Okay, so we’ve talked about the games you should try out, but not every EA game is on EA Play. Be it Xbox’s fault for not having yet ported the title to modern consoles, or EA’s fault for closing down studios or not restating license, none of the following games are available through EA Play. But each of these titles is special enough that they deserve to be, and if we’re lucky, they might come one day in the future.

5) Shank 2

Before Klei Entertainment found massive success with Don’t Starve and Invisible Inc, they put out a game that appealed more to my adolescent bloodlust: Shank. I never got to play the original, but it was similar enough to the sequel, which I quite enjoyed. Besides the gorgeous hand-drawn art, the game was immensely satisfying to play.

It might be the most gratifying melee combat system I’ve ever seen in a side scroller that generation, as sound, animation, and a few seconds of slow-motion on every hit makes each weapon hit with force you can feel. And it’s grindhouse inspired story, while not Oscar-worthy, provides fun justification for the globetrotting and ultra-violence. But the fun and variety of the combat really comes out in its multiplayer mode, where you can terrorize endless waves of thugs with nothing but a wide arsenal and a friend. Now, I’d imagine this little known title has either had its servers closed, or has been covered up due to it’s similarities to the movie Machete, but if either of those things could be cleared up, it’d make for another great addition to EA Play.

4) Deathspank

I’m betting none of your remember this one, and I don’t really blame you. Deathspank was an indie gem, thanks largely to Ron Gilbert’s signature humor. If you love games like Monkey Island, then the humor here should totally be up your alley. But that aspect merely just got me in the door, because it’s combat and RPG systems kept me in for way longer than I ever expected.

This is one of the first top-down action RPGs that I ever played, well before my time with Torchlight and other games like it. But unlike that game, Deathspank gave you much more direct control. The titular character could be modified to equip dozens and dozens of wacky weapons each with even sillier modifications. And every time you used them in quests, you’d collect even more loot and XP to further beef up and customize your character. I played the game through PlayStation Plus years ago, but I hope that Xbox can make an attempt to bring this game forward to modern consoles, and here’s hoping it can hit EA Play as well if that ever happens.

3) Def Jam: Icon

Now, it’s not hard to imagine why this game is still trapped on the Xbox 360. With all of the red tape and bureaucracy of the music industry, it would likely take moving mountains to get Def Jam to return to the realm of video games in any way. But if the impossible did happen, why not start with the most recent game in the series: Def Jam Icon.

Icon did a lot differently from the prior games. There are no health bars, as damage now shows up on the character models themselves. The game, while more grounded artistically, added turntable moves that manipulate the stages to cause massive damage. And the story mode now gets you to create your own custom character to run fades on your favorite hip hop artists. But despite all the changes, the game still had the bare-knuckle brawls and bumping soundtracks that we loved back in the day. It just sucks that the likelihood of these games coming back grows slimmer with every passing generation.

2) Burnout Revenge

Everyone in the world should play Burnout Paradise. I mean, it’s not my favorite racing game of all time for no reason. But before Criterion made a diamond, they struck gold several times in the series, and Burnout Revenge is probably their shiniest piece.

Once again, this is one of the few early 360 games that aimed for a higher framerate, and on modern consoles, it stays locked to 60 FPS. And thank God, because this series’ propensity for high-speed traffic dodging and split-second vehicular battles requires every extra frame you can get. Plus, this game still doesn’t look half bad thanks to its framerate and the car damage still looks impressive by modern standards.

But what makes this novel when compared to Paradise is that it stuck to the earlier formula of linear tracks when choosing events. If the open world of Paradise is frustrating, then you might find comfort in knowing you can never drift off the main path, and there are still plenty of shortcuts to blitz down if you know the tracks. So, if you’ve played something like Forza and are itching for something more, aggressive, this one is still worth seeking out. It might not be part of EA Play, but it’s definitely worth a standalone purchase on the Microsoft Store.

1) The Saboteur

This one really hurts to write about. If you haven’t heard, the developer of this game, as well as the Mercenaries games, was shuttered by EA years ago. Now, while the current non-existence of the, now poorly named, Pandemic Studios makes the likely hood of this game retuning slim, The Saboteur is still a fun and unique title that deserves so much more than being left in the dust of EA’s more recent catalog.

The entire game is in black and white, but the color is injected back into the game when you rid areas of Nazi control. Oh, and I should mention, the game takes place during World War II in a German-occupied Paris. Now, we’ve seen Nazis in WWII games before, but getting one of these set in Paris, with an Irish protagonist no less, was wholly unique.

Still, with Pandemic’s expertise with action games, the combat was still as great as it’s ever been. Cover based shooting, driving, and a newly added parkour system all felt fun enough. The game was clearly their first attempt at some mechanics, like freerunning, but gameplay as a whole feels as polished as any other AA game of that generation. But the game felt like more than just another pretty action game. For a developer that mainly made cheesy action games and licensed titles, it felt like Pandemic’s first swing at something a bit more original and genuinely artistic. That just makes the fact that this was their swan song hurt even more. But hey, once EA Play comes to PC, perhaps you’ll be able to finally get your hands on it there…

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And that’s all I got! Now, of course, there are plenty of other dope EA Play titles out there that I would love to recommend, like Alice: Madness Returns and Shadows of the Damned, but I’ll let you look through the catalog yourself for new favorites. I’m gonna go play some of the original Titanfall for the first time in my life now. Hope you all enjoy the next generation of Xbox!

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