It’s time for our annual countdown to award the very best games this year had to offer. Over the next ten days, we’ll count down our top ten games of 2023.
As always, the votes of each Press Start team member, weighted from #10 through to #1, were collated to compile our collective very best for the year that was. Games worthy of one’s top spot would be awarded the maximum of 10 points and the values would descend down to their tenth selection, which would receive a single point.
A round of rapid polls were utilised to settle dead heats and finalise the top ten.
Although it was the year’s most anticipated game and, at one point, a short-priced favourite to take out the ultimate gong, Tears of the Kingdom was met with unprecedented competition in what has been an unbelievable year for video game releases.
Nevertheless, Tears of the Kingdom absolutely built a technical marvel atop the promise of Breath of the Wild and delivered one of the best games that the series has ever seen. It takes the original’s retrospective plot line and places Link in the fray while offering the same sense of unstructured, joyful discovery.
And don’t forget Ultrahand which helped make almost any intrusive, creative thought a possibility within the game’s Hyrule. It really does seem fitting that the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle has been bookended by two generation-defining The Legend of Zelda titles.
“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom builds upon Breath of the Wild’s robust systems to offer an experience that eclipses the original in practically every way. Not only that, but it works incredibly hard to restore some of the things lapsed players might’ve missed from the traditional Zelda experience, and it pays off in droves. While the novelty of its design will never be as impactful as Breath of the Wild’s debut, Tears of the Kingdom is one of the best Zelda experiences you’ll ever have.”
“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom feels like an immensely fitting swansong for the Switch as a follow-up to Breath of the Wild. A staggeringly ambitious open-world experience with myriad systems that boggle the mind in their complexity and ability to afford creative player choice.
The inclusion of the Sky Islands and The Depths are genius expansions to already vast open world, that add new layers to exploration and the general gameplay loop that encourages the player to make the most of the tools available to them. A worthy sequel, and one of the greatest games in this legendary franchise.”
“The addition of an innovative construction mechanic adds an entire new level of freedom to what was already one of the best expressions of ‘open world’ in the medium. The return of more traditional dungeons complements the small scale shrines wonderfully.
In the history of hard acts to follow, the follow-up to Breath of the Wild must be near the top of the list. Somehow Nintendo’s effort with Tears of the Kingdom manages to improve on Breath of the Wild in almost every way.”
At the time of publishing, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom stands at a 96 on Metacritic.