The Best Gaming Moments of 2023

The Best Gaming Moments of 2023

With 2023 swiftly coming to a close, a quick look back at the twelve months behind us shows a year generously littered with jaw-dropping moments and fist-pumping spectacle. Given the broad swathe of gaming goodness that we’ve all been privy to, here are ten of our best gaming moments in 2023.

Oh, and as a gentle reminder – here be spoilers – so please proceed accordingly.

Taking Your First Steps Into Hogwarts In Hogwarts Legacy

With the Harry Potter movies ingraining its wizarding world into the minds of many young and older folk alike over the last twenty years or so, Hogwarts Legacy was tasked with replicating that most evocative of settings in the sort of highly detailed fidelity that Potter fans would expect. Managing to do just that, the first few steps into not just Hogwarts itself but the surrounding areas of Hogsmeade and beyond, absolutely capture the grandeur of the films with aplomb, thanks to a whole heap of precision detail that brings this digital recreation of Hogwarts to life. 

If you’re a fan of either the Harry Potter movies or books, walking into Hogwarts in Hogwarts Legacy is a breathtaking experience to say the least and will likely remain unequalled for quite some time.

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Realising You Can Talk To Animals In Baldur’s Gate 3

A social calendar destroying RPG with depth and sophistication to spare, the sheer breadth of shenanigans that you can get up to in Baldur’s Gate 3 is dizzying to say the least. One of the most notable activities that you can get up to in Baldur’s Gate 3 though, is that via various arcane means, you can actually engage in conversation with all manner of different animals. 

As you might expect, the results are both varied and hilarious, as you end up chewing the fat with loyal doggos, unhinged street cats and more besides. Perhaps the best thing about this mechanic though, is that not every animal you speak to is necessarily that switched on and so you can quite easily end up in a dialogue that largely consists of feral grunts and instinctual hang ups, totally changing your approach as a result.  

The Return Of Suplexes In Resident Evil 4 Remake

Despite the fact that Resident Evil 4 was supposed to be a super serious and po-faced survival horror affair by and large, the fact that you could bust out suplexes like Kurt Angle on your stunned enemies all the way back in 2005 was arguably a defining trait of that original release. 

Fast forward some eighteen years and imagine my relief and joy to discover that in Resident Evil 4 Remake you can still cap someone in the knee, wheel around behind them and then hoist them backwards up in the air before dropping them back down to Terra Firma and shattering their skull like an exploding melon. Oh Resident Evil 4 suplexes, how I have missed thee.

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Omni-Man’s Television Show Accurate Fatality In Mortal Kombat 1

Continuing Mortal Kombat’s long and proud tradition of introducing celebrity characters as downloadable content, Mortal Kombat 1 has somewhat managed to outdo itself with its presentation of Omni-Man, the brutal Viltrumite that serves as the primary antagonist of Robert Kirkman’s superb Invincible comic and Amazon Prime television show. 

Specifically, Omni-Man’s final episode horrific attack on his son Mark is recreated in its full bloody glory here, with the vicious Viltrumite’s fatality being that he holds up the prone body of his hapless opponent as a subway train crashes through them both, leaving Omni-Man’s opponent missing just about everything from the neck down and utterly eviscerating everybody inside the subway train at breakneck speed in the process. It’s simultaneously one of the best and most gruesomely over-the-top fatalities that the Mortal Kombat franchise has ever seen. 

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The First Ten Minutes Of RoboCop: Rogue City 

Given that decades have passed since the last decent RoboCop game, it’s fair to say that AA studio Teyon had its work cut out, but alas, RoboCop: Rogue City’s first ten minutes absolutely proved the doubters wrong and then some. 

Quite simply, this game is weapons grade catnip for RoboCop fans, as you find yourself stomping through a building, blasting punks to pieces through RoboCop’s iconic greenscale UI, chokeslamming them into (and often through) walls and all the while a rendition of Basil Poledouris’ score soars to an epic crescendo in the background. RoboCop: Rogue City makes you feel exactly like RoboCop and sometimes that’s just what you need from a video game. 

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Beating A Zombie To (Un)Death With Their Own Arms In Arizona Sunshine 2

Essentially Dead Island in VR with a dash of Bandai Namco’s long-forgotten actioner Dead To Rights, Arizona Sunshine 2 is a first-person shooter that prides itself not just on the amount physical destruction you can inflict on your undead foes, but also the creative ways that you can dispatch them. 

Case in point – you can hack off the arm of an incoming zombie, pick up that arm and then proceed to bash in the noggin of the face-muncher coming up behind them. It’s unabashedly great fun, not least because it provides a lot more creative latitude for mashing zombies than efforts like this normally provide. 

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Alan Wake 2’s ‘We Sing’ Initiation Sequence

Arguably the highlight in a game that overflows with them, Alan Wake 2’s ‘We Sing’ Initiation sequence is unlike anything I have ever seen and is a gaming moment which bears the oddball signature of developer Remedy through and through. As Alan makes his way through the Dark Place and into what looks like a television studio, he finds his trek through this ethereal place interrupted by a thunderously live action, 20 minute long sequence in which the cast of the game perform a cool jig to ‘The Herald of Darkness’, a track that was written and largely performed by The Old Gods of Asgard – Remedy’s favourite fictional band that is actually the alter-ego of Finnish rock band Poets of the Fall. 

It’s a gloriously wacky and creatively brave scenario to say the least and one that will linger long in the consciousness of players for years.

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Watching Assassin’s Creed Mirage Emulate Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Even though Splinter Cell: Blacklist is well over a decade old at this point (oh, how time flies), it would seem that the team behind Assassin’s Creed Mirage hasn’t forgotten about Samuel Fisher and his slick murder skills. This is because main protagonist Basim can actually use the Animus itself to slow down and glitch the very fabric of time, allowing him to pinpoint multiple targets in advance and then assassinate them all within just a second or two. 

While the striking similarity to Sam Fisher’s ‘mark and execute’ mechanics might not be to the taste of Assassin’s Creed purists, watching Basim assassinate multiple foes like greased lightning is still immensely cool all the same and helps to set Assassin’s Creed Mirage apart from its franchise stablemates.

The Neat Bait & Switch Of WWE 2K23’s 2K Showcase Mode

For the longest time the 2K Showcase mode, which represents WWE 2K games attempt at a cinematic single-player campaign, had been somewhat predictable. This was because each 2K Showcase mode in previous WWE 2K games would simply have players reliving the greatest matches and victories of whomever happened to grace the cover of the game at the time. With WWE 2K23 however, developer Visual Concepts decided to change things up a bit. 

While the initial announcement that the 2K Showcase mode would centre around perennial superstar John Cena elicited a wave of predictable groans, WWE 2K23 flips the script by having you play as the various opponents that beat John Cena during his storied career, rather than the opposite which had been true for so long with these games. It was a breath of fresh (albeit sweaty) air for a series that was starting to succeed in shaking off its ring rust. 

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Playing As Venom In Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
best gaming moments 2023 - venom

While there’s so much to enjoy about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it’s really when you take control of arch-enemy Venom that Insomniac’s latest superhero joint provides players with a truly satisfying gaming moment. Akin to the effect that the symbiote has on its host, taking control of Venom is an intoxicating experience, not least because it feels akin to The Incredible Hulk as you smash enemies into the ceiling and floor, shatter walls and generally rampage across the Big Apple in a fashion that would do the big green guy proud. 

Few games make you feel quite as powerful as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 does when it allows you to control Venom, such is the destructive capabilities that are at your fingertips when the symbiote takes hold. It’s fantastic stuff. 

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