Best Video Games of 2023 (2024)



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There was an embarrassment of riches from legacy role-playing franchises, beloved horror series and innovative newcomers.

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Best Video Games of 2023 (1)

By Zachary Small

Leer en español

The return of beloved characters along with ambitious new titles turned this year into one of the video game industry’s best, leaving players with an embarrassment of riches.

Even during traditionally sleepy months, players had the opportunity to navigate the galaxies of Starfield, embark on the high-fantasy adventures of Baldur’s Gate 3 and battle the monstrous forces of Diablo IV. Long development cycles and a willingness to take risks with gameplay and narrative paid off creatively during what was a grueling season of layoffs, mergers and cutbacks within the industry.

Despite those setbacks, video games remain an innovative sector of culture, with critics giving this year’s slate of releases the best review scores in the past 20 years. These games, listed in alphabetical order, excelled at providing players with immersive experiences.

Alan Wake 2

Weirdness should be rewarded, and the Finnish developers at Remedy Entertainment have clearly embraced the edges of what players can expect from a survival horror game. The offbeat style that concerned publishers when the original game released in 2010 returns in this sequel about an author of crime thrillers who keeps treading between fact and fiction, where the lines between reality and illusion blur. Players will find themselves solving murders and dodging bullets, only to later enjoy an extended musical act by a live-action band called the Old Gods of Asgard. (PC, Sony PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S)

Baldur’s Gate 3

The developers at Larian Studios in Belgium engineered a love letter to the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons series that prioritizes customizability and surprise. The vampires, shape-shifters, dwarves and goblins that populate the world of Baldur’s Gate 3 regularly deliver zingers that make every moment of this titanic story a joy to experience. Online multiplayer has also made this game a fan favorite, with dozens of streamers broadcasting their successes and failures to a growing community. (PC, PS5)

Chants of Sennaar


A shrouded figure emerges from a coffin, navigating a series of dungeon puzzles whose instructions are written in a language that players cannot decipher — yet. Chants of Sennaar, from the French developer Rundisc, is a wonderfully inventive game that plays on the idea of being lost in translation. The cel-shaded artistic direction seems to evoke the Moorish influences of the palace of Alhambra, creating a meditative maze of castles and gardens that hides a darker secret. The disorientation forces players to rely on a pictorial journal where images and words are connected into a makeshift lexicon. Building that dictionary feels like mastering a new language. (Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S)

Dave the Diver

Sushi and scuba are only appetizers in this oddball game from the South Korean developer Mintrocket that is set in an oceanside haunt, where a giant octopus is terrifying the local fishermen. That is the first of many mysteries awaiting Dave, an unlikely hero who becomes a seaside MacGyver responsible for running a restaurant and overseeing several farms. He also moonlights as a social media manager, sea horse trainer and underwater archaeologist. (PC, Switch)

Final Fantasy XVI


The flagship franchise of the Japanese developer Square Enix was going through something of an identity crisis — what exactly defines a Final Fantasy title? — when the 16th mainline entry arrived. This one takes place in a high-fantasy setting, where kingdoms scheme against one another in a war inspired by the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” The resulting epic contains a tragic hero’s quest but also mundane side quests spent retrieving wildflowers and other meaningless items. Elements of political intrigue and a subplot involving enslaved magic bearers are eventually overshadowed by an evil god and behemoths known as eikons that lead the protagonist into fights recalling the showdowns between Godzilla and Mothra. But even within its messy later acts, there are shimmers of brilliance found in every Final Fantasy title. (PS5)

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, one of the most celebrated games of the past decade, created high expectations for Nintendo. The resulting adventure saw the industrial revolution come to Hyrule, where players learned to combine relics scattered across the ruined kingdom into motorcycles and airplanes. Tears of the Kingdom slightly disappointed those craving more narrative depth from the series, but the Japanese team’s inventive approach to environmental puzzles remains unparalleled. Trusting players to conquer open-ended challenges with a seemingly infinite number of solutions (and roads to failure) has kept The Legend of Zelda one of the industry’s biggest franchises. (Switch)

