Games of 2023


2023 was an incredible year for gaming. I sort of made a top 5, and then had to expand it to a top 10 but I’m thinking of just scratching it.

If this had been any other year, my top 5 games I played would have clearly been a number 1. So, I’m going to list my favorites by alphabetical order, and the rest chronologically in the order I played them.

Unranked Top 10

Alan Wake II

AW2 ticked off a lot of boxes for me. The mixed media integration is amazing and I have not seen other games do this. Control had aspects of this, but its pretty impressive to overlay crystal clear film inside of a 3d rendered world. Example, watching the Koskela Brothers commercials on TV.

And yes, the amazing “We Sing” level that I played about 5 times non-stop.

I could talk about Alan Wake 2 for ages. It takes risks, it seamlessly revisits a game they made over a decade ago, and as an avid horror fiction reader it really was close to my heart. All of the little norse mythology Remedy includes in their games always makes me happy as well.

Armored Core 6

Wow did I flip flop on this. At first, and I mean 10 hours in, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. It had a lot of typical FromSoft markings and I love those, but man was this hard for me. The combat did not click at all until half-way, when I started to get used to the idea that you have to change your build and playstyle for match the boss a LOT. And, you have to replay an entire level if you want to change your loadout.

So I died a lot. Then I got frustrated.

Then when it clicked, it really set in hard. I beat the first cycle and started NG+1 right away and completely plowed through it.

Game aside, the soundtrack is absolutely amazing. I listen to it a lot while working.

Baulders Gate 3

I was not excited about a BG3 at first. I was a huge fan of the original Black Isle Studio games, and Planescape Torment is still my all time favorite cRPG.

Maybe… until now.

I didn’t get this in early access, I bought it over the summer when it was trending well. Holy shit was I floored when some scrub enemy pushed me off a ledge. It was like finding a hammer and all I saw were nails. Every combat encounter I tried shoving someone off a cliff.

It worked so well, I lost a potential future party member because I shoved them into the abyss. Fuck it, who cares, this game is the next evolution of cRPGs and how flexible they can be.

Mechanics aside, it is a vast game with multiple replays baked in. I liked the story, all of the side quests, casting spells or just swinging a big sword.

It also has some of the best written NPC dialog ever. I loved Asterion, and I laughed at his antics.

You did more than that. You believed in me - believed I was enough just the way I am.

The Case of the Golden Idol

I was engaging in the Sosh Meeds as the kids say, on Mastodon, and I was chatting with Jane Ng about Pentiment. She recommended The Case of the Golden Idol,

The artwork alone sold me, but the game play brought me back to grade school era logic puzzles. The kind where you have bit and pieces of information and you have to correctly match what you have, infer others and then sometimes guess for the rest.

The Case of the Golden Idol really REALLY stresses your working memory. I wasn’t taking notes, so I was going back and forth between characters, evidence rooms, and items to fill in all of the gaps. The game is very nice about telling you when your clues are wrong, which is helpful for my inevitable random guessing when I was stuck.

Overall, incredible game. Great on the couch with a laptop and controller. Fun art, music, story and design.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Phantom Liberty

Some might argue that a DLC is not eligible for a game of the year list.

You can get the fuck out right now.

If I absolutely, gun to my head, had to pick a number one game of 2023 this was it.

Now, I am a super duper fan of Cyberpunk 2020 and 2077. I wrote a love letter, watched the netflix show, read the book and of course blindly bought the DLC.

I cannot possibly due this DLC, which is so large its a full blown game, justic here. It partially felt like Idris Elba’s well deserved Bond movie, a great neo noir film, and it was everything Starfield was hoping it would be.

The ending, I retired 6 times. I was fighting it, because spoiler alerts: it was tragic. I retried so many times to make it less tragic, but it was inevitable.

When the credits rolled, I just sat there. Caralyne even noticed it was the end and consoled me.

“There there Dad, its okay”

When a game, book, or film hits hard I have a process of mourning. How can you just move on, when you made room in your heart of this, let it expand, and when it is over there is a giant void.

You have to process it, and that is what I did..

