Last year, for many reasons, we did not summarize the results, choosing only a special “Iron of 2022”, and we will not do so this time. Starting in early December, numerous websites are already racing to pick the best hardware, games, and movies of the year, as if December itself doesn’t exist and can be thrown in the trash. The sites create surprisingly similar lists of the best that you can easily find on the web. Thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine for this opportunity, we decided to recall the format we used in the first year, or rather the first month of Mezha.Media’s existence in 2021. So we’re going to tell you what we, the editors and authors of Mezha.Media, played, what we watched, read, and what hardware impressed us in 2023.

By the way, it’s very interesting to watch those old recordings now, so if you want, you can recall our games, movies and hardware 2021.

And then we will talk about 2023, and we will probably start with the games. There are no rules. If you want, you can name just one game of the year, if you want, you can mention several or even give your own list of the 10 best games released in 2023.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Oleg Danylov, editor of Mezha.Media

2023 was a very bad year for the gaming industry due to a series of closures and layoffs in leading studios. It is said that the industry lost more than 9,000 jobs during the year, and this is only what we know about, how many small studios ceased to exist altogether is unknown. On the other hand, 2023, thanks to the fat 2020-2022, was very successful in terms of video games that players received. It was really a year of hits.

What impressed me? Dead Island 2, Diablo IV, Forza Motorsport, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, Assassin’s Creed Mirage

But as a guy raised on space sci-fi, I’m going to choose science fiction as my game of the year, and I’m very happy to see it finally return to video games. So my personal games of 2023 are Starfield, The Invincible, Terraformers, Deliver Us Mars and Ukrainian Farlanders. Despite the fact that some of them did not receive the highest marks from me, I really enjoyed these trips to other planets and want to continue.

I’d also like to mention Jusant by Don’t Nod. This is an incredibly beautiful meditative experience that I want to recommend to everyone.

As for the games I played the most in 2023, I’m afraid this list hasn’t changed much since 2021. It’s MTG Arena, Forza Horizon 5, American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2. As you can see, none of these games were released in 2023.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Sergiy Svitlychnyi, editor of Mezha.Media

This year I’ve played Diablo IV the most, I think – I’ve completed both seasons and now I’m waiting for the third season to start in January. As for me, Diablo IV is a perfect “filler” for free time and, despite its flaws, is still the best game in the genre for those who are not looking for full-on hardcore (I once played about 50 hours of Path of Exile, but I never got used to it, unlike D4).

Another game that everyone criticizes, but I played with great pleasure, is Starfield. I like Bethesda’s proprietary game formula, I’ve played almost all of their latest games (even Fallout 76), so Skyrim in Space was also to my taste.

I can’t help but mention Everspace 2 among the lesser releases – I really liked the first part back in the day, and I played the second one with pleasure as well. Despite its apparent low budget, this arcade space game has a fascinating gameplay, and to be honest, I really missed its mechanics in the “space” part of Starfield.

If we don’t limit ourselves to projects released this year, it’s worth mentioning Gran Turismo 7, which I “abandoned” only a month ago, and last year’s shooter Prodeus. I didn’t really want to buy the latter, but thanks to the Game Pass finally launched in Ukraine, I got the opportunity to get acquainted with it – and I didn’t regret it. This is probably the best boomer shooter I’ve ever seen, and I can recommend it to all fans of ‘classics’ like DOOM and Quake from the 90s.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Taras Mishchenko, editor-in-chief of Mezha.Media

I don’t have a lot of time to play games, so I usually have to “catch up” with others and play projects that were released a couple of years ago. So when I had the chance this year, I played Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to one of my favorite games in recent years. An original setting with dinosaur robots, moderate and relaxed stealth, perfectly realized archery, a simple character leveling system, and rather boring side quests in a very large and lively world. Despite all the oddities and drawbacks, it’s the game’s world and main plot that make Horizon Forbidden West a great adventure that can last for many hours.

