Best PS5 games of 2023: from AAA to indie games and everything else

Here are the best games of 2023 for PS5 and PS4 as picked by the TrueTrophies team. With big AAA, indie, and wild card games, there is something for all!

Best PS5 games of 2023: from AAA to indie games and everything else
Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Kes Eylers-Stephenson

Published

While we have a gargantuan list of the best PS5 games celebrating every year since the console's launch, our team of writers have curated the very best picks in our very special PS5 games of the year 2023 list for you. Editor Kes and Staff Writers Lee and Sean have played plenty of games this year and have picked out an amazing AAA game, indie game, and a wild card game each for your gaming pleasure.

GOTY 2023 — best AAA game

For our best AAA game section, we're highlighting the best big-budget experiences you can find on PS5 and PS4 in 2023. These could be games from PlayStation Studios like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, or they could be third-party efforts like Remedy's innovative Alan Wake 2. If it has been funded with a fairly sizable budget, you bet it qualifies! So, without further ado, here are the three best AAA games of 2023!

Kes

Hogwarts Legacy

It's been a busy year for AAA gaming and I didn't get to play as many of the massive titles as I'd have liked, but Hogwarts Legacy stands head and shoulders above everything else I played in the early part of the year. The thing is, though — I actually think it's an average open-world game. It is, however, a fantastic Wizarding World game. Therein lies the difference. Hogwarts Legacy takes modern game design and gives it the most wonderful spin simply by using an IP I love.

While many games from this year are objectively better — I mean, Baldur's Gate III is truly brilliant — nothing quite struck my nostalgia bone quite like Hogwarts Legacy. To me, that's a GOTY winner; a game that exceeds your expectations with more than pure brilliance, it needs a dash of special sauce. This game will truly drench Harry Potter lovers with that special sauce, so it is my GOTY for 2023.

Lee

Final Fantasy XVI

When I think of the best AAA game I played in 2023, the answer couldn't be more clear — it was Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

An immaculately polished and buttery smooth video game, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 has that great rarity in AAA gaming: cohesion between game and narrative design. The end of the game gathers all the loose narrative and mechanical threads you've spent hours unfurling and ties them up neatly, making for an immensely satisfying video game experience.

This cohesion is exactly what Final Fantasy XVI lacks the most. When you start playing the game, it's a fairly linear action game ensconced in a politically tinged fantasy plot, feeling very much like the JRPG-ification of The Witcher 3. Then, when you finish playing the game, you realize you've just mastered a MOBA with a plot resembling a shonen manga like Naruto or Dragon Ball Z. Even if you like both, there's no denying that there's a complete lack of cohesion from one end of FFXVI to the other.

FFXVI SaleOne of the dumbest images I've made all year.

Yet, as I look back on my year in gaming, I realize there's no fighting the truth — I just personally have a better time playing games that are a little sloppy. I like ambition in my art, even if it's recklessly applied or serves to undermine the overall experience. I like games that take absurd risks; games that attempt to innovate in uniquely fascinating ways. In short: I think I like a mess like Final Fantasy XVI a lot more than I like Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

Even after docked it two points in my Final Fantasy XVI review, the truth is that when I think back on 2023, this is the game I'm going to think about first and foremost. I'll think about Clive, his boring friends, the drab world they all occupy, and I'll remember how gripped I was experiencing it all for the first time. Then, I'll remember how the action got its hooks in me, and how expertly implemented those early hours were, and briefly I'll think of the game as an immaculately constructed work of art.

Then I'll remember how it all kind of falls apart by the end and move on to thinking about something else. Still, I'd rather play a game that disappoints me by falling short of its wild ambitions than any game that promises me a perfectly polished experience. The highs of Final Fantasy XVI were far higher than anything produced by Marvel's Spider-Man 2 or any other AAA game I played this year, and that's what makes it truly the best of 2023 in my eyes.

SeanL

Baldur's Gate III

Baldur's Gate 3 is truly a masterpiece unlike anything else I have ever played. The level of depth this game has and the many different outcomes every choice I make can have is mindblowing. I talk positively of the game in my Baldur's Gate 3 first impressions article, but even though I was hyped for BG3's release and had exceedingly high expectations for it, boy did it blow them out of the water.

I'm not particularly fond of top-down combat, so I wasn't expecting to be engrossed with this side of Baldur's Gate 3, believing that I would be in it more for the characters and story. However, the combat is so deep, with so many little intricacies and abilities to utilize, that it quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the game.

Discovering what spells work best for what situation was so much fun and I felt like a true strategist by the end of the game. This is something I am not used to feeling as I very much like to run in and punch everything in sight in my games (a bit of a brute you might say). However, BG3 opened up an entirely new way of thinking and playing when it comes to smiting my foes and I love it for that.

