MKAU Gaming: Games Of The Year (2023)

Wow, 2023 had some definite cracking games, some titles that missed the mark, and some absolute dumpster fires. In saying that though, I like to think the positives way outweighed the negatives this year with so many great video games bringing the laughs, smiles, and tears to the table. This year was also about the little man having their shot at success with many Indie titles making a memorable stamp on the industry. It is hard to ignore that, the proof is in the pudding for many hard-working dev teams.

With a growing cast of reviewers this year the annual ‘MKAU’s GAMES OF THE YEAR’ article definitely has a lot of variety, flavour, and spice as the many different gaming styles and personalities come together. This is what our reviewers; Yas, Whippy, Sammy, Brashy, Redgrave. Ash, Farquad, Cambie, and myself, Senior Editor, had to say. Categories are as follows, feel free to tell us your own favourites in the comments below or on our social media:

  • Stace: Dredge
    From Black Salt Games, this engrossing Lovecraftian and gloomy fishing adventure captured the hearts of many gamers overnight. Exploring the seas couldn’t be more fulfilling as you manage your inventory of supplies to terrifying as you discover what really lurks in the eddying and swirling pits of the ocean depths.
  • Yas: Risk of Rain Returns
    Way back in 2013 Hopoo Games released Risk of Rain, a roguelike with quirky Survivors and a variety of spicy biomes. Risk of Rain Returns, the brand new remaster, overhauls the graphics, adds new Survivors, new items, and more gameplay. It’s a powerful package of absolute mayhem that requires quite a bit of mastery to create the optimum character builds. It still has the satisfying 2D retro feel of the OG but with the updated graphics and quality-of-life improvements feels fresh. 
  • Whippy: Tape To Tape 
    Brought to us by an Indie developer, Excellent Rectangle, and it’s so much fun and a great look into Ice Hockey whilst also being so much fun with cool additions to the game we all know. 
  • Sammy: Pocket Bravery
    Indie-made fighting games have been on the rise lately. With in-depth fighting mechanics, combo systems, and unique character designs inspired by Capcom and SNK classics, Pocket Bravery is proof there is still love and appreciation for 2D fighters.
  • Brashy: Beyond Contact
    This game was created by an Australian developer Playcorp Studios and was one of my favourites, though it was a hard choice this year as I got to play a lot of indie games. 
  • Redgrave: In His Time 
    This game follows the life of a young boy dealing with a lot at a young age his father is gone, his mother is sick and he is the target of bullies during school. It is a touching puzzle game that will tug at your feelings. 
  • Ash: Bleak Sword DX 
    Bleak Sword DX is the game that started my love affair with Devolver Digital. However, there were problems with Bleak Sword DX at the time of review, resulting in a lower score. Bleak Sword DX remains the only game I reviewed that warranted a 10/10.
  • Farquad: Blood West
    Aside from getting my blood boiling with how challenging and unforgiving this game was to play, it had one of the best stories I have played all year. It is a brilliant story of redemption that was brought to life with incredible voice-acting performances from the equally incredible cast.
  • Cambie: Daymare 1994: Sandcastle
    One of my all-time favourites this year was, daymare 1994: sandcastle as it was well developed with great story and action and absolutely blew my expectations clean out of the water.

  • Stace: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    I don’t play horrors per se but I squealed in fear even with my friends when I heard the howls of Leatherface and the rev of his chainsaw from a distance. This game gets your heart pounding as you get stalked around the map. 
  • Yas: Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
    Horror is not my forte, as I tend to screech and run the other way at the first sign of suspense. While it’s not the conventional idea of horror, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is a narrative-based journey that balances mystery, atmospheric spooks, and suspense perfectly. I powered through the scary moments out of investment in the characters, thanks to the strong dialogue and character-building. I couldn’t bring myself to stop playing this ghost story, even at the cost of a good night’s sleep.
  • Whippy: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    I’m not sure if I would count this as a horror title but made me jump more than once and call out for help from my friends Texas Chainsaw Massacre was so much fun and kept the blood pumping because you never knew where Leatherface was lurking with his chainsaw.
  • Sammy: Resident Evil 4 Remake 
    With all the remakes Capcom has been doing in their iconic horror franchise, it was only a matter of time until they got to the game that changed the series forever. The original from 2005 was and still is one of the best horror games of all time, and the remake just makes it even better.
  • Brashy: Little Goodie Two Shoes
    This seemingly sweet anime-style game came with some darkness and horrific scenes that will be burned into my memory forever.  
  • Redgrave: Lethal Company
    Going to have to award this to Lethal Company, it came out of nowhere but has been such a massive success, players are looting moons in a coop horror survival, and with mods, you can easily fill the lobby which brings more chaotic moments and great laughs. 
  • Ash: Aliens: Dark Descent 
    I am not a huge horror fan as I find them too predictable. Consequently, I reviewed very few horror titles and played even less. The only game I played that would be close to this classification was Aliens: Dark Decent, does that count? (**Editor Note** I mean Aliens would make me cry)
  • Farquad: Dead Island 2
    Hands down the most fun I’ve had in a horror game this year. What made this stand out for me was sharing the entire journey through Hell-A with a friend. Surviving the perils of unrelenting hordes of zombies, hacking them to bits with over-the-top violence, and sharing a laugh with a friend just has all the ingredients for a great night in.
  • Cambie: Amnesia: The Bunker
    This was the only game that made me sit in a corner shaking with fear, absolutely refusing to continue forward. With the fear, story, and great overall graphics, all I can say is it was a real spine-chiller.

