The Best Reviewed Games of 2023 (So Far)
65 mins read

The Best Reviewed Games of 2023 (So Far)


The snowball of games delayed out of 2021 and 2022 has settled in 2023, coalescing into the most exciting games lineup of the decade so far. This year, arguably, marks the proper start of the PS5 and Xbox Series X generation with Unreal Engine 5 support building and an increasing number of developers dropping support for last-gen hardware.

Each of the three console manufacturers has at least one blockbuster release scheduled this year — Starfield for Xbox, Spider-Man 2 for PlayStation, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo — complemented by a generation-best third-party lineup that includes Hogwarts Legacy, Resident Evil 4, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Street Fighter 6, Diablo 4, Final Fantasy 16, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Hades 2, and Mortal Kombat 1.

Nine months through 2023, the year has lived up to its lofty expectations: 62 games have received a review score of 8 or higher from IGN, including four 10s. Click through the gallery below or continue scrolling for our list of the best-reviewed games of 2023 so far.

This list only includes standalone software; despite qualifying scores, expansions/DLC (e.g., Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania) and hardware (e.g., PSVR2) are not included. This list will be updated weekly as new releases receive qualifying review scores.

These games leave us with something outstanding to remember them by, usually novel gameplay ideas for single-player or multiplayer, clever characters and writing, noteworthy graphics and sound, or some combination thereof. If we have major complaints, there are more than enough excellent qualities to cancel them out.

Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp

From our review: With nicely redone graphics and excellent music bringing the classic turn-based tactical action up to modern standards, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is a great return for this long-neglected series and gives me hope for a follow-up that includes the DS games. While there isn’t much variety in the game modes, Advance Wars’ depth comes from the number of variables you can adjust to make every match feel unique. The biggest miss is the lack of multiplayer matchmaking, which makes it harder to get into a game than it ought to be in 2023, but at least you can play online. Playing against the AI will keep me interested in the short term, but I predict the inability to play against random opponents online will limit my spontaneous play sessions. However, the sheer number of maps, playable COs, and options for each match means that when I do, it’s sure to be a unique experience. – Jada Griffin

Age of Wonders 4

From our review: As much as I enjoy building a legacy in a 4X game before starting over to do it all again, the fact that my legacy follows me in Age of Wonders 4 feels much more rewarding. And the faster pace of its very strong campaign mechanics and pretty good tactical battles make it feel like I can write a new chapter of this saga in a reasonable amount of time and still have time to do something else on my day off – especially with the very well-done story realms. Cranking all the dials up to maximum weirdness can lead to some edge cases that ruined my fun a bit, but it’s not that big of a price to pay for the vast map and empire customization we get to play with. It really is wonderful. – Leana Hafer

Amnesia: The Bunker

From our review: I can’t say Amnesia is still a groundbreaking horror franchise like it was at the beginning. The larger story it was building has already been played out with Rebirth. But Amnesia: The Bunker proves that smaller, anthology-style episodes within its universe can still bring the tension and the scares. And Frictional’s bag of tricks is far from exhausted when it comes to getting our hearts pounding and making us carefully consider how to use the limited tools available to us. It’s not an unmissable experience, but as an Amnesia fan, it definitely sated my appetite for some gut-churning horror and moody, bleak storytelling. – Leana Hafer

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

From our review: Armored Core 6 doesn’t look to reinvent the bipedal legs of the mech action genre, but it does update, refine, and polish them to an aggressive shine. Every sortie is a satisfying combat puzzle to solve thanks to fantastic mission design, intense boss encounters, an extremely wide assortment of weapons and parts that can dramatically affect how your mech plays, and excellent, explosive combat that manages to take very complex systems and mechanics and make them easy to understand and execute. Its interesting premise is stifled by bland storytelling told through mission briefings and radio chatter, but this is still nonetheless a welcome return of a classic mecha series. – Mitchell Saltzman

Assassin’s Creed Mirage

From our review: Assassin’s Creed Mirage’s return to the stealthy style that launched this series doesn’t do everything right, but everything it does feels like it was done with purpose. This means a shorter game with a smaller map, fewer collectibles, smaller scope in combat, and a limited selection of gear to play with – all of which I found refreshing relative to the arguably bloated scale of 100-hour games like Odyssey and Valhalla. It also means an overly simplistic plot with mostly forgettable characters, but what the story lacks in depth it makes up for with its straightforward quest progression and fast pacing. Though there’s no big standout “wow” moment, Baghdad is a beautiful location in its own right, and the world’s detail is focused inward, making every alley and hovel feel well traveled and full of detail and history. I’d recommend Mirage to anyone who’s lapsed on Assassin’s Creed, as its back-to-basics approach is a successful first step in returning the feeling that the earlier industry-defining games gave me so long ago. – Jarrett Green

Atomic Heart

From our review: Atomic Heart is a deeply ambitious, highly imaginative, and consistently impressive atompunk-inspired attempt at picking up where the likes of BioShock left off – something it’s done with a lot of success. It certainly makes missteps, chiefly with an irritating leading man and a self-indulgent habit of using the same tired tropes it tries to make fun of, but this stern, superpowered, and stringently solo shooter has worked its way under my skin despite these flaws. Atomic Heart didn’t always blow me away, but it definitely has the ticker to punch well above its weight. – Luke Reilly

