Svalbard’s Serena Cherry picks her favourite video games of 2023

Serena Cherry – Svalbard’s resident game obsessive – runs down the best stuff game-world has thrown up this year…

Svalbard’s Serena Cherry picks her favourite video games of 2023
Serena Cherry
Jordan Middleton

Hi gamers. You will notice a certain Zelda-shaped hole in this list. That omission should indicate just how frustrating I found the build mechanic in Tears Of The Kingdom! I'd like to acknowledge that while TOTK was obviously one of the biggest and best games of the year in general, it simply wasn't for me.

Same goes for Starfield. I really, really wanted to love Starfield. But that's the beauty of video games: they continue to defy our expectations in all kinds of ways.

Speaking of defying expectations, who would have guessed that a Fishing Game / Sushi Restaurant Management Sim would take the top spot among my games of the year?! Not me, that's for sure. But alas, 2023 was not just one of the best years ever for video games, it was also one of the most surprising.

10Lies Of P

You didn’t seriously expect me to have a Top 10 games without a single Soulslike game in it, did you?! (Sorry, Lords Of The Fallen, you were just too fucking difficult.) Lies Of P is a twisted version of the Pinocchio fairytale, brimming with just as much darkness as Dark Souls and equally fantastic combat.

9Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

How do you follow up the sheer fun that is Marvel’s Spider-Man? It’s one hell of a task, but Insomniac Games went above and beyond to create something just as exhilarating as its predecessor. Shout-out to Spider Punk and his battle vest outfit!

8Resident Evil 4 remake

It would be so easy to yack on about how incredible the Resident Evil 4 remake looks, with its stunning attention to detail, but what’s more important is how incredibly well it plays. The original already set the bar so high, but this is thrilling to play from start to finish.

7Sea Of Stars

The sheer nostalgia of Sea Of Stars tugged at my heartstrings and made me yearn for the ’90s like no other modern game has. Featuring gorgeous pixel art, an epic soundtrack and intricate gameplay, it certainly belongs among the greats when it comes to RPGs.

6Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 terrified me – the psychological horror of this game really got under my skin. Every moment I spend playing this I felt deeply unsettled, yet utterly transfixed on the imaginative storyline.

5Diablo IV

If I learned anything from playing Diablo IV this year, it’s that Hell is filled with LOOT. Exciting loot at that. Darker and bleaker than Diablo III, the game is full of powerful class builds and kept me hooked throughout the six-act campaign.


2023 may have been the Year Of The RPG, but it was also the Year Of The Quirky Fishing Game. Dredge is a Lovecraftian-themed fishing game that has so much depth within its compelling gameplay. It’s also surprisingly scary, with all kinds of horrors lurking in the water when you fish at night.


Puzzle games are not usually my forte, but I could not resist the surreal dream-like lure of Cocoon. Mostly because the game was made Jeppe Carlsen, who was the lead gameplay designer on Limbo and Inside. I loved those games, and unsurprisingly, I loved Cocoon, too. Every time I solved one of the puzzles I felt so smart!

2Baldur’s Gate 3

What can I say about the greatest RPG of all time that hasn’t already been said? All I really want to do is thank Larian Studios for their captivating storytelling and for creating a game so lovingly faithful to D&D. Every hour spent in the world of Baldur’s Gate 3 is spellbinding and deeply fulfilling.

(P.S. No, I have not had sex with a Druid in bear form.)

1Dave The Diver

Dave The Diver is a quirky blend of fishing game / restaurant management sim with an extremely satisfying harpoon mechanic for catching fish. Seriously, catching a fish is just as rewarding as backstabbing in Elden Ring. I simply cannot put this game down. It is packed full of mini-games but never feels disjointed, and the story flows effortlessly, with genuinely likeable characters and tons of pop-culture gags that are genuinely funny. A unique and wonderful game.

Svalbard's album The Weight Of The Mask is out now via Nuclear Blast

Read this: Svalbard: “I can’t imagine not using the band as a way to express my eternal hell”

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