With the Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda now finalised, Xbox users are in for a real treat over the weekend. Subscribers to the excellent Xbox Game Pass service are about to get an influx of classic Bethesda titles including hits from The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM and more. While some titles were already available for subscribers, the entire Bethesda catalogue will be available on the platform on Saturday.
Bethesda’s got a pretty good track record, but not every game is an instant classic. If you’re new to Bethesda titles, you’ll want to check out the very best games from the publisher.
Here’s what you should check out after the full catalogue launches on Xbox Game Pass on Saturday.
Prey is an incredible and atmospheric first person shooter where players are trapped on a spaceship with an army of rogue, shapeshifting aliens. It’s a great set-up, but Prey goes far beyond it by weaving in a subtle philosophical exploration of what it means to be human. The ‘everything can be a Typhon’ gameplay also means there’s plenty of shocks along the way. But what’s most surprising about Prey is how underrated it really is.
Reception to the game was less than enthusiastic at launch — and arguably, it still hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Prey is a great game, and a near-perfect Sci-Fi thriller.
If you’re looking for a fantastic adventure with twists and turns along the way, Prey should absolutely be on your list. It’s the freshest game Bethesda has published in years.
4. Fallout: New Vegas
The battle over which Fallout game is the best will rage on long after the franchise is gone. But there is a definitive answer. Fallout: New Vegas is the best, no questions asked. This is a game that’s got everything. A wild plot about capitalist tycoons, modern day cowboys, a poker syndicate run out of a dusty old desert and giant mutant raiders. What more could you want?
While New Vegas is starting to look very dated, everything else about the game holds up. It’s a rootin’ tootin’ crime thriller well worth diving into, especially if you’re a fan of the Sci-Fi/Western genre. The game gets pretty weird, and that’s why we love it so much.
New Vegas forever.
3. DOOM (2016)
The DOOM reboot of 2016 took everyone by surprise. After a decade-long DOOM absence, players got a game that completely eclipsed their expectations at launch and brought the franchise into a brand new era.
While the bloody violence may be a bit too over the top for some players, there’s still a certain satisfaction to be found in looting, shooting and murdering your way through hordes of demons on your way through hell. It’s certainly cathartic.
Now, murder is all well and good but where DOOM shines is its level design. While it’s easy to just mindlessly carve your way through demonspawn, the game offers a variety of pathways and secrets to discover via ‘open world’ style levels and puzzle platforming.
It’s a hard balance to get right, but DOOM does it so, so well.
2. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Like DOOM, the Wolfenstein franchise had a rocky few years before Bethesda got involved. So when Wolfenstein: The New Order launched, it completely blew away every memory of bad Wolfensteins past and established a new canon for the series.
Rather than focusing on the supernatural side of the franchise, New Order focussed on what made the original games famous: killing a whole lot of Nazis. And boy howdy, this game does killing Nazis so well.
But there’s also a nuance in the game that makes it fascinating. B.J. Blazkowicz was given a soul and a voice in New Order. He was finally allowed to tell his story. As New Order unfolds, you see the human side of Wolfenstein that past titles tried to avoid — and it’s a beautiful, terrible thing to witness. It’s a beautiful, terrible thing to witness, consequently making New Order one of id’s best games.
1. Dishonored 2
Dishonored 2 is a perfect game. The whole franchise is good, but Dishonored 2 represents the pinnacle of the franchise’s unique mechanics, story and world-building.
While the series started off as a simple stealth-fantasy game in the vein of Thief, it quickly evolved to become an intricate fantasy tale involving royal conspiracies, witches and time-travelling mayhem. It’s all held together by beautiful levels, innovation mechanics and deep lore you’ll need to uncover on your journey.
From the gorgeous set-pieces to the beautifully created worlds, there’s so much to marvel at in Dishonored 2. Choosing Emily or Corvo will unlock a bunch of different abilities, but that’s just the surface of the game’s endless replayability and gameplay options. Sure, the game wants you to pick stealth and carve out an honourable legacy. But why do that when you could go full chaos and carve your way through streets of mayhem? You can even choose not use magic at all.
How you choose to play will determine the story of this fantastic, multi-layered adventure. If you’ve never played the series before, now’s the time to dive in. Dishonored is one of Bethesda’s crowning jewels.
You can find out more about all the Bethesda/id games coming to Xbox Game Pass on the Xbox Wire blog.
Do you agree with our choices? Have something else to recommend? Pop on down to the comments below.