The snowball of games delayed out of 2021 and 2022 has settled in 2023, coalescing into the most exciting games lineup of the decade so far. 2023, arguably, marks the proper start of the PS5 and Xbox Series X generation with Unreal Engine 5 support building and an increasing number of developers dropping support for last-gen hardware.
Each of the three console manufacturers has at least one blockbuster release scheduled this year — Starfield for Xbox, Spider-Man 2 for PlayStation, and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo — complemented by a generation-best third-party lineup that includes Hogwarts Legacy, Resident Evil 4, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Street Fighter 6, Diablo 4, Final Fantasy 16, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Hades 2, and Mortal Kombat 12.
The first quarter of 2023 is now behind us, and already the year has lived up to its lofty expectations: 20 games have received a review score of 8 or higher from IGN, including two 10s. Click through the gallery below or continue scrolling for our list of the best-reviewed games of 2023 so far.
This list only includes standalone software; despite qualifying scores, expansions/DLC (e.g., Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania) and hardware (e.g., PSVR2) are not included. This list will be updated weekly as new releases receive qualifying review scores.
Review Score: 8 (“Great)
These games leave us with something outstanding to remember them by, usually novel gameplay ideas for single-player or multiplayer, clever characters and writing, noteworthy graphics and sound, or some combination thereof. If we have major complaints, there are more than enough excellent qualities to cancel them out.
Atomic Heart is a deeply ambitious, highly imaginative, and consistently impressive atompunk-inspired attempt at picking up where the likes of BioShock left off – something it’s done with a lot of success. It certainly makes missteps, chiefly with an irritating leading man and a self-indulgent habit of using the same tired tropes it tries to make fun of, but this stern, superpowered, and stringently solo shooter has worked its way under my skin despite these flaws. Atomic Heart didn’t always blow me away, but it definitely has the ticker to punch well above its weight. – Luke Reilly
Company of Heroes 3 Multiplayer
It doesn't have the bells and whistles that you might consider standard in a competitive RTS in 2023, but the core experience of Company of Heroes 3 is what really matters. What I'm saying here is that CoH3 has heart – it has that special something where moving your units to outplay opponents doesn't just look pretty or mean you've played more hours and memorized the metagame, but genuinely out-thought the other player. A combination of interesting army design, good maps, and RTS fundamentals means I'm confident that playing Company of Heroes 3 multiplayer is going to be a fixture of my time off for years to come. – Jon Bolding
Have a Nice Death
Have A Nice Death is a punishing but satisfying roguelike with some diabolically tough boss fights. The darkly dorky setting and office humor lend it more than enough charm to make me want to discover more of its world. But it's made significantly more frustrating than it probably needs to be by very stingy long-term progression and limited defensive abilities in comparison to its huge array of fun-to-use offensive weapons. When I wasn't feeling the discouraging void inside dragging me down, I was reveling in the hundreds of ways I could make these visually and mechanically memorable undead wish they never lived at all. – Leana Hafer
Meet Your Maker
Meet Your Maker is an awesome action game that beautifully executes on a terrific concept. It’s missing some depth in its tools of destruction, has some bugs and wonkiness, and its thin story is a big ol’ nothing burger, but as a starting point for another live-service game from the team that brought us Dead By Daylight, it's extremely impressive. Running through dungeons to best whatever unknown deviousness your fellow player has left for you is a great time, limited only by what the community can concoct, and building your own bases is the ultimate reward for your hard work that never stops being hilarious. As someone who loves a good heist and relishes any opportunity to watch others fall before my evil genius, Meet Your Maker has been hard to put down. – Travis Northup
Resident Evil Village VR
Resident Evil Village VR is far more than just a gimmicky afterthought, adding enough improvements and tweaks to justify fans of both the series and virtual reality reliving Ethan’s not-so-great European vacation one more time. While the controls be a little cumbersome as you take the time needed to master them and the VR perspective can cause a few awkward viewing angles, this is still a very enjoyable return to an already great game. – Taylor Lyles
Sons of the Forest (Early Access)
Sons of the Forest takes everything its predecessor did well and does it a little bit better. And considering how much I enjoyed the original, I can easily recommend this strong follow-up. Exploring a huge, beautiful, deadly island through the changing seasons is a treat on its own. The new base building mechanics could entertain me for days without ever touching the main story. And to top it all off, we have smarter and more unsettling enemy behavior paired with thoughtfully improved combat. It's already great, and it's still in Early Access. With some healthy performance optimization and shining up of an impactful but sloppy ending, it could become incredible. – Leana Hafer
