Game of the Year 2023 (REAL)

like V and the relic, I have risen from the dust to write another cringe list no one will read

Hello to all of the random internet bots that somehow make it to this website as well as the two or three actual people who probably make it here on accident. I used to write about video games before any and all passion I had for writing had been sucked out of my body and spirit. But today is different. Not because my passion is back, no, that's still gone. But instead I'm going to write anyway. I'm going to write about my favorite games this year among all of the many many great games I've played.

Let's start with games I absolutely adored this year. Let's start with the remakes.

Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 Remake

Excellent games from start to finish. I quite enjoyed both of them thoroughly. RE4 is one of my favorite games of all time and one I've replayed many times in the past. Dead Space was a game I didn't get to play too much of eventually because it was stuck on the PS3 and never had a PS4 port, but still one I thoroughly enjoyed when it first came out.

To me, it's amazing how they both ended up coming out so close to one another. Dead Space was a game that was heavely inspired by Resident Evil 4, and yet the remake comes out just two months before RE4 remake. It's amazing to see how they have both adapted, with Dead Space still feeling like Dead Space with some fun new additions, like the space walking feature originally featured in Dead Space 2. And Resident Evil 4 Remake has great new combat mechanics like parrying and such, making combat feel even more viceral and violent than ever before.

There's been a lot of opinions on how remakes should be treated with awards, and I'm of the side that they absolutely deserve them. If they were only remasters, it would probably be a different opinion, but the sheer amount of detail and effort put into both of these games is actually kind of inspiring. In an era where video games still release completely busted, these two games are rock solid and offer a lot to sink your teeth into, even if you've played the originals.

Aliens: Dark Descent

This game is something so special and unique, I can honestly say I haven't played anything like it before. Before I even get to deep into the topic, I will say that the story was "ok" and not the best thing I've ever seen, but I wouldn't call it bad either. I do love Alien and the entire aesthetic of Colonial Marines with their big, thick Pulse Rifles spraying all over some degenerate aliens, and in this game, you get that and more.

Everyone I've ever heard talk about the game has said the same thing: It's like a "real time X-COM". I was always confused by that, thinking what the hell does that even mean? So when I got my hands on it, I was pleasantly surprised.

It's a real time strategy game where you play as your entire squad all at once, being able to switch between them to issue specific commands for them to do things, like use a cool weapon or unique ability, but you are always controlling the whole squad at once.

The way the game handles stress and traumas actually makes the need for taking care of them physically and mentally across what can end up being hour+ long missions. I liked to take my time and try to get as many supplies and objectives done all in one go so my missions tend to drag on and take a while.

But the game throws a neat wrench into that by increasing the difficulty over time. Aliens are triggered by sound, like gunfire, so they can become alerted to your presence if you get into a fight or try to blow something up, for example. And this difficulty increases over time into three stages, green, which is pretty safe, yellow, which means proceed with caution, and red, which is extreme danger. Once you progress through the game somewhat, they introduce new Xenomorphs and so the higher danger levels could mean one of those big bad fellas will be spawned somewhere on the map, and now you have one hell of a challenge creeping around in the dark... waiting.

This game is "AA", in that it's not some small indie game, but it's also not a massive budgeted blockbuster. It fills the game between the two by being competent at what it does, though still a little bit janky. I ended up encountering a few bugs in my playthrough that made things pretty annoying, but damn, this game is incredible and I loved every second of it. I can not recommend this enough.

Robocop: Rogue City

A Robocop game! Of all things. Made by the same developer who made my personal favorite game, Terminator: Resistance, Robocop: Rogue City is a true to life attempt to make a Robocop game that feels like it can fit right along next to the movies.

In the game you play as Alex Murphy, the human turned metal police officer. The story is a pretty simple premise that is basically "Hey Robocop, go stop that guy", with some subtle storytelling of a severely brain damaged cyborg zombie who is desperately trying to retain their humanity even though they are legally considered property of OCP, the corporation that turned him from a dead guy to a semi-dead Robot.

The game is quite good. It's an RPG similar to their Terminator game where you can occasionally make dialog options and alter the story in small ways, as well as featuring skills that you can level up which grant you different abilities or features, like more XP gained per collectable item found.

They got Peter Weller to return as the voice of Robocop which is an incredible feat in and of itself. He does a great job at the role and that makes the entire thing feel so much more authentic. There's so many references to the movies, including characters modeled after the other actors from the film, collectables you can find that are direct references to the movies, and more. I had so much fun running around looking for all kinds of cool references and secrets and ended up spending about 18 hours playing the game from beginning to end.

