If you enjoy fighting monsters, both literal and metaphorical kinds, then Game Pass has you covered this month. Monster Hunter Rise, Persona 3 Portable, and Persona 4 Golden are all making their way to Xbox's premiere digital library.
JRPG classics Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden are set to arrive on Game Pass on January 19, while co-operative monster slaying simulator Monster Hunter Rise will grace the service’s digital shelves starting January 20.
In Monster Hunter Rise, players set foot into a monster-filled world inspired by Japanese mythology. From your foothold in the whimsical village of Kamura, you’ll set out to slay the dangerous beasts that roam the vibrant and dangerous lands beyond.
Adventuring alone or with buddies, you’ll be able to head out, kill monsters, acquire some fresh loot, and use that to craft all sorts of gear. Once you’ve sorted some new threads, you’ll be ready to venture out all over again. Monster Hunter’s gameplay loop is simple, fun, and surprisingly addictive.
Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden have you take on the role of a Japanese teenager caught in the middle of a supernatural mystery. In Persona 3, you’ll uncover a “hidden” hour between one day and the next, known as the Dark Hour. During the Dark Hour, the looming gray edifice of the tower of Tartarus emerges. When you’re not exploring the building, you’ll be living a teenager’s life by day, making friends and forming relationships that’ll help you battle the shadows which emerge during the Dark Hour. Persona 3’s high-concept plot and deep RPG mechanics make it a JRPG classic and well worth the effort if you’re curious.
Persona 4 Golden offers similarly high stakes but switches things up with a rural setting and a murder mystery premise. Just as in Persona 3, you're a Japanese teen gifted with bizarre supernatural powers. You’ll form friendships and build relationships by day while using your abilities to venture into a foreboding mist and search for answers at night time. Though Persona 4 offers an eclectic premise, it is seen as one of the best JRPGs ever made and provides a unique take on the classic coming-of-age story.
However, though these three additions make for some lovely new feathers in Xbox Game Pass’ cap, six titles will be exiting on January 15. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Nobody Saves the World, Pupperazzi, We Happy Few, Windjammers 2, and the Game Preview of The Anacrusis will all be departing the service.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on the titles before they disappear, they can still be purchased with the usual 20% member discount.
Cult of Persona-lity
Game Pass is no stranger to the Persona titles, having added the series’ most recent entry, Persona 5 Golden, late last year. Persona 5 has done a great deal to popularize the persona formula, offering a modern take on the supernatural horror and angsty teenage relationship building at the series’ heart.
In Persona 5, you're a Japanese high schooler on probation for a crime you didn’t commit. Forced to stay with a guardian in Tokyo, you swiftly become embroiled in the dark machinations of power-hungry authority figures throughout the city. It’s frantic, gripping, and surprisingly dark at times.
The additions of the prior two Persona titles to Game Pass’ roster complement Persona 5 beautifully, creating a drama-packed trilogy that’ll keep JRPG fans satisfied for hundreds of hours. With Octopath Traveller and Chained Echoes also available there, there’s never been a better time for JRPG fans to give the service a go.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.