Blasphemous 2

From our review: Blasphemous 2 is an excellent Metroidvania and a marked improvement over the original, even if it did occasionally make me cancel my lunch plans with its grotesqueries. What it lacks in originality with its design it more than makes up for with its bizarre world, appalling story, and inspired look and sound. The new weapons and focus on platforming definitely helped sustain my enjoyment for the campaign’s sizable duration, even when underwhelming enemy variety and unchallenging bosses leave something to be desired. Its stomach-churning religious torture porn might be as far as you can get from the adorable world of Hollow Knight, but you’d be hard-pressed to find something better to play while you continue your interminable wait for Silksong. – Travis Northup

Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer

From our review: It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that you might consider standard in a competitive RTS in 2023, but the core experience of Company of Heroes 3 is what really matters. What I’m saying here is that CoH3 has heart – it has that special something where moving your units to outplay opponents doesn’t just look pretty or mean you’ve played more hours and memorized the metagame, but genuinely out-thought the other player. A combination of interesting army design, good maps, and RTS fundamentals means I’m confident that playing Company of Heroes 3 multiplayer is going to be a fixture of my time off for years to come. – Jon Bolding

Darkest Dungeon 2

From our review: Interesting turn-based RPG combat keeps Darkest Dungeon 2’s roguelite progression fresh for hours – if you can push past the early, intentionally punishing humps and like it for what it is, rather than the close retread of Darkest Dungeon that it isn’t. Its structure may be frustratingly random at times, even so much as to feel meaningless or pointless, but a gambler’s spirit can see you through those weird patches of bad luck or directionlessness. Besides, this game would have to be really bad to drag down the vibes of the moody lines and grumbling narration that live at the heart of Darkest Dungeon 2. – Jon Bolding

Dredge

From our review: Dredge erupted out of the left field as 2023’s most unforgettably creepy fishing simulator. Without spoiling anything, its slow dive into Lovecraftian horror intermingles with subtle elements of seabound thrillers like Jaws and Moby Dick, and yet despite its twists, its fishing and sailing mechanics are simple enough to be relaxing – just as long as you don’t stay out past dark. Its colorful graphics, intelligent story, and seafaring sound design are alluring, but calling it a management sim betrays how simple and approachable it is. Though it still may not excite anyone in search of abyssal depths, its world map, upgrade tree, and story offer more than enough interesting decisions of their own to make a 12-hour fishing expedition feel concise. At the same time, a lack of combat and meaningful customization give little weight to its excessive grinding, and these are clear opportunities for improvement on the next voyage. – Gabriel Moss

Exoprimal

From our review: As a familiar-looking hero shooter with dinosaurs added in, Exoprimal is much bolder than it may initially seem. This is a game that I envision many people will play and enjoy for a few hours, feel like they’ve gotten their fill of it, and then move on to something else. But that will be an incredible shame because they’ll never experience Exoprimal’s best content, which is hidden in the back half of its bonkers sci-fi story, and features some of the most surprising and innovative gameplay moments I’ve experienced in a team-based multiplayer game in a long time. I wish it took a little less time to get to those moments, as repetition starts to creep in before they hit, but Exoprimal’s unique PvPvE formula is impeccably designed, features fun and distinct exosuits regardless of what role you play, and is a breath of fresh air in the multiplayer hero shooter genre. – Mitchell Saltzman

F1 23

From our review: F1 23 is a far heartier package than F1 22, with 26 tracks, the enjoyable next chapter of the Braking Point story mode that began in F1 2021, and – for players who love to recline back into the couch and race – the best gamepad handling in the series, ever. The racing-focused secondary career mode F1 World is also likely to be a step in the right direction after last year’s F1 Life for some, although it’s equally probable its arcade-inspired, loot-based upgrade system will be divisive amongst traditionalists. – Luke Reilly

F1 Manager 2023

From our review: F1 Manager 2023 proves that Frontier isn’t one and done; it’s a championship contender. Race Replay is an absolute show stealer, and there’s nothing better than solving the strategic puzzle laid out for you in a single go. F1 Manager 2023 is as enjoyable to listen to at normal speed as it is to play, and although you can rush at 16x speed for an entire season in an afternoon if you want, it’s far more relaxing to treat it like an actual race and just chill out and watch. F1 Manager 2023 is a deep sports management experience that understands that racing can be a sport everyone can enjoy and, if you enjoy any type of management game at all, you should consider adding this to your collection. – Christopher Edgerton

Forza Motorsport

From our review: After six long years, Forza Motorsport is off the lift and back in our lives. It looks great, feels great, sounds great, and it’s brought with it the most impressive multiplayer we’ve seen in the series so far. With 500 cars and 20 track locations it’s hardly a small start but, now positioned as a platform, Forza Motorsport has the potential to expand into a seriously rich racing destination over the coming years. If Flight Simulator on four wheels is the plan, I’m here for it. First on the list of improvements Turn 10 should focus on is revamping the new RPG-inspired upgrade system that turns progression into an unnecessarily long road ahead of each individual car, and maybe bringing back the joys of split-screen multiplayer racing to complement the excellent online modes. – Luke Reilly

