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.
Remedy has been a household name at Press Start since we declared Control as one of our games of last generation, but there’s no question that the long-anticipated sequel to Alan Wake is a step above even that after reinventing itself as a narrative-driven, survival-horror juggernaut.
And for it to land a spot higher than the remake of one of the formative survival-horror games in Resident Evil 4 speaks to the quality of Remedy’s craft.
Though the story of Alan feverishly penning his escape from the Dark Place while Saga Anderson investigates a string of ritual murders in Bright Falls makes for a tense thriller, weaving their duelling narratives together into a staggeringly obscure, yet somehow cohesive, campaign will forever remain an enormous achievement.
And let’s not forget the “We Sing” chapter, which struck an incredible chord with players.
“While I’m sure there were countless drafts and edits throughout the journey to this point, this Alan Wake II is proof that great things come to those who wait. Like breaking through after a thirteen year stretch of writer’s block, I can only imagine the sense of relief in letting this monster of a game loose.”
“Alan Wake 2 is the kind of game that a studio delivers when emboldened with the time, experience and technology to chase a vision relentlessly. It’s a shot in the arm to multiple genres and storytelling techniques that somehow blends survival horror with art house in a way that makes cheesy heavy metal dance numbers feel right at home next to haunted nursing homes.
There are components of the thing that rub, lake-worn struts left to prop up mechanics abandoned in favour of perfectly crafting the next mind fuck, but I think that’s what I love most about Remedy and this game. I rarely feel the urge to replay a game at all, let alone almost right away, but with Alan Wake 2’s big New Game+ update out that’s absolutely how I’m spending these holidays.”
James B said:
“So much has already been said about Alan Wake 2 but there’s no denying that the game combines a compelling narrative and immersive atmosphere to deliver a horror experience like no other. Delving deeper into the horror genre than its predecessor, it’s a gripping and intricate story that’s engaging from beginning to end. It doesn’t hurt that the game is visually stunning either, offering up just a glimpse into what Remedy are able to achieve with their now signature Northlight engine and the power of the new technology afforded to them by next gen hardware.
The attention to detail, the haunting soundtrack and the meticulously crafted environments all help to create a sense of immersion that’s, quite frankly, unparalleled in videogames. And that’s what makes Alan Wake 2 so impressive. From a core gameplay perspective, it’s not doing a lot new and liberally borrowing games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. But it’s the way it takes this formula, twists it, and adds its own unique spin to the proceedings to offer up an experience like no other.”
At the time of publishing, Alan Wake II (for Xbox Series X) stands at a 94 on Metacritic.