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Koei Tecmo’s Omega Force is using Wild Hearts to flirt hard with Capcom right now. But using a beloved game as the template for a new one isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and Wild Hearts manages to introduce plenty of fun new ideas to the Monster Hunter formula while recapturing it well enough to stand proudly alongside the series that so clearly inspired it. The way it simplifies and streamlines things makes for a slightly shallower package, but its karakuri building adds a fresh new way to interact with the map in its place. And while its lower monster variety is certainly disappointing, I’m still having enough fun that I’m excited to party up with some friends and dive back into both challenging endgame fights and fanciful karakuri decorations alike. – Tom Marks
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s combat plays very differently from Team Ninja’s own Nioh games – more in the mold of Sekiro than Dark Souls – and yet it manages to excel and falter in just about the same areas. When it comes to the clashing of melee weapons, Wo Long is among the best in the genre, full stop. Its action is fast and thrilling, the options for taking down its ferocious enemies are many and immensely rewarding to master, and its deflection-heavy combat is one of the most satisfying since Sekiro. All of those strengths outweigh an overbearing loot system, poor storytelling, and even a disappointing lack of variety in enemies. If not for that, Wo Long might’ve been one of Team Ninja’s greatest achievements – as it is, it’s simply a great one. – Mitchell Saltzman
Whether you want to experience a TV-inspired story of young wrestling talent rising to glory, chop your way to the top at your leisure, take a guided tour of the most humbling moments in the career of one of the greatest to ever do it, or some other more nerdy diversion, WWE 2K23 is worth pinning down. It’s at least incrementally better in almost every way from last year’s entry in that combat feels more rewarding, flexible, and consequential. Where it overachieves, like in MyGM, it starts to finally restore the feeling that we could be on the ramp watching a new golden age of pro wrestling games make its glorious entrance. – Jarrett Green
Review Score: 9 (“Amazing”)
We enthusiastically recommend that you add these games to your to-play list. If we call a game Amazing, that means something about it seriously impressed us, whether it’s an inspired new idea or an exceptional take on an old one. We expect to look back at it as one of the highlights of its time and genre.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
You know you’ve just played something special when you’re left with a bittersweet feeling while the credits roll. As I closed the book on Bayonetta Origins, I kept thinking about how it was an absolute joy through and through. From its impressive, fantastical story moments full of childlike charm to its clever platforming puzzles and satisfying battles, this is a superb action-adventure where every piece comes together to create a wondrous playable storybook. Its wild dual-character concept doesn’t really evolve much once you get the hang of it, and maybe its conclusion could have done more to leave a lasting impact. But it’s a journey I’ll cherish all the same, and one that’s been brought to life through a beautiful art style, stellar voice performances, and an outstanding soundtrack. Bayonetta Origins puts a neat little bow on an iconic franchise, and I’m glad we got to see that there was so much more to our beloved witch. – Michael Higham
Dead Space Remake
With its stunningly redesigned spaceship, smartly and subtly enhanced story, and spectacularly reimagined action scenes, Motive Studio has managed to successfully breathe new life into the seminal sci-fi horror universe of Dead Space. Despite the fact I’ve returned to the 2008 original several times over the years and found it to hold up fairly well, my latest journey through the darkened hallways of the USG Ishimura still managed to consistently surprise me and pull me into Isaac’s plight far more than ever before, while still satisfying my desire to butcher undead astronauts with an enjoyable arsenal of wildly unsafe mining tools. It’s clear that this superb Dead Space remake has been a labour of love for the team at Motive Studios, who’ve very carefully balanced innovation and renovation with preservation, and to their credit the end result is undoubtedly the definitive way to experience – or re-experience – one of the best survival horror shooters that Capcom never made. – Tristan Ogilvie
Fire Emblem Engage
It’s no small feat that Fire Emblem Engage is able to tell a simple-but-fun story that celebrates the vast history of its series in a way that doesn’t rely on prior knowledge of that legacy. Building the perfect team of diverse characters and pairing them with the Emblem Rings of past heroes allows for tons of customization and strategy, and blasting through the enemy ranks with their special powers is always immensely satisfying. Both its main and side missions provide a good deal of challenge, and clever twists and obstacles offset a reliance on overly familiar mission objectives. Couple all that with a suite of quality-of-life improvements that immediately feel vital and Fire Emblem Engage proves itself worthy enough to be counted alongside the legacy it honors so well. – Brendan Graeber
Gran Turismo 7 VR
Gran Turismo 7 is the same amazing simulation-focused racer it always has been, but playing in a PlayStation VR2 headset has elevated it in ways I wasn’t expecting. Driving its intense and alluring races in VR adds such a high level of tactility that you can physically feel the tweaks you make to your car, demystifying a lot of the otherwise intimidating optional customization for the average player. It also looks stunning, making up for flat menus and the lack of interactivity in its cabins with impressive lighting and audio alike. If you’re buying a PlayStation VR2 headset anyway, and you had to buy just one game to keep you busy for an indefinite amount of time, make it this one. – Gabriel Moss