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie

From our review: Harmony: The Fall of Reverie is a powerful visual novel that mixes a world-bending story with deeply personal stakes. Helpful quality-of-life features like the ability to go back and re-read earlier messages are also as approachable as they are omnipresent. It takes a while to get going, though it also makes familiarizing yourself with its somewhat dense lore easy thanks to a built-in codex that explains most of the in-world jargon required to understand what’s going on. But hidden between Reverie’s magic and metaphors is a story firmly rooted in the power of community, reflecting the resilience of the human spirit itself. – Gabriel Moss

Have a Nice Death

From our review: Have A Nice Death is a punishing but satisfying roguelike with some diabolically tough boss fights. The darkly dorky setting and office humor lend it more than enough charm to make me want to discover more of its world. But it’s made significantly more frustrating than it probably needs to be by very stingy long-term progression and limited defensive abilities in comparison to its huge array of fun-to-use offensive weapons. When I wasn’t feeling the discouraging void inside dragging me down, I was reveling in the hundreds of ways I could make these visually and mechanically memorable undead wish they never lived at all. – Leana Hafer

Immortals of Aveum

From our review: Immortals of Aveum is an impressively confident first-person shooter that successfully trades muzzles and magazines for mages and magic. Its fast-paced, spellcasting combat is both satisfying to master and spectacular to look at, and it features a lengthy and hearty campaign packed with secrets to keep us going well after the story has wrapped. As someone who desperately hopes that unapologetically single-player shooters will live forever, these Immortals have done a great job of making sure they’re definitely not dead yet. – Luke Reilly

The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie

From our review: The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie is one of the best games in this almost 20-year-old franchise and a great RPG. While its overall story is a bit of a retread, its amazing pacing, and in-depth battle system, make it a satisfying conclusion to the Crossbell and Cold Steel arcs. It also makes good use of its admittedly way-too-large cast of playable characters. That said, newcomers who are unfamiliar with the series will certainly be lost without having played the previous games. However, it’s well worth doing so in order to experience one of the best RPG universes ever crafted. – George Yang

LEGO 2K Drive

From our review: One part The Crew 2, one part Mario Kart, and one thousand parts… LEGO parts, LEGO 2K Drive is a wild and whimsical all-ages kart racer that’s buried itself under my skin like the pointed edge of rogue plastic brick underfoot in a messy kid’s bedroom. Better still, it’s one that embraces the total creative freedom real LEGO affords like few games before it, with an incredible custom vehicle creation tool that’s just about worth the price of admission alone. The current inability to share those designs with others is disappointing – particularly in the shadow of another tedious microtransaction store – but LEGO 2K Drive is certainly the fastest and funniest way to rock out with your blocks out in recent memory. – Luke Reilly

Lies of P

From our review: Lies of P might not branch out particularly far from its soulslike inspiration, but like a marionette controlled by a skilled puppet master, it plays the part extremely well in a wonderfully dark fantasy world. It must be said that its uneven difficulty didn’t always make me feel like an underdog, especially when playing as a brawny, overpowered version of Pinocchio with a massive weapon, and combat pigeonholed me into a specific playstyle while the levels are less open and twisting than most. But with an awesome weapon crafting system, some really memorable boss fights, and one of the better stories we’ve seen in this genre, I can enthusiastically recommend you spend your time hanging out with Gepetto and friends. If you’ve been waiting for a Bloodborne remaster or sequel that may never come, Lies of P is the next best thing. – Travis Northup

Lords of the Fallen

From our review: Lords of the Fallen is a great soulslike, and its killer new idea of swapping between two versions of the world to solve puzzles and slay enemies is an excellent twist to set it apart from the pack. That concept is unfortunately hamstrung by numerous, highly annoying technical issues and weak boss fights, but awesome explorable areas and fantastic buildcrafting more than make up for those shortcomings. If, like me, you’re a sucker for a quality action-RPG even amid a clear overabundance of them, then this reboot is well worth your time. – Travis Northup

Meet Your Maker

From our review: Meet Your Maker is an awesome action game that beautifully executes on a terrific concept. It’s missing some depth in its tools of destruction, has some bugs and wonkiness, and its thin story is a big ol’ nothing burger, but as a starting point for another live-service game from the team that brought us Dead By Daylight, it’s extremely impressive. Running through dungeons to best whatever unknown deviousness your fellow player has left for you is a great time, limited only by what the community can concoct, and building your own bases is the ultimate reward for your hard work that never stops being hilarious. As someone who loves a good heist and relishes any opportunity to watch others fall before my evil genius, Meet Your Maker has been hard to put down. – Travis Northup

Mortal Kombat 1

From our review: Mortal Kombat 1 is another great entry in this legendary series, but it’s not one without issues. The new Kameo system is excellent, there are smart changes to the fighting mechanics that address many of the fundamental issues that cropped up over Mortal Kombat 11’s life, and predictably, the fantastic single-player story mode that continues to be the gold standard of the genre. But certain elements of online play are starting to feel dated, and Invasions mode is not nearly engaging enough to hold my attention for as long as is needed to unlock a majority of the goodies hidden behind its many treasure chests and gimmicky battles. Still, Mortal Kombat 1 marks a new beginning for the franchise, and it’s a very exciting launching point for the next era. – Mitchell Saltzman

