2023 has been an eventful year for gamers. However, few triple-A publishers ventured to introduce new characters and universes, relying mostly on well-established franchises to expand their catalog at a lesser risk of financial failure. It is no wonder that sequels to popular franchises topped the charts all year long. So, let’s look back at some of the best game sequels that dropped in the past months.
Tears of the Kingdom
Six years after Breath of the Wild won the appraisal of critics and gamers alike, Nintendo once again conquered the hearts of every Zelda fan. One of the most-anticipated games of 2023 not only lived up to the hype but also exceeded even the loftiest expectations. Well, worthy of an extraordinary 96 Metascore on Metacritic, Tears of the Kingdom does virtually everything better than its acclaimed predecessor.
Where the massive open world of Breath of the Wild felt slightly dull and lifeless, the kingdom of Hyrule is now brimming with life across four equally breathtaking maps. Meanwhile, NPCs more profound and reactive than ever take the game’s narration to new heights. Tears of the Kingdom is also a treasure trove of inventiveness in the gameplay department, adding fresh features like Link’s ability to connect objects to create an infinite number of devices and structures.
Baldur’s Gate III
Next up is another strong contender for Game of the Year at The Game Awards. Unlike Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate III was nothing short of a surprise hit – including to its developers. Decades in the making, this sequel to a role-playing franchise that had been dormant for twenty years smashed all expectations. On Steam alone, the game totaled 5 million units sold.
Many gamers were ever-so-quick to label it the defining RPG of a generation, if not the new pinnacle of the genre. Though unexpected, this gigantic success comes down to a tightly-written, impactful plot whose narrative depth and intertwined storylines are simply second to none. Players unfamiliar with tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons may be a bit more apprehensive of the game’s complex combat mechanics. That said, this fantasy masterpiece is no less of a must-play.
Like a Dragon Gaiden
Paving the way for the next mainline installment in SEGA’s mobster franchise, which drops in January, Like a Dragon Gaiden fills the gaps in Kiryu’s story between Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6. Perhaps more of a spin-off than a full-fledged sequel, this action-adventure title is much smaller in scope than its expansive predecessors. Still, it brings exciting new mechanics to the series, such as the ability to switch between different personas during combat. Staples of the franchise have also been revitalized, with the iconic Coliseum fighting arena relocated to an entertainment haven on a boat.
Known as the Castle, this flashy container ship also hosts cabaret clubs and gambling dens where Kiryu can build up his yen. Gaiden’s casino minigames are fairly standard, though. Accordingly, players willing to explore more diverse gaming options can check platforms like CasinoReviews to pick the best casinos online. Experts look into many criteria to rank the websites they personally test out, from bonus profitability to payout speed. Additionally, advanced filters make it quick and easy to sort casinos out. Long story short, gamers are one click away from hundreds of video slots, live dealer poker tables, and free-to-play tabletop classics.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 came out only a month ago. But the third entry in the Marvel Comics franchise instantly cemented itself as one of the greatest superhero epics in the gaming medium. Drawing inspiration from both comic book mythology and other media adaptations, this new Spidey story is a masterpiece in characterization and storytelling.
As thoughtful and intense as ever before, this dual adventure between Peter Parker and Miles Morales also showcases the technological prowess of the PlayStation 5. The game’s graphical fidelity is unparalleled, and New York has rarely looked so crisp on-screen. Web-swinging across an expanded NYC to complete side missions and obtain collectibles is intoxicating, especially as players can swap between two spider-men. Taking down iconic villains like Venom and the Lizard is just as fun in this well-crafted sequel.
Game sequels are in fashion in the industry, so much so that countless sequels are slated for release in 2024. From Hades II to Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, not to mention Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, sequels might yet again take the world by storm in the coming months.