The Best PC Game of 2023 - IGN (2024)

In a time when just about everything (other than Nintendo games) is coming out on PC alongside the Xbox and PlayStation (eventually), it’s become the great intersectional platform. There are games that are only on PC, games that are on PC and Xbox but not PlayStation, games that are on PC and PlayStation and not Xbox, and games that are on PC and Switch but neither Xbox nor PlayStation. That means there was a terrifically wide range of nominees in the running for PC Game of the Year for 2023 – including quite a few that would’ve easily made this list if they’d come out in any of the past several years instead. What stands out is that, in a conversation that spanned all genres, RPG dominated the top of the list almost entirely – but each of them is wildly different from the others.

The Best PC Game of 2023

Runner-Up: Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

The Best PC Game of 2023 - IGN (1)

What a run Cyberpunk 2077 has had. When you consider its initial rocky and divisive launch in the final days of 2020 (when it was very clearly at its best on PC) all the way to this past September’s near-universally acclaimed redemption thanks to its spectacular Phantom Liberty expansion – the reason it was eligible for this award – and the accompanying 2.0 revamp patch, there are only a handful of games that can claim to have won back gamers’ love after letting so many down. But this spy story, which stars the likes of Idris Elba and features the return of Keanu “No, You’re Amazing” Reeves, earned that label by touching on the mature themes of near-future technological paranoia in its many morally gray scenarios you must weigh in on. All of that takes place in a brand-new section of Night City that’s loaded with environmental storytelling and hidden quests waiting to be uncovered, and all of it makes a replay of the entire original story – complete with a new ending exclusive to Phantom Liberty – feel inevitable.

All of that is true no matter where you play Phantom Liberty, but CD Projekt Red deserves special mention for fully leaning in on PC and pushing graphics technology to make use of today’s highest-end GPUs.

Runner-Up: Diablo 4

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There’s never been a Diablo game that wasn’t best played on PC, and Diablo 4 is no exception. Instead of seeking to reinvent or revolutionize the gameplay that this hack-and-slash action series is synonymous with, Blizzard doubled down on returning to the dark and gritty look and feel of the first two entries and combining that with the fast, fun, and extremely polished gameplay, rewarding loot, and synergistic class builds of a post-Diablo 3 action-roleplaying game. Even where its post-launch support has left room to improve upon going forward, what we got at launch was a fantastic experience that brought together old Diablo fans and new ones to create new characters and fight our way through a strong story campaign against Lilith and her minions.

Runner-Up: Alan Wake 2

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For a long time – more than a decade – it seemed as though Alan Wake 2 would never happen. Could never happen. The original game is, appropriately, a gaming cult classic; an unconventional third-person action game that created a world in which a crime-thriller writer had to battle against his own creations. The idea that such a weird idea could get a big-budget sequel in today’s games industry seemed improbable at best. Yet not only did it happen, as our reviewer put it, it “delivers one of the boldest and most brain-bending survival horror storylines this side of Silent Hill 2, presents it with uniformly immaculate art direction and audio design, and reinvigorates the series’ signature light-based shooting as though it’s been locked and loaded with a fresh pack of Energizers.” Who doesn’t love an underdog story like that?

Winner: Baldur’s Gate 3

The Best PC Game of 2023 - IGN (4)

It might’ve seemed inevitable, given that Baldur’s Gate 3 received a 10 in its review where the other three you just read were “mere” 9s, but a review is just the opinion of one person. To win any of IGN’s game of the year categories a game needs to strike a chord with a broad audience and bring in the majority of votes from the dozens of our staff who identify as PC gamers – and in 2023, it’s fair to say that the odds of that were stacked against a turn-based fantasy CRPG that was heavily inspired by BioWare classics of old, the likes of which had all but disappeared after the genre’s original leaders chased more action-oriented audiences.

But if anybody could accomplish this heroic feat, it’s Larian: a studio that, with the extremely popular Divinity: Original Sin 2, had already proven its team could craft the sort of epic-scale adventure that reacts to our decisions in compelling ways that so many of us will line up to sink entire work-weeks of hours into, even if it meant buckling down and learning the ways of a deep turn-based combat system that rewards patience and tactical thinking. With Baldur’s Gate 3, it proved that it was just getting started.

There simply aren’t any other RPGs out there that can match the scope and scale of Baldur’s Gate 3 when it comes to complex, well-written characters that will challenge you with choices that make you sweat because you’ve learned the hard way that your choices matter, much less presenting so many of them in such an elaborate level of cinematic detail. With this much ambition on display, it’s no wonder that so many are willing to brave the hazards of harrowing bug reports and forge ahead with their adventures, especially as Larian continually inspires confidence with frequent and aggressive patches. It’s that kind of unwavering dedication to what this type of RPG can and should accomplish that inspires the loyalty of gamers, including those on IGN’s team of voters who – by a wide margin – selected it as our PC game of the year for 2023.

As a seasoned gaming enthusiast and expert, I've closely followed the gaming industry's evolution, technological advancements, and the intricacies of various gaming platforms. My in-depth knowledge extends from the history of gaming to the latest releases, with a particular focus on PC gaming.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the provided article about the Best PC Game of 2023:

  1. Intersectional Platform:

    • The article refers to the PC as the "great intersectional platform." This term highlights the inclusivity of the PC platform, where games are released not only on PC but also on Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch. This reflects the interconnected nature of modern gaming, allowing players to access a wide variety of titles regardless of their preferred gaming device.
  2. Nominees and Categories:

    • The article mentions different categories of games based on their availability on specific platforms. There are games exclusive to PC, those available on PC and Xbox, games on PC and PlayStation but not Xbox, and games on PC and Switch but not Xbox or PlayStation. This categorization reflects the diverse landscape of gaming and the multiple options available to players.
  3. PC Game of the Year 2023 Nominees:

    • The main focus of the article is on the nominees for the PC Game of the Year for 2023. These nominees include "Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty," "Diablo 4," and "Alan Wake 2," with the winner being "Baldur’s Gate 3."
  4. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty:

    • Discusses the remarkable journey of Cyberpunk 2077, acknowledging its rocky launch in 2020 but praising its redemption with the "Phantom Liberty" expansion in 2023. The article highlights the game's mature storytelling, featuring Idris Elba and Keanu Reeves, and emphasizes the game's excellence on PC, giving special mention to CD Projekt Red's focus on pushing graphics technology.
  5. Diablo 4:

    • Describes Diablo 4 as a game best played on PC, maintaining the series' hack-and-slash action while returning to the dark and gritty aesthetic of its early entries. Despite potential room for improvement in post-launch support, the article commends the game for providing a fantastic experience at launch.
  6. Alan Wake 2:

    • Discusses the surprising release of Alan Wake 2, a sequel to the gaming cult classic. It praises the game for delivering a bold and brain-bending survival horror storyline, immaculate art direction, and audio design. The narrative emphasizes the underdog story of a sequel to an unconventional third-person action game.
  7. Baldur’s Gate 3 (Winner):

    • Declares Baldur’s Gate 3 as the winner of the PC Game of the Year for 2023. The article notes the game's impressive scope, scale, and complex, well-written characters. Larian Studios, the developer, is commended for crafting an epic-scale adventure that reacts to player decisions in compelling ways. The dedication to the RPG genre, along with frequent and aggressive patches, has earned the loyalty of gamers.

In summary, the article showcases the diversity of the gaming landscape, the redemption of Cyberpunk 2077, the excellence of Diablo 4, the surprising release of Alan Wake 2, and the epic achievement of Baldur’s Gate 3 in winning the PC Game of the Year for 2023.

The Best PC Game of 2023 - IGN (2024)
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