Moving Out 2

From our review: Moving Out 2 is an extremely colourful and calamitous co-op sequel that’s as challenging as it is charming, serving up an enjoyably distinct set of crazy cargo collections that task you with bending at the knees while consistently splitting your sides. Spreading its preposterous brand of pass the parcel across multiple dimensions has empowered the developers to get really creative with the setup of each stage, although that added ambition has meant that some smaller corners have seemingly been cut. Still, the addition of online multiplayer should mean that more players will be able to rope in a moving buddy whether they share the same couch or not, which will hopefully go a long way towards making up for its lingering deficiencies as a single-player experience. If you’re up for another hectic house party with friends, Moving Out 2 hits harder than a thrown fridge. – Tristan Ogilvie

Resident Evil Village VR

From our review: Resident Evil Village VR is far more than just a gimmicky afterthought, adding enough improvements and tweaks to justify fans of both the series and virtual reality reliving Ethan’s not-so-great European vacation one more time. While the controls be a little cumbersome as you take the time needed to master them and the VR perspective can cause a few awkward viewing angles, this is still a very enjoyable return to an already great game. – Taylor Lyles

Sea of Stars

From our review: Sea of Stars is an excellent tribute RPG that channels the best parts of its ‘90s-era forebears like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and even Star Ocean: The Second Story. Because of that, it’s fair to say that its world, graphical style, and mechanics aren’t wholly original, but there are enough interesting twists in its 30-hour story to make for a rich and enjoyable experience of its own merit. This isn’t just nostalgia fodder. That said, its twitchy combat can be difficult to get a handle on, and once you do, it only stays interesting for so long before its limited customization options make it start to feel just a little repetitive. That’s made up for by a strong soundtrack, an approachable and endearing story, and a wide number of fun zones and boss fights that make this a trip worth taking. – Gabriel Moss

Sons of the Forest (Early Access)

From our review: Sons of the Forest takes everything its predecessor did well and does it a little bit better. And considering how much I enjoyed the original, I can easily recommend this strong follow-up. Exploring a huge, beautiful, deadly island through the changing seasons is a treat on its own. The new base building mechanics could entertain me for days without ever touching the main story. And to top it all off, we have smarter and more unsettling enemy behavior paired with thoughtfully improved combat. It’s already great, and it’s still in Early Access. With some healthy performance optimization and shining up of an impactful but sloppy ending, it could become incredible. – Leana Hafer

Station to Station

From our review: Station to Station is a relaxing, cozy railway planner with clear goals, flexibility in how you accomplish them, and the absolute perfect amount of challenge. It doesn’t try to be anything more than a fun and easy going experience, and the fact you can randomize levels and crank their difficulty up a bit provides some nice variety to how you approach each session. I love its voxel-based graphics so much, the music is soothing, and it just oozes charm. Even failing a level didn’t frustrate, because it just meant I got another opportunity to roll through the blocky countryside and do a little better. Its biggest strength lies in its simplicity, and it doesn’t stray too far from that initial gameplay premise. Honestly, it doesn’t have to. – Seth Macy

Total War: Pharoah

From our review: Total War: Pharaoh looks incredible, with diverse and interesting battles complemented by an uncommonly deep and rich campaign layer. The focus is firmly on Egypt, and the experiences available outside that region don’t really match up in terms of content or quality to what is on offer to the civilizations of the Nile. But when I’m sailing up and down that majestic river, fending off invasions from hostile tribes, politicking my way to the top of the power pyramid, and sending my besandaled soldiers to spill blood across the shining sands, I feel confident in saying historical Total War is back, baby. Creative Assembly Sophia has refined every part of its take on this franchise since Troy, and the results are just shy of glorious. – Leana Hafer

Trepang2

From our review: Trepang2 is a delightful tribute shooter that brings the relentless yet intelligent and often creative action of games like F.E.A.R. to the modern standards of 2023. Its diverse enemy encounters and smart level design are top-notch, though it’s less successful when it occasionally dips into lukewarm survival-horror elements, and that’s when it becomes apparent that it could’ve really used a stronger story and better scares. In light of that, it’s wise that it leans harder on action than stealth throughout, often keeping pace with the best first-person shooters when firefights heat up. However, it still ends a bit more quickly than I’d have hoped, even after padding out its length in higher difficulty modes and side missions. Trepang2 feels like a strong prototype for a Trepang3 that pairs this great action with a less paint-by-numbers story and an extended campaign, but in the meantime, I’ll happily go back in and play it all over again with the myriad cheats I’ve already unlocked. – Gabriel Moss

Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy

From our review: Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy is an awesome sequel that keeps the good times rolling for one of the best co-op puzzle-platformer series out there. This set of puzzles are some of the strongest they’ve ever been, and boss fights are creative and original – even if those highlights are occasionally cut short with snooze-inducing combat sections and a predictable story. It may not do much to innovate beyond what we’ve done four times before, but Trine 5 plays to its strengths extremely well and makes some important tweaks here and there that definitely make it worthy of a playthrough or two. – Travis Northup

Viewfinder

From our review: What Viewfinder lacks in story substance and compelling characters it more than makes up for via the pure, mind-boggling exhilaration of its perspective-warping puzzle solving. Its superb, photo-based environmental deformation doesn’t just break ground – it bends and stretches it into entirely new shapes and forms in the wake of each puzzle completed, while also introducing regular game-changing parameters that forced me to continually think outside the frame of my shots. The ability to transport yourself into paintings and screenshots makes for a journey that consistently captivates in between each carefully considered camera capture, and the rapid rewind function emboldens you to get creative with puzzle solutions without fear of retribution. Spellbindingly surreal and stimulating to the end, Viewfinder is the freakiest form of photo mode in which every snap is a happy one. – Tristan Ogilvie