  • Stace: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
    From the opening introductory gameplay, I could tell there was something special about what this game had to bring to storytelling and entertainment. The use of Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and even Venom really encapsulated what the Spiderman universe should be all about.
  • Yas: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
    Star Wars Jedi: Survivor sees a more hardened and honed Cal Kestis set off again into a galaxy far, far away. With new allies, planets to explore, and Jedi secrets to uncover, there’s a lot more to see and much more to do. Not to mention the awesome feeling of slicing and dicing with a lightsaber. 
  • Whippy: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
    I love jumping in the boots of Cal Kestis again traveling Coruscant in the 2nd title of the series and being an absolute Star Wars fan I didn’t want to put this down. 
  • Sammy: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom 
    Even if the story feels disconnected from the previous game, Link’s latest adventure truly is an adventure like no other that even tops Breath of the Wild. There is so much to see and do on land, in the sky, and in the depths below. The variety of enemies and boss battles provide an even bigger challenge than before.
  • Brashy: Final Fantasy XVI
    Hands down one of the best games to come out this year for me, it was made so well and I think it was because of Yoshi-P’s involvement.  
  • Redgrave: Lies of P
    This is a hard one as there have been so many, I am going to have to settle on Lies Of P such an amazing experience that tested my will. 
  • Ash: Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
    Having a soft spot for the franchise certainly helped. But the capturing of being a Na’vi on Pandora embodied everything there is about the word adventure. You also get to blow up some RDA facilities for good measure.
  • Farquad: Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
    I love a good superhero game and swinging in to save the day. What I didn’t expect to find was such a relatable story, being torn between what makes you who you are and who you’re expected to be and just how different you can become with just a few choices made differently. 
  • Cambie: Hogwarts Legacy
    I’d have to strongly go with Hogwarts Legacy with its detailed spells, tools, enemies and amazingly crafted open world to explore giving a real sense of adventure and creativity for all to enjoy.

  • Stace: Starfield
    I have always had a soft spot for Bethesda and they make some of my favourite titles. To me, ‘Starfield’ captures that adventurous open-world charm that brings with it a plethora of weapons and vibrant and energetic gunplay.
  • Yas: Remnant 2
    ‘Remnant 2’ is a third-person action-adventure with a soulslike feel. Replay value in randomly rolled maps makes no playthrough the same. There’s plenty of level and boss variety, all with unique, interesting design. Bosses are incredibly challenging, but the utter joy of finishing off a particularly difficult one for new mods, guns, and items is unmatched. All weapons feel different and satisfying, exploration is enjoyable and the adventure is even better with friends.
  • Whippy: Pay Day 3
    ‘PayDay 3’ would need to take the cake for this one with it not being completely behind being a shooter. You need to make sure you’re smart about how you shoot or if you want to go in all guns blazing you have that option.
  • Sammy: Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon 
    This series has always gotten bigger and better with each game. The latest entry is its biggest yet as players pilot their giant mech and blast their way through battles of epic proportions.
  • Brashy: Resident Evil 4 Remake
    I am not sure if this counts(**Editor note** you get a Hall Pass), I mean you do use a lot of guns, but it’s the closest to a shooter I have played that I truly enjoyed. 
  • Redgrave: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
    Call of Duty has this in the bag again. MW3 has been my most played game since its release. 
  • Ash: Starship Troopers: Extermination 
    Another category of game I tend to stay away from, as I am not very competitive. Siding toward more cooperative games, Starship Troopers: Extermination is my pick. Being not only a beloved franchise, but the best shooter capturing what the movie was all about – killing bugs! 
  • Farquad: RoboCop: Rogue City
    Honestly, we waited far too many years for this entry to be released and boy am I glad we did. This game is proof that there is still hope for absolute brilliance in Movie franchise-based games, telling an incredible, original story, whilst remaining true to the source material. 
  • Cambie: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
    Hands down with its expansive maps and game modes, spending countless hours on 24/7 terminal and War mode, not to mention the open-world zombies which I thoroughly enjoyed #BringOnTheEastereggs

