Wow! What a year, huh? 2023 has been one of the best years for gaming we’ve ever seen, with banger after banger release filling our Steam libraries and our spare time in equal measure.
Picking just five has been a contentious topic around the office; everyone’s got an opinion, and too many people have NERF guns to back them up. But, after only a few foam dart-related injuries, our winners stand at the top.
So, without any further ado, and in no particular order, I present to you Pentanet’s top 5 games of 2023.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Chosen by: Brendan
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a story-rich exploration into everything D&D can do, converted into one of the most beautiful games in recent memory. There’s always more to uncover, more ways to play, and more delightful conversations to have with your incredibly loveable band of misfits on your way to save the world.
It’s easy to lose hours, days, or even weeks disappearing into the Forgotten Realms, and living out your adventurer fantasies alongside your choice from among the Baldur’s Gate 3 rogues gallery (Karlach… 🥰).
Final Fantasy XVI
Chosen by: Christian
Final Fantasy XVI takes cinematic storytelling to the next level with some of the most colossal action scenes ever, all rendered at eye-watering fidelity and backed by an incredible soundtrack.
The stylish-action combat is a further departure from the series' turn-based tradition than ever before, but battle director Ryota Suzuki (Devil May Cry 5, Dragon's Dogma) succeeds in making the moment-to-moment gameplay immensely satisfying.
Another series departure is the lack of a true 'party', opting instead to focus on putting you squarely in the shoes of the game's protagonist, Clive Rosfield. That doesn't mean Final Fantasy XVI is devoid of character, far from it, with nearly every member of the memorable supporting cast oozing charisma.
It's not perfect, with many of the MMO-style side quests being a slog to get through and some half-basked RPG systems, but overall, Final Fantasy XVI takes top spot as Christian’s game of the year for the pure joy and exhilaration it delivered.
Armored Core 6
Chosen by: Andrew
That’s me! I’m also the mysterious “Motley” over on CloudGG, so now you know who’s always raving about new releases over there, and boy howdy do I have plenty to rave about here. Armored Core 6 is a revival of a beloved mech series about mercenaries working for evil megacorps that first began on the PS1 and hasn’t seen a new release since the days of the PS3 in 2013.
But it’s back, baby! Armored Core is a truly beautiful mix of mech construction and frenetic, high-speed action as you deploy your core to the field and take on desperate missions against entire armies, where one lucky missile could end it all. You’ll be spending as much time in the garage fine-tuning your mech and picking the right parts (whether for aesthetics or performance) as you do out in the field, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s hard as hell, like all From Software titles, and just like the rest, incredibly rewarding. I’ve beaten the game over fifteen times now and have taken to speed running it on Twitch because I simply cannot put it down. If that’s not GOTY material, I don’t know what is.
Chosen by: Kimberly
Hogwarts Legacy finally gives us muggles the student experience we always wanted at Hogwarts and allows us to completely immerse ourselves in the wizarding world. The storyline allows us to wander around Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and surrounding areas, attend a variety of classes and engage with fellow students. Special details that were missed from the movies are included in the game; for example, we often see Peeves floating about and getting up to mischief.
Key experiences also include flying a hippogriff, much like Harry Potter did in The Prisoner of Azkaban, and visiting Honeydukes and Zonko’s Joke Shop in Hogsmeade. There are also plenty of HP-related easter eggs scattered throughout the game that add a nice touch, such as a side quest that involves using your basic cast to hit a series of bells in the correct order, which plays a song from the HP soundtrack.
The world itself is stunning and very detailed, and you get to explore every inch through gameplay, either from collecting field guide pages or completing side quests. You can easily spend 100+ hours living your best magical life in the Hogwarts Legacy world.
Chosen by: Josh
The viral smash hit that’s topped the Steam sales charts out of nowhere, Lethal Company is an extraction game focused on gathering loot and evading the truly horrifying monsters out to gather you. It’s unpredictable fun that anyone can enjoy and has been turning friend groups everywhere into squealing, screaming messes all around the world for a very affordable price.
Josh names it his game of the year because of how it brings out everyone’s character and funny side, turning every Joe Blogs gamer into a certified horror movie actor. If you’ve got a bunch of friends together and are looking for a bit of a nightmare before Christmas, this one gets our vote.
Those are our games of the year, running the full gamut from action to RPG to horror madhouse. If you’re looking for a stocking filler for the gamer in your life, you certainly couldn’t go wrong with any of them!
Alternatively, if they’ve been bemoaning the price of the PC parts, then a GeForce NOW Powered by CloudGG membership could be the perfect gift from Santa’s little helper (that’s you) this year! GeForce NOW turns any device into the high-powered gaming PC of your dreams, streaming major titles such as Baldur’s Gate 3 straight from the cloud.