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 Simon Fitzgerald.
5. Sea of Stars
An indie hit that I probably never would have played if it weren’t part of PS Plus. This title’s gorgeous pixel presentation and touching narrative really shows the love and care the developers have put into creating this diamond in the rough. It only just managed to pip A Space for the Unbound for the fifth spot on my list.
Out of all the PSVR2 games released this year, Walkabout Mini Golf was the one title I couldn’t stop myself sinking endless hours and golf balls into. It now takes me a good while to finish my PSVR2 review duties since I just can’t help myself teeing off a few rounds of minigolf beforehand. Last generation my VR addiction was Beat Saber, this generation it’s been replaced by a peaceful round of minigolf and a scavenger hunt for multicoloured balls — and with additional courses regularly releasing there’s always plenty of new content.
I love a puzzle game to get my cogs turning and Talos Principle II does it with more than just its puzzle chambers. It’s an astounding philosophical puzzler that beats its predecessor in almost every way. The story is intriguing, conundrums more challenging and the visuals are stunning, causing you to stop and drink in the tranquil environments. It’s a complete package and I had to have it as part of my GOTY list.
Chants of Sennaar was the most surprising game of 2023 for me. I hadn’t heard it announced and it released out of nowhere, absolutely blowing me away with its unique focus on translation, portraying the differences between various cultures’ languages excellently through its enjoyable puzzle solving. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it, and secured myself that elusive Platinum. I highly recommend puzzle fanatics check out this gorgeous indie. Now, if only I could wipe my memory and play it for the very first time again.
By far the standout title for me this year is Blasphemous II. Building upon its well-received predecessor, with faster combat, more manageable platforming and the reduction of insta-death scenarios makes it a much more enjoyable experience. Combined with the great attention to detail in presentation, from gruesome combat animations to elemental particle and sound effects, the entire experience is on another level of quality. The enjoyably challenging platforming and combat really kept me engaged throughout and the scattering of secrets enticed me back to uncover all this new land had to offer. Blasphemous II hits the nail on the head with this sequel and secures itself my personal Game of the Year for 2023.
What do you think of Simon's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree wholeheartedly, or berate relentlessly in the comments section below.