  • Stace: Diablo 4
    I am probably going to cop it for this one but we really did have a lot of fun grinding dungeons on the initial launch. We all had very different builds, became engrossed in the story of mummy Lilith, and loot goblin-ed to our heart’s content.
  • Yas: Baldur’s Gate 3
    Larian Studios understands the importance of gathering your party together for a fun jaunt through The Forgotten Realms. It’s impeccable solo but with a crew, utter chaos ensues, especially when you’re fighting to romance the same party member, I’m looking at you Greg the Paladin.
  • Whippy: Party Animals
    Party Animals is a physics-based brawler/ party game and I have not laughed so much in a long time being able to jump into a multiplayer title and just let loose and being on Game Pass meant everyone could be involved. 
  • Sammy: Moving Out 2 
    Hours of fun will be had as friends work together (or argue with each other) to load/unload furniture in the most unreasonable and hilariously unsafe working environments. The sequel to the 2020 game now adds online multiplayer to play with your friends further from home.
  • Brashy: Baldur’s Gate 3
    Hands down I have spent hundreds of hours on this game and with friends, I will try to spread the love but just know I could put this game down for all my picks, even sports cause throwing the ball for Scratch is a game right?   
  • Redgrave: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    Going to throw a curve ball here, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my pick I have always had a blast playing this with and without friends. 
  • Ash: Starship Troopers: Extermination 
    As already stated in my previous comment I am not a competitive person, siding towards cooperative games. So, Starship Troopers: Extermination gets my vote again—nothing like blasting those bugs with like-minded individuals. 
  • Farquad: Firewall Ultra
    I know that there are quite a few fans of Rainbow Six: Siege amongst the staff at MKAU. Firewall Ultra is VR’s answer to this beloved game. Great potential to see VR enter the competitive eSport space and do well.
  • Cambie: Counter-Strike 2
    *coughs* Counter-Strike 2 *coughs* now this game brings back memories from being a teenager with CSGO, it is such a fun game to play when you have some spare time and friends lying around to slam some casual or competitive games with good coms tactics overall just a banger of a time

  • Stace: Baldur’s Gate 3
    You can not deny that this game has spunk. It arrived guns blazing after many avoided it during Early Access not wanting to spoil the full release. This RPG has every element in what makes a great RPG and more, gaming couldn’t be more addictive.
  • Yas: Baldur’s Gate 3
    With seemingly endless dialogue, dozens of fleshed-out characters, and stunning worldbuilding, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the epitome of narrative-based RPGs, fusing lore and gameplay seamlessly into an adventure like no other that I will forever be sinking hundreds of hours into, and that’s just the character creator. 
  • Whippy: Hogwarts Legacy 
    The team behind this montorous task created the most magical experience for me growing up and loving Harry Potter being able to explore the grounds and all that surrounded it immersed me into the magical world and still does not feel like I found half of what there is to find. 
  • Sammy: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name 
    The Yakuza/Like a Dragon series continues the epic and emotional rollercoaster story of Kazuma Kiryu. Even for a shorter game, it still packs in so much content that will certainly please longtime fans of the franchise.
  • Brashy: Baldur’s Gate 3
    It is the literal definition of a role-play game, and the best role-play game this year.  
  • Redgrave: Baldur’s Gate 3
    Zero contest here it gave the players everything they wanted and more. 
  • Ash: Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 
    I’m a massive Dungeons & Dragons fan. I know if I had played it or watched any content, I would be putting down Baldur’s Gate 3 however, since I have not done any of those things. I can’t go past Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora for allowing me to be a Na’vi. 
  • Farquad: Diablo 4
    I’ve spent nearly 200 hours grinding away and unleashing my inner loot goblin this year. I’ve suffered many a disappointing death to ‘The Butcher’ and yet here we are still loving it. This season’s content has seen many improvements come to the game and I’m all for it. Slowly but surely becoming one of those games that I just keep coming back to over and over again.
  • Cambie: Starfield
    Ha is that even a question obviously Starfield for me? With most likely my largest amount of hours this year spent hunting down space bandits or making my way through the vast amount of storylines with so much content who wouldn’t love it