Wargroove 2

From our review: Wargroove 2 is a lot bigger, even if its tactical combat isn’t much better to match – but with how good the original Wargroove was already, that’s forgivable. The story of its three campaigns isn’t as cohesive as its predecessor and there aren’t many truly new gameplay features in the campaign levels themselves, but its Advance Wars-style tactical combat once again manages to make the hours fly by.A satisfyingly challenging new roguelike mode also provides a new way to play that could have practically been a whole game of its own. It’s a familiar package even with that mode, but if you loved the original then Wargroove 2 provides a whole lot more of what made it so great. – Malindy

Wild Hearts

From our review: If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Koei Tecmo’s Omega Force is using Wild Hearts to flirt hard with Capcom right now. But using a beloved game as the template for a new one isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and Wild Hearts manages to introduce plenty of fun new ideas to the Monster Hunter formula while recapturing it well enough to stand proudly alongside the series that so clearly inspired it. The way it simplifies and streamlines things makes for a slightly shallower package, but its karakuri building adds a fresh new way to interact with the map in its place. And while its lower monster variety is certainly disappointing, I’m still having enough fun that I’m excited to party up with some friends and dive back into both challenging endgame fights and fanciful karakuri decorations alike. – Tom Marks

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

From our review: Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s combat plays very differently from Team Ninja’s own Nioh games – more in the mold of Sekiro than Dark Souls – and yet it manages to excel and falter in just about the same areas. When it comes to the clashing of melee weapons, Wo Long is among the best in the genre, full stop. Its action is fast and thrilling, the options for taking down its ferocious enemies are many and immensely rewarding to master, and its deflection-heavy combat is one of the most satisfying since Sekiro. All of those strengths outweigh an overbearing loot system, poor storytelling, and even a disappointing lack of variety in enemies. If not for that, Wo Long might’ve been one of Team Ninja’s greatest achievements – as it is, it’s simply a great one. – Mitchell Saltzman

WWE 2K23

From our review: Whether you want to experience a TV-inspired story of young wrestling talent rising to glory, chop your way to the top at your leisure, take a guided tour of the most humbling moments in the career of one of the greatest to ever do it, or some other more nerdy diversion, WWE 2K23 is worth pinning down. It’s at least incrementally better in almost every way from last year’s entry in that combat feels more rewarding, flexible, and consequential. Where it overachieves, like in MyGM, it starts to finally restore the feeling that we could be on the ramp watching a new golden age of pro wrestling games make its glorious entrance. – Jarrett Green

We enthusiastically recommend that you add these games to your to-play list. If we call a game Amazing, that means something about it seriously impressed us, whether it’s an inspired new idea or an exceptional take on an old one. We expect to look back at it as one of the highlights of its time and genre.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

From our review: You know you’ve just played something special when you’re left with a bittersweet feeling while the credits roll. As I closed the book on Bayonetta Origins, I kept thinking about how it was an absolute joy through and through. From its impressive, fantastical story moments full of childlike charm to its clever platforming puzzles and satisfying battles, this is a superb action-adventure where every piece comes together to create a wondrous playable storybook. Its wild dual-character concept doesn’t really evolve much once you get the hang of it, and maybe its conclusion could have done more to leave a lasting impact. But it’s a journey I’ll cherish all the same, and one that’s been brought to life through a beautiful art style, stellar voice performances, and an outstanding soundtrack. Bayonetta Origins puts a neat little bow on an iconic franchise, and I’m glad we got to see that there was so much more to our beloved witch. – Michael Higham

Cocoon

From our review: Cocoon is a breathtaking puzzle-platformer that borders on psychedelic. Building on what made Inside designer Jeppe Carlsen’s previous work stand out, Cocoon not only presents a mind-bending journey through the cosmos via fascinating worlds-within-worlds puzzle mechanics that beg you to delve another layer deeper, but an interesting take on the repetition of work, life, and being part of a “bigger picture.” With a relatively short playtime and some well-hidden collectibles that make it worth replaying, Cocoon is a must-play for fans of Limbo or Inside, or anyone looking for a new puzzle adventure to play and then sit down and think about for a while. – Hana Kim

Dead Space Remake

From our review: With its stunningly redesigned spaceship, smartly and subtly enhanced story, and spectacularly reimagined action scenes, Motive Studio has managed to successfully breathe new life into the seminal sci-fi horror universe of Dead Space. Despite the fact I’ve returned to the 2008 original several times over the years and found it to hold up fairly well, my latest journey through the darkened hallways of the USG Ishimura still managed to consistently surprise me and pull me into Isaac’s plight far more than ever before, while still satisfying my desire to butcher undead astronauts with an enjoyable arsenal of wildly unsafe mining tools. It’s clear that this superb Dead Space remake has been a labour of love for the team at Motive Studios, who’ve very carefully balanced innovation and renovation with preservation, and to their credit the end result is undoubtedly the definitive way to experience – or re-experience – one of the best survival horror shooters that Capcom never made. – Tristan Ogilvie

