This month's PC Game Pass highlights have a distinctly Japanese theme

Palworld Ancient Civilization Parts - Grizzbolt with a minigun
(Image credit: Pocket Pair)

With January now but a bleary-eyed memory, 2024 is kicking into full gear with its hotly anticipated sequel: February. That also means it's time to check out the latest offerings from PC Game Pass, Microsoft's startlingly high-value subscription service. Though this month doesn't see quite the same quantity of new games coming to the platform, it more than makes up for it in sheer heavyweight quality. By far the most popular game of 2024 so far has now landed on Game Pass (Pikachu better have eyes in the back of his head, is all we're saying), as has the triumphant remake of one of our favourite RPGs here at PC Gamer. 

Read on for our February PC Game Pass highlights, which as you may note has a distinctly anime-themed vibe.


Palworld - A Sweepa and Gumoss stand together in a breeding ranch

(Image credit: Pocketpair)

Hindsight is a fine thing, but it really is surprising that it's taken this long for a developer to figure out that the Pokémon  premise of catching/enslaving cute critters in a colourful world is one that might catch on beyond the confines of Nintendo platforms. Add guns and persistent online multiplayer into the mix, and you have a huge winner: Palworld.

Despite the obvious Pokémon comparisons, under the surface Palworld is very much its own beast. It has far more of a survival-management focus, for a start, letting you employ the creatures you catch to help you farm, gather resources, and build a base out in the world. The battle system is more aggressive and action-oriented—think Monster Hunter—while its open-world grind is somewhere on the ARK: Survival Evolved spectrum of survival games. 

All the above melds together into a game that, even in its current Early Access state, has very much become the next Big Thing.

Persona 3 Reload 

(Image credit: Atlus)

While we all wait for Persona 6 like high-school students watching the clock in the final class before summer break, Atlus is doing a great job of keeping us entertained by revitalising the classics. Persona 3 Reload is, as our reviewer Heather points out, "not just a hi-res tune-up of the 2006 turn-based classic Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. It's a true remake, with nearly every aspect of the game changing in subtle or major ways."

The graphics have been overhauled to catch the classic up with modern Persona iterations, there are thousands more voiceover lines, as well as quality-of-life touches that arguably make this the most modern-feeling Persona to date. Its 100-plus-hour runtime wizzes by, as you play a transfer student seeking to solve an 'apathy affliction' that's taking lives, forcing you to venture into the Dark Hour to confront the source with your squad of friends, demi-gods and demons at your side.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy 

Phoenix Wright

(Image credit: capcom)

The indomitable attorney returns in a bundle that'll take you through all 14 episodes of investigations, intrigue, and courtroom drama. This isn't one of your stern Hollywood-style takes on the genre however, but a zany, eccentric anime-style game—part visual novel, part old-school adventure—as you work your way through cases that range from the hilarious to the horrifying.

This bundle remasters the three core Phoenix Wright games, wonderfully localised to express the humour, wordplay, and wit that's made this series such a hit in Japan and on consoles. Our Malindy loved it, celebrating the arrival of "one of the best visual novels to PC." 


Hi-Fi Rush screenshot

(Image credit: Tango Gameworks)

Springing up seemingly out of nowhere in 2023, with the combined boldness of Saturday morning cartoons and the leftfield talents of Shinji Mikami's Tango Gameworks studio, Hi-Fi RUSH was an unexpected treat: a rhythm-action game where you blast away robots to the aggressive sounds of bands like Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy.

The cel-shaded world recalls classics like Jet Set Radio, while the way you string combos together to smash evil corporate 'bots into submission is a bit like Devil May Cry with more explicit rhythm-based mechanics, as you deftly mash buttons to the beat to keep up with the beat. While it didn't quite make the cut for PC Gamer's Game of the Year, that didn't stop our own Harvey Randall offering impassioned praise for the game

Sea of Stars 

Sabotage Studio

(Image credit: Sabotage Studio)

2023's sleep JRPG hit of the year, Sea of Stars, revives all the things we hold dear about 90s classics like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI—the magical soundtracks, the pixel-art aesthetic, the tales of camaraderie among a motley crew of misfits saving the world—and gives them that modern-day sheen.

The world thrums with animations, beautiful backdrops, and spectacular spell effects, the soundtrack is provided by none other than Chrono Trigger's Yasunori Mitsuda, while a unique turn-breaking mechanic adds a level of dynamism immediacy to the well-structured turn-based combat. It's a delightful adventure that will take you back to more innocent times—an "enjoyable blend of old and new," as our reviewer Kerry put it. 

PC Gamer

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