  • Stace: Mortal Kombat 1 
    I have to or the boss would fire me. Plus, I suck at both Sports and Fighting games.
  • Yas: Mortal Kombat 1
    The Mortal Kombat universe is no stranger to resetting the clock and this time, it’s going all the way back. Mortal Kombat 1 isn’t a remake, it’s a complete reset of the universe acting as a reboot and a sequel to the events of Mortal Kombat 12. The alternate timeline sheds new light on characters while keeping everything players know and love about the series. Fights are punchy, the graphics are next level and the fate of Netherrealm continues to hang in the balance.  
  • Whippy: UFC 5
    I had the pleasure of reviewing UFC 5 (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and it was one I started playing and didn’t want to put back down how advanced the game is compared to UFC 4 is amazing.
  • Sammy: Street Fighter 6 
    After the incredibly lacklustre release of Street Fighter 5, Capcom aimed to get its iconic series back in fighting shape. With even deeper fighting mechanics, a diverse roster, and the most interactive online features, Street Fighter 6 is pulling no punches. At Evo 2023 this year, more than 7000 competitors from around the world entered the Street Fighter 6 tournament.
  • Brashy: Mortal Kombat 1
    I liked the premise of this game restarting, brand new story also Omniman is cold in this, so good.
  • Redgrave:  Street Fighter 6
    The online and free-roam story mode was the best modes that any fighters have given us lately.
  • Ash: Football Manager 2024 
    WhippyXD being our sports guru, will be supporting the largest list for this big year of sporting and fighting games. *Commiserations dude*. With my choice being pushed to next year, I am left with only one this year. ‘Football Manager 2024’ based solely on what I took away from it and its community. 
  • Farquad: Lego 2k Drive
    What is not to love here? It’s Lego. The possibilities are endless, there is so much to do. Whether you like to get creative and build your very own custom ride, explore the open world and take in a drive, or get your serious race face on and mow down your competition, this has something for everyone.
  • Cambie: Party Animals
    The most fun game to play with your friends while dropkicking your mate to stop him from scoring a goal yes I’m talking about ‘Party Animals’. There is never a dull moment while playing this game always laughter throughout, making your chest all sore.

  • Stace: Dead Space
    I personally didn’t play a lot of remakes this year, but I did watch our very own Techno (Stream team) play this title and it had all the original scares and charm with glossy new wrappings. It definitely bathed the original in the same positive light.
  • Yas: Super Mario RPG
    Super Mario RPG is a remake from the ground up of the 1996 iteration of the SNES classic. It’s a faithful return to a classic with updated graphics, catchy music, and minor improvements to an already great game. The game has the beloved Mario world charm with an RPG twist, turn-based combat, and a fun-lighthearted story to boot. 
  • Whippy: Dead Space
    I’m always a little skeptical about remakes or remasters as they are always hit or miss with how they’re done. Dead Space was done absolutely fantastically. Playing the original back in 2008 it felt like a completely new experience this time around. 
  • Sammy: Like a Dragon: Ishin!
    There are a few ‘Yakuza’/’Like A Dragon’ games that have yet to be released outside of Japan, so fans rejoiced when SEGA finally brought the 2005 game to the West. It takes players out of the streets of Kamurocho and back to the Edo period of Japan. Hopefully, this will inspire SEGA to release their other Japan-exclusive games.
  • Brashy: Resident Evil 4
    Resident Evil takes this one because it is the only remake that I have played this year still a solid choice.
  • Redgrave: Resident Evil 4
    At first, I was like “We don’t need a remake of it” but I am sure glad I am a sucker for RE and played it as I loved it. 
  • Ash: Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition 
    This is a very contentious category for me at the best of times. However, this year it was very easy. Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition not only keeps its roots intact, but it upgraded itself to be a game deserving its revitalisation. 
  • Farquad: Dead Space
    I’m a huge fan of the original Dead Space games and this remake couldn’t have been much better. Never failing to hit all the right spots of terror, excitement, and good old-fashioned head stomping. 
  • Cambie: Dead Space
    They could have just updated textures but no they absolutely overhauled the whole game into an absolute masterpiece with a great original story, horrifying monsters, and the best ‘pew pew’ laser weapon. Not to mention all the other amazing guns to blow all those space monsters far away weeee (*** Editor Note*** Never say weeee again.)

