It was the best of years, it was the blurst of years.

Two men on the set of a talk show.

2023 sucked, at least as far as the gaming and tech industries are concerned. It was an absolutely terrible year full of layoffs and "restructuring" plans across a multitude of companies. No matter how you phrase it, a lot of good developers and employees lost their jobs, and a lot of good studios were shut down and that is terrible. Hopefully 2024 is better on that front.

Now, to make one of the least graceful topic transitions in the world: It's time to talk about my favorite games of 2023.

As has been common for the past several years here, this is just my personal list of games I played and enjoyed. I'm not going to fully present the list in any ranked order. These are just the games I played. Frankly, I find it difficult to put an ordered list for an entire year's worth of games, especially in a year where we saw some crazy good game releases throughout the entire year.

Now maybe, maybe, the first games mentioned below are my favorites from this year. And maybe literally any of the games that appear first would have been clear "Game of the Year" winners if they released in any other year that wasn't as packed full of hits as this one.

Alan Wake 2

No other game in 2023 stuck with me as much as Remedy Entertainment's latest work. To keep it short: I strongly disliked the first Alan Wake game but Alan Wake 2 just clicked so hard with me. It offers a crazy, fun, and horrifying story. The visuals are some of the best I've seen this year, even when running on the PlayStation 5 in Performance mode. Alan Wake 2 also features a few of the most memorable gameplay sequences I've ever experienced in any game. Plus, thanks to the whole Remedy Connected Universe, Alan Wake 2 could almost be seen as a Control 1.5 with a heaping helping of bizarro Max Payne.

Feel free to read more in my Alan Wake 2 review.

Resident Evil 4

I'm talking about the remake on this one. The original Resident Evil 4 is one of two GameCube games that I personally own (the other being The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess). Since that Gamecube release, I have either purchased or played Resident Evil 4 on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PC. I think I've played through the game at least 8 times if not more. Needless to say, I was very excited for the Resident Evil 4 remake. The remake easily delivered on my lofty expectations. I played through it several times at release, then again when the Separate Ways DLC came out in September. Capcom did a great job blending the familiar beats of the original with new gameplay mechanics and just enough changes to make the entire experience feel as fresh as playing through the original for the first time.

Remnant 2

I poured over 46 gameplay hours into Remnant 2 and still haven't seen everything that this third-person action-RPG has to offer, even after fully beating the campaign at least twice and playing individual worlds a few additional times. This is an excellent sequel to the first Remnant that offers up tons of replayability. It's also a game that can be enjoyed either solo or in co-op with a couple of friends.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

I played through Cyberpunk 2077 right near its initial 2020 release on PC. It had some issues but I thought it was an ok-ish game. Since that initial playthrough, CD Projekt Red released a few boatloads worth of updates to the game to address issues and change key gameplay mechanics. Then they released that "2.0 update" followed shortly by the Phantom Liberty DLC. It was at the DLC's release that I decided to play through the full game again for only the second time. You know what? Despite a few odd (non-game breaking) bugs here and there, the game is now incredibly fun. It's like a night and day difference from release. The Phantom Liberty DLC also comes at you with a well-written story that, upon completion, really leaves you hopeful for the future of CDPR's Cyberpunk franchise.

A man in shades and a suit glaring at the viewer.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Oh man, what's this? A new Yakuza/Like a Dragon game that features really fun combat, side-missions, and a story that left me absolutely bawling at the end? You know it!

Before that ending, Gaiden offered up a more "bite sized" Like a Dragon gameplay experience where you once again play as Kazuma Kiryu. Shorter than most other games in the franchise, this one bridges the gap between Yakuza: Like a Dragon and the upcoming Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.

Mighty Doom

Apparently this mobile game had a limited release in 2021 but wasn't fully available until 2023? I don't know. Whatever the case is, I started playing this earlier this year and have played it almost every day as part of my nightly "pre-sleep-wind-down-mobile-gaming-period." You do not need to spend any money on this if you don't want to. I did put down something like $5 some months ago though if only because I had some spare Google Play funds from doing surveys. It's just a fun little top-down shooter where you play as the Mini Slayer.

Dead Space

This is now the third horror game and second remake on my top list. Make of that what you will. We all know what Dead Space is all about. I feel like the remake did a wonderful job capturing the essence, tension, and action of the original while expanding upon it thanks to the ability to freely traverse through the USG Ishimura.

RoboCop: Rogue City

I'm certainly not a big fan of the RoboCop franchise. In fact, I'm not even sure if I ever watched any of the movies. This game though? It's way better than it has any right to be. It oozes 80s-era action movie goodness in every aspect. The OG RoboCop, Peter Weller, reprises his role in this one. It mixes linear action sections with open-world exploration sections. It blends together visceral first-person shooting in highly destructible environments with Deus Ex-style conversations and puzzle solving. There are skill trees and weapon upgrades that allow you to build the RoboCop of your dreams. Plus, if you have the hardware to run it properly on PC, it's a damn good looking game.