If I had one criticism, it'd be that it's a tad bit long and I personally feel that it's repetitive. Whereas their Terminator: Resistance game was a stealth action RPG, it gave you lots of options to play around with tools and sneak by the unstoppable Terminators, so there was a lot to do. But with Robocop, the entire power fantasy of playing Robocop is that YOU are the indestructible badass with an Auto-9 service pistol that has as much ammo as Murphy has fucks to give, which is, *none*.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Pain

I love Cyberpunk. I was so sad when the base game first came out because, surprise, I really only bought it because I was excited to see what their huge online game mode was going to have. I wanted Grand Theft Auto Online, but cyberpunk. And I almost got it, but as we all know, the game had so many issues on launch that they had to start canceling future expansions and ended up shuttering the entirety of the multiplayer game mode.

I was always a bit sour about that, but in time I actually found Cyberpunk to be a breathe of fresh air. Sure, it was broken as shit and had so many issues it started to feel like a Bethesda game on crack, or in this case Black Lace, but I am such a massive fan of the cyberpunk genre as well, and here I am, in this big huge cyberpunk open world where I can walk around the dark dingy ally's, stand at the bottom of massive skyscrapers, and watch as the world moves 24/7 and feels alive.

this dumb adorable little truck is my favorite vehicle of all time

I was in awe and ended up doing two playthroughs of the base game, one ended up being a year before the new 2.0 update that did a massive overhaul to the entire game. And also introduced the one and only expansion, Phantom Liberty.

To put it bluntly, Phantom Liberty is the best part of Cyberpunk 2077. The game always had this part of it that just felt like it was missing something. Like there was just a huge piece missing. And with the addition of Dogtown, and all the new gameplay enhancements and complete overhauls they do, that void, at least to me, feels filled.

The espionage filled story, the constant cloak and dagger, the feeling that you're just some street merc that gets caught up into something much bigger than you, and much, much more dangerous. The tone of the entire DLC is so much different than the base game, or even the side quests of the base game. It stands out so much more... strongly? I'm not sure how to word it exactly, but once you walk into Dogtown, you feel like you're in a completely different world. One locked off to the police, even other corporations.

the game is still stunning in almost every way

The new gameplay elements introduced with 2.0 and Phantom Liberty are mouthwatering. The sheer amount of amazing new vehicles and clothing options makes customizing your V such a delight. I always had an issue with the system in the base game because my character always ended up looking like someone pressed "random" on their clothing options a whole bunch of times. But now, I've got a great character and one I can feel a lot more confident about because they just. look. so. damn. good.

I've only completed Phantom Liberty once so far, but absolutely plan on doing another playthrough to see the other side of the story that my choices didn't bring me to. Cyberpunk's Phantom Liberty DLC is an incredible addition to the game and I love every second I spent playing it.

And now my personal favorite game of the entire year, and then some.


I came to fuck bitches

This was the real dark horse surprise reveal of the entire year. I knew I'd like Robocop, Phantom Liberty, Resident Evil 4 Remake. Those games were so up my ally that they would have had to be absolutely horrible for me to not enjoy them. But Armored Core? I've never played one of these games before, and... my god. It's the best.

I had no idea what to even expect from this game. I knew Fromsoft made it, and that it wasn't going to be anything like Dark Ring or Elden Souls, but that's about it. In the next few hours, and next few days, I would become addicted to this game.

I spent hours looking through every map, testing different weapons, customizing my Armored Core, looking up user made decals for them and testing new designs out. I'd spend forever trying to get it to look perfect before deciding, eh, I don't like it anymore, and not even bothering to save the changes.

The game is just so good. The music is incredible, the story is mysterious and exciting. There's so much going on at any one time and I just want to keep playing it even now.

You play as a catatonic cyberwarrior pilot named 621, who never actually talks or seems to really respond to characters in the game even though they do seem to mention 621 speaking to them off-screen. You don't see your pilot, or the pilot of anyone, for that matter. Everything that happens is either in a voice over or through exposition you find in collectable lore documents. It's an interesting take on storytelling because the characters are so expressive and emotive with only their voice. They do so much to make you connect, relate, and even sympathize with them, all without ever seeing a face. All without seeing the human being behind the Armored Core.

before he became a gatling gun tanky boy... he was just a tanky boy without gatling guns

The game has 3 endings, each of which I absolutely needed to see. And each one was amazing and dark and kinda sad and fucked up as the last one. I truthfully can't tell you I understand the final ending of the game, but I can tell you I enjoyed it. Whatever the hell it was.

I love mechs. I love Metal Gears. I love Gundams. I love Armored Cores now too. This game has so much personality crammed into each and every pixel, from the antagonists, the allies, all of the crazy twist and turns, the way you can customize your mech in so much incredible detail. Once I started this game it was honestly hard to put down, which is why it's easily my most favorite game of the year.

What's next?

I wasn't so sure I was going to write anything here again, or at least not entirely sure. I'm still going to play video games and hope for the best. I'm really excited for Death Stranding 2 and can't wait to see what kind of shenanigan's that game is going to be about.

Other than that, I have no idea what the future has in store for me. But I hope you all have a wonderful end of the year and I hope everything goes well in the next one as well.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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