The year 2023 has been an exceptional one for the gaming industry, with a plethora of remarkable releases that have left gamers enthralled. From the revival of classic franchises to innovative indie gems, the PC gaming landscape has been teeming with unforgettable experiences. In this article, we will explore ten must-play PC games of 2023 that showcase the best of what this platform has to offer.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3: A Faithful D&D Adventure
Baldur’s Gate 3 by Larian Studios has breathed new life into the beloved Dungeons & Dragons franchise. This turn-based RPG offers an immersive experience that captures the essence of the tabletop game. The level of freedom and interactivity in Baldur’s Gate 3 is truly remarkable; players can unleash their imagination and embark on a multitude of adventures within the expansive world of the Sword Coast. From flinging gnomes to befriending giant spiders, every action feels consequential. The game’s extensive customization options and romanceable companion characters provide endless replayability, making it a title that will keep players engaged for hours on end.
2. Alan Wake 2: A Gripping Blend of Survival Horror and Police Procedural
Alan Wake 2, developed by Remedy Entertainment, is a survival horror game that seamlessly blends elements of a police procedural. Set in a world where live-action footage melds with stunning graphics, this game follows FBI agent Saga Anderson as she investigates the disappearance of the enigmatic writer, Alan Wake. The gameplay revolves around using a flashlight to weaken enemies and manipulating the story itself to shape the world around you. With its captivating plot and atmospheric audiovisual presentation, Alan Wake 2 is a must-play for fans of the genre.
3. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty – A Graphical Showcase
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty has made waves in 2023, not only due to its extensive updates but also its impressive graphical enhancements. CD Projekt Red has been proactive in incorporating Nvidia’s cutting-edge technologies, such as path tracing and ray reconstruction, into the game. The Phantom Liberty expansion introduces a captivating side quest featuring the sensational performance of Idris Elba as Solomon Reed, a mysterious sleeper agent. With its immersive gameplay, stunning visuals, and diverse mission types, this expansion breathes new life into the neon-lit streets of Night City.
4. Dave the Diver: A Charming Fusion of Genres
Dave the Diver by Mintrocket is an enchanting fusion of genres that defies expectations. In this roguelike spearfishing exploration game, players embark on underwater adventures to hunt fish and discover hidden treasures. What sets Dave the Diver apart is its unique twist: players must also manage a sushi restaurant, adding a layer of time management akin to the popular game Diner Dash. The charming art style and character designs enhance the overall experience, making Dave the Diver a delightful and unexpected gem in the gaming landscape.
5. Chants of Sennaar: A Linguistic and Cultural Journey
Language and culture are intertwined, shaping our understanding and connections with others. Chants of Sennaar offers a thought-provoking exploration of these concepts, as players navigate a tower and encounter diverse peoples, each with their own language and culture. This game draws inspiration from various titles, such as Heaven’s Vault and Journey, to create a beautiful and innovative experience. Despite some minor flaws, Chants of Sennaar manages to captivate players by highlighting the power of communication and cultural understanding.
6. Viewfinder: A Mind-Bending Puzzle Adventure
Viewfinder from Sad Owl Studios is a mind-bending puzzle game that challenges players’ perception. The game revolves around a simple yet captivating premise: taking a photo with a polaroid camera and using it to transform the environment behind it. As players progress, they encounter increasingly complex puzzles that require strategic positioning of pictures, duplication of resources, and careful manipulation of the in-game world. Viewfinder is reminiscent of Portal in its intricate puzzles and overarching narrative, keeping players engaged with its ever-evolving mechanics.
7. Slay the Princess: Flipping the Script on Video Game Tropes
In the realm of video games, princesses are often portrayed as the ultimate prize. However, Slay the Princess from Black Tabby Games turns this trope on its head. This visual novel challenges players to make decisions, uncover consequences, and unravel the mystery surrounding the protagonist’s mission to slay the princess. With a plethora of choices and multiple paths to explore, Slay the Princess offers a captivating narrative experience that keeps players guessing until the very end.
8. System Shock: A Faithful Remake of a Classic Survival Horror
The long-awaited System Shock remake by Nightdive Studios is a testament to the enduring legacy of survival horror classics. This faithful reimagining of the nearly three-decade-old game captures the essence of being trapped in a maze controlled by a malevolent AI, SHODAN. With its complex level design, quirky weapons, and revamped graphics, System Shock offers a uniquely eerie and engrossing shooter experience. Currently exclusive to PC, it is a must-play for fans of the genre.
9. World of Horror: A Spooky Love Letter to Junji Ito
Manga legend Junji Ito serves as the inspiration for World of Horror, a monochromatic role-playing game that delves into Japanese urban legends. Set in a small town plagued by supernatural forces, players take on the role of a young investigator seeking to unravel the mysteries that engulf their community. The game’s fusion of compelling worldbuilding and semi-random gameplay elements creates a sense of achievement and discovery. With its recent final release, World of Horror offers an expanded experience that will captivate players, especially those who appreciate Ito’s distinctive art style.
10. Cocoon: A Puzzle Game that Challenges the Mind
Ex-Limbo and Inside director Jeppe Carlsen brings us Cocoon, a puzzle game that showcases simplicity at its finest. As players navigate isometric environments, they control an unnamed insect-like creature with just a single button and analog stick. Cocoon stands out by gradually introducing rules and mechanics, allowing players to interact with increasing layers of complexity. The game’s puzzles revolve around manipulating orbs with different abilities, creating a captivating and intellectually stimulating experience. Cocoon is a testament to the joy of unraveling seemingly labyrinthine puzzles while maintaining a sense of accomplishment.
In conclusion, the year 2023 has delivered a plethora of exceptional PC games that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, gameplay mechanics, and visual design. From the immersive world of Baldur’s Gate 3 to the mind-bending puzzles of Viewfinder, each game on this list offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a fan of RPGs, survival horror, or puzzle games, there is something for everyone in the PC gaming landscape of 2023. So, grab your mouse and keyboard, and dive into these extraordinary titles that showcase the best of what PC gaming has to offer.