All these factors, combined with a stunning soundtrack that ranges between Vangelis and Nobuo Uematsu, make After Us a must-play game in 2023, and deserves a place on any game of the year list–not just one restricted to indies. For all those moments of satisfaction and glee, you’ll also feel uncomfortable, sad, and maybe even helpless–but again, maybe that’s the point. Sometimes you have to suffer to do the right thing.
There’s a season pass in the works, so LEGO 2K Drive’s foundations may be built on and refined–and its creators are certainly committed to adding to it and improving it in the coming months–but right now, it’s lacking those all-important LEGO hallmarks. You can’t fault the passion that clearly went into it, but it needs to evolve to hit the highs that many gamers will expect from it.
Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is a genuine improvement and evolution over Breath of the Wild.
Overall, Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is an excellent collection and remake of a pair of highly regarded Game Boy Advance strategy games. This game may look cute and simple in terms of its artstyle, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth in terms of its technical and exacting strategy-based gameplay.
In totality, MLB The Show 23 offers a deep baseball simulation with a variety of new features to gameplay, Diamond Dynasty and franchise mode, but almost nothing new in RTTS.
For all its hidden delights, its strengths shine brightest when you just want to stare into the distance, admiring a beautiful view. When these moments inevitably occur, time stops. There’s no rush. But you will need to carry on, you’ll check your map, and find something else to explore–and you’ll feel rewarded once again.
I’m not a hardcore racing or motocross fan, which is something that should be taken into consideration by anyone reading this review. I’m a lifelong sports gamer who loves a balance between simulation and fun. MES6 isn’t a perfect title, but it feels like Milestone has taken significant steps toward delivering a well-rounded experience for hardcore and more casual fans. If the features in place are expounded upon next year, it could climb a spot in my rotation.
Overall, Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is a very nice remaster of a solid Wii game that had a great deal of affection from longtime players of the series back in the day. This remaster also runs very well on the Switch and is definitely worth picking up if you are a Kirby fan. However, if you are new to Kirby and want to experience the best of its 2D offerings, then I would have to recommend Planet Robobot instead.
Overall, Octopath Traveler II is an excellent sequel to the endearing and much loved first game. It doesn’t offer up anything all that new in the gameplay department, but all the new characters and their stories are nicely engaging, as is the excellent combat.
Overall, Metroid Prime Remastered is an astonishingly accurate remake of a definitive gaming classic. Not only in terms of its excellent visuals but also how it plays nearly identically to the original. Even for a game that’s now over two decades old, Metroid Prime still feels as fresh and as functionally relevant as ever. If only more modern first-person games had level design as good as this.
I would recommend Hi-Fi Rush to anyone, even many non-gamers. It’s joyful, addicting and something I may play twice just for the hell of it. An absolute win.
Overall, Sonic Frontiers takes the lovable blue hedgehog into new open world territory, while staying true to how Sonic should feel in a functional sense. There’s also a lot to unpack here, so don’t take on too much at once and just go with the high-speed flow.
God of War Ragnarok is a beautiful, moving game, no longer purely centered on a father getting to know his son, but also about vengeance, forgiveness and attempting to change both prophecy, and the people we used to be, both of which prove to be equally difficult.
Overall, Bayonetta 3 delivers a frantically intense approach to “stylish combat”, with a complex and multi-layered combat system that has remained remarkably robust across each game in the series. While the presentation is hugely over the top, Bayonetta 3’s real worth is in how it plays and as such comes thoroughly recommended to anyone that can keep up.
There is less to dislike with FIFA 23 than there was with last year’s game, but I also wasn’t blown away with the advancements in several features such as career/franchise mode or the visuals. While it’s technically a better game than FIFA 22, it may not seem like it to those who don’t spend most of their time in FUT or VOLTA. Color me satisfied, but not overwhelmed.
At launch, Overwatch 2 is a launchpad for something much, much grander. It’s rough around the edges, but the controlled chaos of the actual gameplay is right up my alley. Given the live service nature of the game, it’s something I’ll likely re-review every so often. Still, Overwatch 2 is in pretty great shape overall.
The NBA 2K franchise is back and moving in the right direction. After years of stagnant gameplay mechanics and subtle improvements to its franchise mode, this year’s game has taken huge, direction-defining steps. NBA 2K23 offers an amazingly customizable experience. With the exception of a few perhaps philosophical issues and some lingering old assets still in use, this year’s version registers as an All-NBA first team selection within the series’ storied history.
Overall, SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a solid mecha game and one that shows how far Artdink has come since their PlayStation Portable days. It’s also a very accessible game in terms of its controls and combat, which the cute approach only helps to accentuate.
I believe the problem is that the gameplay, at its core, just isn’t addictive. Can I have fun with Madden? Yes, and I probably will have some solid moments with the game this year, but not enough to make it elite.
If you’re looking for something a bit different to play this summer and have a Tony Hawk-sized action sports itch you need to scratch, Rollerdrome is absolutely worth checking out.