Game of the Year 2023 - Runners-Up

Most of the time, there’s multiple games that resonate with people throughout the year. This one felt especially bountiful, with fantastic titles across all genres and studio sizes. It’s often challenging to define that one title that is simply ‘the best’. Even after we make that determination, there’s always some other game that was just inches away from that lofty perch, and we want to make certain they get their due as well.


Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

The first Spider-Man when it released on PS4 was my favorite game from that year. The Miles Morales follow-up doubled down on so much of what I liked from the prior game and Spider-Man 2 really just continued that trend of focusing on what works best in these games while looking to improve on the weaker aspects. Traveling throughout the city is fast and fun, and being the wab-slinger makes open world exploration so much more fun than what most games can provide. Toss in a fun story and some truly awesome moments and this was a fantastic game.


Baldur's Gate 3

So, you may be wondering why Baldur’s Gate 3, which swept several awards this year, is a runner up. That’s a valid question. But, I gotta tell you, I had a hard time choosing. In my mind it’s still up there with GOTY. Though, you should know that Baldur’s Gate is not a game series I’ve had experience playing before (as it pertains to video games). I’m a long time TTRPG player and Baldur’s Gate is not unknown to me. As a video game, I had no idea what to expect, and let me just say that it decimated all my expectations. 

Previously, I had played other games within the D&D space and many of them didn’t hold my interest for long. Baldur’s Gate flipped that idea onto its head and impressed me with the HILARIOUS dialogue, the gameplay, and the attention to detail. I can’t let the voice acting go without mentioning that every single character that I’ve encountered has been embodied perfectly by the actors. Asterian, our one true vampire love, is absolutely on top. Karlach is quickly taking over. 

Each character feels unbelievably real in a way that I can’t describe. Regardless, everything about this game makes me smile, laugh, and cry. This game is perfect in so many ways and that isn’t something I say very often. You may still be wondering why it’s here and not at the top. Well, you see, I have an immense love of puzzle games and one in particular takes the coveted spot.


Silent Hope, GrimGrimoire Nevermore, Marl Kingdom Chronicles


So, for Runners Up I have three titles: a standalone, a localization we never got before, and a remaster. Let's start out with the lowest on the rung: the localization Marl Kingdom Chronicles. Now, this isn't the lowest in the Runners Up category because it's the worst, but rather because it's closer to a direct localization of two titles we never saw here in the west. Both great titles now available to you, but that's about it. The remaster is up next and we have GrimGrimoire Nevermore. An absolute masterpiece of a tower defense sort of game with a lot more depth added, enhanced settings, bonus content, and still keeping the best evil laugh I've ever heard in a video game before. Last up, and the title I'd rate highest in the Runners Up category, we have Silent Hope. This is an amazing dungeon crawler rogue-ish type game that's both easily accessible for newbies and with a lot of available content for more veteran players. With potential hours of fun, seven very distinct characters with their own unique playstyles, and an interesting take on base improvement and gear crafting, Silent Hope was a title I could hardly put down.


Spider-Man 2 / Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Running into some heavy hitters, both Spider-Man 2 and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty were great. Spider-Man was everything a sequel should have been to it's predecessor. More refined gameplay and different scenarios in the same open world that we've already been in twice. We'll mostly twice since Miles' adventure was a trimmed down New York City.

And then there's Wo Long. This Soulslike was gold. Fast paced and super responsive, the level based spiritual sequel to Nioh 2 was epic. The more recent Lies of P was great, but it couldn't compare to Wo Long and how far Team Ninja have come.



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