Resident Evil 4 – a classic remake (Picture: Capcom)
Readers votes for their favourite games of 2023, with Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Resident Evil 4, and Baldur’s Gate 3 all in contention.
It’s that time again, when we ask readers to write in with their three favourite games of the outgoing year, so we can collate the votes and creator a Readers’ Top 20. Although our Top 20 has some restrictions, such as no remasters or remakes, the readers’ version has no restrictions, other than the games must have been released new in 2023.
In the end, it was a fairly easy win for Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, which was well ahead of the rest of the pack, although that may be because Baldur’s Gate 3 has made less impact on consoles, and was only released on Xbox in December, and so less people are likely to have played it compared to the other contenders.
Readers’ Top 20 of 2023
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Resident Evil 4
Baldur’s Gate 3
Metroid Prime Remastered
Final Fantasy 16
Street Fighter 6
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Sea Of Stars
Assassin’s Creed Mirage
Dave The Diver
RoboCop: Rogue City
Alan Wake 2
What a great year for video games! I decided on my three favourites for quite a while. Been struggling with the order though. Kept constantly changing my mind but I think this is my final choice.
1st place – Resident Evil 4. Capcom have managed to make one of the all-time best games even better. Everything that was so great about the original is here. But now improved graphics, gameplay, enemies, expanded story, etc. Also enjoyed the DLC. Interesting to see where the series goes after this. I’m still hoping for a remake of Code: Veronica.
2nd place – Super Mario Bros. Wonder. I’ve always preferred the traditional 2D Mario platformers. I admit though, when I first heard about this game, I had my doubts over the Wonder Flower, thinking it may be too gimmicky and spoil it. How wrong I was! It gave the game a breath of fresh of air. Wall Climb Jump 2 level, though. Man, I found that a tough one! Managed to finish it eventually though.
3rd place – Spider-Man 2. Been really enjoying this so far. I have loved the previous entries and was hoping for more of the same. And that’s what I have got. I don’t really want to go into too much detail, so to avoid spoilers, but the team-up with Black Cat was particularly impressive and reminded me of Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Finally, just wanted to mention a few others that I enjoyed.
Who Pressed Mute On Uncle Marcus? Won’t be for everyone but I do like these interactive movies. Wales Interactive have done a few of these style games and this is one of the better ones by them.
WWE 2K23. Great return of form. GC’s preview of this year’s sounds very promising and I will be looking forward to it.
Agatha Christie – Murder On The Orient Express. Reminded me of the old point ‘n’ click murder mystery games I used to play on the Amiga. Based on the book but added and changed it, so to keep it unpredictable for those familiar with the story.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. I’m not familiar with the original DS version. But enjoyed this highly original game.
Tony- -1975 (PSN ID)/SW-4453-8520-2043 (Switch code)
For various reasons I’ve actually managed to play a lot more of the year’s releases than I normally do, but there are still a handful of games that may make my top three once I get around to them, like Baldur’s Gate 3. So, for now at least, my top three are:
1. Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom – With the amazing new abilities, improved dungeons, and more interesting story, that built upon the already brilliant Breath Of The Wild, this is not only my game of the year, but my favourite game of all time.
2. Super Mario Bros. Wonder – Seemingly taking some inspiration from the WarioWare series, Wonder constantly introduces new ideas and gameplay concepts for short bursts before disposing of them and moving on to something else. It still doesn’t overtake Super Mario Bros. 3 as my favourite 2D platformer, but it comes a lot closer than most.
3. Jusant – A close call between this and Dredge for my third spot, but Jusant just edges it thanks to the superb climbing mechanics that ensure the game remains engaging from start to finish.
Final Fantasy 16 – I’m so surprised this is top of my list, as all I did was moan about the game being too easy and it not feeling like Final Fantasy. But by the end I felt the story was one of the best Final Fantasies ever.
Resident Evil 4 – I didn’t buy this until Christmas, as I’ve already completed countless versions of the game, but oh my gosh I love Resi 4. It looks and feels fantastic to play it again on PlayStation 5.
