Loot game passIllustration: Bethesda

You can start playing today a bundle Bethesda released games on Game Pass, thanks to Microsoft and ZeniMax’s recent marriage. Some were previously available. Many are new. If you’re a member of Microsoft’s Games-on-Demand service, 20 largely great games are now available to you.

You can’t play all of them at once, of course. For starters, these games aren’t small. The beefy Xbox Series X may have 1TB of storage, but that fills up quicklyand there’s no point in filling your library with tons of games that have a lot of DNA in common. Then there is the little thing about your most precious resource: time.

So where do i start? It depends on what you want to play. If you are looking for …

… a shooter: play Doom Eternal.

Downfall foreverScreenshot: Bethesda

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Doom Eternal has only one speed: fast. Most shooters are about being careful: taking cover, directing shots, saying funny military terms like “reload” and “cover fire”. The modern hack and slash doom games say more or less hell with that. Since you restore health and ammo by hitting enemies, you need to keep moving. It is mandatory to be very close. Stand still for a second and you are done.

As great as Doom 2016 is (and it is indeed worth playing), Doom Eternal increases the overall craze to 11. In addition to new enemy types, you also get a grappling hook – the only tool that has never been in a better game – and a damn sword. Don’t worry about catching up on the plot. All you really need to know is: demons, evil, kill.

Read our rating.

Check our tips for the game.

… an immersive sim: play loot.

Loot game passScreenshot: Bethesda

Arkane Studios are perhaps best known for the Dishonored games (both are excellent and on Game Pass), but the studio really made it out of the park with Prey. While technically the same intellectual property as the 2006 game, don’t worry: there’s no relationship between the two. You don’t have to deal with any lore. You can go completely cold. If anything, new prey feels more like BioShock than old prey.

The modern loot will take over a space station, the fictional Talos I, in the near future, an alternate story in which JFK was not murdered, which apparently resulted in the ’60s-style mod decor lasting into the 2030s. Talos I is largely searched, ruined and abandoned, the result of a malicious alien presence. That sounds scary – it’s scary – but on the flip side, it gives you some seriously cool otherworldly powers, including one that you can use to occupy basically any object in the game. The story is a bit boring, so the greatest joy is exploring the space station, discovering new passageways, unlocking new powers and slowly but surely getting strong enough to actually defeat the creepy monsters. Just don’t get your hopes for a solid ending.

Read our rating.

Check our tips.

… an RPG: Play Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 game passScreenshot: Bethesda

You’ve no doubt heard that Fallout: New Vegas is the main RPG under Bethesda’s jurisdiction. It is sure to be a solid game where your decisions have weight and consistency. It’s also a thousand years old. Frankly, those new to the broad Bethesda RPG genre should start with Fallout 4, the group’s newest and most modern feel.

Fallout 4, like any other Fallout, takes place in a version of America that has been torn to pieces. It’s a real mix of first-person shooting and first-person statistics mixing, as you’re just as likely to get into a gun battle as you would in a series of branching dialogue options. It’s all wrapped in an amazingly large open world that invites you to explore.

But Fallout 4 does what no other modern Fallout does: it shows you the Before Times. The first moments of Fallout 4 begin the day America is turned into radioactive dust. You’ll be smuggled into a vault, cryogenically frozen against your expectation, and wake up two centuries later, whereupon you’ll be released into a version of Boston that looks like Boston today after the Red Sox won a home game. (Side note: Why are Bostonians searching their city if their team wins? I never got that.) That first look is well worth starting with Fallout 4. The game has a sturdy base builder element as well if you’re into that kind of thing.

Read our rating.

Check our tips.

… a reason to throw your Xbox into the nearest river: Play Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Great match. Fuck the boss.


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Illustration for article titled So Which Bethesda Game Pass Game Should You Play First?Illustration for article titled So Which Bethesda Game Pass Game Should You Play First?Illustration for article titled So Which Bethesda Game Pass Game Should You Play First?