Diablo 4

From our review: Diablo 4 is a stunning sequel with near perfect endgame and progression design that makes it absolutely excruciating to put down. The story is a pretty big disappointment despite still being a noticeable improvement over Diablo 3 and there are some annoying bugs that need squashing, but the combat, the loot game, and both the sights and sounds of this world are impressive enough to smooth over those rough edges. Diablo 4 takes the strategy of refining things the series already did so well rather than giving it a more substantial overhaul, and that careful and reverent path has shaped this massive sequel into one of the most polished ARPGs ever created, which makes slicing through the legions of the damned a hell of a good time. – Travis Northup

Final Fantasy 16

From our review: Final Fantasy 16 will very likely be looked back upon as a turning point for mainline Final Fantasy games, taking its combat fully in the direction of an action game, but I hope that conversation doesn’t overshadow its dark and captivating tale, memorable characters, and the innovative ways in which it helps you keep track of it all. The Active Time Lore feature is incredible, and should be standard for all story-driven games going forward, and while the combat may not live up to the sky high standards as some of the best games in the character action genre, among other action RPGs, it’s near the top of the heap. Pair all of that with one of the best soundtracks of the year, incredible performances from top to bottom, and drop dead gorgeous visuals, and you’ve got a game worthy of an orchestral Final Fantasy victory fanfare. – Mitchell Saltzman

Fire Emblem Engage

From our review: It’s no small feat that Fire Emblem Engage is able to tell a simple-but-fun story that celebrates the vast history of its series in a way that doesn’t rely on prior knowledge of that legacy. Building the perfect team of diverse characters and pairing them with the Emblem Rings of past heroes allows for tons of customization and strategy, and blasting through the enemy ranks with their special powers is always immensely satisfying. Both its main and side missions provide a good deal of challenge, and clever twists and obstacles offset a reliance on overly familiar mission objectives. Couple all that with a suite of quality-of-life improvements that immediately feel vital and Fire Emblem Engage proves itself worthy enough to be counted alongside the legacy it honors so well. – Brendan Graeber

Gran Turismo 7 VR

From our review: Gran Turismo 7 is the same amazing simulation-focused racer it always has been, but playing in a PlayStation VR2 headset has elevated it in ways I wasn’t expecting. Driving its intense and alluring races in VR adds such a high level of tactility that you can physically feel the tweaks you make to your car, demystifying a lot of the otherwise intimidating optional customization for the average player. It also looks stunning, making up for flat menus and the lack of interactivity in its cabins with impressive lighting and audio alike. If you’re buying a PlayStation VR2 headset anyway, and you had to buy just one game to keep you busy for an indefinite amount of time, make it this one. – Gabriel Moss

Hi-Fi Rush

From our review: I swear Hi-Fi Rush could be a premier cartoon series. It’s got best-in-class animation, endearing heroes to cheer for, and villains you love to hate, all wrapped in good-natured humor. But on top of that everlasting charm, it turns a dynamic rock soundtrack into its greatest weapon, putting meticulous detail into syncing the beat to all aspects of the experience. It gives combat a uniquely satisfying momentum that other stylish-action games don’t offer, even when the platforming and targeting system drop a couple notes along the way. Hi-Fi Rush is a memorable journey that marches to the beat of its own drum and without a doubt stands among the action greats. – Michael Higham

Hogwarts Legacy

From our review: In nearly every way, Hogwarts Legacy is the Harry Potter RPG I’ve always wanted to play. Its open-world adventure captures all the excitement and wonder of the Wizarding World with its memorable new characters, challenging and nuanced combat, and a wonderfully executed Hogwarts student fantasy that kept me glued to my controller for dozens of hours. It’s certainly weighed down by technical issues, a lackluster main story, and some poor enemy variety, but even those couldn’t come close to breaking its enchanting spell over me. – Travis Northup

Honkai: Star Rail

From our review: Honkai: Star Rail is the best free-to-play game of the year so far. Its stellar storytelling and satisfying progression systems offer dozens of hours of content that a HoYo newcomer can enjoy, even without paying for gacha items or having played Honkai Impact 3rd or Genshin Impact. Combat boasts layers of strategy for those willing to dig into details without barring more casual players from enjoying it. Its worldbuilding also expands outside of the main story into the side missions and interactable objects, making an already captivating world even more lively. It surpasses even Genshin in my mind, and I can see myself playing even months from now. – Jess Reyes

Humanity

From our review: Humanity is a beautiful, modern reimagining of Lemmings that feels as esoteric and artsy as Enhance’s previous games, while ambitiously stepping onto new terrain for the action puzzle genre with the pitter-patter of countless little feet. It somehow manages to intermingle platforming, action, and real-time strategy elements with mind-bending finesse, and its open-endedness means I could be sitting here and tinkering with it for years – much like I have with other games with great level creators like Dreams and Little Big Planet. Humanity bursts out of left field with something so unexpectedly brilliant that I can’t help but recommend it to everyone who’s ever enjoyed a puzzle game. – Gabriel Moss

