Pure Xbox's Reviews
Pentiment is one of the most unique and clever games we've played in a very long time. It may be the fabulous art style that first draws you to this one, and it really is quite the looker, but it's actually the very obvious care that's been poured into the narrative and the exacting detail in every aspect of the world-building here that ends up selling the whole thing so well. With a story that really goes some places, tons of history to learn about, lots of fantastic characters to meet and plenty of fun and surprises along the way, this is one medieval murder mystery you should absolutely check out as soon as it hits Xbox Game Pass.
Gotham Knights is a dark, dense and surprisingly gripping action adventure that almost manages to step up to the level of the very best of the Arkham series. There's a cracking story to dive into here, a huge and wonderfully detailed city, tons of lore for Bat fans, brutally crunchy combat, four cool superheroes to get a handle on and some of Gotham's most infamous villains to take down as you fight to prevent an all-out turf war. We were slightly concerned going into this one but, as it turns out, we needn't have been. If you can ignore some messy menus and a few too many upgradeable bits and bobs, you'll have a great time.
Get busy unlocking new powers, blinking in behind bad guys, stabbing and shooting and skulking around, scouring environments for clues, choosing which lead to follow next as you push and pull and probe every corner, every wrinkle of this labyrinthian puzzle box. And it's on Game Pass too? You're spoiling us, Microsoft.
For the first entry in a brand-new series, Frontier has done a great job with F1 Manager 2022. The 3D race engine is consistently engaging and visually stunning for a management game, the user interface is well-designed, and even the controls are easy enough to get to grips with on Xbox. There are definitely balancing issues that need to be ironed out at launch, but if Frontier can add some updates pretty sharpish, we'll happily bump this review up to at least an 8/10.
Immortality is easily Sam Barlow's best game to date and, when you consider the delights he's served up previously, well, you get an idea of just how good this one really is. It's a dazzling display from any angle you to choose to admire it; top-notch acting, brilliant writing, a core mechanic that's complex but carried off with style and grace, intuitive controls that draw you into your role...just remember to avoid spoilers, dive into the mystery of Marissa Marcel completely unsullied, and you're in for one of the most exquisite gaming experiences of this year, or any other, by quite some distance.
If you enjoyed Two Point Hospital on Xbox Game Pass, you're going to love Two Point Campus as well. It's a great sequel in a superb simulation series, and the college/university setting feels like the perfect next step for Two Point Studios' brand of silly, strategic fun. It's also one of the most enjoyable Xbox simulation games out there thanks to its well-designed control scheme, complete with a single-player campaign you'll almost certainly get invested in.So, does it pass the test...? Absolutely!
If you are new to Forza Horizon's Hot Wheels expansions, you’ll likely have a blast with the latest one. It's once again a nice change of pace from the main game – with cars reaching all-new top speeds. For returning players, you can go into this paid DLC knowing what to expect, although it may not be quite as thrilling as the first time for some veterans. At the same time, you could say the Hot Wheels expansion for the Forza Horizon series has now been fully realised thanks to the power of Xbox Series X|S. It’s got us excited to see what’s next for the fifth entry in terms of future expansion content. So go on, get out there and burn some rubber.
All in all, what's here in Bright Memory Infinite is impressive, and the shooting feels super smooth throughout. However, even though the first Bright Memory was classed as a demo-of-sorts, Infinite still feels like an Xbox Series X|S tech demo, all things considered. It's still incredibly short at just two hours long, and the game's story, systems and world need more work for it to feel like a full game. We dig what's here, no doubt, but we were hoping Bright Memory Infinite would feel more like a full game than it ultimately does.
As Dusk Falls is a cracking crime thriller and feels like the exact thing we should be seeing on a regular basis from Xbox Game Studios on Game Pass. Its 6-8 hour length feels just right for a game of this nature, and that also makes it feel right at home on Xbox's subscription service. Oh, and the fantastic storyline that never let us wriggle free of its grip? Yeah, that's not a bad reason to play it on Game Pass either.
So, that's PowerWash Simulator in a nutshell. It's a really chill addition to Xbox Game Pass that you'll likely end up enjoying a lot if you're into this sort of thing, while others will inevitably think it's boring and too repetitive. It does what it says on the tin though, executing on its concept very effectively, while the addition of online co-op with cross-play between Xbox and PC is a great touch.