RoboCop stepping out of a police vehicle.

Honorable Mentions

• Baldur's Gate 3 - I've never played D&D but this is fun!

• Diablo 4 - Base game was good. Season 1 sucked. Season 2 is great!

• Hogwarts Legacy - J.K. Rowling is a transphobic POS. This game was fun though (keep in mind that I did not pay for this game).

• BattleBit Remastered - Lo-fi old-school Battlefield vibes.

• Atomic Heart - Good action. Good puzzles. Try to ignore the cringe sexualization of robots and the perverted fridge.

• Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PC) - I'm a sucker for Ratchet & Clank and Rift Apart was another banger.

• System Shock - Another great remake of a classic. The wait was well worth it.

• The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - It's hard for a Zelda game to be bad. It's good but not one of my favorites.

• The Finals - A nice spin on the classic competitive FPS. The environmental destruction is bonkers and makes every match play out differently.

• Gylt - A "lite" horror game that blends stealth, Alan Wake style flashlight "combat," and a pinch of Silent Hill.

• Forspoken - This game ran like crap on my PC but I still very much enjoyed it. The traversal and combat were stellar. The pre-release anger over the game's dialogue/writing were also vastly overblown.

• God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla - An awesome piece of DLC that blended roguelite gameplay with a healthy dose of new story. Plus it was free!

I believe that's pretty much it. There are other games that I played from this year that didn't make whatever arbitrary cutoff metric I imposed for this list. There are also several games not released in 2023 that I either played and enjoyed this year, replayed this year, or have kept playing into 2023 from previous years.

Currently Playing

Now for a couple of bonus sections. First up, just a little bit about some of the games I'm currently playing that weren't mentioned above. These are some games that either came out before 2023 that I am only now getting to or games that I play regularly with friends.

• God of War Ragnarök - This is the main game I'm focusing on right now. Yes, I played through the Valhalla DLC. No, I have not beaten the base game yet. I had the very end spoiled for me near release so I already knew the very end of the game, so playing the DLC wasn't really an issue. This game is great, but I've certainly run into more bugs in this one than I ever did in 2018's God of War.​

Battlefield 2042 - After taking several months off from this game in 2022, Battlefield 2042 is in a good enough spot now where my friends and I are back to playing about once a week. I feel like the phrase "finally in a good spot" has been commonly said for the previous few Battlefield releases now. Maybe the next one will launch in a good state.

Destiny 2 - I mean, it's Destiny. Gunplay is still really good if nothing else. I mainly just do the new story stuff each week and that's it.

Judgment - Been chipping away at this one on the PC. Wanted to get it, the DLC, and Lost Judgment done ahead of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth but I don't think that's going to happen.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - I have tried twice before and failed twice before to play through this game. I've at least gotten further in this third attempt, having made it to somewhere in Chapter 5. However, it's still such a slog and I haven't played since August yet it remains installed on my PC. I really should just rush to the end so I can uninstall it.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide - The game made some impressive improvements since its launch window. Really fun co-op game.

Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis - I started playing this gacha game on mobile and moved to PC once that release happened. The story stuff is really good thanks to the inclusion of many actual cutscenes. The gacha is super egregious to the point they have tickets for item draws that literally have the word "gacha" on them. Spending money is optional, but you should obviously expect a very long grind if you want to go through all of the story content.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Yes, the new one. The campaign sucked and was super short, as we all know. The multiplayer is quite good and the return of old maps hits the nostalgia hard.

House Flipper 2 - Playing for review.

Fallout 76 - I needed a Fallout fix.

Horizon Forbidden West - Loved the first game. Haven't started this yet, but it's installed on my PS5 ready to go after I finish God of War Ragnarök.

Ghost of Tsushima - Same as Horizon Forbidden West. Haven't started this yet either, but it's installed on my PS5.

Screenshot from Avowed showing a lizard person hurling a fireball at a person holding a bow and arrow.

2024 Games I'm Looking Forward To

Just a quick list of games I'm interested in hopefully playing, or trying out, that are are either confirmed to be out in 2024 or suggested to be out in 2024.
  • The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered - It's a $10 upgrade for me. It's hard to say no to that even if I didn't much care for the game the first time. I didn't hate it either.
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth
  • Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
  • Helldivers 2
  • Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden
  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
  • Alone in the Dark
  • Dragon's Dogma 2
  • Destiny 2: The Final Shape
  • Avowed
  • Gothic (Remake)
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl
  • Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown
  • The First Descendant
  • Lost Records: Bloom & Rage
  • Pacific Drive
  • Indika
  • While We Wait Here
  • Clockwork Revolution
  • Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2
  • Little Kitty, Big City
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor
  • Nightingale
  • Nivalis
  • Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
  • Hell is Us
  • Chornobyl Liquidators