Get Sleeping Dogs and Lara Croft for Xbox 360 free with January's Games with Gold

2014 is almost upon us. With the new year comes another month of free Games with Gold titles for Xbox 360 owners. Last month we got an oldie-but-goodie retail title (Gears of War) and a decently-liked XBLA game: Shoot Many Robots. So what does Microsoft have in store for the New Year?

This month, Xbox Live Gold subscribers will first get Sleeping Dogs from Square Enix. Released in August 2012, this makes the newest retail title that the program has offered so far. Starting on January 16th, XBLA hit Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light from Eidos/Square-Enix will be the next free game. Guardian of Light is the first and only Tomb Raider game with cooperative multiplayer, and a must-play if you haven’t already got it.

More details and download links after the break!

Sleeping Dogs – Free from January 1-15

Sleeping Dogs

Ready for an open world crime game in the vein of Grand Theft Auto? Of course you are. Sleeping Dogs takes place in the city of Hong Kong. Players take on the role of Wei Shen, a police officer with experience both in the United States and Hong Kong. He returns to his homeland as an undercover cop in order to help stamp out the rising power of the criminal Triad.

Will he stay focused on the mission and clean up the streets, or become corrupted by the gang life? That’s up to the player. A unique three-prong experience system determines which side Wei Shen will eventually end up on. Be heroic and you’ll earn cop points; be a cruel killer to gain influence with the Triad. Or be helpful to the citizenry itself to gain Face. It’s truly a unique setup.

Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game, so players have the freedom to move about a realistic version of Hong Kong at will. The game’s driving system is highly playable, making it easy to get around in a hurry. It also features strong hand-to-hand combat, so beating up on punks or innocents won’t stop the fun train from rolling.

Most Games with Gold choices offer paid DLC for gamers to purchase, and Sleeping Dogs is no different. There are several smaller items to buy, but these are the main ones:

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – Free from January 16-31

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Ready for a Tomb Raider of a different color? Before 2013’s Tomb Raider rebooted the series, Guardian of Light took things in a separate and unique direction.

The story begins with Lara accidentally releasing a demon from an ancient mirror in South America. The Guardian of Light, Totec also awakens and teams up with Lara to help her stop the demon. It’s actually not much of a story, with iffy writing, cheap art, and limp voice acting, but it keeps things moving along.

Unlike the mainline Tomb Raider games, this one takes place from an isometric perspective. Players run with the left stick and aim and shoot with the right. The twin-stick shooter-style combat feels great, and even jumping works well. Then there are the puzzles…

Guardian of Light can be enjoyed solo or with a friend in local/online co-op. Each of the two characters has a unique ability. Lara gets a grappling hook with which to create tightropes for her partner. Totec can throw spears that stick into walls and create platforms for Lara to jump on. When playing in co-op, the puzzles require both players to work together in order to get ahead. In single-player, the puzzles work differently so that you don’t need a partner to solve them.

2013’s Tomb Raider is headed to the Xbox One as Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition on January 28th. Grab Guardian of Light when it goes free and prepare with a much different (but still awesome) entry in the series.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!