A Year of Gaming Triumphs: The Top 8 Video Games of 2023 (Thus Far)

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HiFi Rush

If we were to identify a common thread among our favorite video games released so far in 2023, it would revolve around two conflicting concepts. Firstly, there is a sense of refinement. Despite the unrelenting wave of video game remakes, we can find comfort in the fact that developers are progressively improving this art form. Two outstanding games from recent months have been remakes of beloved classics that skillfully maintain their original charm while introducing fresh elements. These titles succeed in justifying their existence for both old and new audiences.

Simultaneously, a surge of uninhibited creativity emerges from unexpected corners of the industry, pushing the boundaries of game development. This year, Nintendo, for instance, released one of its most audacious and imaginative titles to date. Other developers have also harnessed the power of their players’ minds, challenging conventional norms and driving the medium towards new creative heights.

Therefore, in the spirit of refined creativity, we present the twelve best games from the first half of 2023, selected in alphabetical order by the Spot.Monster team.

Dead Space

We were impressed by Dead Space as it exemplified the perfect type of video game remake. Many remakes often feel like hollow attempts to capitalize on past success, simply aiming to extract more profits. However, Dead Space was an underrated horror game that didn’t fully realize its potential until its superior sequel. This remake incorporates the enhanced elements from the subsequent installment into the original game, addressing initial flaws and introducing enjoyable canonical nuances for players who fondly recall its late-game twist. It successfully revitalizes the experience while staying true to the essence of the original.

Diablo IV

Diablo IV

We were thoroughly impressed with Diablo IV because it demonstrates true intelligence in its design. It may seem contradictory to have a “smart Diablo” considering the franchise’s longstanding focus on mindlessly decimating hordes of demons. However, the latest installment defies this convention by encouraging players to strategize and carefully consider their approaches, particularly when it comes to character classes, each of which boasts intriguing quirks that prevent monotony from setting in. Alongside the series’ trademark seamless gameplay, Diablo IV also delivers unexpected plot twists, immersing players in the eternal struggle between good and evil. It successfully blends strategic depth with the beloved elements that have defined the franchise.

Hi-Fi Rush

We were captivated by Hi-Fi Rush because it provided a seamless transition from our Guitar Hero experience to a game centered around annihilating malevolent robots. This action-packed game entices players to synchronize their actions with an ever-present beat that permeates every level, enemy encounter, and collectible item. Remarkably, the game’s pace ensures that whenever players successfully keep up with the rhythm, they experience an exhilarating sense of accomplishment. Notably, the game’s premise also inspired brilliant design choices, such as the protagonist snapping their fingers in tune with the beat, or background billboards pulsating rhythmically to aid players in maintaining synchronization. Hi-Fi Rush flawlessly combines the thrill of rhythmic gameplay with innovative design elements, resulting in an immersive and rewarding experience.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

We were enthralled by Midnight Suns because it evoked the sensation of a highly anticipated sequel to a nonexistent game. It felt as though there had been a strategy game on PlayStation decades ago, featuring Marvel heroes, where players could enhance the abilities of beloved yet somewhat lesser-known characters like Nico Minoru while forging social connections with them in between battles. Midnight Suns, then, appears to be the refined culmination of those initial ideas, introducing even more renowned heroes such as Spider-Man and Captain America. It defies conventional expectations, leaving us wondering about the surprising brilliance that unfolds within this game. Marvel stands as the preeminent brand in the world, yet here we have one of the most exceptional Marvel games in recent years centered around magic and battling demons. Midnight Suns proves that innovation knows no bounds, delivering an awe-inspiring gaming experience.

Meet Your Maker

We were impressed by Meet Your Maker due to its unapologetic embrace of the merciless creativity found in online communities. Behaviour Interactive’s trap-filled extravaganza draws inspiration from the best aspects of Mario Maker, enticing unsuspecting victims into a nightmarish realm of player-generated malevolence. The game empowers players with a wide array of tools to amplify the blend of pleasure and pain to its fullest extent. Through clever system designs that encourage a heart-pounding combination of cautiousness and reckless sprinting, Meet Your Maker has the ability to infiltrate your thoughts even when you’re not actively playing, daring you to ponder the possibilities. Can I place spikes there? (The answer is probably yes.)

Omega Strikers

Omega Strikers

We were captivated by Omega Strikers because beneath its anime aesthetics lies a ruthlessly competitive multiplayer game. Developed by Odyssey Interactive, Omega Strikers adopts a top-down perspective and features compact arenas, transforming the world of sports into a soccer-like experience infused with superpowers. Applying the class-based shooter approach to the genre, the game offers fast-paced action and a plethora of anime-inspired elements. However, at its core, Omega Strikers conceals a brutal and immersive online sports game. Nothing compares to the exhilarating feeling of utilizing your character’s unique powers to execute a last-second save or forcefully incapacitate the goalkeeper, setting up your teammates for a game-winning score. While players may initially need to navigate through the anime trappings, they will discover a compelling and deep multiplayer sports experience that will keep them engaged for hours on end.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Star Wars Jedi Survivor

We were absolutely thrilled by Star Wars Jedi: Survivor because it truly immersed us in the role of a Jedi. Unlike Respawn Entertainment’s previous Star Wars game, Fallen Order, the balance between exploration and combat in Survivor feels more even-handed. This allows the protagonist, Cal Kestis (portrayed by Cameron Monaghan), to freely traverse the game world and engage in awe-inspiring Jedi activities. While there is an abundance of enemies to vanquish with stunning lightsaber flourishes, there are also numerous structures to climb, jump from, and gracefully air dash to, all without a specific objective in mind. These actions enable players to experience the sheer joy of Cal’s gravity-defying flips, living vicariously through his incredible abilities.

Additionally, the introduction of new lightsaber stances enhances the game’s combat mechanics. This feature provides players with greater flexibility to customize their playstyle, ensuring that the gameplay feels tailored to their preferences. The escapist fantasy that Star Wars embodies has always been grounded in the idea that anyone can become a Jedi, and Survivor amplifies this experience. With its virtually limitless customization options, the game effortlessly allows players to envision themselves as heroic lightsaber-wielding champions in a distant and extraordinary galaxy.

The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

The Legend Of Zelda Tears Of The Kingdom

We were utterly enamored with Tears of the Kingdom because every aspect of the game is a true masterpiece. It seamlessly incorporates elements inspired by Breath of the Wild, such as the remarkable art direction and the weapon durability system that encourages a focus on enjoyment rather than strategic planning. These aspects retain their perfection in Tears of the Kingdom. However, the game goes above and beyond by introducing the astonishingly versatile Ultrahand mechanic, allowing players to construct tools and vehicles. It also presents thrilling new sky and underground areas, a world brimming with personality that subtly reacts to your playstyle, and a narrative that initially adheres to the classic Zelda formula but then takes unexpected turns. Nintendo has elevated their game to an entirely different level with Tears of the Kingdom, demonstrating their unparalleled creativity and innovation.

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