2023 has been one of the greatest gaming years in video game history. Every month, it feels like we are getting a title that could possibly be the game of the year, and it’s not even hyperbole. The quality coming from companies big and small this year is wild. The summer has been particularly fruitful, with titles like Tears of the Kingdom, Final Fantasy 16, Remnant 2, Armored Core 6, and Baldur’s Gate 3 offering players around the globe hundreds of hours of top-tier gameplay experiences. If you thought you’d get a moment of respite, you’d be wrong, as Starfield started off the fall of 2023 with another gargantuan adventure. The heavy hitters aren’t close to being done dropping, and we might still see more game-of-the-year contenders. Here are five more games that deserve your attention in 2023.
5. The Lords of the Fallen
Lords of the Fallen came out in 2014 as a Souls-like with some ambitious ideas. It ultimately didn’t hit the mark, as the clunky combat and boring main character didn’t resonate with fans. Nine years later, Defiant Studios will give the genre another go by releasing The Lords of the Fallen on October 13th. This time, your character is custom-made, and the game world is much different. This upcoming Souls-like is shooting for a gothic horror design with healthy dashes of Elden Ring thrown in. The big pull that Defiant Studios is hoping will catch on is the ability to go to the Umbral Realm.
The Umbral Realm is a mirrored universe to the current place you’re in that you access by taking out a lantern. This instantly turns the normal landscapes into terrifying hellscapes with different enemies and interesting puzzles. The longer you’re in the Umbral Realm, the more hostile mobs will swarm to you. The rewards and equipment players can earn from this dimension are superior to those in the normal world. Hence, the balance between the two is sure to be an interesting one. The Lords of the Fallen is looking like a perfect game for the Halloween season and will bring back everything that made Dark Souls great in the first place. It also offers co-op play, a welcome addition after seeing how fun Remnant 2 was with friends.
4. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
While it’s not an entire 2023 game per se, the end of September will give us a massive expansion for Cyberpunk 2077. Not only is it extending the story in significant ways, but Phantom Liberty is also overhauling the entirety of the base game of Cyberpunk 2077 with Cyberpunk 2077 2.0. With this will come major changes to the equipment and cyberware system as well as the skill trees. The new story itself takes place in an entirely new area called Dogtown. The DLC stars Idris Elba as Solomon Reed, who will aid you in your new journey to figure out a way to finally rid yourself of the ticking timebomb of a data chip that’s stuck in your head.
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty will feature brand new enemies, tons of new weapons and armor, and will bring back the voice actors for V. Keanu Reeves will also reprise his iconic role as Johnny Silverhand. Cyberpunk 2077 has had an incredibly impressive turnaround and is easily one of the best RPGs you can play today. As we’ve seen with The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red doesn’t slack when it comes to making additional stories as worthwhile as possible. This expansion will be the perfect opportunity for new chooms and Night City veterans to jump into the Cyberpunk 2077 world and cement its status as one of the best RPGs today.
3. Alan Wake 2
Another perfect game for Halloween 2023, Alan Wake 2 will release on October 27th. Alan Wake was a very niche game when it came out in 2010. So, it was a massive surprise when it was announced that it would be Remedy’s next game after the fantastic Control, which actually had a DLC linking the two games together. Sure enough, though, we are getting a long-awaited sequel to one of the most original horror games of all time. While the combat in the original was a little awkward, requiring you to use your flashlight to make enemies vulnerable, Alan Wake 2 is going a more traditional route, with standard third-person shooting mechanics to support the harrowing moment-to-moment gameplay.
This time around, Saga Anderson, a female FBI agent, takes the stage as the protagonist at the start of the game. The gameplay of both Saga and Alan shows that this will be an adventure where you can bounce between the duo and take on the journey in any order you choose. This is a bold move and something that hasn’t really been done since The Last of Us 2. If it’s done right, it should provide another bizarre, unsettling, yet memorable journey into the terrifying world of Alan Wake. We hope he finally gets out of that lake; he’s been there for 13 years.
2. Assassin’s Creed Mirage
After Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla provided us with a massive yet mixed experience, Ubisoft went back to the drawing board. After three years without an Assassin’s Creed game, we are getting Assassin’s Creed Mirage on October 5th, 2023. Mirage will be notably smaller than Valhalla, as it aims to bring what made the series popular in the first place. Stealth is emphasized; the combat system will feel like the older games with a modern twist, and assassinations will once again take the forefront of the gameplay. Assassin’s Creed needs a revival for its games in 2023, and Mirage is the way to do it.
Your hero for AC Mirage is Basim. Not exactly a fan favorite after his villainous turn out of nowhere in AC Valhalla, but this game is looking to show us his origins and why he became the villain he turned out to be. The story takes place in Baghdad, a fascinating location for an Assassin’s Creed narrative. We haven’t been to the Middle East since the very first game in the series, so those worried about the game not being an authentic AC experience can rest assured that Ubisoft wants to bring back that old-school feel. How the Animus is going to work in Mirage is a mystery. Some fun fan theories have linked William Miles, Desmond’s father, to possibly being in the role. When we last left Assassin’s Creed, Basim was wandering the modern world after being revived by Layla Hassan, so it’s anyone’s guess where we’re heading.
1. Spider-Man 2
2018 was a great year for gaming, and Spider-Man swooped in towards the end of it to deliver an unforgettable experience with one of the best superhero games ever made. It’s been a long wait, but on October 20th, we are getting thrown back into the webslinging tights of Peter Parker and Miles Morales with Spider-Man 2. This dual Spidey approach has fans thrilled after the excellent side story, Spider-Man: Miles Morales of 2020. The gameplay has been brief from what we’ve seen. Nonetheless, with the incredible combat system established by Insomniac with the original game, we have no doubt crime fighting as the Spidermen will once again be a thrilling, high-octane experience.
What will be difficult to top from the first game is the story. Spider-Man had a darker story than most in the hero’s long and storied history, resulting in a very mature and tragic tale. We left off with the revelation that Harry Osbourne has been infected with the Symbiote in order to keep him alive as he fights a fatal disease. We know from gameplay trailers that Peter is going to get a hold of it to become Black Suit Spider-Man and that Kraven the Hunter is coming along for the ride as well. There was a brief appearance of The Sinister Six in the first game, and so far, with Spider-Man 2, everything has been played very close to the chest. Insomniac shocked the world in 2018, and despite the crowded game space at the moment, we’re confident they’re going to do the Wall Crawler justice once again.