Some games are definitive must buys – Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Dragon Quest XI comes to mind as recent releases that offer almost unanimously fantastic experiences. Unfortunately, there are also games that, on the other side of the spectrum, are a hard pass, like WWE 2K20.
Snuggled comfortably in between these two are games that, for one reason or the other, you would want to try but would wait for a sale before you take the plunge. They’re good but not that good, not enough for you to plop full dollar for it. Games that make you say “I won’t pay $60 for that but I would definitely buy it at $30”.
Enter The Medium, the first real next-gen exclusive for the Xbox Series S and X by Bloober Team. Our review of the game called it a “serviceable paranormal mystery despite the lack of action”, and for good reason. It wasn’t scary enough to be a really good horror game, but served as a great mystery and puzzle solving title, especially with its patented dual-world system.
The Medium’s launch price is $50, around PHP2,500, which is a rather big commitment to a game that only lasts around 8 hours or so. For a game that offers little to no replayability, convincing someone to try out the game is tough, and even tougher if you tell them to pay full price for it. There’s an argument to be made about how price should not be indicative of game length, but let’s face it, one of the bigger considerations for a lot of people getting a game is definitely the price point.
Game Pass is Microsoft’s answer to this dilemma, and for people in the know, Game Pass is currently the best deal in gaming, bar none. Game Pass is a subscription service that offers up a huge catalog of games at your disposal, and has been touted as the “Netflix of gaming”, allowing you to play an unlimited amount of games as long as you’re subscribed, with new titles added every month.
Cost of entry? $10 or PHP500 a month, $15 if you want the higher tier.
More than that, all Xbox first party titles will release day and date on Game Pass. Halo, Fable, Avowed, Hellblade 2… The list goes on. As long as you’re subscribed, you’ll get to play these games for as low as the monthly subscription cost. Coupled with the Bethesda acquisition and you’ve got a lot of day one titles for free, technically.
Back to The Medium. This latest title from Bloober Team is an interesting proposition, because for players on the fence, Game Pass serves the purpose of letting you play the game with a very low cash commitment. If you don’t like it, drop it and move on to the next game. If you did, good, your monthly subscription has served you well.
With an average metacritic rating of 71 across 65 critic reviews, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as a consumer with a budget. The problem with number ratings is that many consumers would judge the game by the number and miss out on many nuances, especially for horror IPs.
Titles like The Medium would be judged by their cover and sometimes by the first hour of the game, without giving it a chance to grow on you, which The Medium actually excels in during its mid to late game phase. Game Pass simply mitigates the risk, and lets you sample titles left and right with little consequence, and games that fall in this rating could be given a chance through this platform.
Game Pass has tremendous value if you’re a gamer who cycles through games on a regular basis. Even if you just play 1-2 new games every month, $10 isn’t as bad as $30 or more per title. If you are the type who is a dedicated NBA / Apex / Warzone player who can just play that single game for months, maybe Game Pass ain’t for you, but it’s always great knowing you can try a hundred other games for cheap, making it great for discoverability of some titles that you would normally not have touched.
All things considered, Game Pass is a literal game changer, and is a key success metric for Microsoft. Surely, 18 million subscribers on the service can’t be wrong.