GOTY 2023 — best indie game

The TrueTrophies Best Indie Games of 2023 awards are reserved for games that were made on a relatively lighter budget by a relatively small team of hardworking developers. That means games like Sea of Stars and Dredge would qualify, but not a game like Dave The Diver — a game that was made by a small team, but a small team within the many halls of publisher Nexon. So, here are our favorite indies from 2023!

Kes

Chants of Senaar

Now and again I like to pick up an indie hoping that it gives me a little faith in people again. This was Outer Wilds a few years ago with its ruminations on the meaning of life and this year Chants of Senaar won me over with its reflections on language and communication. It's a puzzle game with gorgeous environments and a tale to tell very quietly — which is admittedly something we've seen before. However, it uses the puzzle game premise to deliver encoded messages about helping different groups of people communicate within the levels of a mysterious tower.

At every stage, you'll be working out what letters mean and how they apply to different situations. Now and again, you'll get an 'Ah-ha' moment as you figure out what someone is saying. It's a simple joy, but an inspired one. The result is that you are connecting with people all the time, creating little social connections, and bringing together different communities — a real thrill.

It made me reflect on my life and how I should learn to really listen. I've pondered over how I should spend time working out what different people mean when they say the same thing. I've started spending time building branches of communication in my own life to bring different types of people together. I think that is a lovely sentiment to explore in a game — so Chants of Senaar is my indie GOTY.

Lee

Humanity

Bizarrely, 2023 might be the first year in a long time where there was just so much AAA stuff to play that I didn't get around to checking out nearly half the indie games I was interested in. Viewfinder, Dredge, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, Thirsty Suitors, Venba — I've had my eye on quite a few gems that I think I might love. Unfortunately, I'll have to find out after this list is made.

I'm not saying any of this upfront for the sake of robbing Humanity of its achievement. Rather, let me say that while all of these games certainly spoke to me, none called to me louder than this weird magic dog puzzle game. I was incredibly surprised to hear that, of all games, Humanity would be coming day one to PS Plus Extra in 2023 after years of keeping an eye on it. As a fan of weird PS1-looking nonsense and of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's past work, it just looked right up my street.

Humanity PS PlusGlorious pawpose.

While not exactly what I would call a revolutionary game, Humanity is a fantastic refinement of the classic Lemmings formula. Only now, instead of feeling terrible every time a single dude falls into the abyss, you only feel the sting of the big mistakes you should have seen coming. The puzzles are also a little looser than Lemmings, allowing you to come up with more creative solutions.

To compensate for that easing of the classic Lemmings difficulty spike, Humanity's puzzles are packed full of weird gimmicks and interesting rules that keep the gameplay ever-shifting and evolving. You're constantly adjusting your approach and thinking over new plans. Ultimately, your mileage will vary depending on how much you like this kind of game, but I found Humanity to be a masterclass in how to take an existing concept and twist it dramatically into its own thing.

SeanL

Tchia

  • Here are the Tchia trophies
  • Time to platinum Tchia: 20+ hours
  • Difficulty: 2/10
I love my indie games and I have played my fair share throughout 2023. However, I have only played a small handful of titles that were released this year — three to be exact. Thankfully, one of those games was Tchia, a game that allowed me to explore a joyous, vibrant, and beautiful world full of secrets, minigames, and item-possessing shenanigans. You can check out all of my thoughts on the game in my Tchia review!

I went into Tchia with barely any expectations and honestly thought it would be a game I played once and never returned to. However, I was hooked by the story that was unfolding around me. Playing as Tchia, I embarked on a mission to save my father and the lands around me from an evil baby-eating villain, using my unique powers to possess objects and animals.

The combat in the game was surprisingly fun. Who would have thought there would be so many thrills to be had by becoming a burning stick and throwing yourself at monsters made of fabric? New Candelonia has become infested with these fabric beasts and only fire can destroy them. This meant I would also be possessing quite a few gasoline canisters and throwing them at my enemies, clapping as I created huge explosions in the process. It was all quite epic to watch and something I didn't expect to see in a game that looked this cute and vibrant.
When it came to the trophies, well, Tchia is quite the collectathon. You will need to find everything this game has to offer. From the pearls, to the many costumes, and the different animals you can possess. The game isn't hard to platinum, but it will require some dedication from those who don't enjoy exploring and collecting items, and may become stale after you beat the main story.

However, I enjoyed my time with Tchia and loved every moment of earning the platinum 'New Caledonian.' If you're looking for a chill adventure game with fun combat and lots to explore, then Tchia is the perfect game for you to boot up, and easily earned its place as my indie game of the year. You can also access the game through PS Plus Extra if you have a subscription. Also, if you need help with the trophies, make sure you check out my Tchia trophy locations guide!

GOTY 2023 — best wild card game

These are our three picks for the best wild card game of 2023. This could be anything from last year that went into the backlog, or it could be a completely random PS1 game from 1997. So, check out what the TrueTrophies team has picked out for you, and let us know your wild cards down below!

