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It’s a whopper of a Game Pass day, with Age of Empires II and THREE others

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It’s like the office is talking in a different language. There is a lot of excitement around Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (Console, Cloud) arriving on Game Pass today, but we can’t make head nor tail of their discussions about controller support, William Wallace and resource indicators.

Luckily, there’s more than enough other stuff for us to get our hands on while they’re distracted. Because today brings Roboquest (Game Preview) (Console), which technically came out yesterday, but we won’t tell anyone; Inkulinati (Console, PC); and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R (Console, PC, Cloud).

If you haven’t read Richard Dobson’s eloquent treatise on why Age of Empires II might be the most important Xbox Series X|S release of all time, ever, then we would advise you do it now. It’s one man’s journey through the ages from Gamestation to many lost hours at the PC. 

This RTS-city-builder is regarded as an all-time classic, and the Definitive Edition comes with three new campaigns and four new civilisations. The shockwave that rolled across the office was when co-op mode was announced, which is going to swallow up weeks of a few of our review team. 

If Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition isn’t your speed, then Roboquest might be. Due to release on Game Pass several times before, we are reassured that yes, today is the day. It’s a cooperative (or single-player) FPS romp through procedural generated levels, and the trailers make it look like bombastic, chaotic fun. It’s a Game Preview game, so you might want to expect some rough edges, but this roguelike has the capacity to be your next favourite FPS after High on Life wowed us. 

Inkulinati is also out today, day one on Game Pass, and follows Pentiment into the most niche of current subgenres: the medieval manuscript game. Looking like the Domesday Book come to life, it casts you as a Terry Gilliam-like artist, owner of the Living Ink, as you form a bestiary of characters and participate in ink-based strategems. Defeat medieval superstars and opponents, and rise to the top of the Middle Ages. 

Finally, there’s the beat’em-up joys of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R. This one’s not a day-one release, but not everything has to be new and spangly. We gave it a 3.5/5 in review and said: “if you like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, All-Star Battle R is probably an easy sell, as it is if you are predominantly a solo player. But if you want to test your might against the world, there are significant issues”. If Xbox are happy for it to be on Game Pass, perhaps the netcode has been improved. We can but hope.

That’s it for January, which is acceptable as we are in the last day of the month. What will February bring? We actually know more than most months, thanks to the Developer Direct. You can expect Darkest Dungeon (Console and PC) and GRID Legends (Console) on February 2nd, while Hot Wheels Unleashed GOTY (Console/PC) comes to Game Pass on February 7th, and the marvellous looking Atomic Heart (TBD) turns up on February 21st.

Leaving in February is Contrast, Dreamscaper and Telling Lies on February 3rd; Besiege, Edge of Eternity, Skul: The Hero Slayer, The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom and Infernax on February 10th; Total War: Warhammer III on February 17th; Wreckfest on February 18th and Galactic Civilizations III on February 24th.

Are you planning to play Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition with mouse and keyboard, or are you going to attempt the controller?  Let us know in the comments or on social media.

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