Diablo 4

My name is in the credits.

I loved Diablo when I first played it in high school (thanks Glenn). I loved Diablo 2 even though I think I broke a mouse button.

I bought and generated as many keys as I could. I got most people I know to play it, and I mostly played it all by myself.

But, I had one of those incredible moments. It was me and my kids, we were all playing our different classes. We had a fairly late game boss battle on our hands and we were victorious after the second try by the skin of our teeth.

There were cheers, hootin’ and hollerin’ and a few high fives.

It was a true Blizzard moment. I don’t agree with everything that goes into Blizzard games these days. cough microtransactions cough. But, the game itself is really good and exactly what I was expecting, and I got to have a real bonding moment.

Praise Lilith!


I’m loving the trend of causal games. Like Power Wash Simulator, Dredge (especially when flipped to just fishing mode) is super fun and relaxing. I love the Loftcraftian world, the music and sounds, and I love motor-boating

around the different isle and archipelagos

I like the little puzzles, and quests to piece to story together. I really REALLY liked finding different mutations of fish and the off kilter dissonant sound that plays when you find one.

The DLC was short and sweet as well. I really can’t say enough about how cool this was. Too short, I wish it was endless.

Lords of the Fallen

This is a reboot of a 2014 game of the same name. So, Lords of the Fallen 2023 is what I played and I thought it was the best souls-like game out there.

Coop is seamless, but I still played it almost completely alone.

Combat is very satisfying, and the diversity in class and play style was well done. My first playthrough I used a faster weapon and magic, but in a new game+ cycle, I switched it up and it was fun all over again.

Boss design was hit or miss. Mostly a hit, but the one-off terrible design did happen.

I also liked the dual world mechanic, and how you can use the lamp for different things. It was a fresh mechanic in my opinion.

My only nitpick was the last boss, I disliked the gimmick and execution, and how often they patched the game. Look, I have 1G internet and no data caps, but if I had a different situation I sure as hell would be mad at daily multi-gig updates. DAILY!

Resident Evil 4 Remaster


It was not my number 1, but hot damn was this just great in every way,

All of the cheesy 80’s action hero dialog from Leon and Luis is fantastic, plus you can parry and roundhouse kick as a follow-up.

Mechanic wise, the shooting and enemy feedback is top tier. I haven’t had as much fun since the newer Wolfenstein games. The environment and puzzles are classic Resident Evil caliber and I enjoyed it a ton.

After I beat it, I went into NG+ mode right away. A real testament to what a great game it is; I wasn’t bored with it.


Returnal came out on the PC this year, and I have a dualsense 5 controller as well, so this was a great match up for me. It really shows the strength of Sony’s latest controller.

Great game. It has multiplayer support so you can play with a friend. Its hard. For me at least, but it was rewarding and I loved the dark sci-fi mixed with cosmic horror.

My biggest gripe is that it is a rouge-like. I would have enjoyed it about 100x more if it was not. I personally think it takes away from the game.

Can’t wait to see what Housemarque comes up with next though.

The Rest


I think I heard about Norco from Drew, frequent guest on The Jump Crouch podcast. It seemed right up my alley, sci-fi point and click adventure game. It was on Game Pass, so I went for it.

Really cool game and setting.

God of War: Ragnarok

As much as I enjoyed 2018’s God of War, Ragnarok really rubbed me the wrong way. So much, that I started to hate play it, and then look around in bewilderment as to why it was receiving so much praise.

Combat was to claustrophobic, your sidekick is super obnoxious with telling you how to solve a puzzle and the pacing story-wise was pretty atrocious. One evening Caralyne came home from work, watched me play for 10 minutes and said it was terrible and left.

I’m just baffled it was nearly game of the year.

Hi-Fi Rush

Fun rhythm game and the cell shaded style was really well done. Ultimately I did not click with the characters and story so this game petered out for me after the first 10 hours.

The Last of Us Part 2

I can’t in good faith include this as a top 5 for 2023, but it was really one of my favorite moments in gaming.

My Jump Crouch friends did a much better episode on this game.

