Starting tomorrow, December 1, Xbox Live Gold gamers can pick up a free copy of the original "Gears of War" on their Xbox 360s as part of Microsoft's ongoing Games with Gold promotion. And on December 16, "Shoot Many Robots" becomes available for free.
As you may recall, Microsoft promised at this year's E3 conference that it would be giving Xbox Live Gold subscribers two free Xbox 360 games each month. But it was originally supposed to be an offering that ended after the launch of Xbox One this month. Microsoft recently decided, however, to make it an ongoing offering.
Each Games with Gold giveaway is a time-limited download. So you can download the first of this month's offerings from December 1 (tomorrow) through December 15. And then the next from December 16 through December 30.
So what are this month's games?
Starting December 1: Gears of War
Normal price: $19.99
This AAA title from 2006 was Microsoft's attempt to get a second "Halo"-type franchise for its then-still-new Xbox 360 console. And it was successful, at least in single player form: As I noted in my review in December 2006, "Gears of War is the real deal, offering the best overall graphics and sound, and most immersive game play of any Xbox 360 game. It is, beyond question, the best overall game of the year, regardless of platform, and is quickly on its way to Classic status. Gears of War is a stunning, epic masterpiece."
Gears went on to spawn two sequels, and a Games for Windows Live port that added a new level that the game designers at Epic said couldn't be made to work at the time on the 360. You can check out all of my Gears of War coverage in Gears of War: A Look Back.
Starting December 16: Shoot Many Robots
Normal price: $9.99
This one I'm unfamiliar with. According to Microsoft, it is "an onslaught of innovative cross-genre action that has multiple players working together to fight through an intense and chaotic robot uprising.
But IGN describes the game as "bad," a 2.5D side-scroller that is "mindless junk." Sounds like a blast from the past.