I’ve been harsh on Microsoft for its lackluster choices of free Games with Gold offer through Xbox Live, but January is the month where I must eat my own hat. The two games offered are worlds better than what has been offered in previous months.
First and foremost is Sleeping Dogs, Square Enix’s open-world crime epic taking place in the troubled streets of Hong Kong. Any fan of Hong Kong cinema, which in a perfect world would be everybody, will find themselves living out their wildest dual-pistol and kung-fu dreams if they give this brilliant game a try. It was a sleeper hit in 2012 and remains one of the best sandbox games of recent memory. An easy recommendation.
The second game is another wonderful little game that I might have some controversial thoughts on. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is an isometric platformer packed with action and puzzles for the legendary archaeologist to dig through. It sports co-op gameplay, time trial modes, and an addictive point system which will inspire you to try again and again for a perfect score.
Where I differ from most people on this game is that I found it far more fun than the big-budget Tomb Raider reboot released earlier this year. I bought both for $15 and felt I got more for my money from this genius indie spin on the series. The replay value is out of this world. Too bad Crystal Dynamics has abandoned it after the reboot proved so successful.
Two great games, two more reasons to subscribe to Xbox Live. January also has a strong showing from PlayStation Plus, so let’s wait and see how they do against each other.