  • Stace: Solomon Reed (Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty)
    Idris Elba, that is all I need to say. Ok, nah, I’ll say more. He is so charismatic in this role as an undercover agent, that he literally almost overshadows Johnny Silverhand… but not quite.
  • Yas: Astarion (Balder’s Gate 3)
    Baldur’s Gate 3’s devs know how to make thirst traps, and the trap that made many a gamer the thirstiest is Astarion, a sassy High-Elf Vampire who makes being bad look so good. Neil Newbon’s award-winning performance is charming, witty, and alluring, leading many to stray on a slightly evil playthrough in the hopes of impressing the roguishly handsome companion.
  • Whippy: Basim Ibn Ishaq  (Assassin Creed: Mirage)
    Basim Ibn Ishaq would need to be my favorite character from 2023 from the title Assassin’s Creed: Mirage which I started playing and luckily had a couple of days off work because I sunk some time into this title and don’t regret a minute of it. How the developers made his character’s emotional side was something that immersed me in the character.
  • Sammy: Kazuma Kiryu (Like A Dragon)
    As someone who’s followed the series ever since the original game was released in Australia in 2006, Kazuma Kiryu has one of the biggest story arcs in gaming history that has spanned four console generations, making him an icon of SEGA and video games. His story isn’t over yet and is set to continue in the upcoming Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
  • Brashy: Clive Rosfield (Final Fantasy)
    This was another hard one to choose Baldur’s Gate has so many great characters, but I still think about Ben Starr’s performance as Clive he put so much emotion into the character, which made the whole experience so engaging.  
  • Redgrave: Leon S Kennedy (Resident Evil 4)
    Going to have to be the legend himself Leon S Kennedy from RE4, The new storylines with the remake made me enjoy him as a character all over again. 
  • Ash: Fuji (Disgaea 7) 
    Me, always me, because I’m just a funny guy – no? Alright then. The immediate one that springs to mind is when I legitimately pointed at the screen saying, “I know that guy, I know that guy”. Alejandro Saab playing Fuji in Disgaea 7 is an outstanding and professional performance that he puts into all his work. 
  • Farquad: Alex Murphy (Robocop)
    It’s Robocop enough said. Having grown up watching Robocop and falling in love with the character it is no contest for me. Hearing the iconic voice of Peter Weller who reprises his role of Robocop delivering those classic one-liners is music to my ears.
  • Cambie: Cal Kestis (Star Wars Jedi: Surivivor)
    With his great looks and personality, being able to see his character growth throughout the game was amazing to experience as an audience; just an overall mad lad I must say.

  • Stace: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
    This is one of the best add-on stories I have ever played, so much so it revived a game that had a reputation at the bottom of the barrel. I always loved Cyberpunk 2077 and it’s good to see its fabulous storytelling is finally getting the credit it deserves.
  • Yas: Remnant 2: The Awakened King
    Remnant 2 as a base game already has plenty to offer, The Awakened King DLC adds even more: more bosses, more to explore, and more to collect. It brings a new storyline and new area in Losomn, a world reminiscent of Bloodborne. There are creepy new enemies, new loot, and an incredibly satisfying new archetype, The Ritualist. While it may not be the longest expansion, its immersive world, and combat keep me coming back again and again for more.
  • Whippy: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty 
    This title opened my eyes up to the amount of people it pulled back into the Cyberpunk game and it let the fans see Night City from a new perspective. I’m keen to see what else the developers have planned for this title. 
  • Sammy: Sonic Frontiers: The Final Horizon 
    This free DLC provides hours of extra content and gives fans a chance to play as Tails, Knuckles and Amy Rose all with their own unique abilities. It also adds new Cyber Space levels with new conditions and even more story with a proper ending.
  • Brashy: Final Fantasy XVI: Echoes of the Fallen
    Again, I love this game and the recent release of the DLC had me excited all over again. Also, check out my review of it. 
  • Redgrave: Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways
    Following the Ada storyline and having new game modes was refreshing and enjoyable. 
  • Ash: Ghostwire: Tokyo Spider’s Thread
    This is the hardest category for me to answer. I typically do not purchase DLC, leaving only that which comes free for me to play. However, Ghostwire: Toyko seamlessly incorporated its DLC with its Xbox release this year. I was unable to tell where the original content was and the DLC content slotted in. 
  • Farquad: Beat Saber OST 6
    You know your game is entering beast mode when you make the epic decision to add a new Dragonforce song to the tracklist. By far the toughest and most physically demanding tracks of the DLC with over 10 blocks per second it will surely bring you close to insanity. All of the tracks are absolute bangers and they all flow so well, that the mappers have outdone themselves.
  • Cambie: The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom
    Its theme of darkness and forbidden knowledge brings on a whole new scene of threats, a story, a new class, and much much more; I’m always a fan of more content especially on games that we already love, keep them coming!