Alien: Dark Descent – I took a couple of months break in the middle of playing this game before completing it. I think putting it on hard mode for my first playthrough forced me to play super stealthy, which made the suspense and pressure of playing a bit much but when I came back to it and finished the game off I was very happy with the feel of the game, even if it was a little janky.
If you don’t want to include Resi 4 then I’d add Laika: Aged Through Blood – I’ve only just stated playing it tho’.
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A year to remember
My top three for 2023 are:
3. Blasphemous 2. I really enjoyed the first game and the sequel improves on it in every way possible. The combat is improved (especially in the choice of three different weapons and how they play), the level design is better, and the game really nails its Spanish Inquisition style horror. I thought the side quests and non-player characters, in particular, were great. A mix of Soulslike and Metroidvania that fans of either genre should try.
2. Chants Of Sennaar. A game all about translating words from different languages sounds dull but is anything but. Essentially a puzzle game where you must learn five different languages to progress, whilst also bringing the different cultures that speak these languages together. As each language has its own unique writing style you have to decipher them using a combination of clues, logic, and guessing. Much better than I’ve made it sound and a real delight to play.
1. Jusant. On paper, a game where you climb a mountain in near silence. In practice one of the most charming and endearing games you will ever play. If the game was just about climbing it would still be great as the mechanics and physics are terrific, with each climb its own little puzzle. The real strength, though, is what happens on the climb.
Usually finding diary entries and logs in games is an overused and lazy way to dump info on players. Here it genuinely encourages you to explore and discover why the mountain you are climbing is abandoned. This is combined with beautiful graphics and an art style that makes you want to stop and stare at the landscapes. Then there’s the strange creature you are carrying with you and is truly adorable, sadly to say more would spoil the game. A masterpiece that everyone should experience.
2023 was an exceptional year and I could have picked any number of games. Even the DLC (Cyberpunk 2077, God of War: Ragnarök) was excellent. Sadly, all the other things going on in the games industry have taken the gloss off, but hopefully it can see out its problem and make 2024 just as good.
andy_b720 (PSN ID)
My top three for this year are in descending order: Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Resident Evil 4, and Street Fighter 6. In my view, Tears Of The Kingdom improves on Breath Of The Wild in every single respect. Better dungeons, better bosses, and a better finale. Now, those bosses and dungeons are still not up there with the best in the series (where even The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess examples can be found) but they’re still much better. Weapon durability is still a fault, but a very small one and mitigated for the most part by the fusion system.
I must mention Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which I’ve just started to play and have got as far as beating the boss of Fluff Puff Peaks. Yes, I’m a 42-year-old man who has gone to Fluff Puff Peaks – what of it? And… I’m not feeling that it’s a 10 out of 10. In fact, it reminds me heavily of Rayman Legends, which I think was better. And I think Sonic Mania is better as well. I know. Possibly sacrilege. I think the game is a little plodding, the Wonder Flower set pieces thus far have been good but haven’t blown my mind. Things could change, of course. One thing I’m hoping that will improve is the bosses. The first two have been kinda meh. Not bad, just not amazing either.
One thing I very much hate, and it’s a very typical Nintendo move, is that the speed boost button and jump buttons are both face buttons. They are right next to each other but I find it awkward. Again, in Rayman Legends had the speed boost be mapped to the right trigger by default – which was objectively superior and made for smoother, faster play. And can I change the speed boost to the configuration to the one I would prefer? Can I fudge. This is Nintendo and so you’ll do as you’re told and you’ll bloody well like it!
Super Mario Odyssey was the same for scooters and it really ticked me off there, too. But despite my grumbles, none of what I’ve said are deal breakers and it’s yet another classic from Nintendo. But, as I have to, I would say that Street Fighter 6 was more immediately impressive. Know what I mean? I mean, do you know what I mean? Do I know what I mean? Does anybody know what I mean?! Somebody please help me to understand what I mean!
