Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023 ~ Editors’ Awards: Audra Bowling

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Editors' Awards

My Top 5 RPGs:

5. The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie

Trails into Reverie reignited my passion for The Legend of Heroes: Trails series, making me extremely excited for what’s next. I adore its characters and story resolutions, and give special kudos to protagonist C for phenomenal character development!

4. Long Gone Days

Long Gone Days is a moving tale about loss, political machinations, and warfare told in a disarmingly beautiful and colorful aesthetic to create a poignant journey.

A screenshot of a number of people in uniform looking up and off into the distance in Long Gone Days

3. Final Fantasy XVI

FFXVI is a memorable gaming experience, and Clive’s adventure is a worthy addition to the main FF lineup.

2. Numina Part II

The second portion of indie title Numina was a journey I was all too eager to take after the first part’s cliffhanger ending. The party members and their developments continue to delight, and I love how brilliantly the choice-heavy narrative with its unique breaking-the-fourth-wall plot resolves.

1. Baldur’s Gate III

Baldur’s Gate III is top-notch RPG entertainment!

My Top 5 RPG/Visual Novel Hybrids:

5. Tales of Aravorn: An Elven Marriage

I enjoyed this first sequel/side story to Loren the Amazon Princess, and now I’m looking forward to future installments!

4. Esperia ~Uprising of the Scarlet Witch~

A strategy RPG/VN hybrid with a more fantastical take on Arthurian lore that’s fun to play.

3. Invincible Presents: Atom Eve

A fun, choice-heavy licensed game with a compelling main character!

2. Trials of Kokoro

A standout VN/RPG hybrid with lovely character designs and a strategic emphasis on status effects in battle.

1. Path of the Midnight Sun

A gorgeous game with both RPG and VN elements that initially began as a romhack of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.

Screenshot of Path of the Midnight Sun, one of several RPGs coming this week

My Top 5 Visual Novel/Graphic Adventures:

5. DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate – Definitive Edition

Originally an episodic VR title, the Switch’s DYSCHRONIA: Chronos Alternate Definitive Edition makes for a compelling first-person sci-fi graphic adventure.

4. A Space for the Unbound

A hauntingly powerful graphic adventure title.

3. Belle Automata: Chronicle I

An extremely compelling start to Aureve’s journey of self-discovery and romance!

2. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly

The urban fantasy take on rainy Seattle is a phenomenal place for a return visit!

1. Jack Jeanne

A memorable standout otome and rhythm game centered around the performing arts.

And now, a list of favorites:

Favorite Persona-Esque Game: Eternights

I had a lot of fun playing Eternights! The inclusive dating sim elements in this horror action RPG are a delight.

A crew of people looking off into the distance in Eternights

Favorite Fire Emblem-esque Game: Walk with the Living II

Polished tactical gameplay with a powerfully heartfelt plot.

Favorite Ghibli-Esque Game: SEASON: A letter to the future

SEASON is gorgeous, with a beautiful premise and thoughtful storytelling.

Favorite Licensed Game: Star Trek: Resurgence

It’s like playing an interactive Star Trek TV show season!

Favorite Music Game: Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

I love creative twists on Greek mythology and good music, and Summerfall Studios’ debut title didn’t disappoint!

Favorite Game with Twins: Trouble Comes Twice

I’m a twin, so I loved this great, romance-centered visual novel starring a likable pair of fraternal twins!

Favorite “I can’t believe this is a thing!” Game: The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

A free April Fool’s joke that’s more enjoyable than it has any right to be!

Favorite DLC: Fire Emblem Engage: Fell Xenologue

I’m glad I used Fell Xenologue as my excuse to finally play Fire Emblem Engage! It’s a fun expansion that adds great characters and job classes.

Favorite Backlog Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

I’m so happy I finally played this gaming classic in 2023!

Favorite Retelling of a Classic: Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince

Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince Screenshot of a silver-haired protagonist with a sword fending off floating eyes and a swirling darkness

An alternate retelling of Dragon Quest IV, Psaro’s journey to becoming a monster wrangler is an enjoyable adventure!

Favorite Game That Doesn’t Fall Under Our Coverage: Street Fighter 6

SF6 is a fun, rousing game, plain and simple!

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling

Audra Bowling is a reviewer for RPGFan. She is a lover of RPGs, Visual Novels, and Fighting Games. Once she gets onto a subject she truly feels strongly about, like her favorite games, she can ramble on and on endlessly. Coffee helps keep her world going round.