RPGamer 2023 Awards – Biggest Surprise

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Biggest Surprise

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Biggest Surprise

First Place

Lies of P

Second Place

Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Third Place

World of Horror

FromSoftware’s Bloodborne is set to celebrate its ten-year anniversary in 2025, and still the famed developer has made no announcements regarding a sequel, despite fans eagerly chomping at the bit. Many are the imitators that have come and gone, trying but not managing to be the perfect successor to the vaunted gothic horror action RPG. Enter Round 8 Studio’s Lies of P, an all-new property with a bit of classic inspiration that dared to tread in a giant’s footsteps. Suffice to say that the rest is all but history.

Few were those who would have dared to expect great things from a game based on Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio — not exactly a prime property — much less one developed by a largely unproven studio. Then Lies of P erupted onto the Soulslike scene, leaving the masses (including us) in shock and awe. With some already placing the game as a cut above the games that inspired it, one thing is certain: Lies of P is the biggest surprise to come out of 2023, in all the best ways.



One of the biggest surprises to grace 2023 was the release of Like a Dragon: Ishin!. Few RPGamers predicted it would ever see a release outside of Japan given its historical setting and a likely fear of limited appeal. But in true Like a Dragon fashion, the game has hilarious substories, features plenty of ridiculous twists and turns, and teaches players a great deal about Japanese history. Ishin! is a delightful and memorable spin-off, and worth the investigation.

There is something very special about World of Horror. Perhaps it’s the visual aesthetics or the addictive gameplay, but it’s hard to tear one’s self away from it once players get started. From its 1-bit depictions of gore to its resource management mechanics, no one playthrough feels the same and failure is around every corner. World of Horror is one of those unexpected gems that when you play it, it’s hard to stop.


by Pascal Tekaia and Sam Wachter