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Free Xbox games: the best downloadables you can play for nothing

Update: Bad Company 2 and Darksiders 2 are free in October

It's a good time to be a penniless Xbox owner. Microsoft has a number of free-to-play games in the works for Xbox Live, including World of Tanks: Xbox 360 and Project Spark, which doesn't even require a Gold subscription. Under the Games with Gold scheme, the firm will also hand out two free Xbox 360 games to Gold subscribers every month - one game on the 1st, the next on the 16th.

You'll read about each free game as it arrives right here, on this continually updated page, which is definitely worth a bookmark. By all means drop us a comment about a freebie we've missed, or a suggestion as to what Microsoft should give away next, or to let us know how you're making use of the cash you've saved. Games with Gold has also launched on Xbox One - visit our round-up of free Xbox One games for more.

Free Xbox games with Gold for October 2014

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (1st-15th October)
The second and best instalment of Battlefield's free-spirited spin-off series, in which Marlowe and his squad of lovable rogues become embroiled in a war between the US and Russia. Yes, the story's familiar but the dialogue is quite fun - and there's a big, well-balanced multiplayer component to wash everything down, though we're not sure anybody's still playing it.

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Darksiders 2 (16th-31st October)
Vigil's second apocalyptic fantasy casts the player as the Grim Reaper himself, an atypically musclebound warrior who must swing, climb and hack his way around some vast Heavy Metal landscapes, seeking vengeance for his fallen brother War. The combat calls to mind that of Devil May Cry, but is slower and more dependent on equipment stats. There's a ton of loot to find and equip, as in Diablo, but the campaign compares to Zelda in how you'll revisit areas later in the game, armed with new abilities. A solid action-RPG, in short.

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Free Xbox games with Gold for September 2014

Halo: Reach (16th-30th September)
Bungie's final Halo and one of the greatest shooters on Xbox 360, whether you're talking about the campaign (set on a planet doomed to destruction by the Covenant, directly before the events of Combat Evolved), the expanded Forge editor or the sprawling suite of competitive and cooperative modes. Notable for introducing Armour Abilities - optional gadgets and tricks such as jetpacks and the cloak - to Halo multiplayer. Read our review for more.

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Free Xbox games for all time

AirMech Arena
A brilliant, brutal mixture of top-down shooting, MOBA-style NPC "Creeps" and real-time strategy base-building. Players star as a transforming mech - ferrying troops to the frontline while in aerial form and doing battle on the ground. The emphasis is on multiplayer here - you can team up with other players to fight the AI or other teams - but there are survival and skirmish match types for solo players. Should you tire of levelling up to unlock all the content, new unit types, boosts and other goodies can be bought with real money. Our review has more.

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