Cubed3's Top Games of 2023

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 11.01.2024

As we get underway in 2024 it's time to reflect on 2023 and the great games it brought with it. This list is in no way an exhaustive list of 2023 hits but it covers the ones that were pertinent to Cubed3 staff. Last year was an amazing time for gaming with abundant sequels, remasters, remakes and a ton of new titles, both triple-A and Indie. This list represents the favourites of Cubed3 staff in no particular order!

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
It's always an event when a new Zelda title hits store shelves and 2023's The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was a sign that that long legacy is still going strong. This title is lauded for its huge world and innovative design, iterating on the formula from Breath of the Wild from 2017.


 

In our review Jorge said "it goes beyond a simple reskin and introduces a cohesive, unique take at a post-story world from a previous entry. Blend in two huge new landmasses to unpack, reworked villages/locations and a mysterious story to stitch it all together for one epic return to Hyrule." and awarded the game a much sought 10/10. ~ Read the full review

Pikmin 4
Pikmin is the brainchild of Miyamoto, the father of both Mario and Zelda! It takes an interesting and charming approach to real time strategy and, in this latest entry, proved to everyone not just that the formula still has legs to stand on but also that the Switch is capable of some truly beautiful graphics.


 

In our review Mike said "although Oatchi may be hogging the limelight on the game box, there is much more in this package contributing to a fuller experience overall, and certainly it is the most packed Pikmin title to date." and awarded the game a shiny 9/10 ~ Read the full review

Super Mario Bros. Wonder
It was surprising to suddenly be presented not just with a new traditional 2D Mario title but an extremely polished and exciting one. Super Mario Bros. Wonder refreshed the direction that New Super Mario Bros had been travelling by tightening up controls and introducing an incredible amount of tweaks and mechanics that keep players coming back, and provide the whole family, including the young ones, with hours of fun. Wowee-Zowee!


 

In our review, Az said, "Not since the days of the SNES has 2D Mario felt this original and fun, with the bizarre hallucination-like gameplay elements contributing to both the joy and hilarity all at once, coupled with brilliant character animations and a multitude of ideas that makes every level unique",  awarding the game a fantastic 8/10 ~ Read the full review

Resident Evil 4 (Remake)
Resident Evil 4 is one of the best action titles ever. Since 2004 when it was released it has been the topic of many videos and the gold standard for certain game design elements. Then, in 2023, Capcom took that stellar title and completely re-approached it, with new everything and a tweaked story that ends up being a completely excellent retake of the title and in fact, a totally different experience to play. When coupled with its DLC Separate Ways and the VR Mode, it elevates even further, having adapted all of the key beats of the original game from a new perspective.


 

In our review Neil said "Ultimately, this is still Resident Evil 4, and there is a lot to be enjoyed, such as being able to revisit the plot and its set pieces, which are crazier and more awesome than before." and awarded the game a very good 7/10 ~ Read the full review

Staff comments - RE4 Remake
Sandy says "If ever there was a final boss of Resident Evil remakes, this is it. It smoothly adapts and expands on its source material while capturing and condensing the essence of that source. As a complete package there is so much content in this remake, players can easily sink the whole of 2024 into the title and still have a blast."

Lilly says "It may be weird to call this type of game 'charming', and yet, in a way, it is. Full of sass, little jokes, intrigue and tension, there is just something about it that makes you want to keep coming back."

Alan Wake 2
Remedy Entertainment is a stunning company; always producing works of art, even if not all of them hit their mark. Alan Wake, Control and now Alan Wake 2 present an artistic flair and sense of fun, crazy, yet deliberate and interesting, story telling. In weaving these stories together this sequel goes absolutely off the rails with amazing visual design, a musical chapter, bizarre overlaps with Control and its phenomenon etc…


 

While Cubed3 didn't review this title, it has received universal praise from staff who have played it.

Staff comments - Alan Wake 2
Sandy says "For the entire playtime of this game I was enraptured by its use of visual storytelling, extremely Finnish America and just the absolute love that pours out of every corner. It's clear Remedy knew exactly what they wanted to make and had a blast making it. Absolutely sublime!"

Lilly says "What a performance, in more ways than one! The acting, singing, voice-acting, writing… It is ridiculous how much I enjoy listening to 'Herald of Darkness'!"

Hi-Fi Rush
From The Evil Within series with its gory horror, to a comic / manga styled action rhythm title, Tango Gameworks seems to be diversifying with tremendous effect. This game showcases a developer who can really innovate in the rhythm space while creating an action fighting system to challenge Devil May Cry. The characters, music and art all bleed style and pop out of the screen.


 

While Cubed3 didn't review this title it has received universal praise from staff who have played it.

