GOTY 2023: Mick Fraser

by on December 29, 2023

2023 has been a hell of a year for games. So much so that my personal top ten has shifted and changed multiple times per month. It’s been a year of dizzying heights, and a few undeniable lows (which I won’t list here – you can check out our GOTY 2023 podcasts for that), that has culminated for me in a list of few surprises. While there are many incredible games conspicuous by their absence, the truth is that the games I’ve listed are the ones that have captured my imagination and attention the most, regardless of their comparative objective quality.

That being said, I could have listed another ten games below, or fifteen, and I still wouldn’t have touched on all the absolutely fantastic releases we’ve seen this year. But I’ve gone on long enough. Read on for my personal top ten games of 2023, with a few honourable mentions to kick us off.

GOTY 2023 Honourable Mentions

Goty 2023

Dave the Diver is a game I would have likely ignored were it not for a few of the God is a Geek team urging me to give it a whirl. What begins as a simple enough fishing and restaurant sim soon evolves into an adventure deeper than the Marianas Trench, where the mechanics just don’t stop coming. If you didn’t play this one in 2023, get it on your list to try in 2024.

Super Mario Bros Wonder is, quite frankly, wonderful. It’s an obvious joke, I know, but it’s a fantastic anathema to the bombast and explosions I usually shoot for. No one ever really expects 2D Mario to evolve, because arguably it doesn’t need to, but Wonder is packed with new ideas to make you feel all fluffy inside.

Lords of the Fallen has its flaws, and no one acknowledged those flaws as honestly and openly as its developer. The number of patches and updates this game had during the launch window highlighted a lack of confidence that shouldn’t have existed, because even during the review phase I had a great time with Lords of the Fallen.

The Last Faith has been described as “2D Bloodborne” but it’s really not that at all. It’s closer to the legendary Castlevania series in what it sets out to do, and how it presents its macabre, gothic world. The atmosphere of The Last Faith is undeniably cool, the gameplay slick and just challenging enough, and the enemy design is exceptionally good. A genuine gem that many missed in 2023.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is the best Far Cry game that never was. This is Ubisoft at the top of their game in terms of open world design, and Frontiers of Pandora utterly nails the atmosphere and look of James Cameron’s cinematic universe. Huge in scale and stunning to look at, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was a late-comer, but a worthy one.

10. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor


I loved Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and was chomping at the bit to return to this particular pocket of Star Wars canon. The overall brand has fallen out of favour in my eyes over the last decade, but I love what Respawn have done with the license, carving out their own slab of the universe to tell an original story that slots in and out of the franchise as needed. More than that, though, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is simply a very good game, delivering exceptional combat and exploration with exciting cinematic storytelling throughout.

GOTY 2023 9. Hogwarts Legacy


As a huge fan of the Harry Potter movies, I was absolutely ready to visit the titular school and make my name as a Wizard of repute. I wasn’t ready for such a consistently authentic Hogwarts experience. It’s a game designed for the fans, allowing us to become immersed in our own story, and meet characters we watched on the screen for years. It helps that Hogwarts Legacy also a great game, filled with mysteries, secrets, humour and action.

8. Diablo IV


Diablo IV has moved up and down this list almost constantly since its release, but every time I moved it off I moved it straight back on again. It may suffer from some utterly ridiculous and blatantly anti-player decisions, such as the always-online requirement, but it’s still a game I’ve come back to time and again, on multiple platforms. A great story, cool characters, and a truly addictive gameplay loop have kept me hooked for months, and I don’t see it winding down any time soon.

7. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2


Perhaps the most obvious game on this list, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 continues the series legacy of delivering thrilling, big-budget Spidey experiences. The new villains are excellent, and there are moments here where Insomniac pull no punches in the narrative. It has a little sag around the midsection but, hey, so do I. It’s still one of the most enjoyable games I’ve had the pleasure of playing in 2023.

GOTY 2023 6. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew


The announcement of MiMiMi’s closure shortly after this stealth tactics masterpiece was released shocked me to my core. It’s more an indictment of the industry than of the developer that a game of this undeniable high quality could be considered a failure. MiMiMi helped refine and define this genre with games like Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Desperados 3, and Shadow Gambit is a culmination of all their exceptional design experience. It does things with the genre that no other game has done before, and bristles with charm and humour at the same time. Truly superb.

5. Baldur’s Gate 3

GOTY 2023

Without hyperbole, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the biggest game I’ve ever seen to maintain such a ridiculously consistent level of quality. A script of almost 2 million words helped bring to life some of the most lovable, endearing, and above all, interesting characters of the last few years, let alone 2023. The sheer amount of player choice is staggering, and people are still discovering hidden secrets now. It’s big, beautiful, and often deeply moving, and doesn’t require a PhD in DnD to get into it.

4. Alan Wake 2

GOTY 2023: Mick Fraser

I waited a long, long time for this one. Well, we all did, I guess. 13 years in the making, Alan Wake 2 had some incredible boots to fill. And not just in terms of the first game, either. Remedy’s universe has been growing for some time – even pre-dating the first Alan Wake – and Sam Lake had a lot of work to do in tying all the elements and Easter eggs together. Frankly, he pulled it off, too. Sometimes deliberately obtuse, sometimes incredibly unsettling, but always thrilling and deeply intriguing, Alan Wake 2 manages to scare without gratuitous gore, amuse without deliberate comedy, and move us without blatantly going for the heartstrings. An exceptional videogame.

GOTY 2023 3. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty


Although this wasn’t technically a new release, Phantom Liberty adds so much to Cyberpunk 2077 that it feels like a new game in places. Not only that, but it tells a genuinely captivating espionage story with some fantastic characters, not least Idris Elba’s enigmatic special agent Solomon Reed. His performance is nothing short of spectacular, and the characters brings another dimension to CD Projekt RED’s grimy, neon-drenched hellscape. Its clever integration into the main story, including its side-quests, characters, and multiple endings, also breathes new life into the base game. Take note: this is how you do story DLC.

2. Lies of P


I’ll admit that even I got swept up in the Bloodborne comparisons when Lies of P released, but they’re kind of undeniable. It goes deeper than the health regain mechanic, or the fast, aggressive combat, though. It’s more about the steampunk atmosphere of Krat, the way the protagonist moves, and how the various elements of character progression combine to allow for unique, personal playstyles despite their outward similarities. It’s also bloody hard, with some of the toughest bosses I’ve ever faced in a Soulslike game. But in between the bosses, the world begs to be explored, disgorging secrets and puzzles for anyone brave enough to look for them.

1. Remnant 2


If any singular theme runs through my top ten, it’s that each of the games on it – even in the honourable mentions – is a game designed to be explored. Not simply played from start to finish, but to be plundered for the secrets they hide, the alternate paths, the hidden depths, the replayability that comes from deep, layered game design. And no game more perfectly encapsulated that in 2023 than Remnant 2, Gunfire Games’ exceptional, staggeringly playable sequel.

This is a game built for the gamer, packing secret upon secret into every one of its procedurally generated biomes. And it’s all set in a rich universe filled with beautiful locations, interesting NPCs, engaging lore, and smooth, effortlessly thrilling gameplay. And that doesn’t even touch on the Archetype system, which produces what feels like endless combinations of skills, abilities, and gear to create a unique, robust build economy. Without a doubt, Remnant 2 has captivated me more than anything else this year, and has absolutely earned its place as my 2023 Game of the Year.