|« Best Turn-Based RPG
Best Action RPG
|Best Tactical RPG »
At its core, the action gameplay of 2017’s Breath of the Wild to 2023’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom isn’t all that different. However, Link’s new abilities completely change how players interact with the combat system and introduce new twists to puzzles. Fusing weapons can put a cannon or a flamethrower on the end of a sword and Ultrahand allows Link to create vehicles or giant weapons to take down large groups of enemies, while puzzles are built in such a manner to reward and encourage players to try out different methods of completing them. The possibilities feel endless in Tears of the Kingdom and the only limit is the creativity of the player. Total freedom in getting to build whatever the player could think of is an astonishing achievement and new ways to use it will likely continue to be discovered for years to come.
Although set in the same Hyrule as its predecessor, there’s tons to discover in Tears of the Kingdom, especially in the depths. Entering the depths for the first time is terrifying, with dangerous enemies and gloom lurking in the dark shadows. That environment is great for players to learn how to best use all the skills Link has. There’s a wonderful synergy between Hyrule, the depths, and the sky. Tears of the Kingdom is a masterfully crafted game that pushes The Legend of Zelda series further, just like its predecessor.
One of the most iconic RPG franchises returned strong this year with the release of long-awaited Final Fantasy XVI. This action RPG featured an impactful story and excelled in world-building while making its solid and fun battle system the star of the show. The unique abilities of each Eikon were satisfactorily adapted to become part of protagonist Clive’s powers. Swapping Eikons during combat to have different abilities at the player’s disposal made combat feel dynamic and varied, with some tough foes forcing players to master dodging, defending, and combining different Eikons. Combat was further enhanced by being able to fully control Ifrit during epic clashes of Eikons, including his breathtaking cinematic attacks. For all these reasons, Final Fantasy XVI deserves to be considered one of the best action RPGs of 2023.
The original Remnant: From the Ashes was a cult classic, combining great shooting mechanics, procedurally generated worlds, and Dark Souls-style progression into something with a ton of potential. Remnant II wonderfully builds and delivers on that promise, providing an instantly fun action RPG with a ton of depth to toy with. Build-crafting really shines thanks to the ability to equip two classes at once, and the variety in builds provides a ton of reasons to replay the game and hunt for its many secrets. Despite pulling its inspirations from many different sources, there’s nothing quite like the Remnant games.
by Jon Jansen, Luis Mauricio, and Mike Apps