ONE37pm's Best Games of 2023, So Far

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Sony Interactive Entertainment / Larian Studios / Nintendo / ONE37pm

If you've been a part of this gaming hobby we love so much for the last couple of decades, then you have fond memories of the best years that put forth the most monumental releases. Off the top of our heads, we'll always look to 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2007 as the type of years that were jam-packed with iconic games that we still play to this very day. After taking note of the gaming release landscape that encapsulates this year in particular, we have to add 2023 to that strong lineup of years that makes us get all nostalgic about our favorite games. 2023 has been so rewarding for fans of every gaming genre imaginable - fans of fighters and RPGs were definitely blessed with all the new releases in their respective genres. Plus major franchises, such as The Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and Final Fantasy, were joined by all-new IPs that give us hope for what's to come in 2024 and beyond. So without further ado, let's take a look at ONE37pm's personal lineup of the best games of 2023!

NOTE - We'll keep updating this list until we reach the final day of 2023, so stay tuned for all the additional picks coming your way!

RELATED: ONE37pm's 20 Best Games of 2022

The Best Games of 2023 We Didn't Play, Unfortunately

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Bandai Namco Entertainment

You may be shocked by the omissions of this list of the best games of 2023 that made waves thanks to a combination of a high critical score, strong gamer reception, and plenty of goodwill across your social media timeline. We simply didn't play them, to be quite honest. Nevertheless, we still want to honor those games in the following list posted below:

Fire Emblem Engage

Like A Dragon: Ishin!

Octopath Traveler II

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

Have a Nice Death

Deceive Inc.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

Everspace 2

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Honkai: Star Rail

Age of Wonders 4

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom


The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie

Dave the Diver

Jagged Alliance 3


Pikmin 4

Remnant 2

Baldur’s Gate 3

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

Blasphemous 2

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon


Lies of P

Chants of Sennaar

Dune: Spice Wars

ONE37pm's Best Games of 2023, So Far

1. 'Dead Space'

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Electronic Arts

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC - Steam

Lemme tell you guys a statement that's been confirmed by many gamers in my line of work and even outside of it - the first Dead Space is a survival horror classic. Visceral Games managed to create a quality sci-fi take on the genre that put the fear of God into me every time I was forced to enter another unlocked part of the "USG Ishimura." I owe all the thanks in the world to Motive Studio for remaking that game and expanding it in several key gameplay areas. The graphics, lighting, and body dismemberment all look even better than before obviously. But what stuck out to me most here are the once mute Issac Clarke now getting the chance to speak in this game and the more open-ended exploration of the creepy mining ship. And thank the lord for those improved gravity missions! Dead Space stands out as one of the first gaming highlights of the year. - Elton Jones

2. ‘Hi-Fi RUSH’

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Bethesda Softworks

Available on: Xbox Series X|S, PC - Steam

When an album or game drops out of thin air and is actually good to great, my happiness meter goes off the charts! Coming from a studio more known for producing alarming horror games and paranormal first-person adventures, Hi-Fi Rush bucked that trend by focusing on an upbeat attitude, a striking art style, and an amalgamation of action & rhythm game mechanics. Tango Gameworks and my new favorite game director John Johanas made something special here - I got some joy out of wandering through another stage that allowed me to smash some robots to the beat of The Black Keys and Nine Inch Nails. The comedy-infused cutscenes, lovable cast of characters, and a wide array of combat maneuvers afforded to Chai all came together to make Hi-Fi Rush one of the best gaming surprises of the year. - Elton Jones

3. ‘Hogwarts Legacy’

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Warner Bros. Games

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC - Steam

There was a point in time where the best games inspired by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter were considered to be the LEGO adaptations of the book/movie's iconic events. Then Hogwarts Legacy came along to take the crown for the greatest Harry Potter game of all time thanks to the bang-up job courtesy of the development studio Avalanche Software. I truly felt like I was an integral part of the mysterious goings on at "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" - going to my assigned Potions Class to create actual items for use in the outside world, mingling with my best friends to enter hidden passages, and utilizing all sorts of spells to retrieve essential items everywhere I looked never got old. Because of this game, I can now confidently say that wand combat can actually be fun. The shocking intro to this game and its ensuing campaign that follows brought me back to a series of fictional novels I once loved as a kid. - Elton Jones