I swear Hi-Fi Rush could be a premier cartoon series. It’s got best-in-class animation, endearing heroes to cheer for, and villains you love to hate, all wrapped in good-natured humor. But on top of that everlasting charm, it turns a dynamic rock soundtrack into its greatest weapon, putting meticulous detail into syncing the beat to all aspects of the experience. It gives combat a uniquely satisfying momentum that other stylish-action games don’t offer, even when the platforming and targeting system drop a couple notes along the way. Hi-Fi Rush is a memorable journey that marches to the beat of its own drum and without a doubt stands among the action greats. – Michael Higham
In nearly every way, Hogwarts Legacy is the Harry Potter RPG I’ve always wanted to play. Its open-world adventure captures all the excitement and wonder of the Wizarding World with its memorable new characters, challenging and nuanced combat, and a wonderfully executed Hogwarts student fantasy that kept me glued to my controller for dozens of hours. It’s certainly weighed down by technical issues, a lackluster main story, and some poor enemy variety, but even those couldn’t come close to breaking its enchanting spell over me. – Travis Northup
MLB The Show 23
After a somewhat disappointing 2022, it’s amazing how far forward Sony San Diego has pushed MLB The Show 23. It seems like every element has received attention, whether its the improved scouting in the Franchise mode, updates to match the current MLB rulebook, or a vastly more helpful practice mode. This remains a gorgeous showcase for baseball, with some of the most lifelike sights and sounds to behold in a sports game. It remains to be seen if Sets and Seasons in Diamond Dynasty will frustrate in the long run, but the crowning achievement this year is the Negro Leagues mode. This playable piece of baseball history is a triumph, presented with care, grace, and attention to detail. It’s courageous and bold, like the pioneers it highlights, and it’s astonishing to experience something so affecting from a baseball game. If for nothing else, that alone makes MLB The Show 23 a must-play. – Justin Koreis
Pizza Tower is a very special 2D platformer that transcends its inspirations and becomes something even greater. It’s a short ride, and it’ll be most appealing to those who are keen to restart levels in an effort to improve their score, but even if that’s not you, there’s a ton to like here. It is one of the most straight up fun and refreshing platformers I’ve played in recent memory, sporting an unforgettably unique art style, excellent animations, immensely rewarding platforming, wonderfully creative level design, a joyful sense of humor, and one of the best soundtracks of the year so far. Move over Wario, Peppino Spaghetti is-a number one now. – Mitchell Saltzman
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is full of charm and nostalgia alike, with cutesy versions of my favorite Final Fantasy characters and excellent remixes of the iconic songs that accompanied them. The light RPG mechanics, coupled with traditional rhythm mechanics, is easy enough to get into and deep enough to entertain fans of both. It's a little bit of a letdown that there isn't any storyline for your party of heroes to follow or another hook to keep me playing beyond beating my own scores in Endless mode, but its impressive tracklist makes Theatrhythm Final Bar Line an enjoyable way to listen to and play along with the most memorable songs from the Final Fantasy series. – Jada Griffin
Review Score: 10 (“Masterpiece”)
Simply put: this is our highest recommendation. There’s no such thing as a truly perfect game, but those that earn a Masterpiece label from IGN come as close as we could reasonably hope for. These are classics in the making that we hope and expect will influence game design for years to come, as other developers learn from their shining examples.
Metroid Prime Remastered
Metroid Prime has been one of my favorite games for decades, but I’m still shocked that its bones are so strong. 21 years later, in 2023, Metroid Prime Remastered had to do so little beyond modernizing the controls and updating the graphics to become one of the best games you can buy once again. This ultimate solo mission is a respite from the noise of hint-giving companions and lengthy cinematic cutscenes that make up much of today’s single-player games. Those things have their place, but Metroid Prime Remastered shows that you can tell a story and create a grand adventure by building an amazing world and creating unique and fun tools to explore it with. I strongly encourage you to delve into Metroid Prime Remastered, and get lost. – Samuel Claiborn
Resident Evil 4
Whether you're a fan of the original or a newcomer with a hankering for some action-heavy horror of the highest quality, Resident Evil 4 is like a parasite-riddled Spaniard: a total no-brainer. Its combat is friction-free but no less stress-inducing thanks to its ferocious cast of creatures, its story rapidly shuttles through a series of action scenes that are diverse in structure but uniformly unwavering in intensity, and its world is rich in detail and full of fun and often snarling surprises. Its improvements over the original are too numerous to list, from simple quality-of-life changes to completely overhauled boss fight mechanics, and with the exception of the disappointingly diminished personality of the merchant, the team at Capcom has barely put a foot wrong. Whaddaya buying? Only the most relentlessly exciting Resident Evil adventure of all time that’s been rebuilt, refined, and realised to the full limits of its enormous potential. A wise choice, mate. – Tristan Ogilvie
What's your pick for the best game of 2023 so far? Let us know by voting in the poll or dropping a comment below!
Jordan covers games, shows, and movies as a freelance writer for IGN.