As we delve into the gaming landscape of 2023, techhive blogs presents a curated list of the best games 2023, showcasing the industry’s resilience in the face of challenges. The year has seen record revenues juxtaposed with widespread layoffs, prompting a reflection on the human stories behind the games we love. While acknowledges the industry’s need for serious introspection, this list is a celebration of the creativity and dedication that developers bring to the gaming world.
In this selection, we encounter a diverse array of genres, from the spine-chilling atmosphere of survival horror in Alan Wake II to the strategic depth of role-playing games like Baldur’s Gate III and Octopath Traveler II. The impact of updates and remakes is evident, with titles like Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty and Resident Evil 4 Remake evolving and reimagining familiar experiences.
Available on the Nintendo Switch
Expectations for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom were nearly unachievable. It was necessary for a straight successor to one of the greatest video games ever made to be incredibly ambitious, both familiar and novel, and full of surprises and new mysteries. Because of this high standard, it is even more remarkable that Nintendo fulfilled and even beyond expectations with Tears of the Kingdom, setting a new benchmark for Zelda titles in the future.
Tears of the Kingdom changed itself yet further by providing you with an entirely new set of tools for an unparalleled level of freedom within the open world, while Breath of the Wild subverted the narrowly focused Zelda paradigm with a wide-open world to explore in whichever order you want. You could construct vehicles, bridges, walkways, flying machines, automated assault bots, and horse-drawn carriages in addition to being able to explore on foot and on horseback.
There was now a wider universe to explore with these new tools for investigation. With chapters continuing and characters from Breath of the Wild reconnected, you could explore the familiar region of Hyrule as it grew and transformed in a new, emerging industrial age. This allowed you to observe how their circumstances had changed. There are tons of new puzzle and platforming chances available in the Sky Islands, each with its own riddles to solve. Furthermore, the Depths—the game’s best-kept secret until launch—turned out to be a massive open world that replicates the overworld, more than doubling the amount of exploration space.
Divine Beasts from Breath of the Wild have been replaced with genuine temples, riddles-filled dungeons that encourage original problem-solving. Boss fights were exciting, one-of-a-kind experiences that tested each power’s mettle by utilizing your varied local allies.
Most importantly, Tears of the Kingdom reframed many of the series’ most recognizable elements while telling a fresh tale that adhered to the series’ mythology. After a battle with Ganondorf left Zelda lost and the Master Sword damaged and corrupted, Link sets out to find her and solve the mystery surrounding the weird Zelda sightings across Hyrule. The story’s final denouement is both cathartic and tragic, placing Zelda at the center of the series that bears her name. One of the best films of the year, Tears of the Kingdom is an incredible journey. — Steve Watts
Octopath Traveler II
is playable on PC, PS5, PS4, and Switch.
A wave of neo-retro role-playing games has emerged in recent years, combining current sensibilities with nostalgic themes, but very few of them elevate the genre to new heights. One of those uncommon games is Octopath Traveler II. The sequel lived up to the ambitious goal of bringing eight characters together for significant narrative full of excitement moments and amazing boss fights that push the boundaries of turn-based combat, even though the original introduced the eye-catching HD-2D art style.
To claim that Octopath Traveler II is just more of the same would be to miss the fact that it improves on almost every flaw in the first entry. The crew has a stronger sense of unity, and their individual tales provide motivation to stand up for what they believe in. You find yourself saying goodbye to a wonderful group of people from different walks of life after the credits roll because of their designs, voice acting, and personality.
Looking back, this game shows that people realize how the wealthy and powerful oppress working-class people and that poverty is a structural problem that needs to be addressed rather than merely something to be overcome. It’s a clever satire on the industrial revolution of the turn of the century, when technology is sweeping the globe at a breakneck pace, interwoven with a fantastic story about religion, loyalty, and how easily people can become wicked out of desperation.
Saying that Octopath Traveler II fixed the flaws in the first game is insufficient; it also enhanced the combat, which was already excellent, to produce what is maybe the greatest turn-based system ever. You have an abundance of tools to break and take advantage of foes as you set up chunky attacks for tremendous damage, ranging from the complex Job system and special abilities linked to each character to the Boost gauge and limit break-esque Latent powers.
The puzzle-like aspect of strategically using each turn and adjusting turn order to maximize every skill available makes it immensely gratifying. The depths of your ability set and the complexities of the party dynamic come to full play, especially in the most difficult boss encounters. The intricacy of these elements is just right—it never becomes overpowering or unintelligible.