4. ‘Theatrhythm Final Bar Line’

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Square Enix

Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch

Laugh at me all you want when I say this! My iPod (yes, I still own one and it works just fine!) has songs on it lifted right from the OSTs for Final Fantasy VII, its remake, Final Fantasy X, and even Final Fantasy XIII. I may have been late to the party for the Theatrhythm series, which lets FF fans play out the actual notes of their favorite songs from the franchise's mainline and spinoff games. But I'm glad I got the chance to get sucked into what looks to be the final entry in the rhythm game celebration of FF's enduring legacy. I got addicted to unlocking all those recognizable party members, attempting to complete certain tunes at higher difficulties, and coming upon catchy tunes from FF games I never even played. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line let me hit all those fast and furious notes to the sweet sounds of FFX's "Blitz Off," which I'm forever thankful for! - Elton Jones

5. ‘Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’

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Koei Tecmo

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC - Steam

So your boy is quite the scaredy cat when it comes to playing "Soulsbourne" games. I played Bloodborne, got bodied by Father Gascoigne countless times, and quit. Then I moved on to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, kept getting mollywhopped by regular bad guys, and decided to keep it pushing. But for some odd reason, all the severe beatings I took from Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty inspired me to stay in the fight instead of abandoning it.

Being able to fight alongside an AI partner at all times and having access to a parry system that's easy to master kept the barrier of entry a lot easier to overcome, too. Now I will admit this game still is a huge test of one's will and patience (that first Lu Bu boss fight put me in a blender several times, but I still managed to defeat him!). But I was inspired to give Wo Long my full undivided attention thanks to an awesome combat system that yielded so much satisfaction for killing enemies both small and large. - Elton Jones

6. ‘Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key’

Atelier Ryza 3 Alchemist of the End and the Secret Key 03
Koei Tecmo

Available on: PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC - Steam

Some of you may be shocked to see this JRPG make anyone's list of the best games of 2023. But I would implore you to check out some background info on the Atelier series and how so many fans regarded Ryza as their favorite protagonist from its long line of games. I certainly feel the same way, so I just had to see her grand journey across three games come to its definitive conclusion here. Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is another instance of this series giving me a more whimsical experience compared to the "save the world from certain doom" scenario most JRPGs focus on.

Reuniting with old friends, synthesizing a huge list of items to improve Ryza's alchemy skills, and helping townsfolk kept me entertained from start to finish. Plus the combat system from Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy got even better here thanks to the inclusion of stat-boosting "keys" that add an extra layer of strategy to the battle proceedings. You had a hell of a run, Ryza! I'm for damn sure gonna miss you... - Elton Jones

7. ‘Resident Evil 4’

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Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PC - Steam

If you know me, then you know I'm a proud Capcom Stan. Witnessing the return of that company's "Capgod" status make its welcome return since in recent years has been so gratifying. I've also been more than pleased with the resurgence of the survival horror roots that Resident Evil re-injected back into its games. Now Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games of all time, so I was definitely optimistic about what its remake was set to bring. Now I was a bit worried that it'd be missing some crucial elements (I'm looking at you, Resident Evil 3 remake!).

But those fears were unwarranted - Capcom knocked it out of the park with this retooled and refreshed edition of RE4. The darker locales lend more fear to the proceedings, the third-person aiming & gunning feel great, and new & improved visuals revitalize the best parts of the original game. And thank god Ashley is no longer a huge annoyance! Taking the time to master this game's new knife parrying system is another highlight I need to mention here. This remake is yet another entry into the strong run of survival horror games and quality remakes gamers have gotten in recent memory. - Elton Jones

8. ‘Dead Island 2’

dead island 2
Deep Silver

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC - Epic Games Store

One of the biggest shockers of the year that you may be surprised to make this list of the best games of 2023 is the long-in-development zombie-bashing simulator, Dead Island 2. Somehow someway, Dambuster Studios took a project that had been in severe development hell and managed to bring it to the finish line with as little bugs & glitches as possible. I figured the simple act of smacking zombies over and over with tons of melee weapons and blasting them with assorted weapons would get old in this game's first few hours.