Matchpoint: Tennis Championships deserves your attention on Xbox Game Pass, as it's genuinely one of the better Xbox tennis games we've seen in years. It has its drawbacks, particularly in the presentation department, but it's also good fun when you get out on the court. Unfortunately, some of that enjoyment has been taken away for us because even on the highest difficulty, the game just feels far too easy at launch, rendering a lot of the strategic elements and Career Mode's features somewhat useless for now. It's still a pretty good game regardless, but definitely in need of a couple of balancing tweaks over the coming weeks and months.
Road 96 is a masterpiece in storytelling and depending on your own experience, you may even be moved by its through line of hope, loss, and the ultimate goal of personal freedom. Many of the game's themes haven't directly applied to my life, but Road 96 is an education in empathy and it really makes you feel for the folks out there who are scrambling to get their lives in order because of other people's actions. It's not a perfect game — mechanically things could be improved at times — but its story is about as close to perfect as you could ask for, and for that, we recommend it without a shadow of a doubt.
F1 22 is another super solid entry in Codemasters' superlative run of racers. There may not be any really pressing reason to pick this one up if you own last year's game, but besides a lack of new ways to play and an F1 Life mode that's all a bit pointless in the end, this is still the pinnacle of F1 video game action that fans of the sport will no doubt be enjoying until F1 23 drops.
With a little more time in the oven and attention to detail, MX vs ATV Legends could have been a fantastic off-road racer. As it is at present, it's just an okay one, with a general lack of both polish and event variety letting things down somewhat. The bugs and glitches currently present in the game have knocked our score down a tad as well, although hopefully, they'll be sorted soon after release. The game's cut-price $40 entry point makes this one that bit more appealing, but we can only really recommend it once the bugs have been fully ironed out. 'Legends'? Not just yet.
If you can make peace with a few missing options and don't mind the paid DLC aspect you'll still have a great time here, and if you're coming to these games fresh you're in for an almighty treat, it's just a shame that SEGA has chosen to sully the endeavour with unnecessary greed and a few glaring functional omissions that could so easily have been included. So there you have it, Sonic Origins has got it where it counts but a little more TLC would have seen our score bumped up by a few points. Maybe next time, SEGA.
So, we're happy to report that Fall Guys is definitely worth trying out on Xbox, and the fact that it supports cross-platform and cross-progression with other platforms means you can mix-and-match across Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5, and that aspect seems to be working really well in our experience so far. We've had to wait a couple of years for its arrival, but it's great to see Fall Guys finally joining the Xbox family in 2022!
With such banal gameplay, we turn to the narrative here for hope and, even though it kicks off in a promising manner, it very soon crumbles and fades away, with a nonsensical and very abrupt ending that left us shaking our heads and wondering what on earth the point was. Coming from a small dev team of just six people, there's still things to admire here; Industria nails the vibe it's going for, there's some terrific music and it looks superb in places, there's no doubt a lot of effort has gone into this certain aspects of this project. However, none of this is enough to smooth over the fact that this is a tediously dull, monotonous, and derivative game that offers up absolutely nothing of any real worth in terms of story or mechanics.
Shadowrun Trilogy is an excellent trio of tactical RPG titles that serve up wonderfully atmospheric worlds, well-written stories and entertaining turn-based combat to boot. With surprisingly breezy core mechanics and fairly short running times for all three entries it's a perfect series for newcomers to the genre and tactical RPG veterans alike, and another fantastic addition to Xbox Game Pass that we highly recommend you check out ASAP. Let's just hope that freezing bug gets patched out nice and quickly.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a lovingly crafted and supremely entertaining return to the glory days of early 1990s Turtles action. With a look and feel that painstakingly recreates classics such as Turtles in Time, whilst adding in a ton more detail, refining combat and giving you six player online/local co-op to boot, this is a fantastic slice of arcade beat 'em up nostalgia that old hands, diehard fans and newcomers alike can enjoy in equal measure. It is, in short, one shell of a good time.
The Quarry sees Supermassive Games back on top form with a spiritual successor to the superlative Until Dawn that comes mighty close to knocking that classic off its lofty perch. There's a fantastic cast of well-observed characters to get to know here, a narrative that packs in several threats and plenty of twists, turns and light-hearted moments to sit alongside its shocks and juicy revelations. With jaw-dropping visuals, a cracking soundtrack and plenty in the way of replayability in order to see every outcome on offer, this is an interactive horror experience that's well worth jumping into.