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Best Games of 2023: Top rated games of last year

Now that the year 2023 is in the rear-view mirror, we’ve been able to compile our definitive list of the absolute best games of 2023 that we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

We’ve made sure to include a mix of games from different platforms to make sure that there’s a game here for everyone, despite your choice of gaming device. There’s also a huge variety of genres here, from chilling horror ventures, to more family-friendly outings.

Every game on this list has been completed and fully tested by our team of experts, so you can know for sure that you’re getting a top quality game for your hard-earned cash.

If you’re not so bothered about buying the latest games to hit stores, and would prefer to know the best options for each platform, then also check out our best PS4 games, best PS5 gamesbest Xbox Series X/Series S gamesbest PC games and the Best Switch Games roundups.

Best Games of 2023 at a Glance

How we test

Learn more about how we review games

We play every game we review to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is nearly impossible. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

The best game of 2023
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Pros

  • New building mechanic opens up endless possibilities
  • Hyrule feels even bigger with new locations to explore
  • New fuse ability offsets frustrations for weapon durability
  • An engaging story that builds on Breath of the Wild

Cons

  • Dungeons still feel lacklustere compared to old Zelda games
  • Slightly choppy performance due to ageing hardware
  • Some controls can feel a little clumsy

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is not only a frontrunner for best game of 2023, but it’s potentially one of greatest games of all time. Continuing on from the beloved Breath of the Wild, the sequel plonks you back into the immersive world of Hyrule but with several curious modifications such as floating islands and underground caverns to explore. 

The biggest change for Tears of the Kingdom can be found with Link’s new powers, allowing him to build both weapons and vehicles, using only materials found in the wilderness. This builds upon the excellent survival mechanicals of its predecessor, while also making the weapon degradation less frustrating. 

We noted in our review that Nintnedo has reinforced all of Breath of the Wild’s greatest strengths with more interactions with the dynamic world, a bounty of puzzles to solve and simple but rewarding combat. The story is excellent too, as Link and Zelda have to deal with the emerging threat of the Demon King, all told via cinematic cutscenes. 

If you own a Nintendo Switch, then The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a no-brainer purchase whether you’re a Zelda fan or newcomer to the series. It’s difficult to imagine any game topping it before the end of the year. 

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review

Resident Evil 4

Best horror game of 2024
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Pros

  • Gameplay tweaks help to elevate the original game
  • The revamped story feels more cohesive
  • A much stronger link with Resident Evil 2
  • Tons of replayability

Cons

  • Minor performance issues in Resolution mode

Resident Evil 4 is rightly championed as one of the absolute best horror games to ever grace a console, despite launching all the way back in 2005. Capcom has now revived the classic game via an outstanding remake, uplifting the visuals to a modern standard. 

Despite an overhaul to the graphics, we found that the gameplay mechanics have largely remained untouched, with a superb balance between spooky segments, and action-packed butchering of the undead. That said, Capcom has made a few welcome refinements, such as adding the ability to crouch and make use of the quick-select menu, resulting in a very polished experience. 

The story has also seen a few tweaks, but for the better in our opinion, resulting in a more cohesive adventure while also adding far more stronger links to preceding entries such as Resident Evil 2. Of course, Resident Evil 4 is still a fantastic entry point to the series if you’re yet to dip your toe into the horror franchise. 

Resident Evil 4 has set a high bar for what modern day remakes can be, and cements itself as one of the absolute best horror we’ve ever played.

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full Review: Resident Evil 4 Remake Review

Horizon Call of the Mountain

Best VR Game
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Pros

  • Interactive world is wonderfully immersive
  • Cimbing in VR feels fantastic
  • Fun combat with bow and arrow
  • Jaw-dropping visuals and environments

Cons

  • Story is forgettable
  • Puzzles aren’t very challenging

Horizon Call of the Mountain is the only PSVR2-exclusive on this list, meaning that you will need to own both a PS5 and PSVR2 to play along. Putting the system requirements aside, Call of the Mountain is an incredibly immersive title, with our reviewer noting that the robot monsters looked incredibly imposing inside your headset, with crocodile-like Snapjaws lurking in the water while towering Tallnecks shake the ground as they walk above you.

Not only that, but you can interact with almost everything in this VR world; pick up rocks and mugs to throw into the distance or start drumming on abandoned musical instruments. Instead of pressing down on a button to pluck arrows from your quiver, you can reach behind your shoulder and press down on the controller’s trigger, creating an immersive and incredibly realistic experience. 

As fun as the combat mechanics are, we actually thought that the climbing segments stole the show. The more climbing you engage in, the more climbing gear you unlock, allowing your character to use pickaxes to smash into the rocks and rope casters to swing across ravines. 

