Let just jump into a bunch of micro-reviews of the video games I played this year, in the general order that they came out.
This remake of the 2008 original was a master class in video game horror. I hadn’t played the original, but this was not only the first new game I played this year, it was also one of the absolute best.
Metroid Prime Remastered
A spectacular remake of one of my favorite games, although I didn’t play it as much as I hoped because the modernized controls just don’t work for me. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but this game just feels right with a GameCube controller.
Resident Evil 4
Legitimately maybe my favorite game of the year. The original game is one of my top 3 games of all time, and this remake is distinct from that game, but also brilliant in its own right. I love that they kept the camp and over the top excesses of the original, and they even made the Ada Wong DLC even better than the original.
Most of you reading this are Mac users, so keep an eye out for this when it comes to macOS, iPad, and iPhone later this month.
EA Sports PGA Tour
The worst big game I played this year, in my opinion this has the worst golf physics in a game in years. The shame is that EA paid for licenses to some great courses, including Augusta National which is almost never in games, but it’s misery playing them in this package.
The PGA 2K series certainly isn’t perfect, but it's head and shoulders better than this in my book.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
Every time I buy a tactical war game like this I always bounce off it within an hour or two, and sadly that’s what happened with this remake as well. It seems like a great version of these games if you’re into that sort of thing, though.
This Pokémon-esque adventure is fun, but I bounced off this after a few hours as well. It feels like a game from a small studio that’s just figuring things out, and I bet their next project will be excellent.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
This one is a bummer, as I played on PC which was absolutely terrible at launch. I played like 5-6 hours of it anyway, but it eventually drove me nuts and I waited for patches to improve it. Those patches have hit, they seem to have mostly resolved the worst issues, but as you’ll see below, too make GOTY contenders came out since then and I haven’t gone back to this.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
How did Nintendo do it? Genuinely, how did they do it??? Breath of the Wild is one of the best video games ever made, and somehow Nintendo followed it up with an even better game.
Loved my time with this game! I don’t get into season passes for basically any game, so the drama surrounding that flew right by me.
Every single thing EA has added to this franchise in the past 2 iterations has made the game worse, but there’s still enough here to make me enjoy it for 100+ hours because the driving itself is still very good.
Rogue Legacy 2
Not enough people are talking about how brilliant this sequel is. One of my games of the year for sure.
Much like Advance Wars, I played this for less than an hour before realizing, “oh no, this isn’t for me.”
Final Fantasy 16
I bought this when it came out but I didn’t get to starting it until a few weeks ago. It’s fantastic, and its Game of Thrones style storyline is really clicking with me. Loving it.
Dave the Diver
A perfect game for the Steam Deck or Switch, this game mixes underwater adventure and…restaurant management. It works, trust me.
F1 Manager 23
Some real issues here, but I technically played this more than any other game this year. I play this on most days while I work on a second screen, poking at it every now and again as I take my team through a full Grand Prix weekend.
Baldur’s Gate 3
I loved Divinity Original Sin 2, and Larian took all that and made it even better in this game. They crushed it.
Sea of Stars
A delightful retro-style RPG that I plan on playing more once I’m through Final Fantasy 16.
Pretty disappointed by this one. They’ve done some good stuff with online race formats and track selection, but the cars simply don’t drive realistically which is kind of an issue in a racing sim game. If you like it that’s totally fine, but I can’t get behind this one, sadly.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Quite good, but I bounced off this because there was too much else that was pulling me in more. Might go back to it later.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
WONDERFUL game! Easily the best 2D Mario game in 30 years, and one of the best games of the year. I laughed out loud in delight many times when playing this game.
Resident Evil Village (iPhone/iPad)
Impressive technically, but it barely runs on the iPhone 15 Pro and I would not suggest anyone play it that way. It’s more of a tech demo than anything else. The game feels way better and plays better on the iPad though (M1 model for me), and I think you could enjoy the game with a controller there.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
An absolute snooze of a single player campaign and an insane casino-inspired leveling system for multiplayer, but multiplayer has connected with me and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Truly though, I’d pay for a season pass that stripped away the B.S. I have to wade through between matches.
Came out in PC before 2023, but it came to consoles this year so I’m counting it. If you enjoy destroying things in games, Teardown is going to scratch that itch like few games ever.
Still to Play
- Steamworld Build
- Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis
- Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
- Turbo Overkill
My game of the year?
Tears of the Kingdom has got to be my personal game of the year. So much joy and delightful “aha!” moments, and I give Nintendo extra points for making this feel like far more than a Breath of the Wild expansion, which people were worried about ahead of its release.
Resident Evil 4 is a close second for me, with Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Rogue Legacy 2 in the mix as well. All in all, a great year for games!