A bittersweet year for the gaming industry, 2023 nevertheless had some of the greatest releases to come out in ages. Highly anticipated sequels, AAA wonders, countless dark horses, and even an indie darling or three made it incredibly hard to narrow down our Game of the Year choices to just five titles.
When it came to Gamers Heroes’ 2023 Game of the Year Awards, we chose titles that stuck with us well after the credits rolled. Some took us on an adventure, some put a smile on our face, but all managed to make their mark in the industry for both 2023 and the years to come.
A few things to note:
- We don’t use multiple categories here at Gamers Heroes; We don’t want to give an exclusive award for a game on multiplatform
- Or put an indie game up for GOTY that doesn’t automatically win indie GOTY, or nominate a game for an indie award that isn’t indie.
- Or announce a cut-off date and then announce nominations a week before that date.
- Or nominate someone for something they didn’t actually do.
On that note, here are Gamers Heroes’ 2023 Game of the Year winners, in no particular order…
The Wizarding World has made an impact in the worlds of literature, movies, and even candy, but there previously had yet to be a game that lived up to the legacy of The Boy Who Lived.
That is, until Avalanche Studios and WB Games performed some magic with the release of Hogwarts Legacy. Fans of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series will be absolutely chuffed to see the hallowed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and its surroundings in striking detail. Everything you’d expect is present and accounted for, from one’s house selection to classes to even trips to Hogsmeade.
However, it’s not all sunshine and butterbeer in this action RPG. Hogwarts Legacy features an original story set 100 years from the books, having players contend with the hostile goblin Ranrok, ancient secrets, and plenty of dangers. It’s a dream come true for all us muggles who dare to dream.
Hogwarts Legacy is available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
We’ll spare you the “wonder” puns and just say that Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Wonder is one of the best entries in the Super Mario Bros. series to date.
This is certainly no small feat – there are enough “New” entries in the series to make the concept feel old. However, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is just teeming with life, with a fresh new world in the form of the Flower Kingdom to explore.
As one would expect, a new title comes with new power-ups, and the chance to turn into an elephant or drill through the world changes things up a considerable deal. However, it’s the Wonder Flowers that put Super Mario Bros. Wonder ahead of other entries; every single level has an alternate reality that sets out to change platforming standards. From transformations to musicals, the creativity shines through until the day is saved – and then some with its robust post-game.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder once again proves that Mario is the king of the platforming genre. Much like his previous adventures did before, the amount of creativity and polish on display sets a new industry standard.Super Mario Bros. Wonder Review, Casey Scheld
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is available for the Nintendo Switch.
Baldur’s Gate 3
After a partial release came out back in 2020, the full release of Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 is easily the best turn-based game of 2023.
The development team has done everything in their power to make sure Baldur’s Gate 3 stands out. Every single character in this immersive epic is voice acted and motion captured, companion characters have their own narrative, and there are even 46 suubclasses to choose from.
Baldur’s Gate 3’s flexible quest system made sure our experience was truly one of a kind. When we say all choices matter, we truly mean it; we sunk more than 90 hours across its three acts and dealt with the repercussions of our actions well after they occurred. When paired with its open world, it proves that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a masterclass of design.
We’re not alone in our accolades, either; the title has also won Game of the Year from the Golden Joystick Awards and The Game Awards – no small feat!
Those who huddled around weekly Dungeons & Dragons sessions will love Baldur’s Gate 3; no Dungeon Master required.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story is incredible, the world gorgeous and immersive, voice-over and writing of the highest quality, an amazing soundtrack, everything comes together in near perfect harmony. It’s not only the best RPG of the year, it’s the RPG of a generation.Baldur’s Gate 3 Review, Blaine Smith
Baldur’s Gate 3 is available for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and GOG.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Six years after the seminal The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild set a new gold standard, Nintendo has raised the stakes once more with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
The freedom from the protagonist Link’s previous adventure is still present and accounted for; Hyrule’s got plenty of Shrines, quests, recipes, and tasks that will command your attention.
However, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom triples its world size with the inclusion of the Sky and the Depths, each containing elements like Brightroot and floating islands. There’s also Zonai devices, and new abilities like the Ultrahand and Fuse encourage creativity.
Put simply, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom once again redefines the open world genre.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available for the Nintendo Switch.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
While the Star Wars franchise has seen a bit of fatigue as of late (we’re looking at you, Book of Boba Fett), Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts do Star Wars right with the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order wowed us when it originally came out, and we were absolutely thrilled to continue Jedi Cal Kestis’ journey in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. This protagonist’s Padawan days are well behind him; this action-adventure title features new stances (including dual-wield stances), a new Force stasis ability, and deeper character customization.
Cal’s open world in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has also received a noticeable glow-up; players can explore optional areas, Jedi Meditation Chamber puzzles, and far more densely populated worlds. Rounding things out is an epic sci-fi story that pits players against the Galactic Empire once more.
This entry proves yet again that letting Respawn handle the Star Wars IP is the right call. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a Game of the Year contender in a very stacked year.Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Review, Johnny Hurricane
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is available for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
There were plenty of other releases that just barely did not make our 2023 Game of the Year Awards list. However, we did want to pay tribute to them with our “Honorable Mentions” category:
RoboCop: Rogue City
An 80s and 90s staple (we don’t talk about the 2014 movie), Teyon and Nacon make sure that RoboCop is done justice with RoboCop: Rogue City.
Setting out to protect and serve (naturally), we appreciated how it truly immersed us into its world. It’s not just the attention-to-detail – though we do appreciate the Auto 9 and Peter Weller reprising his role.
Rather, we loved how RoboCop: Rogue City got the little things down as well. From chasing down a stolen 6000 SUX to even the way RoboCop drives a police car, everything comes together to make RoboCop: Rogue City the ultimate love letter to fans of the series.
RoboCop Rogue City pays homage to its source material like no other. A faithful recreation of a beloved character and world over 30 years in the making. At its core, it’s a fantastic over-the-top 80s action shooter but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a dark, dystopian tale of man and machine more relevant today than ever.RoboCop: Rogue City Review, Blaine Smith
RoboCop: Rogue City is available for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
For the King II
We at Gamers Heroes can never get enough co-op action in our lives. IronOak Games and Curve Games have heard our pleas, releasing their co-op thriller For the King II to quench our dying thirst.
Roguelite and tabletop gameplay come together like peanut butter and chocolate, creating a delicacy that is easy to learn but hard to master. While For the King II doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but the advancement and progress of each class is absolutely stunning. It truly makes For the King II feel instantly familiar and charming, like coming back to a warm home after a cold days’ work.
However, the key standout is the inclusion of four player support. While the random events, new locations, new classes, and new weapons were all fine and dandy, bringing a fourth player along makes For the King II one of the best co-op experiences on the market today.
For The King 2 is the perfect sequel. It takes the very best components of its predecessor and uses those time-tested elements to raise the series to new heights. To put it simply, For The King 2 is one of the best strategy-based co-op experiences on the market today.For the King 2 Review, Blaine Smith
For the King II is available for the PC.
LEGO and Epic Games’ Fortnite are all about building – turns out, combining the two makes for the ultimate survival crafting adventure!
Much like the real-life blocks, building your village in LEGO Fortnite is an absolute blast. We had a fantastic time gathering elements from its world, surviving the elements, and recruiting villagers. It leads to an immersive system that’s easy to get lost in. Put simply, LEGO Fortnite features the best elements of the crafting genre.
The best part? New world building, gameplay features, and additional LEGO Style Outfits are slated for early 2024.
LEGO Fortnite is available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Is there a specific video game that stood out to you in 2023? We’re all ears – let us know in the comments.