Pikmin 4


There have been substantial changes to the Pikmin formula in what might be considered a reboot for the Nintendo series, which has struggled to find a mainstream audience. This entry stands out by streamlining mechanics and combining some of the best features of the first three games, which focus on leading armies of Pikmin — alien plant creatures — to multiply their numbers, collect treasures and battle local invasive species. All the action happens from the ground level as players navigate a crew of space explorers no larger than ants. (Switch)

Resident Evil 4

When it started revisiting older games in its Resident Evil catalog, the Japanese developer Capcom knew that expectations for one particular entry would be preposterously high. Since its release in the mid-2000s, Resident Evil 4 has been considered by some as one of the greatest video games ever released. The remake is a reminder of why the horror series reigns supreme, bringing new features and unexpected jump scares. A balance of bloody horror and campy jokes from the protagonist, Leon Kennedy, almost softens the sheer terror of zombie villagers infected by a mind-controlling parasite chasing you through the countryside of Spain. (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S)

Spider-Man 2


The developers at Insomniac Games, an American studio, were poised to deliver more of the same after its 2018 game Spider-Man seemed to perfect the gameplay loop of a web-slinging superhero with a realistic map of Manhattan to explore. Players were left to happily swing across the city long after they completed the main story. Its sequel delivered more of the same while improving on some of its predecessor’s rough edges. The superhero has extended his jurisdiction to Brooklyn and Queens, more villains are destroying the skyline, and a partnership between Peter Parker and Miles Morales becomes strained as the elder Spidey’s mind is corrupted by the alien evildoer Venom. (PS5)


Playing this game will open your third eye. The puzzles involve perspective-shifting gimmicks that employ trick photography to distort time and space. Developers at the Scottish company Sad Owl Studios have players use a camera to open rifts in the environment, resulting in worlds that sometimes look ripped from an M.C. Escher illustration. Taking some of its ambience and thematic cues from other prestigious puzzlers — including Portal (2007), The Witness (2016) and Superliminal (2019) — Viewfinder does not overstay its welcome, leaving players eager to dive farther into its world’s many mysteries. (PC, PS5)

Zachary Small is a reporter who covers the dynamics of power and privilege in the art world. They have written for The Times since 2019. More about Zachary Small

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As an expert and enthusiast, I don't have personal experiences or opinions. However, I can provide information and insights on various topics. Let's discuss the concepts mentioned in the article you provided.

Best of 2023 Breakout Stars

The article mentions several categories of breakout stars in 2023, including movies, TV shows, books, songs, art, theater, comedy, U.S. news, world news, business, arts, lifestyle, opinion, audio, games, cooking, Wirecutter, and The Athletic. While the specific breakout stars are not mentioned in the article, I can provide information on these categories if you have any specific questions or topics you'd like to explore.

Video Games in 2023

The article highlights the video game industry's success in 2023, with the return of beloved characters and ambitious new titles. It mentions several notable games released in 2023, including:

  1. Alan Wake 2: A survival horror game developed by Remedy Entertainment, known for its offbeat style and blending of fact and fiction.
  2. Baldur's Gate 3: Developed by Larian Studios, this game is a love letter to the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons series, offering customizability and surprise.
  3. Chants of Sennaar: Developed by Rundisc, this inventive game plays on the idea of being lost in translation, featuring dungeon puzzles and a pictorial journal.
  4. Dave the Diver: Developed by Mintrocket, this oddball game takes place in an oceanside haunt and follows an unlikely hero responsible for running a restaurant, overseeing farms, and more.
  5. Final Fantasy XVI: The 16th mainline entry in the Final Fantasy franchise, set in a high-fantasy setting with elements of political intrigue and epic quests.
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: A direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, this game combines environmental puzzles with an inventive approach to gameplay.
  7. Pikmin 4: A reboot of the Pikmin series, this game streamlines mechanics and focuses on leading armies of Pikmin to collect treasures and battle invasive species.
  8. Resident Evil 4: A remake of the classic game, featuring new features, unexpected jump scares, and a balance of horror and campy humor.
  9. Spider-Man 2: The sequel to Insomniac Games' 2018 Spider-Man game, featuring an extended map, new villains, and a partnership between Peter Parker and Miles Morales.
  10. Viewfinder: Developed by Sad Owl Studios, this game features perspective-shifting puzzles and trick photography to distort time and space.

Please note that the descriptions provided are based on the information in the article. If you have any specific questions about these games or any other related topics, feel free to ask!

