July in Sydney has been dominated by the lockdown. With no end in sight, Xbox Game Pass for PC sure has been a welcome distraction! There are few better ways to wind down after a full-on day juggling work and kids than exploring the goodness on offer in a catalogue of over 100 games! The following are my picks for the best of Xbox Game Pass for PC – July 2021 lockdown edition!
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The Best of Xbox Game Pass for PC – July 2021
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered
Racing games have come a long way since I was a boy. Car physics, environments and graphics these days are breathtaking! Yet, there is something thoroughly enjoyable about revisiting the style of racing game that hooked me in the first place.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered revisits the 2010 version of the extensive Need for Speed Series. And no, I wasn’t a teenager in 2010. But, the 2010 Hot Pursuit has its roots firmly in the brilliant Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, a game from 1998 and one of my absolute favourites!
If you have no sentimental attachment to the way racing games once were, then Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered probably isn’t for you. But, if you are itching to revisit a simpler time, when going fast and busting through police checkpoints were the only goals, and braking was optional, then you might just enjoy Hot Pursuit Remastered as much as I have!
Unfortunately there is no steering wheel support with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, so my glorious Logitech G920 racing wheel has been sitting idle while I play. Normally that would be enough to make me run away fast from a racing game. However… nostalgia. A keyboard was just fine in 1998, and it is just fine now.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Xbox Game Pass has always represented brilliant value, but the inclusion of EA Play titles stepped things up a notch again! I reviewed Star Wars: Squadrons in depth when it was first released last year, but for those who haven’t given it a go yet, go check it out!
Star Wars: Squadrons is another nostalgia-inducing game for those of us old enough to remember the glory days! It is a load of fun single player, but the real joy comes with gathering a few mates and joining online dogfights together. You will lose, badly. But you will have a whole load of fun while doing so!
I’m particularly excited to revisit Star Wars: Squadrons now that I am experiencing it through the amazing PRISM+ XQ340 PRO 34″ UWQHD monitor! The vast screen and high resolution is perfect for fully immersing me in the dogfights. For the little kid inside me, it’s a dream come true!
Bridge Constructor: Portal
I mentioned this gem of a game a few months ago and I’m pleased to say it is still grabbing my attention. It doesn’t get fired up every night, but probably once a week I settle in and see if I can knock over the next level. I have completed 40 out of the 60 levels, so each new one definitely represents a challenge!
There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from positioning bridges and supports in just the right way to see the test vehicle safely across. There is even more satisfaction in successfully sending the convoy across after. Oh, and there are definitely moments of rage-inducing failure that make me wonder if completing the game is actually possible!
Farming Simulator 19
This lockdown has definitely left me with more evening time to spend exploring the quirky parts of Xbox Game Pass for PC. The Farming Simulator series has somewhat of a cult following, so much so that Logitech have an impressive set of peripherals specifically for the genre!
Much like how racing games have managed to lure prestige badges over the years (I remember when you would never see a Ferrari on a racing game), virtual farmers in Farming Simulator 19 now have access to equipment from legendary brands such as John Deere.
Tasks include cultivating fields, sowing seeds and harvesting crops. I know, that doesn’t exactly sound like high-adrenaline gameplay, but there is something surprisingly engaging about the concept. Like most sims, the key to success is management and you can hire people to take care of the more mundane tasks while you set about building a farming empire. There is a multiplayer aspect to the game, with up to 16 players able to combine forces and… harvest a field… I guess? I’m not really sure, I couldn’t actually convince any of my friends to get on board. Yet.
Battlefield V Year 2 Edition
The Battlefield series is another huge win from the vast EA Games catalogue for Xbox Game Pass subscribers. The Battlefield series is the master of vast battles of up to 64 players. There are a variety of mission types, with Breakthrough being my favourite.
Depth is added to Battlefield V through four different classes of soldier. It’s fair to say that I am still learning a great deal about playing with each type (sometimes to the frustration of my teammates). Even with my general incompetence on the battlefield, Battlefield V is an absolute blast! About 90% of the time is spent trying not to die in confusing mayhem and 10% is working with an organised team to achieve a goal!
Blog of Dad Test Setup
Blog of Dad has been busy reviewing some of the best PC gaming gear around! Check out my 2021 build for a great balance between performance and value –
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600X
- Cooling: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Motherboard: MSI B550 TOMAHAWK
- Memory: 32GB (2x16GB) XLR8 DDR4 3200MHz
- Graphics: PNY GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition
- System Drive: 250GB Samsung 980 PRO PCle 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
- Game Drive: Samsung 980 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 801
- Steering Wheel: Logitech G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel
- Monitor: PRISM+ XQ340 PRO 34″ UWQHD Monitor
- Sound: EPOS SENNHEISER GSP 601 Gaming Series headset and EPOS GSX 300 External Soundcard