But once I made it to that mansion full of survivors and found out about my character's strange condition, I got locked in and had the time of my life as I continued exploring the zombie-filled locale of Los Angeles. What impressed me most about Dead Island 2 is how incredible its gore and dismemberment system is - I never got tired of watching a zombie's jaw come clean off the bone after I permanently put it down with a swing of my sledgehammer. Dead Island 2 is a fun playground full of zombies to smash, blast, explode, electrify, etc. I'm so glad this game came out the way it did after so many years of continued development. - Elton Jones

9. ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’

Star Wars Jedi. Survivor achievements and trophies cover
Electronic Arts

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC - Steam, Epic Games Store

Yeah, I hear you fam! This game came out with a litany of technical performance issues that still haven't been completely fixed. Even still, my time spent with this amazing single-player Star Wars game pushed me to consider its highs over its lows to the point where I had no choice but to add it to this list of the best games of 2023. My boy Cal Kestis (who shows up with a crispy new beard!) gave me the opportunity to feel like a true "Jedi Knight" thanks to his new "Lightsaber" stances. I went ham with that "Cross Guard" stance more often than not! And following along with the epic story that expanded upon the Star Wars mythology was a rewarding experience.

Like I mentioned beforehand, Soulsbourne games scare the hell outta me and I find myself playing them for an hour or two before I tap out. But taking down the "Galactic Empire" propelled me to confront every overwhelming challenge Jedi Survivor threw in my direction. Clashing Lightsabers with The Ninth Sister and Dagan Gera sticks out as some of the best boss fights I've experienced this year. And I got plenty of satisfaction out of defeating that damned Rancor! Jedi Survivor has its issues, but I still loved it enough to classify it as one of the best games of 2023. - Elton Jones

10. ‘Street Fighter 6’

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Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PC - Steam

WHAT A HELL OF A COMEBACK STREET FIGHTER HAS MADE THIS YEAR! Visually and mechanically, Capcom's iconic fighting game series has gotten the ultimate boost thanks to the art design and deep combat mechanics Street Fighter 6 features. The "RE Engine" gets all the credit in the world from me for making this latest SF series entries' characters look their very best. Ryu with the nomad beard & fresh attire, Dee Jay with the braids & party gear, and Zangief with full wrestling tights on stick out as my favorite redesigns for the old "World Warriors." As for the newcomers, I love 'em all!

But the one I chose to main was Marisa since she's such a badass rushdown fighter and someone I'm actually good with (I got some nasty "Drive Rush" combos in the tuck for her). Street Fighter 6 gets the nod here from me for being the best fighting game of the year thanks to several factors. "World Tour" mode was better than I expected, the online "Battle Hub" is an awesome way to interact with other players for online matches, and mastering the "Drive Gauge" system became a rewarding activity for me. I can't wait to see how Akuma turns out when he joins the roster next year! - Elton Jones

11. ‘Diablo IV’

Blizzard Entertainment

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC -

I've never been the biggest fan of those top-down action RPGs Diablo made so popular back in the day. I did spend some time with Diablo III and Path of Exile, but I wasn't all that compelled to see both games through to the very end. Then came Diablo IV, which shocked me by how deep and rewarding its lengthy campaign is. I had no choice but to bless it with a spot here on this list of the best games of 2023! First off, I just love how dark and macabre the presentation for this dungeon crawler is - the creep factor that comes with appearances from Lilith, plus the crazy cultists that follow her lent so much to this game's feeling of lost hope.

Secondly, I had the time of my life going around and smashing hordes of monsters with my custom lady Barbarian. The open-ended nature of the character upgrading and the generous rollout of loot gave me a nearly unlimited approach to maximizing her abilities and switching up her overall look. Last but not least, I love how spontaneous the game's dungeons and events can be - participating in random world events with other players and coming upon randomly generated inner locales kept all the demon bashing fresh throughout. I'm very much looking forward to the seasonal updates, additional character classes, and DLC expansions Diablo IV's devs are cooking up!

