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*Babylon 5 intro voice* It was the year of films replacing games. It was the year of limited funds.

Maybe I'll end 2023 with a proper top ten list if work improves. (December update: nope!)

I didn't play enough new releases to have one single definitive GOTY choice, so this will have to be the first year in about a decade where that's handled retroactively sometime in the future.

List items

  • Absolutely flabbergasted by how much I'm enjoying this. There's still every chance it might lose me, but for now the hooks are in deep.

    Half-a-year-later ninja edit: Star Rail did eventually lose me, but only because I moved 350km away with a day's notice and kinda stopped playing video games entirely.

  • I cannot stress this enough: Engage is a *hard* 360-degree turn and moonwalk away from Three Houses on every fundamental level regarding narrative, world-building, themes, and characterization. If Three Houses was Fire Emblem as a prestige television drama, Engage is Fire Emblem as a Saturday morning cartoon (h/t to either Renata Price or Gita Jackson for that comparison.) Everyone's mileage may vary a little on all of that story stuff, of course; it wasn't what I was looking for, but it has its moments.

    Core gameplay systems are a solid step forward for the series, however. A hypothetical future Fire Emblem that shoves the soul of Three Houses into the body of Engage would probably be the best game in the series, even if I remain mixed-leaning-negative on most of the art direction, especially character design. But heck, if that next entry also just happens to be the long-rumoured Genealogy of the Holy War/Thracia 776 remake then we're in for a real treat.

  • Resurgence pulls off a fairly rare magic trick by nailing the 1990s Star Trek tone RIGHT TO THE WALL, as Captain Sisko once said. On the other hand, it also nails the classical Telltale jank, but this can be forgiven if the writing and performances remain strong throughout, which they appear to be. Patches would be nice to have either way, of course.

    Even in a somewhat rough technical state this is still probably the best single-player Star Trek game in 20 years and all it had to do to get there was to *finally* slip back into the most obvious game genre fit imaginable for the franchise. Even keeping in mind that the bar is set on the ground, hey, nice work.


    Now, to rate Star Trek Resurgence in the proper traditional manner: by comparison to all the other Star Trek stuff that came out in 2023:

    1a - Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Season 2*

    1b - Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 4

    2 - Star Trek: Resurgence

    3 - Star Trek: Picard, Season 3

    * massive personal sentimental value that I will not explain here makes this season impossible to top + SNW and LD exist in a constant dead heat because I'm incapable of choosing between my children

  • The Assassination of Sonic the Hedgehog by the Coward Miles T. Prower

  • TBD

  • TBD

  • TBD.