  • Stace: Alan Wake 2
    I did not expect this game to make the impact it did. This supernatural thriller smashed nominations at The Game Awards and won the admiration of many gamers. This is one game that proves monsters wear many faces.
  • Yas: Lethal Company
    Co-Op Survival Horror hit Lethal Company seemingly burst out of nowhere and continues on the rise. Gathering a crew of researchers, your team is tasked with scavenging various creepy locations. While it’s still in Early Access, the player base is already massive thanks to the terrifying and unpredictable moments players find themselves in. It’s an anxiety-wrenching and often hilarious online sensation.
  • Whippy: LEGO Fortnite
    LEGO Fortnite is a late contender but I’m surprised at the amount of people that jumped into the game mode and then kept playing it. I’ll be the first to admit I have jumped into the game mode and enjoyed it and will be jumping back in and it’s a bit of fun to have with your friends in the world of LEGO. 
  • Sammy: RoboCop: Rogue City
    Licensed games don’t have the best track record, but RoboCop: Rogue City is one of the few exceptions. It really puts players in the mechanical shoes of the part man, part machine, all cop hero to deliver justice in Old Detroit.
  • Brashy: Baldur’s Gate 3
    I knew this game was going to be good, but I never imagined it would blow up so much, I cant go 5mins without some news about the game people are still finding new things in the game. 
  • Redgrave:  Zombies Mode in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
    Going to say the new zombies mode for MW3, blending it with the DMZ experience was a great move while the outcry was for a round-based return it seems to of been a great success despite the hate before release. 
  • Ash: Figment 2: Creed Valley 
    Me, starting with MKAU as a reviewer – no, again? This feels rigged. The biggest, unexpected success for me would have to go to Figment 2: Creed Valley. This game not only told a thoughtful tale but captured a feeling in its music that I had not experienced in a game for a long time. 
  • Farquad: Robocop: Rogue City
    I didn’t expect the story to be as great as it was. It had been many years since we had a Robocop game and I was even surprised to even hear it announced as being made. There is still hope for great movie-to-game adaptations.
  • Cambie: Lies Of P
    This caught me off guard with its surprisingly good narrative and its atmospheric world brought to life or as alive as a puppet can get I suppose. With a great story with easy-to-complex fights that really make you wanna go outside and touch some grass but that’s not possible not with lies of P, it’s that addictive.

  • Stace: No XDefiant yet
    The fact Ubisoft teased you with a beta that was so fun and left you hanging for months with no release date in sight is not cool.
  • Yas: The Day Before
    The Day Before was one of the most highly anticipated Steam games of 2023, but it quickly became clear it couldn’t stand up to the expectations of greatness. From going through development hell and overly ambitious plans, gamers began to speculate the game was a scam. While it did eventually release it was buggy, underwhelming, and uninspired. The title fell from grace immediately, amid the backlash the studio, Fntastic shut down a mere week after release, leading this survival horror game to die before it could live. 
  • Whippy: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare III
    The campaign really let the game down. I have grown up playing COD and the campaign was not one I want to remember and not one I see myself wanting to replay like the Black Ops series. The developers should look into going back to their roots with the campaigns for the new generation of gamers that are coming through. 
  • Sammy: Forspoken 
    PlayStation is home to some of the best console exclusives, but unfortunately, Forspoken just isn’t one of them. While it does have an interesting and unique concept, the execution is just underwhelming and leaves much to be desired.
  • Brashy: The 2023 Game Awards
    For an awards ceremony that isn’t televised or really has any restrictions on run time, to only allow 30 seconds to do an acceptance speech is ridiculous and disrespectful, the sideshows got more time than the people getting the awards some of them didn’t even get to make speeches.  
  • Redgrave: The lack of XDefiant in 2023 
    XDefiant not having a release for this year. 
  • Ash: Phoned in Simulators
    What if I say me again as a reviewer starting with MKAU? Oh, now you agree, well screw you guys! Editors are *scratching noises* the best and don’t enter this category *scratching noises*. However, the biggest disappointment would have to be phoned in simulators. I’m looking at you, 3D PrintMaster Simulator. 
  • Farquad: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
    I’m a massive fan of COD and have always looked forward to an epic adventure through the campaign. This year was a massive letdown for me and I hope with all the hope I can muster that they learn from this giant mistake and come back with a campaign that even fans can be proud of completing.
  • Cambie: Lord of the Rings: Gollum
    Now this was a huge letdown on release with the game being basically broken and buggy making playing or enjoying the game impossible everything about this game screamed bad idea but what’s done is done.