Jagged Alliance 3

From our review: Jagged Alliance 3 is a smartly-built, action-packed throwback tactical extravaganza that I enjoyed the whole way through. Its madcap sense of humor is very hit or miss – for me, it’s usually miss. But for the most part, that doesn’t hurt its ability to tell a story with just enough intrigue to keep you guessing, while not overcomplicating things too much. The huge variety of distinct characters, hand-built tactical maps, and objectives assure that a long campaign never goes stale, with limited but meaningful merc progression that let me build my dream squad and play almost exactly how I wanted to, with the added tension of trying to keep them alive through each combat encounter. If you know your way around a squad management game you may want to turn the campaign difficulty up a notch for your first playthrough, but even when you’re rolling in cash, this lead-slinging blow-out is a hell of a good time. – Leana Hafer

The Making of Karateka

From our review: Before playing The Making of Karateka, I had no interest in Karateka beyond it being a historical stepping stone to Prince of Persia. But I get it now. I I see its many parts: The animation that was hand drawn from Jordan Mechner’’s snapshots of his family’s karate instructor; the music that began as a fatherly lesson in Wagner’s leitmotifs; and the cinematic framing of a story that cuts between scenes in a far more complicated way than, say, the “They Meet” cutscene in Ms. Pac-Man. Karateka is significant, but the story behind it is remarkable, and The Making of Karateka tells that story in the coolest way possible. – Samuel Claiborn

MLB The Show 23

From our review: After a somewhat disappointing 2022, it’s amazing how far forward Sony San Diego has pushed MLB The Show 23. It seems like every element has received attention, whether its the improved scouting in the Franchise mode, updates to match the current MLB rulebook, or a vastly more helpful practice mode. This remains a gorgeous showcase for baseball, with some of the most lifelike sights and sounds to behold in a sports game. It remains to be seen if Sets and Seasons in Diamond Dynasty will frustrate in the long run, but the crowning achievement this year is the Negro Leagues mode. This playable piece of baseball history is a triumph, presented with care, grace, and attention to detail. It’s courageous and bold, like the pioneers it highlights, and it’s astonishing to experience something so affecting from a baseball game. If for nothing else, that alone makes MLB The Show 23 a must-play. – Justin Koreis

Pikmin 4

From our review: Like the three wonderfully weird mainline games before it, Pikmin 4 has once again captured my heart with its charming creatures that fearlessly follow commands regardless of their own well-being. The difficulty leans a bit too much toward the easy side, but all-new features like ability upgrades, a pair of new Pikmin, and our loyal sidekick Oatchi add some variety to the traditional gameplay by offering options other than the grab-and-throw Pikmin formula of the past. Coupled with the largest number of enemies to battle, treasures to collect, and awesome post-game content that incorporates some great callbacks to the earlier games, I’m left with not just a positive outlook on Pikmin 4, but the direction the series is heading as a whole. – Jada Griffin

Pizza Tower

From our review: Pizza Tower is a very special 2D platformer that transcends its inspirations and becomes something even greater. It’s a short ride, and it’ll be most appealing to those who are keen to restart levels in an effort to improve their score, but even if that’s not you, there’s a ton to like here. It is one of the most straight up fun and refreshing platformers I’ve played in recent memory, sporting an unforgettably unique art style, excellent animations, immensely rewarding platforming, wonderfully creative level design, a joyful sense of humor, and one of the best soundtracks of the year so far. Move over Wario, Peppino Spaghetti is-a number one now. – Mitchell Saltzman

Remnant 2

From our review: It’s astounding to think that if I were to create a list of my favorite soulslikes, my favorite looter shooters, and my favorite procedurally generated games, Remnant 2 would appear on all of those lists. This is a triumphant sequel that doesn’t just reimagine the soulslike genre as a co-op looter-shooter, but absolutely nails that concept in nearly every way – including many that the original did not. With completely engrossing combat, challenging and memorable boss fights, ultra-dense buildcrafting options, incredibly cool procedurally generated levels, and a clever multiversal concept that allows for a ton of different adventures in one package, it’s very likely going to become one of my most-played games this year. No matter which part of the multiverse you find yourself in, you should do yourself a favor and play this gem. – Travis Northup

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

From our review: Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is a peak example of the stealth tactics genre from a studio that is clearly mastering its craft. Its mission structure is spread across excellently entertaining levels with rich detail to find and master, while characters shine with voice performances, endearing humor, and colorful art that both delight and impress. With innumerable ways to approach its levels and an extremely smart integration of the practice of saving and reloading into the world’s fiction, it’s firing on all cylinders in all categories except perhaps enemy AI. Frankly, I don’t know anyone I wouldn’t recommend it to. – Jon Bolding

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

From our review: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor takes what Fallen Order achieved and wall-runs with it, then double-jumps and air-dashes straight into an epic lightsaber battle. Rather than taking us back to square one to begin Cal’s journey as a Padawan again, we’re trusted with control of a full-fledged Jedi Knight who we can grow into a master of superhuman mobility and fantastic and challenging combat. With a new set of larger, more diverse, and densely packed worlds to explore and a memorable cast of returning characters, Survivor tells a story that may be predictable but is still fun and at times emotional to watch play out. Launch performance issues aside, it’s a sequel that does virtually everything better than the original – which was already an exceptional Star Wars game. If Respawn makes one more like this it’ll complete the best Star Wars trilogy in 30 years, hands down. – Dan Stapleton

