Jordan Middler's Top 10 Games of 2023

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Marino

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Edited By Marino  Staff

It’s that wonderful time of year when I descend from my throne atop the world’s great video game website, VGC, to get paid millions of pounds by Jeff Grubb to grace the pages of Giant Bomb.

I won’t say much here other than I hope you have all been well in what has been a hellish year. For a much more eloquent take on the situation, I once again direct you to my friend Stacey Henley’s wonderful piece on the highs and lows of 2023 in games.

It is the pleasure of a lifetime to appear on and write for my favourite site. I was in high school when people were leaking phone numbers and China didn’t care, and now I’m regularly on this website that’s occasionally about video games. Thank you all for having me. Baldur’s Gate 3 sucks.

10. Hi-Fi Rush

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Hi-Fi Rush is a game that I loved, even though I feel like I didn’t legally love it quite enough. The vibes are immaculate and the visuals are stunning, even if the hack-and-slash gameplay didn’t tickle me in quite the way I thought it would. It’s a bit Kingdom Hearts meets Scott Pilgrim, and while that should send most people over 25 to an early grave, it turned out to be a wonderful little early-year surprise and the kind of thing Xbox should be keeping on the back burner while it charges forth it's their AAA obsession.

9. Diablo IV

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Diablo 4, Street Fighter 6, and Final Fantasy 16 all came in for review roughly simultaneously. This may sound like gamer Christmas, but it was, in fact utterly anal fissure-inducing with the amount of time spent on one’s arse. It’s a testament to all three games that they all made it onto my list. If you say “the numbers go up,” on this website, the alarms go off, and confetti sprays, but that is the joy of Diablo 4. Imagine making a game so good that you’ll have player play through the same chunk of content across 3 or 4 different betas, then again in the main game. Mind you, then imagine taking all that goodwill you hoovered up during the game’s launch and utterly choking the seasonal content.

8. Street Fighter 6

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Street Fighter 6 is the best Video Game of the year. Mechanically, from a pure, raw video game perspective, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s the kind of game that will have you looking at fight sticks and promising your significant other that you’re not a pervert. But we all know. In what is a hilarious overcorrection to the wasteland of content that launched with Street Fighter 5, Street Fighter 6 includes the single-player mode of my dreams, in the sense that I dream of going up to people on the streets of Paisley and uppercutting them.

7. Final Fantasy XVI

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Ben Starr’s Final Fantasy 16 is a story of the world’s gruffest emo fringe hauling a big sword around the world and slicing things to bits. I am very hit-or-miss with Final Fantasy. I have no real love for the classic RPG era of the series, didn’t really understand it when it came to PS2, and only really got into it during the Lightning saga (lol) but Final Fantasy 16 is exactly the kind of Final Fantasy I’m looking for. Big action, great visuals and a cast of characters that Square Enix should hold onto for dear life (including the aforementioned Ben Starr, who SE should make some kind of FF czar). Sure, it probably doesn’t have much RP in the RPG, but don’t you freaks have more FF14 to play?

6. Starfield

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VGC hates Xbox, confirmed. I absolutely adore the Bethesda-ass Bethesda game. All of it. The mission structure, the mountains of crap you’ll find while looting, the black-and-white moral choices, for some reason, it surpasses the logical part of my brain that should pick these things apart and slides right into the comfort zone of enjoyment. Starfield doesn’t massively reinvent the Bethesda formula, but it does make it better. It’s extremely fun to fanny about in space. I did pretty much everything in Starfield and I’ll play the DLC. I have nothing controversial to say about Starfield. I am deeply sorry.

5. Resident Evil 4

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A remake of *the* survival horror game, updated with Capcom’s absolute god-tier current engine? Come on now. You can bore yourself to tears debating whether or not it should have been nominated this, year, I truly don’t care. It’s a banger and makes a game that every *should* play much more accessible. Also, they made Ramon Salazar look like Thatcher, making him all the more enticing to shoot with a rocket.

4. Star Wars Jedi Survivor

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In my opinion, the biggest victim of this ridiculous year of releases is Star Wars Jedi Survivor. Respawn put out the best Star Wars game ever and people don’t even talk about it. Was it the release window? Was it some technical problems at launch? Are people Star Wars’d out? It’s possibly all of these things, but Respawn only makes bangers and this is no exception. It’s the best Star Wars story in years, too. Despite what the current direction of the live-action Star Wars pantheon might tell you, it’s possible to write a brilliant Star Wars story, in an era we’ve already seen, that references legacy characters, without it feeling like someone doing an unboxing of The Black Series action figures and readying them for the jar. Hell of a game.

3. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

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Breath of the Wild is a 7/10. Now that we’re all on the same page, that should tell you just how much I think of Tears of the Kingdom. The pointless meandering and paper-thin plot of the first game is replaced with much more interesting main set pieces, a better plot (although it’s still Zelda, so it’s graded on a curve), and crafting mechanics that make the game everything that Breath of the Wild wanted to be. Nintendo saw all of those videos of people utterly breaking the first game and thought “Why not show players how to do that?”

2. Marvel's Spider-Man 2

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Spider-Man 2 is so good that it’s almost boring to talk about. The first Spider-Man game was the best 8/10 you’ll ever play, and Spider-Man 2 fixes all of it. The side stuff you thought was tedious? Let’s give all of them importance in the narrative and use them all to introduce new characters or potential spin-offs. Are you some kind of idiot that’s sick of swinging? You can fly now. We also made the best Superman game ever. Miles, the real star of the show, gets the prominence he deserves, and it’s also an absolutely ridiculous-looking game. Also, they kill Spider-Cop! Lovely stuff.

1. Alan Wake II

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RWools

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Jordan's provided some of my favourite GMM episodes this year and certainly some of the biggest laughs. He's very welcome on this website and I hope we'll see more of him next year.

Wait, what's that? Baldur's Gate 3 sucks?! Oh piss off you Scottish prick

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Symbyosys

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He dumps on BG3 but redeems himself with Star Wars Jedi praise, making this an S-rank list. Thanks Jordan.

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doncabesa

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and the kind of thing Xbox should be keeping on the back burner while it charges forth it's their AAA obsession.

Is Xbox obsessed with AAA? They seem far more open to a diverse portfolio than AAA-focused.

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LinusPrime

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I hope to see Jordan in future Game Mess mornings, always a delight to see him on. Very funny dude.

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daavpuke

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Bethesda is pretty good at riding a median of busywork. Sometimes, that's exactly what you need.

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lethalki11ler

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Most "me" list so far, good stuff!