We've only cleared the first half of 2023, and, yet, gamers are quickly crowning the year more exciting than the last. This summer, a fresh stream of video games awaits your fingertips, from major developers and indie makers.
Fans of the epic franchise Legend of Zelda rejoiced at the drop of a much-anticipated sequel. Others lived out their Potterhead fantasies in Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world role-playing game (RPG) that finally saw its release after three years. And, did we mention that Final Fantasy's 16th main installment is out?
Compared to the 2022 portfolio of titles, we're seeing more cross-platform games, says Nathalie De Brabanter, an Abu Dhabi-based video game streamer on TikTok (@missnatti_).
"Developers are trying to do a lot of cross-play in 2023, meaning you can play the same game, such as Diablo IV, over multiple platforms. It's great for friends, who own a PC or different consoles, wanting to play together," said De Brabanter.
Multiplayer gamers should be able to get the entire friend group on board, no matter if they own a Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 or a gaming PC, to strategise and clear missions. Thrilled to team up? We've listed our gaming expert's top picks of the year, so far, including several cross-platform titles that can be purchased quickly on Amazon.
There's still the second half of 2023 to look forward to, so you might want to sign up for Prime Gaming to play upcoming PC titles before anyone else. De Brabanter and the gaming community at large have their eyes on set on Baldur's Gate III this August, an RPG set in the universe of Dungeons & Dragons.
Plus, the makers of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are crafting a new space-themed universe called Starfield, releasing in September. De Brabanter also calls it one of the most anticipated titles of the year.
For the time being, here are the best video game releases to keep you hooked till the warm weather blows over. Most of these are discounted, thanks to the ongoing sale on gaming essentials. Your Prime membership can get the delivery fees waived on these, too.
1. Best Multiplayer Game: Diablo IV (PS5)
Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo IV is the fourth installation in the multiplayer action RPG series. Navigate dungeons shrouded in darkness and take down enemies that only grow stronger, in the realm of Sanctuary. Unlike the preceding games in the series, Diablo IV allows you to enter an open world, where players can trade, team up or fight one-on-one to improve skills. The best part is that the intricate lands of Sanctuary are fully explorable, dotted with non-linear quests and discoverable towns, so expect a high replay value all summer. De Brabanter points out that Diablo IV will continue to release exclusive characters every 'season', starting July, to keep players invested. Reviewers recommend it to gamers who like turning every stone, and don't mind strategising heavily during boss battles. This cross-play adventure title is available on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, X and S series, as well as Windows PC.
Age rating: 18 and above
2. Best Switch Game: Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Nintendo Switch)
For some gamers, this long-awaited release is the best title of the year. With over 7,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has become an instant hit. The adventure is as entrancing as the prequel, where the protagonist Link continues his search for Princess Zelda. Dive into the familiar land of Hyrule, and explore new areas, from the floating islands in the sky to the quest-filled Depths. Players in the reviews say that the world-building is staggeringly expansive, so there's always more to explore even after weeks. Everyone agrees that it's managed to surpass the previous instalment.
Age rating: 10 and above
3. Best Book Adaptation: Hogwarts Legacy (PS5)
Calling all Harry Potter fans! Did you ever wish you, too, were a student at the wizarding school of Hogwarts? Take a time machine back to the 1800s and live through the events a hundred years prior to the novels. In Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world action RPG, you play a student who ends up wielding an ancient magic that threatens to tear apart the wizarding world. Choose to become a wizard or a witch, and sort yourself into the House of your choice. As you upskill, you'll battle Dark Wizards, goblins and trolls. De Brabanter recommends it to the nostalgic gamer wanting to relive their favourite childhood books. Reviewers say that the third-person play is so immersive that they actually feel like a Hogwarts student under training. The title is available on PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Series X.
Age rating: 16 and above
4. Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter 6 Standard Edition (PS5)
A spectacular throwback worth investing in, the latest Street Fighter iteration is a blast from the past. This legendary combat game, circa 1987, features three play modes: fighting ground, world tour and battle hub. You can take on opponents in classic one-on-one battles, or pick a reliable character in story mode for some adventure. Meet newly added characters Lily, Marisa, Jamie and more, who might just crown you as the next World Warrior! You can snag this copy on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and S, Windows PC and more.
Age rating: 12 and above
5. Best Remake: Resident Evil 4 Remake Standard Edition (PS5)
Revisit the chilling horrors of Resident Evil 4 (2005) in this next-gen remake. De Brabanter tells us the upgraded graphics are top-notch, appealing to a new generation of gamers. You don the role of US agent Leon S. Kennedy, who is tasked with rescuing the president's daughter from a secluded European village... infested with sentient zombies. Slash through horror sequences and get a kick out of action scenes - if you're a newcomer, you don't need prior knowledge of the series to enjoy the storyline. Like most titles on here, this is a cross-platform game.
Age rating: 18 and above
6. Best Sci-Fi Game: Dead Space (PS5)
Space geeks with a knack for survival horror will love this 2023 remake of Dead Space. On board a massive mining ship, protagonist Isaac Clarke battles nightmarish creatures, only using his skills as an engineer. The eerie atmospheric audio coupled with vivid graphic details is a treat for the senses, adding to the horror element. The hero is not only at odds with the mutated hostile beings, but his own sanity as well. You have to continuously improvise attacks with Isaac's engineering tools to survive. Play the game on PS5, Windows PC or the Xbox Series S and X.
Age rating: 18 and above
7. Best Indie Game: Lies of P (Xbox S and X)
De Brabanter picks Lies of P as an upcoming title garnering attention from fans of indie games. Think of the children's tale of Pinocchio, but with a wicked twist. It falls under the subgenre of souls-like, for the action game's high level of difficulty, set in a dark Belle Epoque world of the 1800s. The story follows a puppet with a robotic arm named P, who's on a mission to become human. The catch is, you need to lie to become more human, and as you lie, the outcome of the game changes, leading you to a total of three different endings. Preorder this highly anticipated video game that's set to release in September, 2023, for PS5, PS4, Windows PC, Xbox One and Series S and X.
Age rating: 16 and above
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.