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GAME YEAR OF THE 2023

READERS’ CHOICE

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FINAL FANTASY XVI FORMAT PS5 / PUB SQUARE ENIX DEV SQUARE ENIX

While the series is constantly being reinvented, FFXVI might be the biggest departure from the formula yet, eschewing party-based combat to bring lead character Clive to the fore, his Summon-based special attacks echoing the likes of Devil May Cry V. What’s really impressive is how well it all works, combining the epic storytelli­ng of the classics with modern hack-and-slash.

ALAN WAKE 2 FORMAT PS5 / PUB EPIC GAMES DEV REMEDY ENTERTAINM­ENT

The years that have passed since the release of the first Alan Wake don’t show in Remedy’s approach here. The studio’s delivered a stunning genre shift into true survival horror as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Though there’s no way it was easy for Remedy; neatly iterating on the first game’s flashlight combat and the likes of Resi and Silent Hill, this is a whole new beast.

RESIDENT EVIL 4 FORMAT PS5, PS4 / PUB CAPCOM DEV CAPCOM

Heaps of games have been remade in recent years, and Resident Evil ones in particular, but there’s something about this redo of Resi 4 that stands out. Everything you love about the original is here, but it’s been reshuffled and nudged around in a way that simply makes sense. This is a stunning second draft that impresses on every possible level, from visual prowess to tense combat.

BALDUR’S GATE 3 FORMAT PS5 / PUB LARIAN STUDIOS DEV LARIAN STUDIOS

A dense, numbercrun­ching D&D RPG rising high in a popularity poll? It’s something only Baldur’s Gate 3 could pull off, thanks to making that complexity easy to intuit for players, yet still revelling in the player expression it enables. Whether it’s who to cosy up to at camp or which foe to chuck at who when delivering a smackdown, the decision – and the adventure – is yours.

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