2023 has been a banner year for video game quality. Much like 1999 is remembered as an incredible year for film (Really! Go look it up!), 2023 is going to go down in history as one of the all-time greatest years for video games. So many fantastic games were released this year that did not make it onto our "Best of" list, that we actually added more categories to try to accommodate more games. Even so, such milestone games like Diablo IV, Starfield, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Resident Evil 4 Remake VR, and many, many others were left off the list simply due to the overwhelming number of options.
So, without further ado, here is our categorized list of the best games of 2023.
From our review: "The single player experiences are enormous. The online experience is perfect. Street Fighter lore is littered in every nook and cranny of this game. There are modes and modes within modes. This is one of the best Street Fighter games in the history of the franchise. If Capcom hurt you in the past, this is their apology. Street Fighter 6 is a new classic that people will be playing for years to come."
From our review: "In a way I was surprised by Immortals of Aveum; I came into it expecting there to be good combat with a serviceable story. The combat part panned out, although it ended up being better in some respects, but the story ended up being my favorite part of the experience. Over its 20-ish hours it never overstayed its welcome, and quite wonderfully weaved in and out of its various threads while elegantly tying it together in the final act. It’s enhanced by the fact that Aveum is an interesting place to learn about, filled with lore and worldbuilding that had me exhausting dialogue options in conversations with well-voiced NPCs, just to see what they could tell me about the history of this world."
From our review: "While a long time coming, Baldur’s Gate 3 is that rare game where it feels like a complete product and there’s so much content that you could play this for well over a hundred of hours without getting bored. The characters and story are engaging and the graphics are solid. Also, the game’s constantly being updated so if you do run into an issue, chances are Larian will fix it. Well worth the wait, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a more than worthy follow up to the classic PC games, and I hope we get to see more from Larian in this world in the future."
From our review: "Top tier storytelling, environmental puzzles, and exploration make Sea of Stars a must play for RPG fans. Though the combat system wears slightly thin after a while, the rest of the game is absolutely stellar. Colorful, funny, and packed full of memorable characters and moments, this is a game that is not to be missed by RPG fans."
From our review: "Super Mega Baseball 4 is simply a blast to play. It’s an arcade baseball sim-lite with a focus on fun factor, and it includes a surprising amount of depth that will appeal to a wide range of baseball game fans. If you’re looking for something more laid back than a full-on baseball sim, but also not mindless button-mashing, this is that game."
From our review: "Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged has improved and expanded every aspect of the original game, and smoothed out some of the difficulty spikes that entranced/enraged me the first time around. Though the new story is mostly kid stuff, the actual racing is still challenging and wildly exciting. Crushingly good graphics, fun mechanics, and the obsessive collection of amazing toys once again combine to create a fantastic must-play racer."
What more can be said about Tears of the Kingdom that hasn't already been written a thousand times over? Improving one of the best games in history by giving players the tools needed to break it, Tears of the Kingdom demonstrates the wild creativity that only arrives in one game out of every 100,000. Beyond groundbreaking, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is earth-shattering.
From our review: "Bang-On Balls gets our highest recommendation, with no caveats. The worlds are huge, the game is beautiful, the action is fun, the secrets are deep. With a ton of interesting activities, intriguing puzzles, and cool stuff to collect, Bang-On Balls feels like developer Exit Plan threw in everything, including the kitchen sink. This is new benchmark for action-exploration-bouncing-combat-platformer games."
From our review: "Bringing a new, adult spin to Zen Studios' winning pinball formula, Pinball M does enough new thing to differentiate itself from the Pinball FX mothership. Bringing a strong opening selection of tables and many ways to interact with them, Pinball M feels like the start of something new and mysterious. I can't wait to see where it goes next."
Connections might seem a strange choice for our puzzle game of the year, but The New York Times' daily game has become something of a phenomenon in the Gaming Nexus Slack in the second half of 2023. With many of our writers logging in every day to show off their success (or lack thereof) at creator Wyna Liu's Codenames-like daily brain melter, Connections more than meets our qualifications as both a video game and the best puzzle game of the year. Think of it as a game-as-a-service that you don't have to pay anything for. And if you haven't yet - get on board.
Thanks to Chris Remo for the video, because we had nothing.
From our review: "It's rare to see such a massive VR game, especially on a mobile platform. Asgard's Wrath 2 delivers a ton of gameplay and a mountain of content. Minor issues aside, this game has it all for VR owners and is a great sequel to the Quest 2 game."
From our review: "Anno 1800 is one of the most addictive city builders that I’ve played on console, full of gameplay intricacies that create an intoxicating experience. With so many moving parts, it suffers a bit from the typical PC-to-console control issues that plague the genre, but I doubt that will stop you from spending hours building an empire."
From our review: "Hi-Fi Rush is a light-hearted game about comradery and taking down corpo, mixing fantastic animation, amazing character development, larger than life bosses and more charm than a bassist after getting props for a gig. If Bethesda is doing games like this in 2023, hand me that guitar pick. I'm ready to rock!"
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Howdy. My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids. During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories. I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection. I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.
My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then. I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep. Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS4, PS VR2, Quest 2, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan. While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.
When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.
Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here.View Profile