GOTY 2023: Chris White

by on December 28, 2023

It’s been a long time since we had such a constant stream of great games releasing. 2023 covered so may genres and franchises, while also giving us a ton of surprises. There are so many games I haven’t added into my list, but that’s a testament to the calibre of titles we all had the pleasure of playing. I always enjoy reflecting, and it’s been such an honour to try and encapsulate my favourites into one list. So, without further ado, here is my GOTY 2023 list.

GOTY Honourable Mentions

Street Fighter 6 only just missed out on my top 10, and even as I write this I’m not sure I made the right decision to leave it out. It was able to improve on every aspect of SFV, while adding a sensational single player campaign that felt like something Ryu Ga Gotoku would have been proud to have made.

Starfield may not have had the impact Bethesda would have liked, and it certainly wasn’t the game they made it out to be, but I still loved it. Exploring the galaxy was never dull, and I always enjoyed the dogfights. On the ground, there was always something engaging to do, with the enjoyable stories rooted in the strangest of places. While it might be considered disappointing to many, I had a lot of fun finding my own place in space.

Tin Hearts was a superb puzzler with a poignant story at its core. Consistently adding new mechanics, it was able to make your brain hurt in the best way, pushing you to be creative with your problem solving while guiding you to the next story beat that always managed to tug on the heartstrings.

SteamWorld Build came quite late in the year, but its city building was so engrossing and enjoyable. Moving between the surface and the mines gave you a constant source of something to do, where managing your settlement was just as fun as unlocking new and exciting roles and buildings. It helped that it was so pretty to look at, with a story that hit more than I ever thought it would.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name was a fitting end to Kiryu’s story within the action-RPG genre. While the gameplay felt wholly similar to previous entries, it was the story that stood head and shoulders above the rest. Feeling like a greatest hits of his past accomplishments, it also had plenty of emotional beats, namely the moment where he breaks down towards the end.

GOTY 2023 10. Super Mario Bros. Wonder


There’s not a better word to describe Nintendo’s latest take on the 2D Mario model than wonder, and it’s an easy entry into my GOTY 2023 list. Filled with such vibrancy, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is such a joy to play. The level design is excellent, and the new mechanics you can switch between throughout do just enough to keep things fresh. What makes it so good is the mid-level switch-ups that occur, adding wonderful sections that add plenty of excitement and, quite frankly, wonder. Mario has always managed to lift my mood and fill my head with happiness, and this one does it in abundance.

9. Dead Space


I remember hearing all about the features coming to this from the ground up remake. Procedurally placed enemies, a continuous camera following Isaac from start to finish, and animations where you can see your bullets and blades slice of the flesh of the Necromorphs with complete precision. When I finally got my hands on Dead Space, EA didn’t break a single promise. The survival horror elements were everything I wanted. The sound design was impeccable, constantly leaving you in a state of fear and nervousness. As for the visuals, it was on another level. Dead Space was designed with such intricacy and care, that it is so much more than just a faithful remake.

8. Mortal Kombat 1

As far as fighters go, Mortal Kombat 1 is as good as it gets, and it isn’t the only fighter that came out in 2023. The fluidity of movement and the nuance in each moveset led to some of the most intense fights I’ve ever had with the franchise. What surprised me most was how good the story was. While it plays out in almost a four to five hour movie, I was gripped from start to finish, with plenty of fan service and humour, it also gave us some emotional beats and downright explosive action. It might not have had as much content as Street Fighter 6, but its roster was exceptional, and I loved every second I had with it.

GOTY 2023: 7. Final Fantasy XVI


It didn’t take long for Final Fantasy XVI to pull me in and keep me hooked until the end. The characters were well written and the story was packed with all the heart and excitement the series is known for. Clearly inspired by Game of Thrones, FFXVI was grittier than other titles we’ve seen in the past, but it always hit. Clive was a great protagonist, and his friends provided a strong supporting cast. I adored the smooth combat, which always improved as you unlocked more Eikons, and the visuals were phenomenal, offering up some of the most impressive set pieces gaming has ever witnessed before. There was no way this wasn’t making my GOTY 2023 list.

6. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor


There are two games on this list where combat and traversal made me want to do spend every waking minute exploring and fighting whatever lay in front of me. One was Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and the other was Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Cal Kestis is such a likeable protagonist, and is a great indication of how the Jedi has evolved over the years. Always restricted from showing emotion and adopting such a holier than thou attitude, Cal’s heart and compassion made him such a strong character and an even better Jedi. The escape in the desert, the great betrayal, and all the High Republic stuff were only a few of the things I loved about it, but using your lightsaber and getting around the galaxy was a great feeling.

