We don’t often get a themed month when it comes to monthly freebies on game subscription services, but October is as everyone knows, the month of Halloween. While heading out to a costume party dressed up as your favorite fictional character might be out of the question this year, there’s no reason not to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve in the virtual realm.
This month’s free games on PS Plus and Xbox Live Gold include some spooky selections that’ll more than make up for every costume party that won’t be happening this year. Here’s every game up for grabs on these subscription services for October 2020.
With every other free game this month being a horror-adjacent game, Need for Speed Payback sticks out like a sore thumb, but it’s certainly a welcome addition. The Need for Speed series has experienced some growing pains when it came to transitioning to current-gen consoles before reaching its excellent final form in 2019’s Need for Speed Heat, but 2017’s NFS Payback can be just as enjoyable an experience especially considering its 0-peso price tag this month on PS Plus.
With a cinematic, 15 to 20-hour campaign that mirrors high-octane action movies like the Fast and Furious franchise, as well as various game modes that were previously not included in Need for Speed (2015), Payback is a decent NFS game that’s worth a try if you miss playing NFS games on your PS2.
Vampyr is a 2018 title from Dontnod Games, who you might know for their Life is Strange series. In Vampyr, you play as a doctor-turned-vampire named Jonathan Reid, and the story is set in early 1900’s London, during the era of World War I and the Spanish flu. As Jonathan Reid, you’ll be searching for the origin of your vampire-turning while encountering various NPCs that you can either save as a doctor, or consume as a vampire.
At the time of Vampyr’s release, it was highly praised by critics for its character development and variety of dialogue options for even the least significant NPCs, and its morality system being tied to its upgrade mechanics was a unique and experimental feature that garnered praise from critics and players alike. Despite the game’s immersive environment, it fell short with its repetitive and too-easy combat, which is why the game has generally mixed reviews. Now that it’s free on PS Plus, however, it’s definitely worth recommending as a double-A RPG title, because even though the combat can feel too simple, the story will more than make up for it.
(Available October 1 to 31 on Xbox One)
Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is a fun and simple puzzle game full of exaggerated cartoon violence portrayed in voxel graphics. It’s unique in the sense that instead of collecting items and drops in order to progress, your main objective each stage is to collect kills as Skullface, a typical slasher horror film villain. With horror games nowadays becoming ever more complex, Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut is a much lighter horror experience that’s perfect for when you’re not in the mood for the typical first-person, jumpscare-filled horror game.
(Available October 16 to November 15 on Xbox One)
Speaking of typical first-person jumpscare-filled horror games, of course you’ve got to have one in October’s free games. Maid of Sker is a creepy survival-horror game set in a decrepit, abandoned hotel. Maid of Sker’s unique mechanics lie in its enemies having no sight but enhanced hearing, meaning most of the survival you’ll be doing will involve crawling, tiptoeing, and distracting the ghastly creatures you encounter as you progress through the game. It’s basically A Quiet Place meets Welsh folklore.
(Available October 1 to 15 and October 16 to 31 respectively on Xbox One & Xbox 360)
The monthly formula of Xbox Live Gold’s free games include two current-gen games and two throwback games from previous console generations, and this month we’re getting Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy and Costume Quest. You might recognize Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy as an underrated 3D adventure platformer from the PS2 and Xbox days. Costume Quest, on the other hand, is a relatively unknown party-based RPG from the previous console generation, and its combat mechanics rely on collecting costumes in order to gain new combat skills. For the occasion of Halloween, it’s also the most appropriate freebie of the month. While both of these games are relatively short compared to today’s titles, they’re fun little throwbacks that you should check out for a piece of Xbox history.
Have you decided on your virtual costume yet? With this month’s free games, you’ve got a lot to pick from. And if you’re still looking for more horror games to play, why not check out our recommendations for Asian horror games?
For more updates on each month’s free games as well as new and upcoming titles, make sure to stay tuned to our website and Facebook page. I bid you in advance a Happy Stay-at-Home Halloween!
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