I would have liked to have had more time to get to know Starfield more thoroughly, because I love space games, although I am well aware that the game is far from perfect. This year, I started replaying the Mass Effect trilogy with pleasure thanks to the Legendary Edition. Despite the outdated graphics, the game’s plot is still one of the best examples of a space opera. However, I still consider No Man’s Sky to be the best game about space exploration, which continues to be actively supported and developed 7 years after its release. It will be very interesting to see the new project of Hello Games developers, who decided to switch from space to a fantasy world.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Dmytro Dzhugalyk, author of Mezha.Media

2023 was one of the most interesting years for me in terms of games, not because of new releases, but because I finally started to sort out my Steam and Epic Games Store libraries, which I hadn’t been able to get to either because I didn’t want to play or because I spent too much time playing Dota 2.

I finally got to the Yakuza series on the third try and got hooked on Yakuza 0, which I haven’t beaten yet, but I’ve already managed to love for the story, humor, side quests, and the fun and gameplay.

I also started to play through the Tomb Raider trilogy, of which only Shadow of the Tomb Raider remains in 2024. I liked Lara’s adventures after my first playthrough of Tomb Raider in 2013, but only now I was able to get to the sequel.

However, the undisputed game of the year for me was Cyberpunk 2077, which received not just an addition, but a whole new life with Patch 2.0. It was a rare occasion when I could not wait to get back to Knight City, get on my favorite bike, and just enjoy the world around me. And the addition of Phantom Liberty only enhanced this experience.

And here are other interesting novelties of 2023, such as Alan Wake II, Armored Core VI or Baldur’s Gate 3 I will leave for the future.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Sergiy Gilyuk, author of Mezha.Media

2023 was a turbulent year for me, to put it mildly, and so I played quite a bit, but also mindlessly – from “let’s bring back 2013” in DOTA 2, to runs in Korean MMOs that lasted for several months, to my first experience in Path of Exile – none of which I recommend doing, unless of course this is not your usual gaming experience and you like this kind of entertainment.

Among the new releases, Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake II were the favorites. It’s a pretty obvious choice, but there’s really something to be said for it.

I was very disappointed with Diablo IV – it wasn’t a bad game, but it lasted only for the campaign, after which there was a massive outflow of players, and neither the first nor the second season improved the situation. But I can’t physically play Cities Skylines 2 because of technical problems. I’m looking forward to additions and updates.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty surprised me with this. It took the Poles more than two years to fix the game, but they did! Well, almost.

At the beginning of the year, there was Hogwarts: Legacy, which I still can’t finish because I need to vacuum the world map and complete all the quests, and it’s even more boring than the average Ubisoft game, and Darkest Dungeon II, which for some reason went under the radar of players, although in many aspects it’s better than the first part, but also more casual.

Among the non-novelties, I can mention V Rising, from which I didn’t expect anything, but I played about 70 hours, growing flowers and building the most beautiful castle in the neighborhood, and Journey, which I have already played dozens of times and will return again.

On the brink of the new year: what we played in 2023

Dmytro Kuryatnyk, author of Mezha.Media

This year, I had much less time to play games than usual, so it would probably be more interesting to share the top games I was looking forward to but had to postpone for later. The list, by the way, is pretty solid: Fire Emblem Engage, Persona 5 Tactica, Dead Space Remake, Final Fantasy XVI, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Forza Motorsport. But on the positive side, it didn’t take long to decide on the top 3.

I was quite prejudiced against Baldur’s Gate 3 from the moment of its announcement, but I was extremely happy to be wrong. Without exaggeration, this is an event game and a new standard in the cRPG genre, a very comprehensive and variable role-playing game that will unceremoniously consume hundreds of hours of your time and ask for more.

Казкова The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom not only managed to fix Breath of the Wild’s shortcomings, but also offered players one of the most interesting item creation systems I’ve ever seen.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 completes the top three. It is a bright and spectacular superhero blockbuster with no pretensions to revolutionary nature. This is a bright and spectacular superhero blockbuster without any pretensions to revolutionary. However, what Insomniac knows how to do is to entertain the player, and the new Spider-Man has once again confirmed this.

I can’t help but mention Alan Wake II here, which is undoubtedly one of the best games of the year, but not all of the developers’ decisions were successful.

Tell us about your 2023 games in the comments.