enough to bring players in.
Lawn Mowing Simulator (Xbox Series X/S, PC)
It’s a simulation game about mowing. If that isn’t enough of a sell have you considered that they needed to make it a next-gen console exclusive because the game itself is too powerful for the Xbox ONE? As silly as the concept sounds, when the original trailer came out a lot of people said it looked therapeutic and enjoyable. With franchises like Truck Simulator and Microsoft Flight Simulator out there and immensely popular, there is no reason that Lawn Mowing Simulator can’t be a part of that relaxing genre.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut (PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5)
A Game of The Year contender for a lot of fans last year, Ghosts of Tsushima is nothing if not beautiful. This is one of those games that a lot of players said they spent hours just exploring so they could check out the gorgeous scenery. It was also a pretty fun game on top of that. The Director’s Cut promises to have more of that, and an expanded story, so anyone that never got to play the original will get a two-for-one deal. Anyone who did may want to wait for a price drop unless they’re a huge fan and can’t possibly wait.