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Liv’s Top 3 Games of the Year

Join Liv as she shares her personal choices for the Top 3 Games of the Year!

2023 was a great year for video games as there were a variety of games for every genre. It would be impossible for someone to say, “No games came out in 2023”. All across the board, Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox released first party games that gamers enjoyed. Each of them released a huge title that was exclusive to their platform. Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom at the beginning of the year and more recently released Super Mario Bros. Wonder which was also well received. PlayStation released Final Fantasy XVI as well as Spider-Man 2 with the latter being considered a Game of the Year title. Xbox launched a new IP with Starfield which captivated many gamer’s interest in early September. With all of these companies producing high quality games, it’s time to discuss my Games of the Year!


3rd Place

Game: Stray Gods Developer: Summerfall Studio Hours Played: 13 hours


What do you do when you suddenly gain the powers of a Greek Goddess, but are also under investigation for a murder? Sing, of course! Stray Gods is a musical RPG where you play as Grace and are faced with a gargantuan task of proving your innocence. Through the power of song, you can learn more about the characters in the world and piece together the mystery of what is truly going on. Music is a huge part of this game and the dialogue choices you make influence the lyrics of the songs. Every choice you make matters and if you’re looking for romance, there are several characters you can pursue!


So far, I’ve played through the entire game twice since it’s not too long of a game. I have romanced two different characters and asked different characters to help with proving my innocence. Still, I have not seen everything this game has to offer! There are other characters to romance and songs to sing which I will be looking forward to in my next play through!


Stray Gods is ranked 3rd for me mostly because of the narrative depth of the games taking 1st and 2nd in my rankings. This is not to discredit Stray Gods in any manner. My favorite games are narrative driven with emotional depth. I want a game to make me feel something. My favorite games of all time have made me cry or proposed complex questions that compelled me to read more into the lore or the theories of the game’s universe. However, this was not the goal of Stray Gods. The game was beautiful in its own right. I encourage you to play Stray Gods especially if you like musical theater. You might find yourself singing the songs for weeks on end!


Stray Gods is truly a delight and if you’re looking for a deeper dive into a spoiler free review then check out my full game review here.



2nd Place

Game: Baldur’s Gate 3

Developer: Larian Studios

Hours Played: 120 hours


I would like to preface that I have never played a previous installment of Baldur’s Gate before Baldur’s Gate 3, so I am unable to compare it to its predecessors. However, not playing the previous games did not hinder my experience in any way, so do not let that deter you! You also do not need to be a Dungeons & Dragons savant to have fun and understand the world of Faerûn. The rules are inline with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and if you do not know the rules the game does a great job of telling you about each weapon and spell. Whether you are a Dungeons & Dragons fan or not, this game is incredible and you should play it if you haven’t!


There is so much to like about Baldur’s Gate 3 so it is almost too hard to choose where to start! The character creation is phenomenal from a physical and technical standpoint. You have a wide variety when it comes to your character’s appearance. You have a lot of flexibility with how you distribute your stat points as well as the ability to multiclass! If you want to be a barbarian that is also a rogue, there is nothing stopping you! Aside from the customization, this world is filled with life which is my main complaint in open world games. You can talk to every person and every animal all with uniquely recorded dialogue lines. Every item in the world can be interacted with and the people in the environment will react to your actions. Along the way, you are able to recruit companions for your travel which adds quests and potential romance opportunities if you so choose to engage.


This game is absolutely incredible and if you are a Dungeons & Dragons fan then this is a must play game! My Dungeons & Dragons group fell apart a few years ago and I have missed it dearly. This game has filled that void! As you can tell from my play time, there is no shortage of content in this game. You cannot experience everything in your first run either, so I encourage you to make another character and see all that Baldur’s Gate 3 has to offer!


If you’re looking for more on Baldur’s Gate 3, I’ve written a spoiler free review that you can read here.



Before I announce my Game of the Year, I wanted to take some time to discuss the games I didn’t get to play this year. 2023 was stacked with releases every month, so it was impossible to play everything! There are some games I didn’t get around to, but hopefully I will get to play them soon. Unfortunately, I was not able to play Eternights, Thirsty Suitors, and DAVE THE DIVER. I have heard positive things about both games and I cannot wait to play each of these titles in the near future! Now, let’s dive into my choice for Game of the Year.


1st Place

Game: Alan Wake II

Developer: Remedy Entertainment

Hours Played: 21 hours


Alan Wake II is significantly scarier than the previous title. There are so many jumpscares around every corner! I would classify the first Alan Wake game as an action adventure game while the sequel is a survival horror game. This is new from Remedy Entertainment which is exciting! Alan Wake II is brilliant when it comes to narrative direction.


In Alan Wake II, the player rotates between two protagonists which you can freely switch between later in the game. Saga Anderson is an FBI agent who is tasked with solving a series of murders in town. As you collect clues, the player is able to use her case board to analyze the clues and help point her in the right direction. The other playable character is Alan Wake himself as he writes the story of his escape from the Dark Place. Similar to Saga’s case board, Alan has a storyboard. As he goes deeper and deeper into the Dark Place, he can discover new story beats and place them on his storyboard. Changing the story beats alters the environment. There’s a lot of puzzles to solve in this game! As you uncover more of the story, it becomes harder and harder to put the controller down.


To maximize your experience with Alan Wake II, I would highly recommend playing Alan Wake, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, and Control. Sam Lake, Creative Director at Remedy Entertainment, says there is no “required homework” to enjoy Alan Wake II, but I personally believe you will be missing out on a lot of what the world has to offer in terms of the characters you meet and dialogue between them. If Alan Wake II is your first Remedy Entertainment game, then be sure to play their other games as they are phenomenal as well!


Post launch, Remedy Entertainment has announced 1 free DLC which will also include new game plus mode and photomode! New game plus mode is an exciting feature as it has not been previously offered in earlier Remedy titles. Additionally, there will be 2 paid DLCs to look forward to as well. If you’re eagerly awaiting more Alan Wake content, it’s on its way!


Alan Wake II was such a great experience! If you’re craving more of yourself, read my full spoiler free review here!



Deciding between Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake II for Game of the Year was a very difficult choice for me! Baldur’s Gate 3 really filled the void in my heart that I missed from playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. It is the closest a game has ever felt to that experience! I poured over 100 hours into that world and am eager to play it again. Alan Wake II was my most anticipated game in 2023. From Quantum Break, Alan Wake, and Control, I love the interwoven stories that Remedy Entertainment continues to tell. Control is one of my favorite games of all time and with the heavy crossover of Control in Alan Wake II, it’s hard not to choose it as my Game of the Year! Alan Wake II may be my favorite game in 2023, but I really believe that Baldur’s Gate 3 has a real chance of winning Game of the Year at The Game Awards in December.


Everyone’s list for Game of the Year will be different! There are some notable games that I have not played this year such as Hogwarts Legacy, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Final Fantasy XVI to name a few. These games are not particularly interesting to me, but I have heard nothing but great things about them! There are a handful of games that were released this year that I have not had the chance to play yet too! That is what made 2023 an incredible year for video games. There was a game for every person.

 

BIO: Liv writes for Podcasters United. When she's not gaming, she's watching sports! Looking for more of Liv’s video game and sports takes? Follow her over on Twitter:




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