Our individual Game of the Year articles allow our lovely team of writers to share their own personal PS5 and PS4 picks for 2023. Today, it's the turn of reviewer Ken Talbot.
I wasn’t sure how Respawn was going to handle the follow-up to the brilliant Fallen Order. Would it go bigger and risk diluting what made the first game so satisfying to play? Would it change combat or movement? Add more customisation? The studio did all of this and yet somehow retained the excellent storytelling, pacing, and precision. Cal customisation meant you could play through the entire epic adventure with a horrible mullet and beard combo. The story went to some genuinely interesting places and gave us a tragic, complex villain. Blaster stance and its quick draw counter is the coolest thing in any Star Wars game, ever.
4. Lies of P
Bloodborne is my favourite Miyazaki game by some margin and one of my personal all-timers. Since From is keeping that PS5 version of BB under lock and key, I was compelled to find out more about this Yharnam clone — and I found it to be more faithful homage than lazy rip-off. It has its own filthy carnival aesthetic, a beautiful score, and some meaty combat. It runs through the frustrating greatest hits of Miyazaki’s work (yay! Poison floors!), but along the way, it entices you with an intriguing mystery and an ever expanding collection of animal masks.
The original Resi 4 didn’t just re-invent the franchise (ultimately for the worse), it also informed an entire generation of action games. It’s only after playing this pitch-perfect remake that I realised its ripples are still being felt. Even the first person RE titles owe a debt to the pacing and spectacle of Leon S. Kennedy’s Spanish adventure. There’s some changes that don’t work for me (the Salazar fight is robbed of its spectacle somewhat), but overall this is a satisfying update to an enduring classic.
PlayStation has its fair share of flagship titles, but Insomniac's Spidey series is the one that has nearly universal appeal. Everyone wanted this to be great and the team absolutely nailed it. As a big comic book fan, this had everything I could possibly want from a web-slinging simulator. The web wings added an extra way to zip around the city, switching between Miles and Peter was great, and the story was a delicious mashup of the symbiote saga and Kraven’s Last Hunt. Tony Todd gave us a Venom that isn't played for laughs and this is surely the greatest adaptation of Sergei Dimitri Symostivych Kravinoff yet to be translated from the page.
Larian might have ruined RPGs for me. From now on I'll expect even the simplest dialogue exchange to have world-shattering implications 80 hours in. I’ll want to be able to romance everyone, regardless of race, gender, or dimensional affiliation. I will demand multiple ways to do everything, from opening a door to slaying a god. I’ll be sad if every playthrough isn’t widely different, to the point it feels like playing through a completely different story. Baldur’s Gate 3 is something that we should be lucky to witness even once in a lifetime, a true game changer. Right now, as you read this, many titles are in various stages of development, furiously trying to emulate just a small percentage of the pure magic bottled in this masterpiece.
What do you think of Ken's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree wholeheartedly, or berate relentlessly in the comments section below.