12. ‘Final Fantasy XVI’

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Square Enix

Available on: PS5

So I get all the complaints about Final Fantasy XVI - the side missions aren't too good, the pacing could be a whole lot better, and only being able to play as one character without the ability to switch to your active allies are all valid knocks against this game. But even with all those things keeping this game from being downright incredible, I still had an amazing time as Clive Rosfield during his revenge-fueled journey that evolved into something much more epic. I'm a Devil May Cry head, so you already know I adore this game's combat system - mixing and matching all those "Eikon" into Clive's sword-based moveset kept me entertained during all those standard enemy counters and boss fights.

My hype levels regularly went through the roof every time I went scorched Earth mode with Ifrit and got embroiled in some kaiju-like battles with other massive Eikons. On the topic of side missions, I loved getting out there to fulfill all those monster hunter requests. Plus there were actually some side tasks here and there that got a rise out of me due to their story outcomes (the one where the little girl sends me out to find her "pet" broke my damn heart...bruh). FF XVI made me fall in love with Clive, Cid, Torbal, Byron, and Charon. And I had all the hate in the world for Anabella! FF XVI gets its just due here on this list for the best games of 2023 for getting me in my feelings and making me feel like a god when it came time to hop into battle. - Elton Jones

13. 'Sea of Stars'

Sabotage Studio

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC - Steam

I have a confession to make - I've never played a single ounce of Chrono Trigger and Super Mario RPG. *dodges flood of tomatoes thrown on stage* WAIT, WAIT WAIT! I have all the respect in the world for both games as they mark the highest of highs for 16-bit retro RPGs. And after playing Sea of Stars, I can see why those last two games I mentioned had such an indelible effect on everyone who played it. This retro-stylized turn-based RPG mixes in the best parts of those games in the form of an interesting story, lovable characters, and strong turn-based combat.

What impressed me most about Sea of Stars is its better-than-expected platforming segments and a combat system that kept me on my toes during every enemy encounter. Active button presses (even with my sometimes horrible timing) helped me out in a pinch when the time came for me to block, pull off melee combos, and do some cool tricks with each party member's special attacks. Blasting a crowd of foes with a solar-powered energy ball, bouncing a lunar-eclipse-shaped projectile into multiple enemies in quick succession, and getting enough combo energy to pull off cool group-based attacks are the main highlights of combat.

Tough but fair boss battles, clever time-bending puzzles, meaningful exploration, a worthwhile fishing minigame, and an incredible soundtrack are other high points of this quality throwback RPG that's definitely one of the best games of 2023. Side note - Garl is one of the best gaming characters of the year! - Elton Jones

14. 'Mortal Kombat 1'

Mortal Kombat 1 Kitana   Kenshi 6.8
Warner Bros. Games

Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC - Steam

2023 has been such a generous year when it comes to fighting games. This old man is overjoyed at the fact that a new Street Fighter and a new Mortal Kombat have launched in the very same year - my 90s self would lose his mind at the very thought of that actually being a reality! Mortal Kombat 1 does so many things right - it gives characters bigger combo routes, freshens up the legacy roster with the reintroduction of 3D-era MK characters, and makes combat so much more satisfying to play & watch with the inclusion of assist-based "Kameos." I never thought in a million years that I'd be winning more often than not during online battles with my pocket Baraka and beloved Kameo Darrius.

Once again, Warner Bros. Games gave NetherRealm Studios a hell of a high budget to work with and it shows. The game's epic story mode plays out so much better than that live-action reboot turd that launched in 2021, plus the single-player components gave me plenty of reasons to return to them thanks to its abundance of unlockables. I appreciate the old-school approach to getting new costumes and other cosmetic items, which is just playing through every mode to get some of the best goodies in the game.

MK1 is a triumph and another great reboot for one of the most legendary fighting game IPs of all time. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back in the lab to find another main (here's looking at you, Smoke!). - Elton Jones

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