Overall, we think that this is one of the best VR games we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. Despite the limitations of needing to own a PS5 and PSVR2, this is a fantastic game and a must-play for anyone who already owns the hardware. If you want a unique and thrilling experience that takes what VR can be to the next level, then Horizon Call of the Mountain is definitely for you. 

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Horizon Call of the Mountain review

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Best 2D platformer of 2023
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Pros

  • Fantastic new power-ups and features
  • Beautifully designed levels and worlds
  • Highly motivating gameplay loop
  • Local multiplayer mode
  • Vast character selection

Cons

  • Simple gameplay may not be for everyone

The Super Mario Bros. series is one of the most iconic of all of gaming history, harkening back to the old days of the arcade. Nintendo has now revived the 2D platformer series for the Nintendo Switch, with plenty of new twists to appeal to a new generation of gamers. 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder has a huge roster of playable characters, with the main five made up of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy and Toad. Local multiplayer is supported if you want to team up with a friend or family member, while you can also go online for a competitive race. 

We loved the core mechanics of Wonder, with tight platforming making it a joy to traverse the wonderfully crafted stages. The new Wonder Seeds feature helps to further the series too, adding a wide array of unpredictable effects. Our favourite new feature is the ability to turn Mario and co into an elephant, allowing us to smash through obstacles and squirt water from your trunk. 

Like with many Nintendo games, Wonder can be accused of being rather easy to complete. But if you’re just searching for a simple and relaxing 2D platformer for the Nintendo Switch, there’s no better option than this.

Reviewer: Gemma Ryles
Full Review: Super Mario Bros. Wonder review

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Best PS5 game of 2023
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Pros

  • Thrilling Venom-centric story
  • New special abilites are a blast
  • Web wings are a joy to use
  • Instantaneous loading times

Cons

  • Inconsistent face models
  • Side missions are still repetitive

The original Marvel’s Spider-Man (that launched back in 2018) nailed the feeling of being the web crawler, especially when it came to swinging through New York. The new Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 builds upon its predecessor in several ways, with the new web wings speeding up traversal and elevated visuals making it one of the best looking games on PS5 yet. 

We found the story to be the most impressive aspect of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 though, with classic Spidey characters such as Venom, Lizard and Harry Osbourne all surpassing their movie counterparts. The story follows both Peter and Miles, as they continue to balance their life with duties as superheroes. 

Both Spider-Men also get access to a slew of new Venom abilities, adding more variety to combat, and making it even more thrilling  and cinematic than ever before. You once again get a great selection of gizmos and power-ups to aid you in the fight with a varied roster of villains. 

If you didn’t enjoy the first Spider-Man game on PS4, then you probably won’t enjoy the sequel given the numerous similarities. But if you loved the original, or just like superhero games in general, then Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a must-buy option for the PS5.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 review

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe

Best Game for Kids
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Pros

  • Fantastic range of features and copy abilities
  • Adorable and beautiful level designs
  • Merry Magoland feels like a game in its own right
  • Works great as a multiplayer game

Cons

  • Main missions may be too easy for some
  • Co-op is limited to local play

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a fantastic game for youngsters and adults alike, boasting an incredibly cute art style that’s very easy to appreciate. HAL Laboratory opted for a rounded and soft aesthetic that will definitely appeal to a younger audience, but our reviewer also loved it, noting how every level has another cute enemy or well-designed cutscene that made the game very easy to get into. 

Not only is the art style charming, but you can also play this game with up to three more friends via local play. Although the lack of online play does limit its accessibility, we found that it worked very well as a multiplayer title. Since you are not competing, it becomes a mad rush to see who can discover each collectable first, with anyone playing as Kirby getting to use the various copy abilities that are littered throughout the game. 

Our personal favourite abilities were Sword and Leaf, with the former turning Kirby into a Link-like character with a massive sword to take down enemies, and even a green cap for good measure. There are also amped-up versions of these copies that truly let you bombard your way through the level; slash through entire parts of the stage with a massive Sword, or take the form of a giant snowball with the Ice copy and barrel through enemies and props. 

The main missions may be a little too easy for some, with the puzzles not requiring a massive amount of brain power; but not only does this make this the perfect game to play with any youngsters in your family, our reviewer still felt very accomplished finishing each stage, with the immense amount of collectables giving you more than enough reason to come back for more. If you’re looking for something that’s playable on the Nintendo Switch and has a bit more of a challenge, we recommend you check out either Metroid Prime Remastered or Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Reviewer: Gemma Ryles
Full Review: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review

Metroid Prime Remastered

Best FPS Game
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Pros

  • Palpable atmosphere
  • Remastered visuals look incredible
  • Updated controls are a huge help
  • The art style has aged beautifully

Cons

  • Backtracking is a persistent chore
  • The game does a bad job of telling you where to go
  • Mapping the game’s locales can be a nightmare

While the core game design of Metroid Prime hasn’t aged too well, Metroid Prime Remastered brings in a new sense of atmosphere and visuals that the franchise has never seen before, making it a very easy recommendation for Metroid fans as well as newcomers. We thought that the atmosphere is its greatest asset, with everything from Samus’ suit to the alien creatures that lurk around each level being clearly so thoughtfully designed to the point where they haven’t become derivative in the current sea of first-person shooters, even 20 years later. 