Staff comments - Hi-Fi Rush
Mike says "Shadow dropped early in the year to very little fanfare tango gameworks have created a fun and memorable game experience that's stayed with me throughout the year. It's an absolute romp full of great characters, wonderful set-pieces and of course, Zwan. In a time where things are getting more and more bloated, Hi-fi Rush doesn't overstay its welcome either and reminds us first and foremost that games are, and can be, fun."

Spider-Man 2
The first SpiderMan by Insomniac games was widely praised for its take on the SpiderMan franchise. With slick action and cinematic presentation it was always going to be hard to follow up. Yet, Insomniac came in throwing their updated gameplay, engine and general fantastic technical design all around. Not only was the game bigger, it was also better!


 

While Cubed3 didn't review this title, it has received universal praise from staff who have played it.

Hogwarts Legacy
Licensed games have had quite the renaissance in 2023 and to understand that, readers need look no further than the long awaited Hogwarts Legacy. Featuring arguably the best ever Hogwarts castle to explore, alongside a sizable and interesting slice of Scotland, including the village of Hogsmead, this world is a dream for fans of the original franchise. This game has scratched an itch for many a Cubed3 reviewer!


 

In our review Lilly said "The magic is alive, and it is finally time to explore Hogwarts castle. Adding in a great battle system, interesting story and characters, and a magical masterpiece is born." and awarded the game an exceptional 9/10 ~ Read the full review

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor
Take arguably one of the best Star Wars franchise games and make it bigger: this seems to be the idea behind Jedi Survivor, it expands on every aspect of Jedi Fallen Order from visuals to gameplay systems and ends up presenting an amazing journey for players wishing to continue the story of Cal Kestis.


 

In our review Justin said "Highly addictive and impressively expansive, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is exactly what a sequel should be: bigger, better and more ambitious." and awarded the game an amazing 8/10 ~ Read the full review

Final Fantasy XVI
A darker, more high fantasy take on Final Fantasy from the director of FFXIV, Final Fantasy XVI is an amazing experience. Join Clive and his friends as they take on the Empire and challenge the laws of the world in a bid to stop the end of the world. This darker, bloodier and more grown up take on Final Fantasy norms has engaged many gamers since release.


 

In our review Sandy said "The cinematic flair, crazy action combat and extremely involved story with a nice side dish of world building make this a game worth playing"  and awarded the game a shiny 8/10 ~ Read the full review

Honourable Mentions
Obviously a full year has so many game releases, it was hard to pick a short list. Therefore, this section is dedicated to other amazing games that were highlighted by the staff.

Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3 by Larian Studios does an impressive job at capturing the feeling of playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign on console and PC. It looks and plays greatly with a strong and well calculated combat and dialogue system that uses actual dice rolls to determine the outcomes. As an added bonus the console ports have a great local Co-op mode!


 

Horizon: Call of the Mountain
Horizon: Call of the Mountain by Guerrilla and Firesprite Games is PSVR2's killer app at the moment. Take the world of the Horizon series and present it as a mission based game that has players physically climbing and fighting with their bow. It looks fantastic and feels immersive when playing. Just be aware that it takes quite a lot of physical effort!


 

Metroid Prime Remastered
Here, the original Metroid Prime was completely overhauled in every aspect. Blurring the line of Remaster and Remake, this new version of the game boasts gameplay tweaks and a complete graphical overhaul. Clearly released to smooth the release period for Prime 4, this shows Retro Studio's efforts to create a new Metroid style and engine that works on Switch. It is a masterpiece and our Neil awarded it a 10/10! ~ Read the full review


 

Dead Space (Remake)
A remake can mean many things but what EA Motive has managed here is nothing short of staggeringly impressive. Not only does the game overhaul and reignite the Dead Space aesthetic, it also reworks one of the best Sci-Fi Horror franchise stories ever into something even better with more character and some shocking moments fans will need to play to see. Our Sandy awarded the game a 9/10 and Mike also awarded the game a 9/10. ~ Read the full PC review | Read the full PC review


 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe + Booster Course Pass
Mario Kart 8 may be, at its heart, a WiiU game but looking at it today it is almost unrecognisable as that original title. Nintendo has steadily been adding courses to the title over the last year and a bit and now that they are fully released it would be remiss to say that it isn't one of the year's best racing titles. With a staggering 96 courses and some new characters there is no better time to step into the fray. ~ Read the full review


 

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line
A beloved role-playing franchise with astonishingly good music throughout its long history of core entries and spin-offs, Final Fantasy has formed the basis for a delightful little rhythm game series with Theatrhythm. Now spanning sixteen mainline titles and a whole host of other side-games that tackle various genres and graphical styles, it isn't just Final Fantasy that encompasses Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, as many other popular Square Enix franchises, including Bravely Default and Nier, bless this Nintendo Switch game with a selection of their wonderful soundtracks. Cubed3's Az awarded it 8/10 in his review, highlighting the fun RPG-lite mechanic and making the argument that all Final Fantasy fans have a reason to invest in this one.


 

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