Since starting this blog, I have used the first post in September to feature the games I’m most looking forward to playing for the rest of the year. In the first year, I easily featured a half-dozen games, but in other years I struggled to pick four to include. 2023 is shaping up to be one of those years when I struggled to feature five games that I was confident I wanted to play.
To be fair, my “short-list” included 12 games. But of those, only four were what I would classify as “I really want to play these games.” For the rest, they fall in the “While I want to play these, I’m in no rush to do so” category. I’ll still include a few at the bottom of this blog, but they won’t get the same attention as the first four.
Some things to consider
For this feature, I always put some caveats. To begin with, I typically stay away from sports games. In previous years, it’s a no-brainer that FIFA and NHL are games I’m going to play. At the same time, since I’m a current Electronic Arts employee, I’m not including any EA games on this list. To be fair, the rest of EA’s release schedule for 2023 are sports games, I wouldn’t feature them anyway.
On top of that, I only include games that have firm 2023 dates. At this point, the games I’m including are almost certainly coming out this year, I didn’t want to include anything that has a vague 2023 release date. If something changes, then I’ll have to accept that.
Lastly, I’m considering changing this format next year to include early 2024 games in a separate category. For example, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown looks fascinating, but it launches in January 2024. The same goes for Tekken 8. I want to play both, but since they launch next year, they just don’t fit the criteria. If I don’t change the blog to include early 2024, then I might start doing two blogs – one in January to highlight the first six months, then another in July to highlight the last six.
So, here are the four games I’m really looking forward to playing for the rest of 2023:
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty (Sept 27)
In my looking back at Cyberpunk 2077, I mentioned that I was excited about the expansion and that interest still hasn’t changed. In fact, with the continued updates Cyberpunk 2077 has been getting over the last few months, I’m even more excited to get into this one.
Although I played and finished the game on Xbox Series X, I pre-ordered Phantom Liberty on PC. Meaning, I also bought the main game there as well. I still haven’t gotten to the point where you’re supposed to for the Phantom Liberty content to become available. Thankfully, it doesn’t require you to beat the original game to unlock it. I started a new character (gender and backstory), so I’m getting to see new stuff I didn’t in my first play-through.
Forza Motorsport (Oct 9)
Although I haven’t been tracking the development of Forza Motorsport, that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to getting onto the track and racing. Since I posted my review of Gran Turismo 7 last year, I haven’t gone back and there was nothing that enticed me into doing so. But with Forza, I’m just hoping that everything that disappointed me with the GT7 isn’t replicated.
I’ve always enjoyed the race variety that the Forza games offer. They are also much more giving when it comes to earning new cars, especially those on the exotic side of things. So many of the best cars in GT7 felt unobtainable, but that was never a problem with previous Forza games. If that’s the case again here, I’ll be very happy.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name (Nov 8)
The latest Like a Dragon game technically shouldn’t be on this list. While I enjoy this series and have written about my love for it, I’m still very behind. I haven’t touched Yakuza: Like a Dragon or even Yakuza 6 lately and I’m nowhere near finished either of them. Heck, I recently bought Like a Dragon: Ishin! and that’s installed but still haven’t tried it out. But, as a fan of the series, I know I’ll eventually get around to playing it.
Based on data from How Long to Beat, Yakuza 6 is only about 20-35 hours long. If that’s the case, I can probably finish it over September. From what I’ve read, it’s probably good to know the events that happened in that game to better understand the events in Like a Dragon Gaiden. Even if I don’t get my hands on this on launch day, I’m certain I’ll be playing at some point soon.
Super Mario RPG (Nov 17)
This is a bit of a cheat since it’s not a new release. However, what’s crazy is that I was playing an emulated version of this game on my Analogue Pocket just weeks before Nintendo announced the remake. In my first write-up, I had the Link’s Awakening remake on my list, but I was a little disappointed with how it turned out. Hopefully, that’s not the case here.
Most of my gaming in 2023 has been RPGs. I put in nearly 100 hours into Octopath Traveller II, I spent some time playing Final Fantasy IV for the first time, and let’s not forget the countless hours I’ve been into the various Trails… games over the past year. With Super Mario RPG, I’m expecting a more light-hearted RPG, that isn’t a 40-60 commitment. I need some light-hearted gaming and this looks like it will fit that need.
Games just missing out
Starfield (Sept 5)
The review embargoes for Starfield went live less than 24 hours ago. At first, I had zero interest in Starfield and didn’t bother following any of the coverage. But over the last few weeks, I’ve started to see and read a bit more, which has piqued my interest. Reviews have been where I was expecting them to be, a good game but not something incredible. As a Game Pass subscriber, I already have this preloaded and ready to go. I’m just still undecided if I want to fork over the extra 40 dollars to start early.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage (Oct 4)
I have a love-hate relationship with Assassin’s Creed. I own every single mainline AC game, but I haven’t finished one since Black Flag, which was 10 years ago. Not only that, the games have gotten so long that I just can’t invest the time needed to finish them. If what they say about Mirage is true, then I can handle the game’s length. I also like the Middle-Eastern setting, so that’s another plus. Again, I’ll wait and see before taking the plunge.
Spider-Man 2 (Oct 19)
I haven’t touched my PlayStation 5 much this year. Most of my gaming has been Switch, Steam Deck, or my PC. Although I finished the first Spider-Man on the PS4, I hated the game’s combat. The swinging and exploration were fun, but all the repetitive combat never deviated from the same mechanics time and time again. Miles Morales was no different, and while I started it, I could never muster the strength to finish it. But, I still want to see how this turns out and word of mouth will dictate if I spend the money to play it.
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden (Nov 7)
I only just learned about this game during Gamescom 2023. I enjoy Action-RPGs and this looks like it could be fascinating. They recently released some gameplay footage and that hasn’t swayed me one bit. This will probably fall under the radar for most people, but I am keeping my eyes on it and hope it turns out well.
Plus, a pretty extensive backlog
I’m always using the rest of the year to catch up on other games from earlier in the year that I just didn’t have time for. I recently started Tears of the Kingdom. I’ve been fooling around with Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, and a few other PC games. Heck, I got a free copy of Resident Evil 4 when I upgraded my GPU, so that’s another game I want to jump into. There are many more games released just this year that I need to figure out a way to play, even if only for a couple of hours.
Hopefully, there are a few more surprise releases or games that come out of nowhere that I just have to sample. At the same time, I need to post here more often because I love sharing my thoughts and I just haven’t had the time to do so. But, whenever I have the chance to share my thoughts, I will.