  • Stace: Promises that don’t transpire (The Day Before)
    I was so excited about the premise behind this game when it was first announced with its ‘Division’ meets zombies-like concept. Who would have thought it would lead to a dismal release being nothing like it promised and an overall scam job by a now non-existent studio.
  • Yas: Unity’s pricing model
    Back in September 2023, the higher-ups at Unity, one of the most popular game engines in the world, made a mistake that cost them dearly. The cause of this was sheer greed. The new “Runtime Fee” would charge devs for every install when their player count and revenue reached 200,000+ respectively. Even worse, it applied to already released games as well. The backlash resulted in the CEO rage quitting and backtracking on the majority of the changes, but the damage has been done, with many devs boycotting Unity for all their future projects. 
  • Whippy: Hacks at Sony
    Sony has now been hacked twice in 2023 you would think the company worth that amount of money could spend some to increase their security.
  • Sammy: Capcom trying to make Luke the new face of Street Fighter 
    Capcom has been trying really hard to appeal to American players by making what they believe is the ideal American blonde male character Luke, the new poster child of the franchise, appearing on the game’s cover and every promotional material. There’s no way an arrogant and insufferable pizza-loving MMA fighter can replace the nomadic world wandering warrior as the face of Street Fighter.
  • Brashy: Laziness
    This has been big for a few years now and needs to stop, COD MW3 is the main culprit this year, with recycled levels, a tiny campaign, and stupidly expensive cosmetics. More companies need to be like Larian Studios. 
  • Redgrave: PS Portal
    I am going to say the news around the PS Portal, Sony requesting it gets treated as a console for sales and not hardware to me that just seems like a great way to fake unit numbers after their losses this year in court. 
  • Ash: Unity Game Engine Download Fees 
    The worst move hands down would have to be the Unity Game Engine company changing how their business model works. Asking not only existing developers to pay extra for how often a game is downloaded. But retroactively asking developers to pay that money on already released titles. Though the decision has been walked back, the damage is already done making developers’ choices more limited. 
  • Farquad: Too many development studio closures.
    Time and time again this year I’ve seen very talented smaller studios get swallowed up by bigger companies, only to be spat out and closed down when a game didn’t do as well as expected. Where is the support and further development of skills? This kind of one-shot mentality is a bad thing.
  • Cambie: Sony’s PS5 Slim
    Sony’s poor excuse for a PS5 Slim that costs more than the original console costs even more if you buy the disk tray separately, shows a lack of innovation and basically a poor excuse for a “next-gen console”.

