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GOTY: Kotaku’s Top 12 Games Of 2023, Ranked


As we’ve all heard countless times throughout these last 12 months, 2023 has been a very interesting year in gaming. There were an exorbitant amount of layoffs, companies gobbling up other companies like corporate Pac-Man, and leaks galore. But despite the obvious problems within our industry that 2023 unmasked, it was a massive year when it came to the sheer quantity and quality of games on offer.

When it came time to start deliberating on Kotaku’s Game of the Year (GOTY) list, I was understandably nervous. There were so many damn games that the initial list was daunting, and the math involved to narrow everything down was a harsh reminder that I am, indeed, very bad with numbers. I double- and triple-checked it all, I sent kind-but-firm reminders to Kotaku staff to get their votes in, and after a few weeks, the list was born.

Read More: 2023 Is The Best Year For Games In A While

Is this year’s list surprising? No, not really. Blockbuster games were dropping all throughout the year, from the Resident Evil 4 Remake in March, to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor in April, Tears of the Kingdom in May, and Baldur’s Gate 3 in August. Hell, even Cyberpunk 2077 finally lived up to expectations with its Phantom Liberty expansion and massive patch. So, no, the content of this year’s list will not surprise you—though its order might, and the fact that we expanded the list to 12 rather than last year’s ten.

So, let’s check out Kotaku’s best games of 2023. I await your arguments in the comments.


12. Resident Evil 4 remake

Screenshot: Kotaku / Capcom

Part of me feels weird claiming a remake is one of the year’s best games. It’s even weirder for me as I was firmly against the idea of remaking Resident Evil 4. But the Resident Evil 4 remake is special. It’s a game worth playing, even if you have never touched a previous Resident Evil title, including the original RE4 (and all its various ports). It balances tense and challenging combat with slower moments that ratchet up the tension and let you explore its gorgeously detailed and spooky world.

Yes, some surprises aren’t that surprising if you’ve played the original game. But Capcom went the extra mile and tweaked areas, encounters, and other moments just enough that as a veteran player, I found myself frequently unsure of what was going to happen next. Most of these changes to gameplay, like making the knife more useful, feel thoughtful and deliberate, not just the result of developers trying to make something old feel new in 2023.

Before this remake, people would often ask if there was a point to remaking RE4, as it is such a fantastic game already, even 18 years after its release. It didn’t seem like a worthwhile endeavor, especially when there are other entries in the franchise that deserve some love. But after playing the remake, it’s clear that Capcom didn’t simply want to “up res” the old game and resell it (again). Instead, the studio put in the work and time and crafted a standalone horror masterpiece that will go on to be as beloved and well-regarded as the original, even surpassing it in many ways. So I guess I’m glad I was wrong about it.

Zack Zwiezen, staff writer



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