The greatest compliment we can give to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is that it's a very faithful remake of the original two classics. And for the first time in a long time, the franchise feels fresh again. The game does a great job at recapturing the magic of Pro Skater's early days while also modernising them for the current generation (despite a couple of wobbles), and now we can't wait to see where Activision takes the series next. Welcome back, Tony!
We're stuck between a rock and a hard place with Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood, because while it definitely has its downsides (some of them potentially deal-breaking, especially if buying it at full price) we also enjoyed our time with it. Everything is built around its destructive combat, which remains engaging to the last, and if you're willing to deal with some average-at-best graphics, a mediocre story and a short running length, we still think you'll have a good time with this one. Give it a try, and it might just surprise you.
But we'll leave that choice up to you. The game itself is still absolutely great, and has added minor updates to multiplayer and the ability to replay the career since launch, which were welcome additions. It's one of the best examples of a Tony Hawk's game in over 15 years, and while the next-gen upgrade is nice, the backwards compatible Xbox One version is also still really good, so you don't need to hand over any extra cash to enjoy it.
It Takes Two is an absolute delight. The consistently creative gameplay is on par with, if not better than any co-op experience available on Xbox today, and if you have a partner in mind to play it with (don't forget they can access a free "Friend's Pass" if playing online), we think you'll have a real blast with it. We had such a great time playing through its highly memorable adventure, and you know what? We feel like the constant laughter, enjoyment and need for collaborative teamwork even reinvigorated our real life relationship a little bit. That's how good this game is.
It's a fantastic year to be getting MLB The Show 21 on Xbox. There's a welcome 'Casual' preset for beginners, the gameplay is more enjoyable than ever, and newcomers will likely be overwhelmed (in a good way) at the sheer amount of content at their disposal. Road to the Show's new Ballplayer integration won't satisfy everyone, and needs a few tweaks, but it's nevertheless still a highly enjoyable mode to play, and the likes of Diamond Dynasty and March to October are excellent options as well. We've been waiting a long time to experience The Show for ourselves on Xbox, and it's amazing to finally be stepping up to the plate with MLB The Show 21 on Xbox Game Pass.
Undoubtedly, Wreckfest itself is an absolutely fantastic racer and you'll have a blast on Series X regardless of whether you stick with the free 4K, 60FPS patch or go one step further with this paid next-gen upgrade. This is without doubt the definitive way to play the game on Xbox Series X, but thanks to that free patch a couple of months ago, there's really no need to pay the extra money unless you're a devoted Wreckfest nut.
It's easy to see how a fan of past Olympics games could be put off by Tokyo 2020, but if you're willing to lean into its arcade tendencies, you can have a lot of fun with it. The games are enjoyable for the most part, the presentation is great, and there's enough depth to keep you playing longer than just a few rounds of each sport. It certainly won't be for everyone, but SEGA's willingness to be bold and divert away from the simulation-heavy focus of previous Olympics games makes Tokyo 2020 a refreshingly memorable competitor that deserves some attention.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is nothing short of revolutionary, featuring an almost impossibly large, authentic and living open world that's bound to take your breath away. Asobo and Xbox Game Studios have delivered a truly special entry in this historic franchise, and it's only going to get better in the years to come.
The core gameplay is where it shines brightest, highlighted by intuitive driving controls, and the career mode is just about engaging enough to keep you invested — we'd just love to see a more in-depth version of it with multiplayer support in the inevitable Lawn Mowing Simulator 2.
All in all, Twelve Minutes is definitely worth a download with Xbox Game Pass if you're even the least bit interested in the premise, as both its story and gameplay combine to create a memorable thriller. There are a couple of downsides if you look for them, and the replayability factor will be pretty low after you've discovered everything, but we think you'll really enjoy your main playthrough regardless, even if you're not the biggest fan of point-and-click games.
Ultimately, the main impression we've taken away from Golf Club: Wasteland is that it's an alright golf game on its own, but it's really not about the golf. You'll want to settle in with a nice pair of headphones when playing this one, let the game suck you into its unique concept and narrative, and we think you'll have a really good time with it. At a standard price of £8.29 / $9.99, it's a definitely a reasonable fee for an other-worldly round of golf.
We're pleasantly surprised by FIFA 22 on Xbox Series X. The franchise had a good first outing on next-gen consoles last year, but the gameplay has really been taken up a notch this time around, seemingly proving that "Hypermotion Technology" isn't just another throwaway buzzword. It's not perfect, and there are certain areas off the pitch that we wish could have received even more attention, but this is the best FIFA has been in quite a few years, and we just hope it isn't ruined by unnecessary gameplay patches down the line.
Is Back 4 Blood the Left 4 Dead 3 we've been waiting for? Yes! It's a worthy spiritual successor to Valve's classic zombie-slaying series of multiplayer games, and offers a well-designed Campaign mode with some impressive new features such as its strategic Card system. The difficulty perhaps needs balancing a little more, and the lack of meaningful progression when playing Solo Campaign needs addressing sharpish, but otherwise we've had a blast with Back 4 Blood so far, and we look forward to many more Campaign runs in the weeks, months and years to come.