Reading through GameCentral’s Top 20 of 2023 made me realise how few of them I had played. I’ve worked through a few games on Game Pass (Hitman), borrowed/bought the odd PlayStation 5 game from a friend (Gran Turismo 7/Horizon Forbidden West/God Of War Ragnarök) but all things that have been released pre-2023. This left me with a surprisingly short list of options for my top three, with a few games that missed out. For example, Final Fantasy 16 I found very tedious and boring, despite being a huge Final Fantasy fan, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder we’ve maybe only spent an hour playing so far; Starfield – I pre-installed it, read the reviews, deleted it…
So in third place I’m going to add a game I’ve actually never played.
3. Hogwarts Legacy
I picked this one as my son was very keen to play it and really enjoyed it. He’s old enough to understand the game and enjoy its strengths while young enough to avoid the issues and conversations that came with its release, as well as the multitude of spoilers that flooded social media. He also played Jet Set Radio but preferred Hogwarts overall. It seemed to be a reasonably well polished game that made good use of the source material and I can see why it was a popular, if not critically rated, release.
2. Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
One game my son and I both played separately, and both really enjoyed. I’ll admit I have yet to finish it and he did so months ago but the time I spent in-game was great fun. A fantastically well designed and polished game, even if it felt a little too much like Breath Of The Wild at times, which is perhaps what had me move onto something else a little earlier than planned.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3
Absolutely no doubt for me about my number one game. I’m currently closing in on the 300 hour mark and still finding new experiences. I very rarely play a game for a second time and I’m currently on my third back-to-back playthrough having done a good run, an evil run, and now the ultra hard honour mode. It has been an absolute blast and even on my third playthrough I was met with a new outcome to a relatively predictable conversation that had me leaping out of my seat and pacing around the room! (For those in the know, I may have been bad mouthing Vlaakith to her face).
It has a steep learning curve, but the difficulty level can be adjusted so anyone can pick it up and enjoy and while I’m well versed in Dungeons & Dragons computer role-players, having played the original two games, Icewind Dale, and the full set of Neverwinter Nights games, this has felt fresh, polished, and just outright amazing from start to finish. My only issue with it is I don’t think I have time for a fourth run before Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth arrives with Dragon’s Dogma 2 close behind.
2024 is looking good though, with two great games to look forward to already. Indiana Jones could be an interesting extra too, that I hadn’t expected.
3. Dave The Diver
Can’t express enough how fun this game is – just for sheer diversity. Imagine a game which is viewed from a classic side-on view, where you control a diver who swims into the unknown, exploring the ocean and being the hunter or the hunted whilst trying to get your fishing products caught for a Sushi restaurant on topside!
Random and amazing, with micromanaging of staff, menus, the day-to-day running of the restaurant, and getting good grades from the food inspectors. Also, you follow a story involving seafolk and a deep ocean mystery! How more perfect can you get! Just play and enjoy. Such a great indie game.
2. Hogwarts Legacy
This game is here because being a fan of the books, etc. it’s what I’ve been waiting for, for quite a while, and thankfully it ticks off most the boxes required, with the atmosphere and attention to detail needed.
Following a new storyline in a different era to the classic books was world expanding and interesting, from a lore and location perspective. The character creation menu was efficiently designed and the whole of the area including the Hogwarts grounds, castle, Forbidden Forest and some new areas to explore were a great bonus and made this game one of the best for me in 2023. The Hogwarts castle layout was an absolute dream for me. Will definitely replay this again at some point.
1. Alan Wake 2
Yet another personal preference and I know GameCentral were not too hot with the game! But I had a need to immerse myself in this sequel to a game which had its flaws, but I looked passed them then and I’ll look past them now. I mean, look how many flaws there were in another similarly surreal game called Deadly Premonition! And that was 100% thoroughly enjoyed by me personally and other gamers alike.
I am a fan of cult classic books, TV, film, and games in general and just love the quirky, weird David Lynch style tales and strange story-crafting, which makes H. P. Lovecraft seem absolutely normal by comparison! Play this game if you are of the same mindset but I feel you’d enjoy enough without needing this way of thinking. Enjoy the music, locations, and characters and get immersed in this soon-to-be cult classic.
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