While waiting for further news, let’s start with an overview of the first games available and arriving in January 2023 on the Xbox Game Pass.
A truly strange late 2022/early 2023 of Xbox Game Pass which, contrary to what usually happens, has not received regular updates or precise information from Microsoft, for almost a month now. The Redmond house had specifically communicated that it would not proceed with a second round of games in December 2022, unlike usual, postponing everything to the news at the beginning of the year, but we are now halfway through the month and we have had few details in this regard anyway, with the only official announcement that directly concerns the arrival of some games in the second half of January.
In short, we are evidently outside the standard rules of the service, and the proximity now with the announcement of the Xbox Developer_Direct event could explain these communication gaps with possible news to be revealed there. In any case, we are now moving towards the second half of the month, so it might make little sense at this point to talk about the first and second round of games, given that they will almost all be concentrated towards the end of the month and placed a short distance away from each other. However, some titles have been published on the sly for a few days already, and we put them together with those (actually already known) included in the first official announcement to compose an overview of the first games of January 2023 on Xbox Game Passwhile we also remember those who will leave the catalog from January 15, 2023.
Stranded Deep – Console, PC, Cloud, January 3
The first game of the year arrived without much fanfare, discovered practically by chance by users and then confirmed through a short tweet from the official Xbox Game Pass account. It’s about Stranded Deep, a game that certainly deserves more space and attention, being a good pure survival, of those that put us to grips with wild nature, complete with a shipwreck as a starting point. The protagonist of the game survived a plane crash and found refuge in a remote island in the Pacific Ocean: he will actually have to survive on this, trying to make the most of the resources made available in a procedurally generated world. Following the classic setting, it is a question of fighting hunger, thirst and assorted threats also provided by the rich fauna that populates the environment between sea and land, all with a dynamic day/night cycle and scenarios that are built different each time according to of the game being played. Stranted Deep offers considerable freedom of approach and the possibility of exploring even different islands by building boats, walking through the various biomes and swimming in the ocean, all in first person.
Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition – Console & PC January 5th
After being made available for the first time in 2021, Mortal Shell is back in the Xbox and PC Game Pass catalog for a second batch, in this case in the “next gen” Enhanced Edition version. On the other hand, there’s always room for a soulslike-style action RPG, a type of game that continues to enjoy great success. Mortal Shell represents one of the most convincing examples of this sub-genre among productions of not enormous dimensions, obviously beyond the From Software series itself. Developed by Cold Symetry, the game released in August 2020 and has since garnered a lot of attention, gaining fame and respect among the aficionado of Dark Souls and the like. The main element of the gameplay of Mortal Shell is the system that provides for a clear change of style of play and characteristics of the character through the “Shells”, which also give the name to everything, while for the rest the general structure of an action RPG in the third person , the dynamics with a high level of challenge, the importance of the fights and the general atmospheres clearly reflect the classic canon.
Persona 3 Portable – Console, PC and Cloud, January 19
We come to one of the most important releases of this month with Persona 3 Portable, which is technically part of the second half of January 2023, in this strange organization of the month on Game Pass. Atlus has finally decided to offer its famous JRPG series on other platforms as well, and after the arrival of Persona 5 Royal we also welcome these other chapters recovered with an interesting remastering work. Persona 3 Portable, in this case, is an improved version of the original released 12 years ago on PSP and which in turn was already an enriched and expanded edition of the one released years earlier on PS2. The story is one of those that has remained most imprinted in the Persona universe, and sees us discover the mystery of the Dark Hour, which lurks between day and night outside the normal 24 hours. Also in this case we find ourselves living between reality and an alternative dimension, between the normal student identity and that of the Persona, who fights the Shadows and tries to save the world from darkness. In short, another dose of enveloping and surreal narration from Atlus, with this recovery of a historical chapter for the series, now finally in the “next gen” edition.
Persona 4: Golden – Console, PC and Cloud, January 19
Another unexpected recovery from Atlus’ past successes, Person 4: Golden not only returns to the scene but also arrives for the first time on unsuspected platforms, especially including Xbox directly on the Game Pass, complete with a “next gen” update for Series X | S. The Golden version itself is already a remake of the original Persona 4, which originally came out almost 15 years ago on PS2, which still makes it perfectly enjoyable, having in fact gone through two adaptations for modern hardware.
This chapter also takes up typical themes of the series, such as double personalities and parallel dimensions within a general story of growth and maturation, but with particularly disturbing implications, starting as a sort of real thriller. Finding himself shipped to the rural town of Inaba after his parents’ departure abroad, the protagonist seems destined for a quiet life, but the serenity of the place is shattered by mysterious murders and strange rumors about a “Midnight Channel” broadcast secretly from TV off on rainy nights, which seems to hide an even more disturbing secret. In short, another good dose of strangeness awaits us in Persona 4 Golden.
Monster Hunter Rise – Console and PC, January 20
Still from Japan comes the other game of great importance in this release of Xbox Game Pass, perhaps the most important if we also consider the fact that it is unpublished on various platforms: Monster Hunter Rise it was surprisingly announced recently coming to Xbox and it was even more surprising to find that it is aimed directly at Game Pass. Previously released only on Nintendo Switch and then PC, the game continues the series of action RPGs based on hunting monsters after the impressive global success of Monster Hunter World and its expansion Iceborne. Set in the land of Kamura, inspired by the classic folklore of Japan, Monster Hunter Rise takes up the classic structure, obviously introducing new creatures to hunt as well as new weapons, equipment and fighting styles, which in fact represent new life for passionate players of the series. Everything is brought to 4K resolution on Xbox Series X | S and 60 fps, complete with a 120 fps mode, which should improve the feeling in the middle of the action, with an increase in speed, dynamism and response to commands. However, these are the original versions, with the Sunbreak expansion expected later.
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Xbox Game Pass, January 2023: the first games of the month for subscribers
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