However, Octopath Traveler II’s astounding music may be its best accomplishment. A lot of role-playing games use music to depict stories, and composer Yasunori Nishiki and colleagues really nailed this concept. The energy of each battle theme energises you during every fight, and the theme songs of each character reveal so much about them to you. When the soundtrack deftly combines these elements at pivotal points in individual chapters, it’s a rare example of music and narrative working together harmoniously. It highlights even more how powerful a gorgeous, evocative soundtrack can be in elevating a game’s narrative above and beyond its written plot.
Octopath Traveler II is a role-playing game that can be completed in about eighty hours. However, the entire hour-long trek is worthwhile. Its updated nostalgia draws you in, yet everything else in the vicinity is on par with the greatest modern role-playing games. And Octopath Traveler II is an encouraging game that demonstrates that a better life is attainable when we support one another and fight together in our own terrible world, which is full of suffering, injustice, and class warfare. Michael Higham
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Available on the PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Remaking one of the all-time great games is a tough order. Considering that the first Resident Evil 4 completely changed the gaming industry, it would be absurd to expect someone to create the wheel from scratch. But the remake of Resident Evil 4 doesn’t seem to be trying to change video games in the same way that the original did, seventeen years ago. Rather, Capcom focused even more on the elements of Resident Evil 4 that have stood the test of time—its tension, design, and Leon S. Kennedy, to mention a few. The end product is something legendary in and of itself, standing as a tribute to its history and a guide for future action-horror-survival films.
The characters, outrageous action movie sensibilities, and brilliant horror design of 2023’s Resident Evil 4 were all given superpowers, resulting in a more tightly woven and cohesive version of the game. This narrative continuity connects all of Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes, making this new chapter in the franchise feel stronger and more cohesive than the previous ones. Leon Kennedy is still a complete moron, but he’s a cornball with more emotionally charged material in the narrative than just a chill guy attempting to save the president’s daughter (which he still is, too).
Some of the best fighting this year was also seen in the RE4 remake. Every interaction felt like a waltz of gunshots, knife throws, and melee carnage, punctuated by brilliant one-liners and nerve-racking resource management while being encircled from all sides. It had the same emotional impact as the original, but it was more fluid than most contemporary video games. You can also use a knife to deflect a chainsaw in this game. I’m just saying.
It’s difficult to avoid discussing the Resident Evil 4 remake in relation to the original game. Considering the impact it had on the medium as a whole, it makes sense. However, doing so also seems to be a betrayal of what this year’s RE4 has accomplished. While there are many differences between the original Resident Evil 4 and its remake, nothing that made the original less revolutionary is ever compromised. Rather, it maintains that, reframes it, and revitalizes it within a game meant to keep seasoned players on edge all the time by playing with their memories and utilizing that familiarity as subversion.
Capcom continues to set new standards with its Resident Evil remakes and has skillfully remade a beloved classic. Capcom exhibits their ability to faithfully recreate the tone and mood that the original developers aimed for, much like they did with the Resident Evil 2 remake that came before it. Simultaneously, it equips players with novel mechanisms and presents obstacles to evaluate their proficiency with them. In this way, rather than being a simple reproduction of its past, the remake stands as a masterful re-imagining of it. — Indovina Kurt
Street Fighter 6
Available on the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC
Creating a new fighting game is analogous to reimagining chess; yeah, this is just another argument in favor of the idea that fighting games resemble chess. That applies to the way game designers and developers create the rules and how players engage, but it also applies to what fighting game fans anticipate from a new release in the genre. Should Street Fighter 2 Turbo be viewed as the chess piece of Capcom’s illustrious fighting game series, every new installment since its debut has challenged the developer to push the envelope farther. There have undoubtedly been successful new additions to the Street Fighter series, even though it’s debatable which of the follow-ups is truly superior to Street Fighter 2 Turbo.
The Street Fighter Zero/Alpha series added a lot of intriguing innovations that expanded the potential of Street Fighter and gave the world fighters a fresh enthusiasm. Particularly Third Strike in Street Fighter 3, which raised the skill ceiling and gave the systems a sense of openness that kept a community alive for years long after the series ended. Street Fighter V is one of the Street Fighter games that hasn’t been as highly appreciated, though. Although it was a nice game overall, it felt remarkably stiff and uninspired, lacking the essence of what makes Street Fighter unique in terms of gameplay, tone, and aesthetics.
Still, Capcom’s flagship fighting game series has returned to form in Street Fighter 6. A bright and enthusiastic personality is evident in every aspect of the game, from the music and character designs to the game modes and user interface, as was seen in the initial video. But the new gameplay engine that drives every combat encounter is the most significant. The Drive system revitalizes several of the concepts from previous games by adding new components that give them a novel and thrilling feel.
