Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Action RPG

GOTY 2023 Best Action RPG Final Fantasy XVI

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy XVI is the greatest departure from the series while somehow remaining the most Final Fantasy. With a battle system designed by Devil May Cry‘s combat director, a soundtrack by Final Fantasy XIV‘s Masayoshi Soken, and the undeniable talent of Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III, the game managed to surpass all expectations while delivering an unforgettable experience with some of the most intense and awe-inspiring moments the series has ever seen. The action is superb and extremely rewarding, the cast is heartfelt and memorable, and the world is gorgeously brought to life thanks to the pure technical prowess of CBU III.

While the spectacular Eikon battles serve as Final Fantasy XVI‘s crown jewel, the true treasures are the characters. Clive, Jill, Cid, Torgal, and Gav serve as a reminder of what the Final Fantasy series excels at: creating fantastical worlds where extraordinary characters challenge the gods themselves.

by Des Miller

Runner-Up: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Even if he plays second ocarina to Clive in these awards, Link slashed, smashed, and glued his way to a solid runner-up position for 2023’s best action RPG. The sheer size of Tears of the Kingdom eclipses even Breath of the Wild, but it’s all the things you can do in said world that kept some of us glued to our Switches (metaphorical glue, not the magic green stuff). Discovering what changed in Hyrule since the previous game and the new ways to traverse the landscape and engage with friend and foe contributed to setting a new high bar for the Zelda series. It also proved that seven years on, despite some apparent evidence to the contrary, the Switch can still hold its own in the right hands.

by Mike Salbato

Readers’ Choice: Best Action RPG of 2023

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI (29.7% of votes)

Runner-Up: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (22.2% of votes)

Des Miller

Des Miller

Des is a reviews editor, writer, and resident horror fan. He has a fondness for overlooked, emotionally impactful, and mechanically complex games - hence his love for tri-Ace and Gust. When he's not spending hours crafting in Atelier or preaching about Valkyrie Profile, he can usually be found playing scary games in the dark. With headphones. As they should be played.