2023 was an embarrassment of riches for gamers, thanks to an endless supply of video games dropping monthly. Like we always do this time, HHW Gaming breaks down the year in gaming while sharing our favorite games we picked up the sticks for this year.
2022 was a strong year for video games thanks to titles like God of War: Ragnarok, Sifu, and Elden Ring, so you would think it would be hard to top a year full of heat.
Welp, 2023, said hold my beer, as it seemed like we got banger after banger, leaving gamers’ backlogs looking ridiculously full.
But there was other news in the gaming space this year, so let’s quickly recap what went down.
Xbox Finally Had A Solid Year
Xbox Series S | X owners finally had a reason to turn on their consoles consistently thanks to titles like Starfield, Forza Motorsport, Hi-Fi Rush, and other games landing on Xbox Game Pass.
Phil Spencer and his crew also finally bolstered its lineup by closing the Activision Blizzard King acquisition, bringing the gaming giant’s catalog of games into the Xbox library.
We have yet to see the fruits of the deal, with Call of Duty still being available on other platforms, an assurance it had to make to get the deal approved.
While Call of Duty is still a cross-platform title, Xbox exclusivity in the future is still on the table.
There was also the big Xbox Showcase that HHW Gaming had the pleasure of attending, and based on what was shown, the future seems bright for Xbox stans.
It’s only up from here. We hope.
With new Xbox hardware on the way and games like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II possibly coming in 2024, the future is bright for Team Green.
PlayStation Continued Its Dominance
It was another solid year for PlayStation and the PS5 console. Thanks to its robust library of exclusives like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and more leading to the next-gen console topping 50 million sales.
PlayStation also launched a slimmer model of the PS5 console right on time for the holiday season, the companion accessory, the PlayStation Portal, and other accessories.
As far as continuing that energy in the new year, we’re not sure 2024 will be as dominant, but maybe games like Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth can help keep the momentum going.
Layoffs & Leaks
While we can celebrate all the great games that came, it was not a great year for those who made them. Throughout the year, studios shuttered, and developers saw their jobs disappear.
There was also the issue of those pesky leaks. Rockstar Games and Insomniac Studios were the biggest victims. Both studios are pretty good at keeping their upcoming slate of video games close to the chest, but hackers got their hands on GTA 6 and the forthcoming game in Wolverine data and leaked it on the web.
What a bummer.
We hope that 2024 the leaks and layoffs will cease to a minimum.
HHW Gaming’s Game of The Year
Now that we have the year in games recapped, let’s focus on the games. Before we hop into the list, we will do something we have not done before and pick our favorite game of the year.
It’s pretty obvious where our choice is going, and it’s none other than Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Insomniac Games has again shown how to make a next-gen video game.
With Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, the studio utilized one of the world’s most popular comic book characters to showcase the power of the PS5.
We got a glimpse of what Insomniac could do with the arrival of Spider-Man: Miles Morales when the PS5 first arrived, but little did we know what exactly they were cooking up with Spider-Man 2.
Expounding on the first two games, Insomniac delivered a fantastic story, featuring not one but two friendly neighborhood Spider-Man as they each deal with their private issues.
We can’t forget that this game gives us the definitive Venom experience and a moment with the anti-hero that will leave you yearning for more.
So, we tip our hats to Insomniac Studios. They understood the assignment, and we can’t wait to play Wolverine.
The rest of the games we enjoyed this year, hit the gallery below.
Photo: Getty / Insomniac Studios
1. El Paso, Elsewhere
Take a one-way trip and buy the modern slow-motion masterpiece El Paso, Elsewhere on PC and Xbox. Neo-noir never looked so good–and you don’t have to take our word for it.
DREDGE is a single-player fishing adventure with a sinister undercurrent. Sell your catch, upgrade your boat, and dredge the depths for long-buried secrets. Explore a mysterious archipelago and discover why some things are best left forgotten.
3. Dead Space (2023)
Prepare to unravel a thrilling mystery in the darkest depths of space.
When Isaac Clarke and the USG Kellion were dispatched to repair the USG Ishimura mining vessel, they had no idea how quickly a routine mission could turn into a complete nightmare. What did the Ishimura crew discover in the darkness? What happened to them? And what does this mean for the future of mankind itself?
4. RoboCop: Rogue City
Welcome to Detroit; crime runs rampant as the city lies on the edge of ruin, people fighting for scraps as others live extravagant lives of luxury. Control of the Detroit Police Department is given to the Omni Consumer Products corporation in an attempt to restore order. You are that solution, RoboCop, a cyborg tasked with protecting the city.
5. Final Fantasy XVI
“We don’t need your salvation. We’ll save ourselves. And we’ll do it on our own terms.”
Clive Rosfield and his allies fight to take back control of their fate. What salvation can they bring to Valisthea, a land blessed by the light of the Mothercrystals?
6. God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla
Embark with Kratos to Valhalla on a deeply personal and reflective journey towards a future he never thought possible.
Master challenges of mind and body on an unraveling adventure that blends the beloved combat from God of War Ragnarök with brand new elements inspired by the roguelite genre.
Jusant is DON’T NOD’s highly anticipated action-puzzle climber, out on October 31st, 2023, on Steam, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5. Play it day one with Xbox Game Pass. Watch this new gameplay trailer to see more climbing, more biomes, and more breathtaking environments.
