Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda was a big deal for Xbox and PC gamers, but it's also important for those who play on mobile. With Xbox Game Pass (xCloud) for Android players can stream some their favorite games directly to their Android phone or a tablet. It opens up a new library of titles on mobile that you could argue should be listed among the best Android games.
Not only that, but Microsoft has proven that it deeply cares about the past, present, and future of the games industry. Through efforts like backward compatibility you can still play games well over two decades old, and it's through Game Pass titles that titles like Doom II can live on to be streamed wherever you go.
We decided to test out some of Bethesda's newest games to come to Xbox Game Pass for Android. While many of these titles aren't well-suited for a phone's smaller screens (tablet's the way to go), they run fairly well — if you can deal with long load times. You can play them with a number of great controllers for Xbox Game Pass, which makes sense since these particular titles don't support touch controls anyway.
Bethesda Game Studios' 2011 title The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim needs no introduction. This landmark role-playing game thrusts you in the middle of a civil war, at a time when a dark dragon named Alduin is prophesied to destroy the world. That's just the tip of the iceberg though; you can be any kind of character. You can study magic, investigate ancient mysteries, interact with beings like Daedra, join a Thieves Guild and other factions, or even build a house. There's a reason Skyrim has held up as long as it has — there's so much to do!
Because of its age and the lack of precision needed when playing, Skyrim is a fantastic game to try out through Xbox Cloud Gaming. Combat works well enough and while the visuals aren't fantastic, the atmosphere of the game still works. It's still the perfect way to get a bite-sized bit of adventuring in the next time you hear Nordic chants in your brain and feel the urge to create a new character, insisting that you'll try something different this time for sure... I'm not speaking from experience or anything. —Samuel Tolbert
We're both big fans of Arkane Studios' work on immersive sims, so one of the games we were eager to test was the studio's 2016 masterpiece, Dishonored 2. The game allows you to choose between Corvo (protagonist of the first game) as well as his daughter Emily Kaldwin, Empress of the Isles. This decision can have a big effect on your motivations in getting revenge, as well as how you perceive the rest of the story and what Void powers you have access to.
The visuals absolutely take a hit in quality while playing via streaming but by adjusting to a somewhat slower, more methodical playstyle, we were impressed with how well it worked. If you want to go the High Chaos route of gunning and slashing through all your foes, this probably won't be a great experience. Playing it as a true stealth game, however, did not feel impeded whatsoever. —Samuel Tolbert
id Software's Doom Eternal is a worthy successor to Doom 2016, a crescendo of rage and fury that sees players pummel, rip, tear, crush, burn, blast, freeze, and gun their way through innumerable demons in a quest to save Earth. It's an incredible game that showcases the power of id Tech 7, the latest version of the studio's custom engine.
Playing through a level in the new DLC on Hurt Me Plenty, I was able to react smoothly and combo through the hordes of demons with ease. The visual quality certainly takes a hit compared to looking at it on my Xbox Series X, but the game remains perfectly playable, something that legitimately surprised me with its fast-paced nature. —Samuel Tolbert
Prey is an underappreciated title and one of Arkane's best. A reimagining of Human Head Studios' game of the same name, Arkane's Prey takes everything the company learned from Dishonored and creates one of the best immersive sims to come out last generation. Set aboard the Talos I space station, you awaken to find that you've been living in a simulation, and your reality is much more horrifying than you could have imagined. Hostile aliens have taken over much of the station and kill everyone onboard. Now it's up to you to stop them.
As much as I love Prey, I really don't recommend playing it on a mobile phone. There are too many tiny details that are easy to miss on a smaller screen. And though you can play the game stealthily, there are plenty of times where you'll want to have precision aiming to shoot your enemies, You just can't get this on an Android phone in my experience. This is a title that should be played on a larger tablet if you're going to stream it. All that said, the performance itself is fine, though I should mention I have gigabit internet. —Jennifer Locke
Love it or hate it, Fallout 4 was a monumental game for Bethesda. This sequel in the post-apocalyptic role-play series takes us all the way back to before the bombs fell. Fast forward a couple hundred years thanks to cryo sleep, the Sole Survivor emerges from Vault 111 and into the Commonwealth of Boston to look for their lost son. There are a lot of things you could say Bethesda did wrong here — having voiced protagonists is still a decision people argue about — but it was great to have Fallout back. And let's be honest, it's better than Fallout 76.
Fallout 4 isn't a game you'd think works well on a phone, but I was surprised by it. It actually plays much better than Prey given the screen size, and I don't feel like I'm straining my eyes too much. I have a feeling this may be because even though it's a first-person shooter, it's a role-playing game first. Shooting in Bethesda games has never been the best experience, and the V.A.T.S. makes it largely tolerable. —Jennifer Locke
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order kicked off MachineGames' successful run with the franchise, which spawned a couple of sequels. If you're a new fan looking to get into the series, this is the way to do it. B.J. Blazkowicz returns with a vengeance to stop the Nazis from taking over the world. Come on, it's a game where you kill Nazis. What could be better than that?
I don't know why The New Order is available to stream on Xbox Game Pass while its sequel, The New Colossus, isn't, but it is what it is. This is a game that can be hit or miss. Some scenes I'm perfectly fine playing it on mobile and then in others it's painfully clear that it should be played on a larger screen. But if this is the only way that you're able to play it, I think it's acceptable. As I said before, most of these games run just fine except for some egregiously long loading periods as it attempts to sync your data. —Jennifer Locke
Classic Bethesda games ready to play
As we previously m entioned, Microsoft is doing a great service providing more ways for people to play older titles. Back in 1993 I don't think anybody could have predicted that they'd be playing that very same Doom on a mobile device in the year 2021. But here we are. Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods has just released and people are still finding new ways to play the classics.
While Morrowind is weirdly left out of the available games you can stream, the list does include Doom, Doom II, Doom 3, and Doom 64. I've personally never really played a Doom game in my life, but I gave Doom II a shot because why not? Obvious dated graphics aside, it's a lot of fun to play on my phone.
Best of all worlds
Get playing on Android
Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 200 games for one monthly fee, and a lot of them you can play on your Android mobile device!
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.
Now, connect that phone to a TV w/ an USB>HDMI cable and report back on the experience.
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