2022 wasn’t the best year for video games. This was a sentiment that I saw throughout the gaming community, and many staffers at Kotaku agreed. Sure, many great, smaller games came, there’s no doubt about that. But if you wanted big, fun blockbusters or good AAA games, last year just didn’t provide. Even I’ll admit—as someone who mostly thought last year was solid and had some great games—that 2022 likely won’t be remembered fondly like other, more beloved years. (It was certainly no 2004 or 1998.)
But it’s even harder now, a few months into 2023, to look back at 2022 positively. If we focus on just bigger games from well-known publishers or developers, the first six months of 2023 were packed with a plethora of great, highly-rated games across Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC.
To show what I mean, here’s a list of some big games released this year alongside their Metacritic scores:
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - 95
Metroid Prime Remastered - 94
Resident Evil 4 remake - 93
Dead Space remake - 89
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - 85
Fire Emblem Engage - 80
Wild Hearts - 76
Like a Dragon: Ishin! - 81
Hi-Fi Rush - 87
Hogwarts Legacy - 87
Octopath Traveler II - 86
WWE 2K23 - 82
Company Of Heroes 3 - 80
Dead Island 2 - 76
Now, a few things to keep in mind: I don’t think Metacritic is a perfect way to judge games, but it’s a fine way to get an overall snapshot of how critics are reacting to games. Also, just because a game is listed above doesn’t mean Kotaku highly reviewed it or that everyone here liked it. A few of these games I personally didn’t care for. But that’s not relevant to my point.
Instead, I want to show just how many big games are scoring well and connecting with critics and players. Across my social media feeds I see people complaining that they have too many long, excellent games to play. I’ve also seen many people comparing the current bounty to last year and agreeing that, yeah, this year has been much better.
And even more great games are likely on the way
Bad news for folks looking to catch up on their 2023 backlogs: Even more great stuff is on the way, and soon. For example, Diablo IV (92 on Metacritic) has reviewed very well across various outlets ahead of its June release. Capcom’s Street Fighter 6 (93) sounds fantastic and has also been reviewed very well, too. That comes out Thursday. Oh, and System Shock just hit today, and seems to be getting good notice.
And then you have big games coming later this year that have the potential to be excellent as well, like Final Fantasy XVI, Pikmin 4, Starfield, Armored Core 6, Mortal Kombat I, Spider-Man 2, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Alan Wake II. If even just half of these games are as good as what’s been released so far (and don’t get delayed), 2023 could end up being one of those years that we’ll fondly remember for decades to come.
However, let’s not pretend that 2023 is suddenly the year game developers and publishers have overcome the pandemic. In reality, this influx of big games is a sign that the last few years have been so disrupted by covid-19 that a lot of stuff got pushed back into this year. It’s also good to remember that games are bigger and harder to make than ever before, so don’t expect all of these games to launch on time, or for this trend to continue into 2024, as the people making your games are human beings, not robots.
Still, it’s nice to have such a huge variety of epic, great-quality games to play in 2023, especially after such a quiet 2022.
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