Staff Picks: Nate’s Top 5 Games of 2023 – The Mainstream Man

Staff Picks: Nate’s Top 5 Games of 2023 – The Mainstream Man

It’s that time of year again when we decide what game deserves to be called the best game of 2023. Although this year, it feels like every month was dedicated to a huge release that caught my attention, and for the first time, I couldn’t actually decide what games I liked the best.

So, I picked my babies; these five were my absolute favorite games of the year. Ones that I couldn’t put down until I had either one hundred percent completed them or reached at least one hundred hours in.

5. Pikmin 4

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The first in this list has got to be one of the most niche titles Nintendo has ever created. Pikmin 4 is the best of the series, with enough new content to keep us veterans interested while being a good introduction for newcomers.

The series always had a few hiccups with controls, and until this release, the best way to enjoy the series was with the New Play Controls release on the Wii. However, the simple ability to lock on and Oatchi brings a new way to play that rivals the Wiimote control scheme. If this isn’t enough to convince you to jump on, there is an entire remake of the first Pikmin game hidden behind saving the lost crew members.

So, what are you waiting for? Go pick up this game right now; I will wait for you to beat this game before you continue reading my list.

4. Spider-Man 2

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Okay, I know there has been a lot of debate about this game recently, but it’s really fantastic, and Spider-Man is one of my absolute favorite heroes. Yes, I know. I am so absolutely original with my love for the titular character. The game itself is fantastic, and the swinging still feels just right. 

I just loved it and the exploration of Venom in the title. There is even a slightly better twist of the Black Spider Suit of it actively taking over Peter’s mind rather than augmenting his anger and dancing like an idiot. There is only one thing I can say to summarize this game: Spider-Man is good.

3. Baldur’s Gate 3

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To be honest, I have a love-hate fascination with Baldur’s Gate 3 sometimes. It is one of the few titles that allows me to take an almost accurate representation of playing Dungeons and Dragons with the most try-hard Dungeon Master that has ever existed. The story is excellent, and once I started realizing that the computer wasn’t afraid to start dropping a dragon on me if I accidentally decided to piss the wrong person off, I began to enjoy my time.

However, this title isn’t for everyone, even those who have a lot of experience with Table-top RPGs. I still get very frustrated with the title at times, even if it has some of my favorite characters, especially a burning hot demon lady that has my character chugging fire resistance potions. Still, I can say that death by snu snu wouldn’t be that bad of a way to go.

2. Dead Space

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Dead Space. What can I say about Dead Space that hasn’t already been said? I’ve loved this game since the original release on the PS3, and I think it is one of the best survival horror games ever created. Initially, I had a lot of misgivings about this remake, especially with the decision to have Isaac Clarke talk.

Despite this very concept having been done before, Dead Space 2 lacked the charm that the original title had and never really grabbed me. While Dead Space 3… the less I talk about Dead Space 3, the happier I will be. 

I was pleasantly shocked at how much this remake truly felt like Dead Space. It was nostalgic and, at the same time, brand new, weaving together an experience that I was happy to play and was satisfied with when I finally put it down. I hope this reinvigorates the series and we get a Dead Space 2 that will fit in better with the themes originally presented in this title. 

1. My Time at Sandrock

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So, let’s talk about a game that was a sleeper hit for me. My Time at Sandrock came out of nowhere. I had known about this series for a while and had ignored the first title in the game primarily because it did not grip me the same way other life simulation titles have in the past.

So, it was very safe to say that I wasn’t expecting My Time at Sandrock to impress with a story about a desert town struggling to survive with characters I liked almost as much as Chie Satonaka from Persona 4

I reviewed the title, expecting it to be middling at best, and discovered my all-time favorite release for this year instead. I may have officially given this game a 9 out of 10 in my review when I originally wrote about it, but time has made me realize that, with a personal, non-critical lens, this is a 10 out of 10.

 

So, that was everything for 2023. It feels weird to be sending it off soon, but I’m glad to see that this year was fantastic for my favorite hobby. So I just want to wish everyone a happy new year, a merry Christmas, and happy holidays. Let’s look forward to enjoying more games in 2024.

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