The ability to switch between the classic GameCube-era controls or the motion controls featured in the Metroid Prime Trilogy for Nintendo Wii was very welcome, as you can pick and choose which style works best for you. We also found that the core progression system at the heart of Metroid Prime is very addictive, tasking you with reclaiming all of Samus’ abilities following a devastating fight. Knowing that continuing on for another 15 minutes could nab you an invaluable upgrade keeps you hooked throughout and makes you continually want to come back for more. 

This game is set on Talon IV, an alien planet filled with antagonists and collectables. Our reviewer noted how unique this planet was, with snowy mountains, sand-filled ruins and lava pits located throughout. This furthers the eccentric style of this title and sets it even further apart from all the other first-person shooters on the market. 

It’s worth noting that this game encourages a lot of backtracking, which we were not a big fan of. If you’re looking for a more linear FPS, titles like DOOM Eternal or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022) may be a better fit. But overall, Metroid Prime Remastered is a fantastic game and a great excuse to revisit this iconic franchise, with an amazing and distinctive art style to boot. 

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full Review: Metroid Prime Remastered Review

Starfield

Best sci-fi game of 2023
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Pros

  • Fantastic side quests to dig into
  • Superb gunplay and variety of weapons
  • Ship customisation is excellent
  • Expansive skill tree for true RPG experience

Cons

  • Mostly boring story campaign
  • Space and planet exploration is a chore
  • Overencumbered system is incredibly frustrating

From the creators of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, Starfield is a new sci-fi RPG that allows you to explore a countless number of planets across the galaxy. 

We were really impressed with how expansive the skill tree is for this immersive RPG, allowing you to shape your character, whether that involves becoming a pirate, conman or a model citizen. 

There are oodles of customisation options here too, allowing you to make modifications to anything from your weapons to your spaceship. The combat sees superb gunplay too, mostly thanks to the wicked range of weapons. We loved using the energy rifles that can obliterate enemies from afar, but the classing shotgun also proved incredibly fun. 

Starfield shines the brightest when you’re engaging with the RPG mechanics and undertaking one of the countless side missions spread throughout the stars. The underwhelming story campaign and dull space exploration do hold it back, but Starfield remains a great option for those craving a similar experience to past Bethesda games.

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Starfield review

Fire Emblem Engage

Best Strategy Game
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Pros

  • Emblem Rings adds new tactical layer to combat
  • Great fan service through classic Fire Emblem heroes
  • Cuts straight to the action, with less padding
  • Optional Permadeath setting offers good accessibility

Cons

  • Could be initmidating for series newcomers
  • Little focus on characters
  • Simple story

Fire Emblem Engage feels like a love letter to all the loyal fans of the Fire Emblem series. There is a lot of nostalgia here thanks to the inclusion of classic Fire Emblem heroes like Marth, Roy, Ike, Byleth and many more.

Engage doesn’t stray too far from the series’ iconic combat system, playing out like an elaborate game of chess with a grid-based arena and a great variety of unit and class types. We felt that the rock-paper-scissors system was very captivating, with spear units weak to axes, axes vulnerable to swords and swords ineffective against spears. This adds a lot of strategy to the game and requires players to keep an eye on their team to ensure that they will finish each battle victorious. 

Moreover, this game provides a great level of accessibility via its difficulty tiers. Keeping an easy or normal difficulty gives you the ability to reverse time an unlimited number of times during battle, so you won’t have to worry about a fatal mistake ruining your run. You can also choose if you want Permadeath activated for an extra level of tension and real consequences for your actions, even if it is frustrating to see all your time levelling up a character going down the drain. 

Due to the nature of this game, it may be a little too intimidating for newcomers. While you can still definitely enjoy Engage with no prior knowledge of the series, the inclusion of classic characters and the relatively simple story may be a little off putting. However, any fans of the series will definitely want to check out Fire Emblem Engage as it holds up as a fantastic option within the turn-based RPG genre. 

Reviewer: Ryan Jones
Full Review: Fire Emblem Engage

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FAQs

Does this list include games available on the Nintendo Switch?

Yes, both Metroid Prime Remastered and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe can be found exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

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