Gaming has held a special place in my heart from a very young age. Playing has strengthened my connection with family and friends, taught me important lessons through the themes woven into their storylines, and inspired my creativity through interesting characters, zany stories, and amazing settings.
I’m happy to report this year is full of exciting new releases! From the latest installment in “The Legend of Zelda” franchise to remasters of whimsical games like “We Love Katamari,” this year is rife with games that will entertain you for countless hours. These are my top five most anticipated games of 2023:
Nintendo announced in its February Nintendo Direct presentation that the beloved game “We Love Katamari” would be remastered and released on June 2 of this year, complete with new content. This news excited me so much, as “We Love Katamari” was one of my favorite games back in 2005 with its playful soundtrack, fun and wacky gameplay, and unforgettable visuals.
In the game, you’re tasked with rolling a ball to collect items in progressively larger sizes, growing the ball as you roll it, eventually reaching a size so large that you are rolling up the galaxy for your King to recreate the stars. With its nonsensical fun, the “Katamari” franchise makes me feel like a kid again, and I’m so excited to experience it in high definition!
The Square Enix game in the “Final Fantasy” series releases June 22, and with its gripping combat and intriguing story, “Final Fantasy XVI” looks to be one of the best games of the year. It may feel overwhelming that it is the 16th game of the main series, but each one tells a separate story and you don’t have to play the prior ones to enjoy the new one.
“Final Fantasy XVI” is about Clive Rosfield going on a quest to gain control of a dark power to get revenge for the invasion and destruction of his kingdom. I’m looking forward to the kaiju-like battles between the creatures that can be summoned from previous games, which was my favorite new mechanic shown in the previews for the game. For gamers looking for a more serious game in an already beloved franchise, this is the one for you.
“Hollow Knight,” one of the best action-adventure games, is another game getting a sequel this year. In “Hollow Knight: Silksong,” players will play as Hornet, a side character from the first game, exploring the Kingdom of Pharloom. This, along with the new gameplay mechanics that come with it, will be a breath of fresh air for gamers who loved the first iteration and for newcomers who want more variety in their traversal through the game’s levels.
The gameplay of “Hollow Knight” was already so dynamic and its environments were so beautiful, so I am stoked to enter that world again and see how they have improved its already great qualities! “Hollow Knight: Silksong” is best for players who want to challenge their skills, as its predecessor was known for its difficulty, but newcomers with enough patience and determination could also fall in love with the series.
If gamers were tasked with recommending one game from 2017, it would likely be “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” It earned “Game of the Year” from The Game Awards and other gaming outlets, selling 30 million copies to become one of the best-selling games of all time. Its vibrant open world, full of puzzles and thrilling enemy encounters, as well as its non-traditional storytelling, were all aspects of what made the game so fantastic.
Releasing May 12, “Tears of the Kingdom” seems like a brilliant new attempt to add to the already award-winning formula. “Breath of the Wild” was my favorite game of 2017, so Nintendo creating another Zelda game in the same style has me excited about what’s to come.
I’m pleased to share that “Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg” is my most anticipated game of the year. The “Atelier” series is such a gem, with its wholesome atmosphere, intuitive gameplay, and gentle soundtrack that create a unique sense of relaxation. “Atelier Marie” has never been released outside of Japan until this year and its HD remaster looks absolutely wonderful!
The “Atelier” series is focused on the theme of alchemy, crafting various items that help you on your journey as you make friends with other lively characters and go on adventures with them, gathering materials and completing missions. The game’s cute creatures and fun soundtrack make the journey through the many environments very enjoyable. “Atelier Marie” has a time limit like other games in the series, giving you five in-game years to take the alchemy test, while also giving players a new option to play without the stress of the time limit in the new Unlimited Mode.
Games are a very special form of entertainment for me, as the immersive experience they create is unrivaled compared to other forms of entertainment. Whether you have been a gamer for years or you are just starting your journey, I hope you will try out some of the games listed above so you can find a similar love for gaming.