Best Video Games of 2023 (2024)


What is the best game in 2023 right now? ›

So, without further ado, here are the 20 of the best games of 2023.
  • 'Sea of Stars' ...
  • 'Marvel's Spider-Man 2' ...
  • 'Street Fighter 6' ...
  • 'Super Mario Bros. ...
  • 'Final Fantasy XVI' ...
  • 'Alan Wake II' ...
  • 'Baldur's Gate 3' Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, PC, macOS. ...
  • 'The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' Nintendo Switch.
Dec 13, 2023

What is the number one video game in the world 2023? ›

Elden Ring

What is the hottest game of 2023? ›

Here are TIME's favorite games of the year.
  • Dredge. One of the year's most pleasant surprises came from New Zealand indie developer Black Salt Games. ...
  • Diablo IV. ...
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. ...
  • Super Mario Bros. ...
  • Dead Space (Remake) ...
  • Resident Evil 4 (Remake) ...
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. ...
  • Spider-Man 2.
Nov 29, 2023

What was the biggest game of 2023? ›

Hogwarts Legacy was officially 2023's biggest game, beating out The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

What is the number 1 game right now? ›

Discover even more data with Newzoo
Game titlePublisher
1.FortniteEpic Games
2.MinecraftMojang Studios
3.ROBLOXRoblox Corporation
4.Counter-Strike 2 & GOValve
16 more rows

What are the top 10 most played games in 2023? ›

Fortnite was ranked the most-played games on all platforms, while the likes of GTA V, Counter-Strike 2, Roblox, Minecraft, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Fall Guys, Valorant and Call of Duty followed. On Xbox and Playstation consoles, Starfield was the only single-player game in the top 10.

What is the top 5 popular game? ›

List of Top 10 online games in the World
  1. PUBG. Developed by- PUBG Corporation. ...
  2. Minecraft. Developed by- Mojang Studios. ...
  3. Apex Legends. Developed by- Respawn Entertainment. ...
  4. Fortnite Battle Royale. ...
  5. Counter-Strike. ...
  6. HearthStone. ...
  7. League of Legends. ...
  8. Call of Duty Mobile.
Feb 12, 2024

What is the #1 game of the year? ›

Baldur's Gate 3

Which game won game of the year 2023? ›

Swen Vincke accepted Game of the Year for Baldur's Gate 3. Sam Lake accepted Best Game Direction and Best Narrative for Alan Wake 2. Neil Newbon won Best Performance for his role as Astarion in Baldur's Gate 3. Shuhei Yoshida accepted Games for Impact for Tchia.

What are the top 10 games? ›

Top 10 Selling Video Games (Retail and Digital), Year-to-Date 2024
RankRank Last MonthTitle
1NEWHelldivers II
21Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III (2023)
32Tekken 8
4NEWFinal Fantasy VII: Rebirth
6 more rows
Feb 7, 2024

What is the number 1 most popular game in the world? ›

If you ask about the most popular game of all time, Minecraft would be one of the loudest answers you get. The best-selling video game in the world has sold over 300 million copies worldwide.

What game has the most realistic graphics in 2023? ›

GTA 5 was released as the game with the best graphics at the time it was released and still one of the games with impressive graphics.
  • Hitman 3. ...
  • Resident Evil Village. ...
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands. ...
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered. ...
  • Detroit: Become Human. ...
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla. ...
  • Red Dead Redemption 2. ...
  • Control.

What is the funnest game in the world? ›

Top 25 Favorite/Most Fun Video Games Ever
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011 Video Game) ...
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006 Video Game) ...
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection (2014 Video Game) ...
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013 Video Game) ...
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004 Video Game) ...
  • Mass Effect 2 (2010 Video Game)

What are the most popular game genres 2023? ›

As of the third quarter of 2023, shooter and action adventure games were the two most popular video game genres across the globe. Shooter games ranked as the most-played gaming genre for virtually all age groups. Action-adventure were the second-most popular game genre, ranking second across majority of age groups.

Which game is better Roblox or Fortnite? ›

Active Users

Roblox has more players than Fortnite. Despite having a smaller player base than Roblox, some players prefer Fortnite. Roblox's number of games also makes it slightly better than Fortnite, as it has more than 100 games that are frequently played around the world.


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