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The best games to play on xCloud while you quarantine

Not sure what to play through Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service? Start here.

microsoft xcloud game streaming
Image: Microsoft

As we all continue to practice social distancing, it can be a bit upsetting for those of us that like going out and doing things. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of enjoyable things to do in your home. I mean, this is the age of game streaming, where anyone with a mobile device can play AAA games, harnessing the power of the cloud. Or, in this case, xCloud.

Microsoft’s game streaming service is a carefully selected cross-section of the best that Xbox has to offer, and the best part? It’s free, should you be accepted into the preview program.

The first thing you need is that all-important invite, so check out our guide for that. Once you’ve been accepted, here are the best games that you should be streaming to your mobile device while you’re not able to go out.

Yakuza 0

The latest game to be added to the xCloud stable is the seminal Yakuza 0. Step into Kazuma Kiryu or Goro Majima’s shoes and brawl your way through Tokyo, earning cash to power up. As you’d expect from a very Japanese game, there’s Karaoke aplenty, strange men, stranger men, and lots and lots of gangsters. It’s great and guaranteed to eat up your isolation time.


A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a story-driven game that might be a bit on the nose since it’s set in the Middle Ages when the Black Plague was scouring the European landscape. That’s not the only thing blanketing the land though, with ravenous rats everywhere. Use light to your advantage to pick your way through the throngs of rats, and watch out for the Inquisition, who want your little brother for their twisted reasons.


Halo: The Master Chief Collection

If you’ve never played Halo, just know that for most of the games, you are the near-unkillable Master Chief. The Master Chief Collection has six games in total, with two of them playable right now. See, Microsoft decided to remaster them in the order of the story told, which means Halo: Reach starts you off, before going into Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Get killing the Flood in one of the Xbox’s most memorable campaigns now on xCloud, fighting as humanity’s last stand.


Halo 5: Guardians

If you’re playing all these games in sequence, you’re already familiar with Master Chief. Halo 5 introduces Spartan Locke, who’s sent to retrieve ol’ Master Chief when he goes AWOL to track down Cortana, his prior AI. It’s beautiful, it’s more of the fluid gunplay that the series is known for, and it sets the scene for Halo Infinite when that finally releases. Get to it, soldier!


Children of Morta

In these troubling times, it’s good to take on the mantle of heroic adventurers and that is totally what Children of Morta offers. What better way to do that than as full family, the Bergsons, with all their individual skills and flaws, in a procedurally-generated roguelike that you can’t help but feel charmed by. It’s full of all the strong emotions that the current pandemic is eliciting, so maybe it’s therapeutic?


Gears 5

Don’t bother with the frame skipping Gears of War Ultimate Edition, although that’s on xCloud as well. Skip right to the latest episode in the grub-stomping, chainsaw-wielding cover-shooter that really started the genre. What’s better than gruff soldiers, huge fucking monsters, and a planet in peril?

Once you’re done with the campaign of Gears 5, head into the multiplayer where you can trash talk by reminding your opponents that they just got killed by someone playing on their phone. Nice. (Bet you read that last word in Marcus Fenix’s voice)


Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons

This lovely little tale of cooperation, family, and love is still one of my favorite narrative games of all time and now available on xCloud. I won’t spoil anything story-wise, just know that you can overcome any obstacle when you put your mind (and heart) to it. Explore fantastic scenery on a quest to save your father, with a beautifully-realized cooperative gameplay mechanism. You won’t regret picking this up.


Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Love classic jRPGs like Final Fantasy? You’ll love Battle Chasers, as once you look past the goofy name you’ll find a surprisingly deep experience. Trawl through dungeons, kill monsters and save the world. Seems familiar, right? The plot is really just a vehicle to keep the wonderful fight system going, but there’s enough there to keep you entertained without needing to keep notes, unlike the plots of many jRPGs.


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

After one of the most-funded Kickstarters for any video game, Bloodstained hit all the right notes for fans itching for an updated Castlevania experience with a modern twist and now it is on xCloud. It’s still gothic, it’s still 2D gameplay, but now it’s 3D models and tweaked gameplay for the modern age. Learn all about how a good jump mechanic can make or break a game, while exploring the Hellhold to thwart the seemingly evil Gebel, and the hordes of demons that dwell inside. Sounds like a jolly good time to me.


ReCore

If you love Metrovanias, you really should check out ReCore. It’s got all the jumpy, shooty, explorey, upgradey action you could want, with a cool-as-heck robotic companion that you can configure multiple ways to get around and solve environmental puzzles. Created by Keiji Inafune, of Mega Man fame, it’s a fantastically calming game once you get the rhythm of moving and fighting down.


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Maker, meme-r and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation and hoarding Reddit gold.

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