Try These Three Must-Play Games Before They Leave Game Pass

Persona 5's characters appear on the Xbox box art.
Persona 5's characters appear on the Xbox box art.

Games routinely cycle in and out of Game Pass every month, but the Xbox subscription service is about to lose some really good ones. You have less than a week left to try Persona 5 Royal, Signalis, and Gunfire Reborn. Here’s why you should give them a try before they’re gone.

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The Persona series has always been great, but Persona 5 takes the turn-based RPG to a whole other level. A hyper-stylish presentation and jazz-infused playfulness makes it easier than ever to get through some of its more grueling and grindy parts. One moment you’re taking pop quizzes in class or helping friends after class, the next you’re chaining together demon-fueled combos against evil adults in surreal dungeons. Imagine being a kid all over again but with demons and the freedom to min-max your relationships and personal growth.

“Persona 5 offers the fantasy of a perfect teenage life,” Kirk Hamilton wrote in Kotaku’s original review. “With a little help from the Internet and a willingness to reload your saves, you could live this year in the ‘best’ possible way.” The Royal edition takes that same fantasy and ratchets it up even more with additional confidants, a longer school year, and tons of other tweaks like a grappling hook for dungeons. Famously, Persona 5 takes about 100 hours to beat. Consider its last few days on Game Pass as an expanded demo to decide whether you’re ready to take the full plunge.


A woman runs down a hallway.
A woman runs down a hallway.

One of my personal top ten games of 2022, Signalis sort of came out of nowhere. Made by developer rose-engine, it’s eerie, haunting, and beautiful. You play as a mysterious person uncovering what happened in a weird facility full of little puzzles blocking your path and disturbing revelations lurking around every corner. If you’ve played the original Resident Evil games, its top-down view and low-poly horror atmosphere will feel instantly familiar and unsettling.

But punctuating the exploration and gameplay are anime cutscenes that hint at the larger story without ever letting you feel completely certain of what’s going on. There’s also gun combat that is surprisingly crunchy and requires you to be extremely mindful of not wasting ammunition. The music is incredible, too. As one Steam user wrote, “This game has done irreversible damage to my soul (it’s a masterpiece).” You can also finish it in under 10 hours.

Gunfire Reborn

Fire spits out of traps in a dungeon.
Fire spits out of traps in a dungeon.

Imagine if Borderlands and Enter the Gungeon had a baby and you get pretty close to Gunfire Reborn. The roguelike shooter is simple enough: run through dungeons, kill lots of stuff, unlock new characters and upgrades for future playthroughs. The key to Gunfire Reborn is that everything from the guns to simply throwing a grenade and watching it blow stuff up looks pretty and feels incredibly satisfying. Don’t let the fact that you’re playing as cute little colorful animals fool you: this is a first-person shooter fan’s shooter.

Every time you kill enemies you get coins you can use to purchase new weapons for your loadout. Your evolving arsenal changes how you approach each new encounter and the calculus everytime you can swap out a new ability or upgrade. Even when you’re feeling at the top of your game, Gunfire Reborn has a way of throwing something at you to knock you back down again. Thankfully, starting over again is half the fun.

Even once these three games are gone from Game Pass, you can still buy them outright for 20 percent off if you’re a current subscriber. But there will always be new stuff to play as well. Dead Space was just added today and Personal 5 Tactica, the strategy spin-off, arrives on November 17. You probably won’t beat Persona 5 by then either, but it’s plenty of time to figure out why all of the game’s characters are wearing Eyes Wide Shut masks.

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