GOTY 2023 5. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2


Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 featured one of the best Spider-Man stories I’ve ever seen. It had the right amount of heart with the right amount of threat, featuring two of the webslinger’s greatest enemies. Kraven was such a dominating force that you couldn’t imagine the turn it took when Venom finally showed up. Harry and Peter’s story was moving and pure, which made the twists its story took hit harder. What it did best was give you a living and breathing world to swing around in, with a robust moveset for both Miles and Peter, making combat addictive. I’m excited to see where we go from here, as Miles is by far the best candidate to take this franchise into the future, but for now, this was a masterclass in open world action.

GOTY 2023: 4. Resident Evil 4 Remake


We all knew this was going to be good, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how good it felt to play. There are times when you’re overwhelmed by enemies, but I never felt unprepared, as there’s such a range of weaponry and always a healthy supply of bullets. I felt the same sense of wonder as when I played it originally on the GameCube, except now, everything has been improved and added to to make those memorable moments feel new. The big boss fights, the puzzles, the tense chases, and the cutscenes all managed to leave a massive impression on me, proving once again that Resident Evil is the best horror franchise of all time, and Leon is one of the coolest characters Capcom has ever created.

3. Hogwarts Legacy


Hogwarts Legacy was such a joyous experience. Trying to make combat work with a wand and not your fists was always going to be interesting, but Avalanche nailed it. Multiple spells at your disposal on the fly, some remarkable puzzles littered throughout the world, and a story that stands on its own all helped to make this one of my favourites of the year. Exploring Hogwarts never got dull, but when you throw in such a big and bold open world, Legacy was filled with tons to do. It feels like a lifetime ago that this came out, but I’ll never forget the first time I walked into the Room of Requirement, or hopped on my broom for the first time. With tons of secrets, well-written characters, and stunning visuals, Hogwarts Legacy is easily one of the best games I’ve played this year.

2. Alan Wake 2

Podcast 537: Alan Wake 2, Jusant, WarioWare: Move It!

I’ve been waiting for a sequel to Alan Wake for a long time, and more often than not, getting what you wanted can be disappointing. Thankfully, Alan Wake 2 was excellent. Not only did it surpass the original, it was able to leave such an impact on me long after playing that even now, I miss exploring the Dark Place. It featured the best visuals and audio of the year, giving us one of the greatest video game moments of all time courtesy of the Old Gods of Asgard. The acting was on another level, and the story was able to push the boundaries with its immersion and creativity, never getting boring or nonsensical. We are so lucky to see how Alan’s story ended, and I’m so grateful to Sam Lake and Remedy for putting so much love and attention into such a wonderful game, making it worth of the second spot on my GOTY 2023 list.

GOTY 2023: 1. Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 Deluxe Edition news

I’ll never forget the time I spent with Baldur’s Gate 3. It gave me so many special moments that all felt personal to me, with every choice I made weighing heavily on my conscience. Failing to save Halsin and parting ways with Shadowheart in such a bitter way were the catalyst to me slipping further into the darkness, and I never thought I’d recover. However, the more I spent time with my party, the more I understood what my larger role in the world was. I started to see the bigger picture and what was really important. My friends saved my life in Baldur’s Gate 3. Karlach and her pure love for living; Astarion and his constant sass, Lae’zel and her saltiness, Gale and his awkwardness. These were the people that helped me to get over my failings, and eventually helped me to save the people of Faerun.

As personal as my story felt, it was also an amazing game to play. Combat felt so important and intense, where battles needed to be planned to perfection. Strategy played a role in every second of each fight, where every decision was as important as the last. The environments were stunning, with so much to see and do, and tons of characters to talk to. There wasn’t a single thing about Baldur’s Gate 3 I didn’t like, and even after spending over 100 hours with one character, I’ve got at least another three playthroughs on the go. This game is so special to me, and when those credits rolled, I was instantly heartbroken knowing I’d never have an experience like it any time soon. Thank you, Larian Studios.

Just before I go, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads my words on this website. I’ll never take for granted your support, and whether you agree with me or not, one think we can all appreciate is the importance of video games. Here’s to 2024 and another 12 months of amazing releases that’ll rival my GOTY 2023 list.