Yakuza games have been arriving thick and fast over the years, but Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio still hasn't lost its touch. It's hard to think of another series with such regular entries that manages to constantly evolve at this level. While most don't add too much to alter the formula, Lost Judgment throws just about everything it can into its world without feeling over-saturated. With the main story, side quests, school stories, mini-games, exploration and other distractions, it's hard not to be impressed with what's on display. There's still an element of hand holding in the detective sections we'd love to see worked on and the lip-syncing may not be the best, but the team's first attempt at delivering a simultaneous worldwide release for the series is a gamble that has paid off and perhaps offers the best entry in the franchise so far.
NBA 2K22 is an excellent next-gen addition to the franchise on Xbox Series X, delivering revamped gameplay that feels better than ever before on the court, smoother transitions between modes and all manner of graphical bells and whistles to boot. My Career's new City area has been well implemented and could well be a huge timesink for those who are into that mode and, although there's no other major changes to speak of, what's here is undoubtedly still the slickest basketball ticket in town right now.
Despite these hurdles, we hold no doubt they'll be ironed out in the coming weeks. What will be left is an underrated gem that has unfortunately slipped under the radar. Coming out the same week as Tales of Arise, Life is Strange: True Colors and Sonic Colors: Ultimate, the game appears to have been lost in the noise. It's a shame, but we're confident an audience will be found of people such as us who will love and embrace this game - warts and all. Lost in Random may not strike a chord with everyone, but for those it does, they will absolutely love it.
Ultimately, it's a game full of great ideas and some addictive gameplay mechanics, but clashes with some poor pacing and a complete shift-up in the second half that loses all the charm. For an Xbox Game Pass title, there's undoubtedly some fun to be had in the survival space sim if you can look past its flaws. Just don't go in expecting the Lost in Space experience the game tries to sell.
With all this said, there is enjoyment to be had in Kitaria Fables if you can look past the clunkiness. The combat, for one, feels really great and gives you a ton of abilities as you progress through. Farming is also a satisfying system. If the game had just lent harder into one aspect, we can't help but think the end result would have been a tighter experience. There were times when it felt like we were playing a classic original Xbox title with its presentation, which lent a nice charm. Unfortunately, there's only so much that can carry you through its 20-or-so hour-long story.
It's also worth mentioning there are some substantial performance issues. The frame rate dropped considerably fairly often, pulling us out of its gorgeous world. There were also a few occasions where dialogue on the screen was not voiced, which felt very odd. However, these issues aside, The Artful Escape is absolutely an adventure worth taking. It contains some magical moments, an engaging narrative and the best soundtrack in a game all year. It doesn't always hit the mark, but when it does, it smashes it out of the park.
Despite these drawbacks, Crown Trick very quickly dug its claws into us. While it may not be everyone and isn't as approachable as other recent attempts at the genre, it's unashamedly challenging in all the right ways. It has a beautiful art style, a fantastic soundtrack, complex gameplay and an addictive loop that will make you want to have just 'one more go'. It's a perfect Xbox Game Pass title and a fantastic game in its own right.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is a fantastic remaster of a much-loved title in the series. There are a few hiccups in the road, with awful cutscenes and lacklustre unlocks. It's classic Sonic in a 3D setting and your enjoyment will stem from your love of the series. If you're looking for a reinvention of the formula, this probably isn't for you, but if you want to experience the iconic series with refined gameplay, beautiful visuals and tons of replayability, this is the best 3D Sonic game to grace Xbox since Sonic Generations.
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.
The Big Con presents a fun, addictive gameplay loop to embrace - despite never truly sitting right with us narratively. Its world is a delight to explore, the characters are fun and the 90s vibes wrap around you like a warm winter's blanket. It's a shame its morals are never presented in a truly challenging way, but if you can look past its messy narrative, you'll find a fun, charming indie adventure that's hard to put down.