Street Fighter 6

From our review: Street Fighter games are always benchmark moments for the 2D fighting game genre, but Street Fighter 6 feels extra special. The Drive System is an incredible addition to the fighting mechanics that gives you a veritable Swiss Army knife of options and meter-management decisions right from the start of every single round, the starting roster is the best Street Fighter has ever seen, its online netcode through three betas has been impeccable so far, and the number of smaller details that it nails right out of the gate is unprecedented. It’s so good that even the poor story and extremely slow progression of the single-player World Tour amounts to only a jab’s worth of damage on its metaphorical health bar. Whether you’re completely new to fighting games or are a seasoned vet, Street Fighter 6 is a must play. – Mitchell Saltzman

System Shock

From our review: Where many modern games invite you to sit back and enjoy the ride, System Shock wants you to sit up and experience the SHODAN. Tweaking the technical workings of Citadel station to come out on top and foil SHODAN’s machinations is just as compelling as it ever was, making the original System Shock one of gaming’s classics for a very good reason. Nightdive’s remake masterfully brings most of the aspects that haven’t aged as well into the present day, with excellent new graphics and nearly all the modern gameplay conveniences you could want. Get out there and give her hell, hacker. – Jon Bolding

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

From our review: Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is full of charm and nostalgia alike, with cutesy versions of my favorite Final Fantasy characters and excellent remixes of the iconic songs that accompanied them. The light RPG mechanics, coupled with traditional rhythm mechanics, is easy enough to get into and deep enough to entertain fans of both. It’s a little bit of a letdown that there isn’t any storyline for your party of heroes to follow or another hook to keep me playing beyond beating my own scores in Endless mode, but its impressive tracklist makes Theatrhythm Final Bar Line an enjoyable way to listen to and play along with the most memorable songs from the Final Fantasy series. – Jada Griffin

Simply put: this is our highest recommendation. There’s no such thing as a truly perfect game, but those that earn a Masterpiece label from IGN come as close as we could reasonably hope for. These are classics in the making that we hope and expect will influence game design for years to come, as other developers learn from their shining examples.

Baldur’s Gate 3

From our review: I don’t want to say every CRPG going forward should aspire to be like Baldur’s Gate 3. Not everything needs to be nearly this big and ambitious, or even this dense. But it is a landmark moment in the genre, and if I had to point to one paragon that I would like everyone else making these to take inspiration from, this is absolutely it. I waited 14 years for the stars to align again so that we could get the ideal mix of crunchy, tactical, old-school RPG combat, an epic and well-written story with complex characters and lots of meaningful choices, and a level of polish and cinematic presentation that let me see the sweat and the sorrow on characters’ faces in their darkest hours. Plenty of other games have partially completed that list, but the last time they all came together was Dragon Age: Origins in 2009. And I can finally say that game, and its Infinity Engine predecessors, have a worthy successor that’s not just matched their RPG greatness, but surpassed it. Baldur’s Gate 3 is just about everything I could have asked for. – Leana Hafer

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

From our review: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an unfathomable follow-up to one of the greatest games ever made, somehow improving upon it in nearly every way – be that with simple quality-of-life improvements, a genuinely exciting story, or wildly creative new building mechanics that make you rethink what is possible. It both revamps old ground and introduces vast new areas so immense it somehow makes me wonder if Breath of the Wild was actually all that big, with an almost alarming number of tasks to complete, mysteries to discover, and delightful distractions to keep you from ever reaching that place you naively thought you were headed. Nintendo has followed up a triumph with a triumph, expanding and evolving a world that already felt full beyond expectation and raising the bar ever higher into the clouds. – Tom Marks

Metroid Prime Remastered

From our review: Metroid Prime has been one of my favorite games for decades, but I’m still shocked that its bones are so strong. 21 years later, in 2023, Metroid Prime Remastered had to do so little beyond modernizing the controls and updating the graphics to become one of the best games you can buy once again. This ultimate solo mission is a respite from the noise of hint-giving companions and lengthy cinematic cutscenes that make up much of today’s single-player games. Those things have their place, but Metroid Prime Remastered shows that you can tell a story and create a grand adventure by building an amazing world and creating unique and fun tools to explore it with. I strongly encourage you to delve into Metroid Prime Remastered, and get lost. – Samuel Claiborn

Resident Evil 4

From our review: Whether you’re a fan of the original or a newcomer with a hankering for some action-heavy horror of the highest quality, Resident Evil 4 is like a parasite-riddled Spaniard: a total no-brainer. Its combat is friction-free but no less stress-inducing thanks to its ferocious cast of creatures, its story rapidly shuttles through a series of action scenes that are diverse in structure but uniformly unwavering in intensity, and its world is rich in detail and full of fun and often snarling surprises. Its improvements over the original are too numerous to list, from simple quality-of-life changes to completely overhauled boss fight mechanics, and with the exception of the disappointingly diminished personality of the merchant, the team at Capcom has barely put a foot wrong. Whaddaya buying? Only the most relentlessly exciting Resident Evil adventure of all time that’s been rebuilt, refined, and realised to the full limits of its enormous potential. A wise choice, mate. – Tristan Ogilvie

If you want an easy way to track all the top games we’ve reviewed so far, check out our corresponding list on IGN Playlist. By logging in with your free IGN account, you can track games, get stats (eg: how long it takes to beat them), add them to your wishlist and backlog, or rate and review them yourself. Start here:

Jordan covers games, shows, and movies as a freelance writer for IGN.