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Games galore: ‘Ryse’ and more major titles go free in April via Xbox Live Gold

Why it matters to you

Despite its lack of gameplay depth, Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be happy to see a AAA title like Ryse: Son of Rome among this month's free offerings.

Xbox Live Gold subscribers are gearing up for a busy month in April, as Microsoft will give away free copies of standout games like Ryse: Son of Rome and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations to service members through the end of the month.

Xbox One owners can also expect to see The Walking Dead: Season 2, continuing an episodic zombie apocalypse narrative that many players first experienced when The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season was given away to Xbox Live Gold subscribers in 2015.

Originally a launch title for the Xbox One, Ryse: Son of Rome is a third-person, hack-and-slash action game that borrows its mechanics from classic arcade brawlers. Assuming the role of Roman general Marius Titus, players slice their way through hordes of attackers as they attempt to breach enemy strongholds.

Though Ryse: Son of Rome won praise for its impressive graphics, its gameplay ultimately didn’t measure up. Critics slammed Ryse over its inconsequential quick-time events, repetitive gameplay, and tacked-on microtransactions, making it what many consider to be one of the most disappointing launch titles of the last console generation. If nothing else, its upcoming Xbox Live Gold giveaway will allow curious gamers to sample its gameplay without committing to a purchase.

Xbox One owners with an active Xbox Live Gold subscription can also download Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2 free of charge between April 16 and May 15. Spreading its gameplay across five playable episodes, The Walking Dead: Season 2 features a narrative that branches sharply depending on choices players make throughout the adventure.

Microsoft will additionally deliver a pair of free Xbox 360 games next month, both of which are also playable on the Xbox One via the platform’s backward compatibility feature. THQ’s The Legend of Zelda-inspired action-RPG Darksiders will be up for grabs between April 1 and April 15, while Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations will be free to download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers from April 16 through the end of the month.