It’s that time of the year! We are halfway through 2023 and what way to celebrate than to rank the video games that graced our consoles this year? This year has been especially good for gaming, as many excellent titles have already come out and more are to come (such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Starfield, to name a few). All major consoles (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch) have had exclusives that have been well-received by the public and reviewers. I have had the chance to play some of the best the year had to offer and this is my ranking of them.

NOTE: I have not played the following games: Diablo 4, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Dead Island 2, Hogwarts Legacy, and Dead Space. I do intend to try some of these games in the future, but because I haven’t, they will not be on this list.


Persona 4 Golden

Image Source: Screenshot from Persona 3 Portable & Persona 4 Golden — Available Now | Xbox GamePass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC by Michael Murphy for of Persona 4 Golden owned by ATLUS/SEGA. Video released by Official ATLUS West.

I have included Persona 4 Golden as an honorable mention because it was technically released on modern consoles this year. However, it is a port of a 2012 game, so I won’t include it as a numbered entry. I am including it because it is an absolute joy ride from start to finish. Following a murder in a small rural town, you come across a mysterious power that grants you access to a world inside their TV. Soon-to-be victims start showing up at midnight and it’s up to you and your new friends (one of which is a talking teddy bear mascot) to save them. The combat is fluid and fun, the soundtrack is amazing, and the characters are complex and enjoyable. There’s something for everyone to enjoy with Persona 4 Golden.

And off we go with Number 5…

Street Fighter 6

Image Source: Screenshot from Street Fighter 6 – Demo Trailer by Michael Murphy for of Street Fighter 6 owned by CAPCOM. Video released by Street Fighter.

The next generation of Street Fighter is looking very bright. The much-needed reinvention of this beloved franchise is one that many have been clamoring for since the lukewarm Street Fighter 5. The team at CAPCOM does not disappoint, creating a game that is, essentially, a fighting-game lover’s dream. From a full-fledged story mode, new gameplay mechanics, character creation, online and offline play, and a bevy of new and returning fighters, there’s much to do in Street Fighter 6. Everything seems expertly crafted and refined to ensure every match is as enjoyable as the last. It serves as a reminder that when it comes to fighting games, Street Fighter is king.

Coming in at Number 4…


Image Source: Screenshot from Hi-Fi RUSH | Official Gameplay Deep Dive Trailer by Michael Murphy for of Hi-Fi RUSH owned by Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks. Video released by Bethesda Softworks.

Tango Gamework’s newest game is a delight to the eyes as it is to the ears. This unexpected Xbox-exclusive title, which shadow-dropped in January during a showcase, is a rhythm hack-and-slash set in a cyberpunk-like city where your weapon is a scrap-metal guitar, your enemy is a giant robot corporation, everyone’s name is a food, and your guide is a robot cat. If that doesn’t sell you immediately, the rock soundtrack and addictive gameplay will. Music is the ‘literal’ heart of Hi-Fi RUSH, with all of the songs you use to time your attacks to actual songs from artists like Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails, and The Black Keys. It’s also on Xbox Game Pass, so subscribers can play it immediately. This is a title that will not disappoint and will keep you rocking and rolling long after the credits roll.

At Number 3…

Final Fantasy XVI

Screenshot of the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XVI, Clive Rosfield looking in the distance at the ongoing war beneath him.
Image Source: Screenshot from Final Fantasy XVI Revenge Trailer by Michael Murphy for of Final Fantasy XVI owned by Square Enix. Video released by PlayStation.

The beauty of the Final Fantasy franchise is innovation. Every game has its own world and concepts, whilst maintaining certain assets like monsters and summons. With Final Fantasy XVI, it’s a far cry from the typical entry but still feels like it. It was a risk to commit to open-combat instead of turn-based and realism instead of ‘fantasy’. While some may disagree, it breathes new life into the series and opens it up to the newest generation of gamers, with systems that are easier to use and themes audiences gravitate to. Clive’s journey for revenge is your classic tale, but with god-like powers and even bigger consequences for the world of Valisthea. As said in my piece on the demo for the game (here), everything flows beautifully and looks amazing. The full game is no exception, with the fun continuing and the action incredible. The Eikon battles are some of the best boss fights I’ve ever played. If this is the future of Final Fantasy, then it’s a very bright one.

Number 2 belongs to…

Resident Evil 4

Image Source: Screenshot from Resident Evil 4 – 2nd Trailer by Michael Murphy for of Resident Evil 4 (2023) owned by CAPCOM. Video released by Resident Evil.

CAPCOM is on one unprecedented roll. Remaking one of the best games of all time is an absurd idea. It seems like an impossible task but yet, somehow, the team at CAPCOM managed to outdo themselves. In the vein of Resident Evil 2 Remake (where the main protagonist Leon Kennedy comes from) and Resident Evil 3 Remake, RE4 sticks close to the source material, only changing what was outdated and unnecessary. In the game, Leon Kennedy is sent to a remote town to rescue the president’s daughter, Ashley, from a cult. It captures all of the elements of the original, from the gripping action, tense horror, and outlandish comedy, and wraps it up into one fun ride. Everything feels iconic and memorable while maintaining the feel of Resident Evil. One minute, you can be suplexing a villager, and the next, you’ll be running away from a chainsaw-wielding maniac. Resident Evil 4 is a marvel to behold and the definitive version of the beloved classic.

The Number 1 Game of the Year (So Far) is…

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Image Source: Screenshot from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Official Trailer #3 by Michael Murphy for of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom owned by Nintendo. Video released by Nintendo of America.

Living up to such high expectations can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the sequel to Breath of the Wild (widely regarded as the best game of the past decade), is as good, if not better, than what came before. In the 130 hours I poured into the game, not one of them was spent bored. There was so much to do in Hyrule, with more options to choose from and new areas to explore. The road to reducing Zelda and defeating Ganon is one told many times, yet this one has its own twists and turns that make it unique. With Link’s newfound powers, the already expansive world becomes a huge sandbox. You’ll never have the same playthrough as another, as situations can be solved in a variety of innovative (or just plain lucky) ways. It is a love letter to not only the series but to the gaming industry. Tears of the Kingdom is a must-have for every Switch owner and will be talked about for years to come.

Well, that does it for my list! What were your top five? If you played any of these games, what did you think of them? Will any of these be dethroned with future releases? Let me know in the comments below and leave a like if you enjoyed this. Until next time!