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10 video games that kept us busy in 2023

Blood-and-gore to cosy puzzlers, it was a brilliant year for the gaming industry

Mathures Paul Published 05.12.23, 12:16 PM
Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy XVI

The year offered a glitzy time for video game developers, with plenty of hotly-anticipated titles making their way. Many of the titles were ambitious and experimental while some went by the matrix but delivered high-quality content. Reasons to celebrate? There were plenty for owners of Windows PC, Xbox, PlayStation, MacBook Pro and Nintendo Switch. We look at some of the immersive games of the year, be it in terms of graphics or gameplay. Of course, it’s only a list of 10 games but give these a try.

Alan Wake II

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The follow-up to the cult game brings together meta-narratives, musical numbers and a look at what it means to put words out there. Darker than its predecessor, it’s inspired by Twin Peaks and early Stephen King novels. The titular character is a novelist who isolates himself in a small Northwestern town but soon finds that snatches of his horror novel become true. FBI agent Saga Anderson arrives on the scene to investigate and eventually, she comes into contact with Alan.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

It will charm you from the get-go. The player begins as a semi-naked elven guy with a magical arm but stuck on an island in the sky. As you play, the character will sport a quirky wardrobe, found in caves or bought from artisans from villages. And there is a cool arsenal of amusing weapons rescued from ruins or fused together from rocks and sticks. Even after 30-40 hours, you will still have a long way to go.

Dave the Diver

Diver Dave, despite his rotundity, is a powerful deep-sea diver who has been given the task to work for an entrepreneur who plans to open a beachside sushi restaurant. He needs to catch fish for the restaurant’s chef, Bancho. Later in the day, he needs to wait tables. The plot doesn’t remain simple and thrown into the mix is deep-sea hunting with business management. It’s one of the most relaxing experiences of the year.

Baldur’s Gate 3

You will fall in love with swords and sorcery. Like its predecessors, the game unfolds in Dungeons and Dragons’ Forgotten Realms setting. Once you create your character with its traits and background, you’ll wake up trapped in a tube inside a Nautiloid or airship telekinetically piloted by Mind Flayers or creatures that reproduce by incubating vicious tadpoles inside the brains of their captives. It may look like an action game but once conversations begin, the dialogue options are influenced by the skills and attributes you’ve chosen.

Spider-Man 2

Peter Parker and Miles Morales share double billing. The game has Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn and also villains Kraven and Venom. Of course, the biggest mystery is the identity of Venom who lurks in the most unexpected of places. Needless to say, Spider-Men has a versatile range of web-slinging moves, you can throw enemies into the air and batter them while suspended. Throughout the game, you earn XP and tokens that can be spent to upgrade skills and the suit.

Final Fantasy XVI

Seen through the viewpoint of Clive Rosfield, a member of a magical special forces team on a battlefield assassination mission, the story moves back in time to fill in the protagonist’s backstory, which includes soldiers being cut down and political intrigue. Then the present-day plot resumes. The war is inspired by the HBO series Game of Thrones and the game captures the hero’s quest as well as side quests. The graphics are brilliant.

Pikmin 4

As an astronaut, players control plantlike creatures called Pikmin to solve puzzles, gather resources and drown out enemies. Pikmin are cheerful and look colourful and each breed of them can do certain tasks efficiently, like digging, swimming or walking across hot lava. You are a spaceman and a part of a research crew that has crash-landed on an Earth-like planet. You don’t need previous experience to play the game.

Resident Evil 4

The problem of being a franchise is you have high expectations. And Resident Evil 4 meets them. This is not a remaster of a song but more of a tech upgrade, complete with new features and unexpected jump scares. The importance of the franchise is seen when we find its DNA in games like The Last of Us. The village attack in the game’s opening hour is brilliant and the balance of horror and campy jokes is perfect.

Super Mario Bros Wonder

The year was fantastic for Mario, delivering one of the biggest hits in movie theatres. Plus, there is this brilliant game. The first side-scrolling Mario game since 2012’s New Super Mario Bros U, players can choose between Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Toad, Toadette, Nabbit, and Yoshi as they explore the Flower Kingdom while saving it from Bowser. There is multiplayer support allowing up to four characters.

Unpacking

The cosy puzzler from Humble Bundle was declared a Cultural Impact winner on Apple’s App Store Award winner list. There is a main character the story revolves around and each stage highlights a memorable moment in this person’s life. The story is told almost entirely without words. It’s about the items you unpack along the way and the ones you discard.

Mathures Paul

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