  • Stace: Palmaurian
    He will hate me for doing this but he is one of the craziest dark corners of the web I know. Meeting him in a stream of Hunt Showdown, this person and single-handedly helped so many people in MKAU and we are so appreciative of that. Big love and secretly he has a big heart (he’d never admit to it).
  • Yas: Eurogamer
    The team at Eurogamer produced some quality content this year, from lists, tips and tricks, lore videos, and The Break Quest Club there’s always something to keep watchers entertained. The Let’s Plays, especially any time they jump into Lethal Company is a surefire way to stay entertained.
  • Whippy: Cleetus McFarland
    I have been watching this content creator for years but have not missed a video this year and that is Cleetus McFarland. He is living the dream with his cars, planes and whatever else has a motor. 
  • Sammy: Dreamcast Guy
    A YouTuber who shows his undying passion for gaming and shares his thoughts on the latest in gaming news and events. His easy listening style along with us fun loving and relatable personality is what sets him apart from other gaming YouTubers.
  • Brashy: W0lffbite
    Aussie streamer who mainly plays Destiny 2, but dabbles in other games on occasion, is genuine and quite funny. 
  • Redgrave: CorZy
    While he is new to streaming has already hit some great milestones and is a down-to-earth person and very supportive and positive on Kick. 
  • Ash: Ralph at Skill Up
    Me, because if you’re not reading my reviews you’re wasting your time – what? No again – fine! Every week I am always excited to click on Skill Up’s channel on YouTube. I have not only found Ralph to be informative, but also entertaining. 
  • Farquad: Matt K Heafy
    Honestly, I don’t have a singular favourite content creator this year. If I had to pick just one it would be Matt K. Heafy of Trivium. I love his streams and community. Being able to share in their journey as a band and take in some live shows but also going through the creative process behind the scenes as a songwriter/musician. I draw a lot of inspiration from creators like this.
  • Cambie: MrBeast
    This may be cliche but I would have to say Jimmy Donaldson also known as MrBeast, brings a lot of massive world issues to light and is the light for those struggling, setting up food banks and many others while also creating fun and enjoyable content to make the time fly by, until he stops being who he is he will always be my top content creator.

  • Stace: Baldur’s Gate 3
    I really struggled this year, I didn’t play a lot of games so I had to base my decisions on what I have read, heard, and seen as I watched streams and videos online. The pure enjoyment people have got out of playing Baldur’s Gate 3 and the pure passion shown by the dev team should be commended to the highest level. It’s great to see a love for games and gamers beyond trying to push a monetisation agenda.
  • Yas: Baldur’s Gate 3
    To absolutely no one’s surprise, my game of the year is ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’. It takes the incredible Larian Studios formula from the Divinity series and amps it up tenfold, while also paying a loving tribute to ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ proves that the team at Larian are the grand masters of RPGs, storytelling, and worldbuilding. There’s a reason why it won The Game Awards and I couldn’t agree more, in fact, it may be my favourite game of all time. 
  • Whippy: Assassin Creed: Mirage
    ‘Assassin’s Creed: Mirage’ will take the top spot this year for me I love the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ series and Mirage was something that felt like the original games for me but the current graphics and current movement animations and the storyline kept me on my toes for the entirety of it. 
  • Sammy: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name 
    Seeing the character development of Kiryu, Haruka, and more for more than 17 years in a story that just keeps evolving, this series has been a big part of my life. The iconic characters’ bone-crunching beat ’em up gameplay, loads of side activities, and above all, the epic emotional rollercoaster story. Even for a smaller game, it’s a real testament to how impactful the story is of SEGA’s ‘Yakuza’/’Like a Dragon’ series.
  • Brashy: Baldur’s Gate 3
    I mean is there any other choice this game has completely dominated this year and is exactly what gamers have been asking for you buy a game, and you get what you paid for no micropayments, no bullshit, a game that just works and is a good time. 
  • Redgrave:  Resident Evil 4
    For me, it is’ Resident Evil 4’. RE4 Being a massive RE fan 4 delivered so much more than it was expecting and made such a great addition to Capcom’s latest remake additions 
  • Ash: The Talos Principle 2
    An easy pick for me this year is ‘The Talos Principle 2’. Not only was the game beautiful visually, and thoughtful in its sound design. Its philosophical and thought-provoking narrative spoke to me. The puzzle designs are so rewarding that when you solve them, they give you that big brain rush of euphoria. Plus, Devolver Digital was involved :P. 
  • Farquad: Robocop: Rogue City
    As you can see from the above categories this game was a huge hit with me this year. I loved every moment spent with Murphy from beginning to end. Taking down criminal scum has never felt so satisfying. So close to the source material that it could easily be adapted back into another movie.
  • Cambie: Starfield
    I would have to say ‘Starfield’ has been the biggest game for me since ‘Skyrim’ brought the open world to a whole new level, ‘world’ perhaps it would be better to say Galaxy. Hands down my top game of the year!

MKAU Gaming would also like to thank all the developers, publishers, fans, and our amazing community members for all the love, support, and amazing opportunities you have provided us this crazy year as content creators and media. We wish you all a happy holiday and a prosperous, merry, and safe new year gaming into 2024!  – MKAU KREW

Written by: Stacey


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