The first reviews have dropped today for the highly-anticipated Age of Empires IV, which arrives on Xbox Game Pass for PC this Thursday, and the good news is that it seems to be shaping up very, very well!

We'll also have our own thoughts on Age of Empires 4 to share in the near future here at Pure Xbox, but for now, here's what the critics are saying across the web for the latest installment of this classic franchise:

Windows Central (5/5)

"Age of Empires 4 builds greatly on the series' reputation that began in 1997. If you're a fan of RTS games, world history, or both, this should be an easy recommendation. With dozens of hours of campaign play, eight unique civilizations, hours of live docu-style video segments, and a ton of maps for skirmishes, there's no shortage of well-polished content to enjoy."

GamesRadar (5/5)

"There's so much depth in the gameplay, so many tactics to experiment with, so many weird scenarios I can build for myself in Skirmish mode, that it's hard to imagine ever getting bored of it. History, carnage, and teeny weeny elephants, Age of Empires 4 has it all."

Game Informer (8.25/10)

"The real-time strategy genre remains relevant, fueled by a few big titles once in a while. While Age of Empires IV lacks any ambition to even gently jostle the standards set by Age of Empires II decades earlier, it’s a good way to play a classic-feeling RTS today with some slick polish and panache."

Video Games Chronicle (4/5)

"Age of Empires IV is a really good RTS, that plays it safe in the shadow of its famous predecessor, but rarely stands out on its own beyond that. The early game has never felt smoother, and the changes to UI and animation are welcome. While the win conditions aren’t endless, the stories of how you achieved them, or failed miserably trying, are."

IGN (8/10)

"Age of Empires 4 plays it safe a bit too often, but really excels when it wanders outside of its very traditional comfort zone. The expansive campaigns and offbeat factions like the Mongols and the Rus are major highlights, even when it loses some of its sharpness to a small unit cap, frustrating pathfinding, and relatively unimpressive graphics for a 2021 game."

PC Gamer (77/100)

"Age of Empires 4 has strong foundations to really grow into something, but it comes at a time when Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition is adding long-desired co-op campaigns and an ever-expanding library of historical battles. By comparison, Age of Empires 4 looks a little content-thin, especially for a £50 game..."

Age of Empires IV is off to a strong start, then, with a very impressive 84 Metacritic rating based on 36 critic reviews at the time of writing. The game will be available with Xbox Game Pass for PC this Thursday, October 28th!

Will you be playing Age of Empires 4 this week? Let us know down in the comments below.