We now reach the end of 2023 and with that the end of the first month of activity of ABXY. I wasn’t expecting to have already five posts in such short time period, but here we are. Anyway, thank you for reading my stuff, regardless of if you read everything so far or if you just found this humble blog.
Let’s now focus on today’s topic: What have I been playing during this year. Not a lot to be honest, comparing at least with previous ones, if we consider only game variety. It was a year where I invested a lot of time into western and japanese RPGs, genres notorious for their lengthy narratives and all kinds of griding activities. No wonder I didn’t have time for much else. In a year jam-packed with fantastic releases (some may argue it was one of the best years ever in that regard), very few ended in on my 2023 playthrough. Only three new titles, with two of them being remasters or remakes, had my attention during this last 12 months. However, there are still a few games released this year I want to play, like Pikmin 4 and Fire Emblem Engage. Hopefully, next year I will be talking about them right here.
Without further ado, here are all the games I finished this year, listed by finishing date:
Persona 5 Royal
RPG / PS4 / 132 hours
Persona 5 Royal consumed a gigantic amount of my time during the first months of the year. Even though is a japanese RPG, the game (and by extension the whole series) stays away from the typical medieval or dystopic fantasies, with the action occouring on a current day Tokyo setting, which make the characters more relatable and the lenghty story more gripping. This was by far the biggest single player game I ever played. Luckily it was also an absolute masterpiece, recieving the distinction of my favourite of the entire year. As so, I will give it a full review soon.
Metroid Prime Remastered
Action-adventure / Nintendo Switch / 25 hours
What a surprise this remaster was. The Gamecube original was already a masterpiece, reinventing the Metroidvania subgenre in a 3D first-person perspective, and yet Retro Studios (the developer behind it) managed to improve the few flaws the game had, turning it into something truly perfect. It’s no exaggeration to say that Metroid Prime Remastered is one of the best looking games in the Nintendo Switch library.
Racing / PS4 / 9 hours
I like racing games that deliver some plot and Grid Legends promised exactly that, with a campaign following a structure heavily influenced by the Netflix series Formula 1 Drive to Survive. We play as a rookie for the underdog team, obviously, during two seasons of the fictional Grid Series, and between races we are presented with some cutscenes in a behind the scenes documental style, where we are introduced to the members of our team and some rivals. Sadly the campaign end up feeling a bit short and the rest of the content isn’t nearly as interesting. At least the few hours I spent with it were quite enjoyable.
Action-adventure / PS4 / 25 hours
I never had much interest in superheroes, but if I had to mention my favourite I would say Spider-Man. That alone raised my consideration for this Marvel’s Spider-Man, but even if we ignore the iconic web slinger, this is a great action game. Although, after a couple hours, the game starts to be a tad repetitive. I must admit that I was expecting a bit more variety from it, considering the high acclaims it had on its release.
Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp
Turn-based strategy / Nintendo Switch / 45 hours
Advance Wars 2 was one of THE games of my childhood, as so, when I saw the announcement of its remake (alongside its predecessor), I knew it was a day one purchase for me. All things considered it was an extremely faithful remake, gameplay wise. The biggest difference laid on the new art style. The toy box aesthetic wasn’t my favourite, must admit, but it had grown on me. Nonetheless, behind the cartoonish aspect, this are two of the best-turn based strategy games ever made, rolled into a sleek package.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Action-adventure / Nintendo Switch / 90 hours
Tears of the Kingdom was the game I was most eager to play this year and it’s safe to say that it didn’t disappointed, even considering the unreasonably high expectations upon its release. It was bigger and better than its predecessor in almost every aspect. Although this time around the surprise factor wasn’t as huge as with Breath of the Wild. Nonetheless, it was still my second favourite game of the year. This one will also receive a full review here later on.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Action-adventure / Nintendo 3DS / 28 hours
That’s right, I played two Zelda titles in a row. Well, actually, I had an abandoned save file on my 3DS and finally got the motivation to finish it once and for all. I now understand why Ocarina of Time is one of the most acclaimed games of all time, being a timeless epic adventure.
Action RPG / PS4 / 66 hours
You may not know, but I already wrote a review for this game. You can check it here.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Action-adventure / Nintendo Gamecube / 20 hours
Metroid Prime 2 is centered around two parallel worlds, one of light and other of darkness. Not a novel concept, but one always with huge potential. In theory it seemed like a fantastic idea, but unfortunately made the game unecessarly repetitive. It certainly didn’t help that the entire dark world was engulfed in a purple mist, making it very unpleasant to look after a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good game, but I didn’t liked it nearly as much as its predecessor.
Gran Turismo 7
Racing / PS4 / 36 hours
GT7 is one of those titles where the experience changes dramatically depending on the input used. It plays fine with a controller, but with a proper racing wheel and pedals this game takes on a whole new life. It’s by far the best racing experience I’ve had at home. The only problem with it is the extremely aggressive monetization. Some cars are prohibitively expensive just to encourage players to buy them with real life money, or grind to death for the necessary credits. Otherwise, how would I put my hands into the legendary McLaren MP4/4?
Persona 4 Golden
RPG / Nintendo Switch / 93 hours
After enjoying Persona 5 so much, my interest for the whole series sparked almost immediately. So, logically I decided to explore its previous main entry. While similar in its gameplay structure, Persona 4 setting and story are much more intimate, with the main narrative focusing on a serial murder case in a small japanese town. With no surprise it turned out to be my third favourite game of the year, completing my podium of favourite games of 2023. Just like Persona 5 Royal and Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, Persona 4 Golden will also receive a full review on this very blog.
Action-RPG / Xbox 360 / 42 hours
This was the first Fallout game I ever played and the first Bethesda Game Studios game I ever finished. I already spent some time with Skyrim in the past, but got myself distracted with the endless side quests. This time I forced myself to not steer too much away from the main story. Soon I realised that the main story of Fallout 3 wasn’t all that great, apart from an amazing mission involving a virtual reality. What makes this game truly special is all the smaller side stories happening all around the wasteland and the freedom we have to determine their resolution.
Panzer Dragoon: Remake
Rail shooter / Nintendo Switch / 2h
To close the year I played the first game in one of Sega’s most underrated series, Panzer Dragoon, in its remade version. While the visuals were completely overhauled to make justice to the amazing art direction of the original, the gameplay remained intact, apart from an optional new control scheme. Also worth noting is the new reimagined soundtrack, making it stylistically closer to the sound of its sequel (that for me is the absolute best in the series).
And that’s all! As I mentioned before, you can expect reviews of the three games I enjoyed the most in 2023, Persona 5 Royal, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kindgom and Persona 4 Golden, here at ABXY. See you next year!
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