Since it can be utilized to perform Drive Impact, Drive Parry, Drive Rush, Drive Reversal, and Overdrive, the Drive Gauge is essential to everything. When combined, they serve as vital instruments that give players the freedom to express themselves and help them shape their own styles—be they methodical and focused on controlling the opponent’s space while taking advantage of errors, or aggressive and focused on overwhelming the opposition and rushing them down to create an opening, then taking advantage of it with flashy combo strings and cunning setups. Every move from Street Fighter IV’s FADCs to Street Fighter III’s parries is present in some capacity, making this fighting game incredibly rewarding to pick up and master.
Unexpectedly, Capcom has also placed a strong emphasis on providing players with additional methods to interact with the game. Street Fighter 6 offers a strong World Tour mode following a few shoddy story modes. It’s a silly and entertaining story, but it’s not exactly a gripping one about coming up through the ranks to become a famous fighter. This is mostly because you can fight just about any NPC in the world. For example, you can fight a salaryman or the owner of a hot dog stand at any time, with unexpected battle conditions adding to the absurdity of the situation.
While Street Fighter V is remembered for being a quite somber game—some have even referred to it as “turn-based”—its sequel takes a completely different approach, putting depth, player skill, and expert execution front and center while still maintaining a unique tone and personality. With all of these components, a superb fighting game is what makes Street Fighter 6 stand out as one of the greatest in 2023. — Hussain Tamoor
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Available on the Nintendo Switch
Mario, a figure and series that have undergone continuous transformation, returned to its original form this year. The most recent mainline 2D Mario game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, is the first in a number of years to be released without the “New SMB” label that its 2D predecessors had to wear. When you play Mario Wonder, that moniker seems like a deliberate decision because, wow, this one is truly unique.
The presentation comes first. With a revamped graphic style, Mario and friends now have more lively motions and expressive faces as they go across colorful stages. The acapela-infused, head-bopping music tracks maintain a bright, airy vibe throughout. Numerous new enemy kinds and power-ups are included in the Flower Kingdom’s new location, giving the entire game a vibrant, imaginative feel.
And that’s even before we get to the Wonder effects, the centerpiece of this new trick. These creative, game-changing effects are customized for every stage and hardly ever happen again. They serve as both the progression’s main support system and a fascinating source of ongoing surprise. In Super Mario Bros. Wonder, you never know what to expect when you enter a new level, but it’s always guaranteed to make you grin.
In the meantime, Mario Wonder subtly updates the Mario formula with a ton of well-considered quality-of-life additions. In order to accommodate a range of play styles and lengths, new stage types and a wider array of characters have been added. You can turn each stage into a speedrun competition or just go alone while remaining in your friends’ lobby with online and local multiplayer. The new asynchronous multiplayer elements, which allow you to see other players’ ghosts and have them resurrect yours or leave clues in the form of standees, are even more unexpected. Who would have thought that Dark Souls would serve as Mario’s influence, let alone that it would function so effectively?
Video games have been around for almost as long as Mario, the character and franchise. We might have assumed that the courageous plumber would be unable to surprise us after all this time. How relieved we are to learn that’s not the case. Read more — Steve Watts
Beyond the games themselves, urges readers to consider the broader context of the gaming industry in 2023. Layoffs, increased use of AI, and corporate acquisitions are significant components of the industry narrative, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of its complexities. While celebrating the artistry of gaming, it’s crucial to also acknowledge the challenges faced by those who bring these creations to life.
How did techhive blogs navigate the challenges of 2023 while selecting the top 10 games?
techhive blogs selection process remains focused on the quality of gaming experiences. The editorial team considered factors such as innovation, storytelling, and overall gaming excellence while acknowledging the broader industry challenges.
Are these games only for avid gamers, or is there something for casual players as well?
The list caters to a wide audience, featuring games with diverse genres and playstyles. From intense survival horror experiences to lighthearted platformers, there’s something for both avid gamers and those seeking a more casual gaming experience.
How does techhive blogs balance celebrating games with addressing industry issues?
techhive blogs aims to strike a balance by recognizing the human cost of industry challenges in its introduction while also celebrating the incredible games of 2023. The editorial team believes in appreciating gaming’s positive aspects while fostering awareness of the industry’s complexities.
What message does techhive blogs hope to convey to its audience with this list?
techhive blogs aims to convey a message of appreciation for the artistry and creativity within the gaming industry. While acknowledging challenges, the list encourages players to explore new worlds, experience gripping narratives, and recognize the people behind the games.