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2023 is only the third best year in video game history – Reader’s Feature – trending

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  • November 18, 2023


Portal 2 – one of the best games of 2011 (Picture: Valve)

A reader argues that as good as it’s been, 2023 is not the best year ever for video games and at lest two others this century have been better.

Many gamers are saying 2023 is the best year in video game history, and while I think it’s been a really strong year this year, with some goliath-sized releases, I reckon 2011 and 2013 were both overstuffed with fantastic games from January through December, so I’ll go through both of these years and remind you why those years stand head and shoulders above 2023.

2011 fired on all cylinders, all year round. In January we were greeted with LittleBigPlanet 2, Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3 and Dead Space 2, a marvellous fission of what was to come in the months ahead. The year saw a relentless horde of games making an earth-rattling incendiary impact, including Killzone 3, Bulletstorm, Fight Night: Champion, Portal 2, the Mortal Kombat reboot, DiRT 3, L.A. Noire, Infamous 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Driver: San Francisco, Resistance 3, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, and Rayman Origins.

On top of this insurmountable list was the release of the next evolution for the Nintendo DS, the Nintendo 3DS – need I go on?

2013, meanwhile, came out soaring to the stratosphere, with the controversial DmC: Devil May Cry and the excellent Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch, before settling in with an onslaught of stellar games such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the Tomb Raider reboot, Bioshock Infinite, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Guacamelee!, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, The Last Of Us, GTA 5, Rayman Legends, Tearaway, Killzone: Mercenary, Puppeteer, and the arrival of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – along with a plethora of launch games for each, like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Resogun, Dead Rising 3, Killzone: Shadow Fall and umm… Knack!

2023 has been a seismic year for video games, no doubt. Spider-Man 2, The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate 3, Alan Wake 2, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Diablo 4, Resident Evil 4 remake, Street Fighter 6, and Final Fantasy 16 have all made a huge splash this year. Starfield is one that’s been very polarising, either you love it or you hate it, so if you love Starfield then reach for the stars, if not then there’s always Fallout 76…

However, I personally don’t think Mortal Kombat 1 nor Assassins Creed Mirage were great. The former is a good fighting game but does next to nothing to justify the 1 in its title, and the latter has some neat stealth elements and a surprising sense of danger but is otherwise a bland and half-baked Assassin’s Creed game, even if it’s something of a back-to-basics stealth action adventure.

The point being, these two games stick out as particular sore spots in 2023, and I therefore can’t give this year the same level of praise as my darlings 2011 and 2013 – even if 2011 had Duke Nukem Forever and 2013 had Ride To Hell: Retribution.

2023 has also seen its share of sensational indie offerings such as Tchia, Dredge, Venba, Cocoon, and Sea Of Stars, delivering modest must-plays hidden behind the gargantuan triple-A leviathans. Check these out if you’re inspired.

Altogether, 2023 has been the best year in games for the past number of years, but I think many of us consider it the greatest year because what’s come out this year is easy to remember, and we likely don’t spend our time remembering every game that has come out in every year.

It’s an entirely subjective and perhaps trivial concern, but when gamers harp on about this year being the best year in games, I can’t help but feel compelled to argue my case for years that are arguably better.

By James

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