Game Recs

The Top 20 Video Games of 2023 So Far, Ranked

That’s a lot of 10/10s.

Originally Published: 
Zelda holding the master sword

2023 has proved to be one of the best years for gaming in recent memory, and that doesn’t seem likely to end as we approach its last few months. Here at Inverse, we have already given out seven 10/10s — more than all other years combined!

Whether you like indie games, Nintendo exclusives, or big-budget AAA tentpoles, 2023 seems to keep providing something incredible for everyone. Here are the 20 best games of the year so far, but don’t get too lost in them, because we still have three months to go!

20. The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure

Trails to Azure is a massive RPG that masterfully weaves a complex narrative.

NIS America

The Legend of Heroes is a sweeping RPG series that’s told an interconnected story across nine different games and multiple systems. For years the West was missing a vital chapter of that saga with the Crossbell duology: Trails From Zero and Trails to Azure. This second entry proves that Crossbell is one of the most fascinating settings in all of gaming, a megacity steeped in culture and history. Trails to Azure is a massive RPG that masterfully weaves a complex narrative while providing tons of customization and deep turn-based combat to back it all up.

19. The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie

One of the best RPGs of the year.

Trails Into Reverie is the culmination of nearly two decades of storytelling, bringing a climactic finale while also setting the stage for the next phase of the franchise. The Trails series remains unmatched in terms of world-building, and that’s never been more clear than with Reverie.

While you can’t really jump into this entry without playing previous games, the emotional payoff and catharsis here is something you don’t often find in gaming. Pile on top of that some small changes to the series’ already great turn-based combat, and you have one of the best RPGs of the year.

18. Like a Dragon! Ishin

A perfect encapsulation of what makes the Yakuza series so great.


The Yakuza series has an impeccable talent for blending dramatic crime storytelling with over-the-top campiness. Like a Dragon! Ishin retains all that goofiness but transports it to the historical setting of the Bakumatsu period of Japan (roughly 1853). The dramatic Samurai-fueled story of Ishin gives way to a host of ridiculous sidequests and minigames that are almost universally a blast to engage with. It’s a perfect encapsulation of what has made Yakuza so great all these years.

17. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

This long-awaited remake was worth the wait.


The long-awaited remake of the first two Advance Wars games was worth the wait. For fans of the strategy genre, it is a can’t-miss package that delivers the cleanest and best-feeling version of two of the most important games in the genre. Walking the line of feeling both nostalgic and fresh, Re-Boot Camp doesn’t reinvent anything but delivers the fantastic gameplay fans expect.

16. Horizon Call of the Mountain

The rare VR game that justifies its own existence.


VR still struggles to justify itself to most consumers without a single perfect game, but Horizon Call of the Mountain might just be that. As a launch title for PSVR2, Call of the Mountain is a dazzling experience that shows the potential of VR by letting players loose in the world of Horizon, with climbing and arrow firing in plenty that make it feel like a theme park.

15. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

An unexpected but welcome detour for the Bayonetta franchise.


Following up the third Bayonetta game, a series known for its sexual innuendo and hard action, by releasing a prequel in the form of a puzzle platformer is the kind of unexpected thing we shouldn't be surprised PlatinumGames did. What is surprising is just how good Bayonetta Origins is. The fairytale world of Origins is a welcome change from the mainline series, one that also delivers a shockingly emotional story that stands out as one of the franchise's best.

14. Pikmin 4

Yet another must-play for the Nintendo Switch.


Nintendo continues its trend of innovative sequels with Pikmin 4, the most approachable game in the series to date, and better for it. The fourth game removes the time limit restrictions of past games and does an impeccable job of incentivizing players throughout the experience, always rewarding your efforts in some way. Pikmin 4 is yet another must-play for the Nintendo Switch.

13. Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

Just play it.

Square Enix

Paranormasight is a unique game that is hard to get your head around but worth playing if any element piques your interest. It is a mystery thriller visual novel published by Square Enix that takes place in 1980s Japan. The game plays out in typical visual novel fashion with moments of interaction that engage the player more. The story and themes are well executed and hard to discuss in detail without ruining some of the fun. Just play it.

12. Mortal Kombat 1

A near-flawless title.

WB Games

In a confusing twist, Mortal Kombat 1 is actually the twelfth mainline entry in NetherRealm’s fighting franchise. The “1” refers to this being a reboot for the series, one that seeks to clean the slate and start fresh, narratively and mechanically. Mortal Kombat 1 uses this new beginning to learn from every success and failure from the franchise’s past and delivers a near-flawless title.

11. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 remake is the best Capcom has to offer.


The progenitor of all modern third-person action games is back. The string of Resident Evil remakes from Capcom finally reached Resident Evil 4, and the result is glorious. If you were worried that a remake would not do much for one of the most modern entries in the series, then worry no more. Resident Evil 4 remake is the best Capcom has to offer, making everything about the original more beautiful while also fixing some of the narrative and mechanical problems of the original in the process.

10. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

The best Star Wars game since Knights of the Old Republic.


Jedi: Survivor is, simply put, the best Star Wars game since Knights of the Old Republic. It revisits Cal a few years after Fallen Order and quickly catches players up with what has been going on. As any good sequel does, Survivor streamlines what was messy in its predecessor and opens up the world with more planets to visit and more powers to play with. It also leans into the fun lore of the Old Republic, a beloved part of the franchise.

9. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

This 2.0 update makes the overall experience of Cyberpunk 2077 finally feel flawless.

CD Projekt Red

If you told someone in 2020 that Cyberpunk 2077 would be one of the best games of 2023, they would have a hard time believing you. But Phantom Liberty delivers on every promise that went undelivered in the base game’s release. The 2.0 update makes the overall experience of Cyberpunk 2077 finally feel flawless, and Phantom Liberty’s tight spy-thriller story is the best use of the genre in years.

8. Final Fantasy XVI

The combat system and complex characters are series highs in their own right.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy XVI marks a huge moment of change for the franchise, bringing in a more mature tone and a drastic shift to action RPG. Even though it draws huge inspiration from the likes of Game of Thrones and God of Wår, the game manages to translate all that into something that still feels uniquely Final Fantasy. While the combat system and complex characters are highs in their own right, the real star of Final Fantasy XVI are the Eikon battles, which hit a nearly-unmatched level of ambition and scope.

7. He F—d the Girl Out of Me

One of the year’s most unforgettable experiences.

Taylor McCue

He F*cked the Girl Out of Me is an unabashedly queer story that functions as a visual novel but in actuality feels more like a semi-autobiographical memoir, and it’s one of the year’s most unforgettable experiences. It’s a short experience that only runs roughly 40 minutes, but packed into that time is a deeply personal experience that isn’t afraid to talk about intimacy, loneliness, and the process of healing. It’s a shining example of what art through the medium of video games can be.

6. Hi-Fi Rush

Dripping with style in its design, sound, and feel.


Playing Hi-Fi Rush evokes the same feeling as listening to a perfect album in its entirety without interruption. Tango Gameworks, known for horror games like The Evil Within, dropped the biggest surprise hit on gamers this year with no warning, which makes how joyous Hi-Fi Rush’s rhythm action and platforming all the more fun. It is dripping with style in its design, sound, and feel and is perfect for anybody looking to recapture that PS2-era magic.

5. Street Fighter 6

The platonic ideal of a fighting game.


Seven years after the middling reception to Street Fighter V, the sixth entry in the series recaptures the utter magic of the king of the fighting game genre. Street Fighter 6 is the platonic ideal of a fighting game, offering a finely tuned system perfect for veterans and newcomers alike. The addition of an RPG-like story is just the cherry on top of one of the most stylish and well-executed fighting games ever made.

4. Dead Space

A testament to the power of a remake.


The corridors and inner workings of the USG Ishimura feel brand new again thanks to the 2023 remake of 2008’s Dead Space. In a year highlighted by the rebirth of horror classics (see number six again) Dead Space stands as a testament to the power of a remake. It recaptures the wonder and terror of the original as you imagine it, which means in reality that everything is better than it ever was in 2008. This is horror at its finest.

3. Baldur’s Gate 3

Masterfully translates the experience of improvising with a great Dungeon Master through a detailed fantasy adventure.

Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a revelatory role-playing game. Built upon the ever-popular Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game, Baldur’s Gate 3 masterfully translates the experience of improvising with a great Dungeon Master through a detailed fantasy adventure. At every corner, the game wows the player with how reactive it is to anything you do (including constantly shoving even the biggest bosses off a cliff). Beyond the joy of mechanical freedom, this new adventure in the Forgotten Realms is filled with endearing characters and their emotional stories —and the potential for romance should you want it.

2. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

An unexpectedly great follow-up to Elder Scrolls.

Bandai Namco

Since 2009’s Demon Souls, FromSoftware has quickly become one of the most well-respected developers in the industry thanks to the Souls-like genre it pioneered. With sword-wielding protagonists and tough-as-nails gameplay, the studio has delivered hit after hit (such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne). Just one year after Elden Ring, the studio released Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon. The return to the studio’s mech setting is a high-speed industrial action title that bears little resemblance to the Souls-like genre but is just as groundbreaking.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

A perfect sequel that demands a Zelda trilogy.


Tears of the Kingdom improves upon the masterwork that is Breath of the Wild in almost every way. Hyrule is bigger and better than ever with the addition of Sky Islands and the Depths to explore in addition to the main map, while mechanics are more inventive thanks to the endless potential of Ultrahand and Fuse. Zelda as a franchise rarely does direct sequels, but Tears of the Kingdom justifies itself so competently that you can’t help but want this era of Zelda to be a trilogy.

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