Xbox Game Pass Ultimate review: The best content deal in gaming right now

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November 2021

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is an all-you-can-play video game subscription service with exceptional value. It has evolved far beyond its Xbox-bound origins to become a subscription that offers something for everyone who plays the game, and is now available for console and PC game downloads, access to online multiplayer services, gaming giant EA and cloud-based A deal is included with the service. Which streams games to almost any device. It also delivers a number of Day One launch games from Microsoft’s own studio.

Finding the right version of Game Pass can be confusing. Microsoft offers several versions, but how features are sliced ​​between them, with only the $15-per-month Ultimate plan (which we’ll cut down on XGPU here), with all the benefits above, really make sense. .

It’s this collection of features for less than the cost of a 4K Netflix subscription that earns the Game Pass Ultimate Editors’ Choice award for 2021.

game pass ultimate

like

  • Unique breadth of features
  • Great for both console and PC gaming
  • list of 400 sports

do not like it

  • Available games change frequently
  • PC integration headache
  • Cloud gaming limited to 1080p at 60fps

choose the right plan

The plain old Game Pass is $10 per month, and includes a library of games ranging from the famous to the obscure, which you can download and play on Xbox One or Xbox Series X and Series S consoles. Like all of these subscriptions, games regularly enter and leave the library due to licensing deals, but Microsoft prefers the staple aura And Power are usually permanent. Even when a game leaves the library, though, you can transfer your progress to another storefront like Steam — not easily, but you can do it.

If you want to play games with online multiplayer, in most cases you’ll need a $10 per month Xbox Live subscription to play online against other people. It’s included in the Ultimate package, so you can already see exactly what plans Microsoft is pushing you towards.

Note that free-to-play games, such as fortniteXbox Live subscription is not required for multiplayer.

The $10 per month Game Pass for PC plan uses only the Windows Xbox app to download and install a subset of games from the full Game Pass library to play locally rather than stream. Since these are full PC games, you’ll need a gaming laptop or desktop with a graphics card and powerful-enough processor to use it, as well as a lot of hard drive space. Also included in Game Pass for PC EA Play, a subscription that costs $5 per month or $30 per year.

But the best value lies in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. For $15 per month, you get both console and PC game libraries, EA Play’s perks and discounts, as well as Xbox Gold — $10 per month — that focuses on online multiplayer games. Also you can play on phone, ipad or even mac xbox cloud gaming, for the enjoyer Both Console and PC gaming, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal, especially if cloud gaming continues to be a big part of the mix.

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game selection

Action-adventure games and shooter series such as Battlefield, Destiny 2, Gears of War and Halo make up most of the service’s list of around 400 games. By our calculations, action/adventure games made up 30% of titles on Game Pass, with shooters accounting for the other 15%. RPG and sports titles also had a good run, but horror fans and puzzle lovers will find a smaller selection (about 5% of the library). Nevertheless, Game Pass provides access to classic platformers such as Banjo Kazooie, matching and puzzle games, RPGs, as well as unique indie games. twelve minutes And hadis,

The games are sorted into categories so that you can easily find games that are family-friendly, action-packed or even the last shot in games that are ending soon from the platform. Game Pass is such a comprehensive, intuitive service — once you find the title you’re interested in, just download the game to start playing.

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Action games and shooters dominate the Game Pass library, but there’s something for everyone in its catalog.

Game Pass Final Difference: Breadth and Depth

For its intended purpose, Microsoft has unmatched advantages over competitors for a number of reasons. The company has a long history in gaming – Microsoft Flight Simulator 40 years ago and the Xbox launched 20 years ago – and it owns the DirectX graphics programming interface used by both Windows and its Xbox console. It has well-established game development studios and produces more independent studios every year, as well as relationships with every important game developer. And it operates a vast network of state-of-the-art data centers optimized to serve cloud applications: Xbox Cloud Gaming is as much about Azure as it is fun.

The key here is “pun intended,” as the XGPU wins only one of our two cloud-gaming Editors’ Choice awards: the other is Nvidia GeForce Now, The XGPU is great if you don’t already have a large library of games or if you want to play them on any device, making it a good choice for almost anyone. GeForce Now is great if you already have a large library of PC games and want to play them on any device at high quality and frame rates, making it a great option for more experienced gamers.

The two complement each other more than they should, and they require the least amount of customization work for developers, ensuring a rapid increase in the number of supported games. (It probably takes longer to sign licensing agreements than to prepare a game for either service.)

In contrast, most XGPU competitors only address pieces of the whole picture; For example, Google Stadia and Amazon Luna both have strong networks for streaming to multiple devices, but they have smaller game libraries because games are harder to fetch.

And an annoying irony is that Sony was the biggest take on cloud gaming and pretty much blew it away, leaving PSNow just as good, and relatively cheap, for the PlayStation as the choice of game library that Sony had. Doesn’t even offer the latest exclusives. The way XGPU does.

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Xbox Cloud Gaming lets you take your Game Pass games to other devices.

where is the lack

As a jack of all trades, the XGPU doesn’t seem to master every aspect. For example, its cloud gaming streams are still limited to 1080p at 60fps, while Stadia can do 4K and GeForce Now 1440p at 120fps.

And there are few things more anger-inducing than settling down to play on your PC and finding that the game won’t launch until you update Windows because Xbox apps are too tangled up with the Microsoft Store. — a major buzzkill that often prompts us to move on to other, non-Game Pass games.

It offers a remarkable number of new games and Day One launches, but the library also sheds games regularly. Like many subscription services, the game (or movie or TV show) you want always seems to be on the service you don’t subscribe to.

While it’s great that EA Play is included in the XGPU’s subscription price, it’s not so closely integrated. For example, on PC you still need to install another launcher and the family settings in XGPU do not apply to EA Play.

value play

When it launched, Game Pass felt a lot like Netflix in its early streaming days: an interesting idea, but a slim list. It is now the default release platform for major games from Microsoft-affiliated publishers such as Bethesda, and hit series such as Halo and Forza.

As Game Pass Ultimate evolved into Multihead Hydra, even without a subscription it’s hard to rationalize buying an Xbox. A 12-month subscription costs the same as three major new game releases (or even less, now that a lot of new games have jumped to $70). And more importantly, it gives gamers the chance to sample a huge range of games from developers of all sizes to solve one of gaming’s biggest explorable problems.

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