Kes

Cyberpunk 2077

Let's get it right: Cyberpunk 2077 should never have been released on PS4. The old system held the game back eons and the result was a broken, buggy, and imprisoned mess. Now, with a native PS5 release and with developer CD Projekt Red dropping support for old hardware, Cyberpunk 2077 is free and flying. I don't know if they've made up for the early mistakes, but there is no doubt that this is one of the best PS5 RPG games around right now.

The wild card part of this comes from just how much ground the dev was able to make up. An elite DLC in the form of Phantom Liberty helped bring players back, but a lot of the hardest work was covered in the 2.0 update that fixed so much about the game at a base level. We've now even had the 2.1 update as well with even more tweaks and a metro system... I mean that is wild.

Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't my game of 2020 when it launched, and it wasn't my game of 2022 when it finally got a PS5 release. However, had it just been released this year, it would easily have been my game of 2023. That, to me, is the definition of an amazing wild card game.

Lee

Densha de Go! DX

After a lifetime of absorbing Japanese culture and roughly three years of learning the language, I was finally able to visit the country for the first time in 2023. Embarrassingly, it was exactly as wonderful a place as I had always hoped it would be, especially if you're into your obscure gaming nonsense like I am. So, here at the end of the year, I find myself struggling to rate any moments in gaming greater than the experiences I had while exploring Tokyo and Osaka.

Coming in close second was getting to purchase a second-hand Super Famicom, plugging it into a hotel room television, and going a few rounds of Kirby Ball (Kirby's Dream Course) with my brother. (It turns out he had never even played it! People — please play Kirby's Dream Course, it's a perfect video game.) Though, if I'm being honest, the very best gaming experience I had in 2023 was playing Densha de Go DX in an arcade in Tokyo.

Densha de Go! PS Plus ExtraAgain: Densha de Go! can be read as "Let's go by train!" though I prefer "Going Train Style!"

As I have commiserated on this very website before, I truly wanted nothing more than for PS Plus Extra to get Densha de Go in the West like it did in Japan. This was, of course, a nonsense desire that was never going to happen, but I couldn't help myself — my heart yearned for some pulse-pounding, train-stopping arcade action.

So, when I finally got to Japan, I looked up and down for an arcade version of the game and finally found one. Playing it was cartoon bliss. On my first run, I jostled and upset pretty much everyone as I tried to get a handle on how slow the game wanted me to go. Come the second track, I had gotten a handle on things, receiving claps and cheers for my diligent ability to navigate my way around some hefty train levers.

Should you ever get the chance to visit Japan (and also if you happen to possess enough of the language to understand what your onboard assistant is yelling at you while you play), I heartily recommend hunting down one of these. Or, you can go the extra step like I did and hunt down a copy of the game on PS4 from one of Japan's many excellent second-hand gaming shops. When I eventually did find it, it was so eye-wateringly expensive I decided to buy a Super Famicom instead. More like Densha de No!

SeanL

Haven

  • Here are the Haven trophies
  • Time to platinum Haven: 15 hours
  • Difficulty: 3/10
I played Haven right at the start of 2023 and I legitimately left myself a note after I finished it to remind myself to talk about it in our GOTY 2023 wrap-up. So, here I am, respecting the wishes of past me and talking about this epically stunning game, Haven.

I stumbled upon this title when I went exploring the LGBT category that PSN had added at the start of the year. Most games on the list I had played before or simply didn't have much of an interest in. However, Haven caught my eye as I perused the catalog and so I decided to pick it up and see what it was all about. What ensued was a beautifully crafted story of a couple on the run from a government that wanted to tear them apart and force them to be with people who had been "selected" for them.

Haven PS5Welcome to H(e)aven.

You follow these two characters and watch their love blossom for one another beyond what either thought was possible as they work to stay together and leave behind the world that is trying to force them apart. You don't have to play as a gay male couple if you don't want — there are options to be either a straight or a lesbian couple. I'm sure the story and engagement are just as powerful for either of those two couples, yet for me, I shared a special connection to the two fine gentlemen whose story I watched unfold.

Not only is the story powerful and truly gripping, but the gameplay is very chill as you glide around this mysterious planet and clean up the corruption that has spread across the lands. The OST is also absolutely banging and something I have listened to multiple times outside of the game (it is that good). Haven is now available on PS Plus Extra if you fancy checking it out. Truly, if I had played this game back when it was originally released I believe it would have been my game of the year then!

Those are all of our picks for GOTY 2023 with plenty of games you can play on PS5, PS4, and beyond. What do you think of the line-up? What would you pick? Let us know in the comments below also let us know what your predictions might be for some of the upcoming PS5 games of 2024!
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and Sony news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like Horizon, The Last of Us, God of War, and Death Stranding 2 using experience from years of playing PlayStation games. He also covers PS Plus and trophy news, as well as his favorite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and some indie gems — before an evening swim.
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