For some reason, it took me over a year to beat this game. I would play it a lot, and then step away and play something else. Then, the thought of getting back into the brutal combat mechanics would make me hesitant to play and relearn the controls and flow. It was hard for me.

With that, the game has a lot to say, and I felt it was well worth experiencing. I was really moved by a lot of it, and in the end, all of my expectations were subverted. I was rooting for one person and ended up rooting for another. It was awful, a real Clockwork Orange moment at the end for me.

Vampire Survivors

Its crack, pure and simple. It made me realize I could easily be a gambling addict. Plus, you can play with one hand and coop with another.

Total fun, and super cheap. I’ve played it a lot and I enjoy it every time.

Resident Evil Remaster

My friend Kevin bought this for me, because I was playing RE4 Remaster, and I had admitted I had never played the original.

First, as he recommended, play in 4:3 mode, not 16:9

Second, I can see why it is held in high regard. Running from dogs and zombies, the puzzles, the mansion and overall atmosphere…

This is a masterpiece!


Again, Kevin. I was at his place for a few days. He fired this up and said he thought I would like it.

Holy shit did this speak to every aspect of me. It’s like playing a horror game from my nightmares on an Apple IIe.

The rotoscoping is so freaking good. I watched, he played, and I loved every second of it.

I got home, and a few months later my own son bought it for me, He said “Dad, I thought you would like this”

Well of course. So, I fired it up and did what Kevin did, and a few different things. The deers, the deers…

System Shock

Still waiting for my goddamn shirt Stephen Kick.

I backed this years ago, when it was first announced. Despite, and please see above, not getting the shirt I paid extra for I was really happy with how this turned out.

Jesus christ games were hard in the 90’s. The enemies and levels are brutal, I died a lot and got lost multiple times not knowing when I had to revisit a previous area or move forward.

It also performs incredibly well. I keep randomly telling people I hope Nightdive remakes Ultima Underworld just to get it out in the ether.

Seriously, please, someone remake that gem of an action RPG

Sherlock Holmes The Awakened Remake

In 2007-ish, this was my first Frogwares game and I haven been in love with them ever since. I even wrote about it back then here

Is the remake better than the original? I don’t know. I missed the inventory combination puzzles, and I’m not sure how I feel about the trend to make Sherlock Holmes younger and edgier. I miss the older heroine addict Sherlock.

Overall, its very good. Still my favorite Sherlock Holmes story, and they changed just enough from the 2008 version that I felt it was fresh and challenging.


I was excited about this, because I was intrigued by the art style and creature design. Unfortunately, the game play loop was too repetitive and to be honest, boring.


Not a bad game. It seems a lot like Inside or Limbo. Mostly a easy going game with dark material with norse mythology.


I was looking forward to this, and I’ll be honest that I’m a little bored with it now. Bethesda has not changed their formula, engine, or game mechanics since Fallout 3. Its veyr much Skyrim in space.

Combat is fun, and so is lock-picking, I’ll give it that. There are some classic hilarious moments with the characters and dialog.

The engine really hasn’t aged well, and playing this back to back with Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update and DLC really leaves Starfield about 10 years behind. I think I have taken seamless level loading for granted, and I didn’t really think about it until Starfield has about 6 loading screens just to get on to a planet.

I’ll still finish it eventually, but thank goodness for Game Pass.

Lies of P

Not the worst souls-like, and its blatantly copying from Bloodborne (which still might be my favorite From Software game but Elden Ring is catching up). It plays incredibly well, and most of the combat is very satisfying.

I have a major complaint though, and that is the bosses were so dependent on perfect parry timing that I never felt like I could play the game how I wanted too, but instead I had to memorize every attack pattern of a boss to perfectly parry them.

The other gripe is how multiple boss phases were abused. From Software has one or two major bosses in a game have 2 phases. ONE boss technically had three. Lies of P had multiple phases for I want to say half of the bosses. It was too much.

Frog detective

I just have to say, as much as I love detective adventure games I absolutely hated this game. It was not my style, the dialog was too “hey look I’m quirky!” and it did not mesh well with me.