Enjoy meditative vibes in Jusant, an action-puzzle climbing game. Scale an immeasurably tall tower and ascend to new heights alongside your watery companion. Master your climbing tools, find your way up through diverse biomes, and piece together the tower’s past.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom
An epic adventure across the land and skies of Hyrule awaits in The Legend of Zelda™: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo Switch. The adventure is yours to create in a world fueled by your imagination.
In this sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you’ll decide your own path through the sprawling landscapes of Hyrule and the mysterious islands floating in the vast skies above. Can you harness the power of Link’s new abilities to fight back against the malevolent forces that threaten the kingdom?
9. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Become Na’vi and explore the Western Frontier in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. You’ll play as a child of two worlds, born Na’vi but raised by the RDA. Fifteen years after your abduction, you are free, and must reconnect with your lost heritage. Meet new Na’vi clans, learn their ways, and join them to protect Pandora from the RDA.
Set after the events of the first Avatar film, you’ll embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen continent of Pandora, as you join other Na’vi clans to protect Pandora from the formidable forces of the RDA. Created in collaboration with Disney and James Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, you will experience a first-person open-world action-adventure game exclusively developed to maximize the power of new-gen consoles and PC.
10. Assassin’s Creed Mirage
In Assassin’s Creed Mirage, you are Basim, a cunning street thief with nightmarish visions, seeking answers and justice. After an act of deadly retribution, Basim flees Baghdad and joins an ancient organization – The Hidden Ones. As he learns their mysterious rituals and powerful tenets, he will hone his unique abilities, discover his true nature, and come to understand a new Creed – one that will change his fate in ways he never could have imagined.
11. Mortal Kombat 1
Welcome to the New Era. Will you fight for peace or embrace the khaos?
It’s In Our Blood. Discover a reborn Mortal Kombat Universe created by Fire God Liu Kang. Mortal Kombat 1 ushers in a new era of the iconic franchise with a new fighting system, game modes, and Fatalities!
12. Street Fighter 6
“Fighting is an art. And this is our masterpiece.”
Street Fighter 6 brings in a new era for the iconic series complete with a diverse roster with new and returning characters. Enter the Fighting Ground, your classic fighting game experience with innovative features for all players to thrive in.
Begin your World Tour with a customizable avatar in the single-player RPG-like story mode where you’ll carve your own legacy through your bonds and skills.
Step into the Battle Hub where you can play matches against other players, further style your customized avatar, and engage in new ways in this interactive hub built for the community.
Your Moment. Your Fight. It’s almost time for you to hit the streets!
13. Resident Evil 4
Survival is just the beginning.
Survival horror reimagined for 2023.
14. Forza Motorsport
Out-build the competition in the all-new career, race your friends in multiplayer, and compete in 500+ cars on world-famous tracks with cutting edge AI and advanced physics.
See you at the starting line.
15. Aliens: Dark Descent
In Aliens: Dark Descent, you command a squad of hardened Colonial Marines as you attempt to stop a terrifying new threat on Planet Lethe. Led as one unit with intuitive controls on keyboard & mouse as well as on controller, the squad takes on real-time combat against iconic Xenomorphs, rogue operatives from the insatiable Weyland-Yutani, and a host of horrifying creatures new to the Alien universe.
16. Diablo IV
Hell arrived this year!
17. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
The story of Cal Kestis continues in STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor™, an epic new adventure that will push Cal further than ever as he fights to protect the galaxy from descending into darkness.
Picking up five years after the events of STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order™, Jedi: Survivor is a third person, narrative-driven action-adventure game from Respawn Entertainment, developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games.
18. UFC 5
What makes an MMA fight? It’s the stakes, technique, drama, and pure reality of the moment. UFC 5 captures that in more authentic detail than ever before, from next-generation graphics upgrades that give gameplay animations new life, damage systems that marry the brutality and strategy of the fight game, gameplay updates that make the action feel even more fluid and realistic, and much more.
19. Super Mario Bros. Wonder
It’s time to jump into the unexpected! A brand-new world of wonder awaits in the Super Mario Bros. Wonder game.
20. Dead Island 2
Explore HELL-A – Dead Island 2 takes players across the most iconic locations of the City of Angels, now stained with horror, in an exciting pulp journey from the verdant suburbia of Beverly Hills to the quirky promenade of Venice Beach.
21. Baldur’s Gate 3
The narrative-driven RPG from Larian Studios set the gaming world ablaze.
22. WWE 2K23
2K’s WWE 2K franchise came back even stronger this year.
Join Tchia on a breathtaking adventure of self-discovery in a picturesque open world inspired by the tropical paradise of New Caledonia. Unlock new abilities, make friends and foes, and explore the beautiful landscape in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
24. Hogwart’s Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books. For the first time, experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart.
25. HI-FI Rush
As wannabe rock star Chai, you’ll fight back against a sinister robotics enhancement conglomerate using rhythm-amplified combat where everything – from the motion in the environment to the blows of combat – is synced to the music. Raise your guitar high and feel the beat in this utterly all-new title from Tango Gameworks, the team behind The Evil Within® and Ghostwire®: Tokyo.
The next-generation immersive RPG from Bethesda Game Studios, Starfield, finally arrived.
27. The Crew Motorfest
Ubisoft Ivory Tower took a big swing with the Crew franchise and knocked it out of the park with Motorfest, bringing the racing action to the beautiful island of Hawaii.
28. Alan Wake 2
Play as the writer, Alan Wake, and the FBI agent, Saga Anderson. Explore two beautiful and terrifying realities, and solve a deadly mystery before it’s too late.
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