2022 is almost over! None of the games that came out this year matter anymore, so it’s time to gather our hype and look toward the future. What products can we pre-order and swear our undying loyalty to before crashing into a pile of bitter disappointment the second we get our hands on them? Luckily for you, I’ve conjured up five essential picks for 2023.
Because games are announced years in advance and subject to marketing so overwrought and transparent, we often know the contents of a special edition before seeing a single piece of gameplay, asked to give up our pennies and bow down to the corporations since we are all going to eat up the garbage like good little gamers whether we’d like to admit it or not.
5 – Starfield
Todd Howard can do no wrong. The master of Bethesda Game Studios, basically Jesus Christ if moulded by gamers, poised to deliver masterpiece after masterpiece with untold cultural impact. Except his last two projects have been relative misses compared to what came before, with Fallout 4 and 76 both failing to ignite our passions in the same way as their predecessors. Fallout 5 and The Elder Scrolls 6 are decades away, so we’re stuck crossing our fingers and hoping that Starfield can live up to expectations.
As much as I’m ready for an open world epic like this to swallow me whole, I’ve been around the Bethesda roundabout enough times to know how this will shake up. It’ll arrive in a buggy state with patches and updates promised alongside eventual DLC, while the community will embrace the modding tools and begin creating fixes of their own, alongside quality of life changes that console players will sadly do without until other solutions come along. At the end of the day, it’s still a Bethesda RPG, and deep down inside I don’t expect much change.
4 – Resident Evil 4
Nostalgia is a double-edged sword, and an emotional quality video games rely upon. We are witness to a landscape increasingly reliant on remasters and remakes, with Resident Evil 4 being the latest classic to receive such treatment. This one gives me the willies with how it will interpret the original’s goofier moments. Of course it can keep certain pieces of dialogue and references to what came before, but the fundamentals might have to change, and we all know how much gamers hate it when things change the way they don’t want them too.
3 – Suicide Squad – Kill The Justice League
After Gotham Knights focus tested itself into critical oblivion with obligatory four player co-op, overcomplicated loot system, and countless other dull touches of modernism, many have the fear for Rocksteady’s next effort. Adopting a similar structure with the likes of Harley Quinn and King Shark, players will once again team up as they explore Gotham City in search of brainwashed superheroes to defeat. From the outside, this is a cool concept, but after being burned so badly once, I’m more than a little wary when it comes to a game so much like it.
2 – The Legend of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
We all know it’s super cool to hate games that everyone else loves. I mean, just look at Elden Ring, that game totally sucks and you’re all definitely wrong about it. The same goes for Breath of the Wild. It didn’t subvert an entire generation of open world experiences and seek to reinvent them with a more innovative and natural approach to exploration and player progression, the weapons break and force me to think for myself and as a consequence it must be bad! Anyway, the sequel is gonna be just as good, and through the laws of critique, just as bad. As you can see I’m playing both sides so I always come out on top.
Honourable Mention – All Of The Games Will Actually Be Pretty Good
I know we game journalists love to be cynical dregs of society, even when living in our ivory towers paid for by publishers begging us for positive reviews, but the truth is we actually like video games, and I think all the games in this list will be amazing experiences in their own right, whether it be through thought-provoking design or unparalleled technical achievement, everything we’ve seen of all five of them give me reason to be excited. Yet the algorithm demands I doll out cynicism, spewing hate upon my favourite pastime in order to sustain myself. But enough with all that, 2023 will be a good one for games if we’re lucky.
1 – Hogwarts Legacy
Except this game. Screw this one. Screw J.K Rowling. Screw anyone who supports this instead of trans people. Screw anyone buying it. Other than that, hooray for video games!
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