This is it. After a record nineteen award categories this year, we come at last to Game of the Year. The Game of the Year was a two-horse race from the moment voting opened. You’ll see why in the write ups below. The amount of passion that was felt by the staff about games this year was unmatched in the four years of Lords of Gaming’s history. It is a testament to the grandeur of the experiences that came out this year. More than that, it spoke to something deep within us about what we love about games. Choice, well-realized worlds, dramatic set-pieces, and stunning visuals. These games are some of the best in history at what they do. They will be remembered far beyond this year. With that said, here are the winners of Lords of Gamings 2023 Golden Lance Award for Game of the Year.
Starfield is the culmination of what Bethesda Game Studios has been building towards since the days of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It represents an ambitious vision and new boundaries set in a whole new universe set in space. Despite a new universe, the basic Bethesda tropes are still present in the Starfield. Going into every room, interacting, and analyzing every objective makes the world feel organic, deep, and lived in.
Starfield gives players the option of playing how they want to play. Whether it be speech-heavy, investing in spacesuit skills, or focusing on ship combat. Every skillset felt important and it was also a difficult decision to decide where to invest your skill points. It truly reflected how you wanted to play the game in a meaningful way.
The combat on land, space, and jump packs was excellent and satisfying. While ship and outpost building provided deep systems for players to explore and express their creative side. The game’s companion system was robust as they truly became involved in quests and impacted relationships.
The factions system is deep and provides a lot of context to the game’s world and lore. Especially the Crimson Fleet faction quests, which was a rewarding questline to pursue. While the Vanguard faction questline was a great preliminary questline that should not be missed as it gives you a background and a great overview of Starfield’s world and faction relations.
Starfield offers the best mainline storyline in Bethesda’s seasoned history. By far the game has some of the smartest implementations of New Game+ ever witnessed. Especially when you see the multiple timelines transpire creating a unique gaming experience. It’s not a perfect game in any sense, but the game does a phenomenal job of pitting players into the role of a Starborn and providing a plethora of options for them to explore.
Runner Up: Baldur’s Gate 3
I am in complete disbelief that Baldur’s Gate 3 is our runner up. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a revolutionary RPG that will change the industry. Every AAA developer is now asking their teams to try and find a way to make their game a fraction of divergent as BG3 is. Not only is Baldur’s Gate 3 my Game of the Year, it is the best game this console generation.
Baldur’s Gate 3 just does everything. I can play it in my PC in 4K ultrawide at a high frame rate with HDR. I can play it on the couch on my PS5, I can play it on the train during my morning commute on my Steam Deck. From a technical standpoint, the game is elastic. That is just one objective component about the game.
When Starfiled launched, it did not have native ultrawide support. More importantly it did not have support for Nvidia GPU cards like the RTX 2080, 3080, 4080. Xbox launched the game in favor of native AMD GPU support where it is estimated AMD has 10% of the player base. Xbox leveraged manufacturer support and community support after the game’s launch, but they never addressed these issues. Full stop, BG3 is a technically better game than Starfield, Zelda TotK, Spider-Man 2, and Alan Wake 2. Today, Starfield is still not verified or recommended on Steam Deck. These are not subjective, debatable, “games are art” arguments, this is a technical fact.
Then we get into the subjective elements. The Baldur’s Gate 3 score is on par, if not better than any other game this year. The art style is incredibly complimentary as you begin to believe each of the thousands of characters and buildings are unique. The combat system is vast, I feel like I might be able to do 100 different attacks with each party member.
The branching paths and narrative design create for a better, more unique experience. Every time I talk to someone about how they handled a battle or situation, they did something different. There is an easy 150 hours of gameplay in BG3, yet it feels like every player’s experience is completely different. This will be a revolutionary moment in the industry. I believe that AAA publishers are going to look to find new ways to create unique experiences for each player. I think the people making The Witcher 4, Diablo 5, and Dragon Age Dreadwolf are going, “Oh crap, we have to outdo this now?” For sure these were the conversations going on at Bethesda this summer, as it is so obvious that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a deeper RPG than Starfield.
Runner Up: Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Every console generation has at least one game that most gamers agree was its greatest. That game’s sequel earning higher acclaim never happened until this year. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom earned such praise following Breath of the Wild’s Switch-launching immaculate acclaim.
You go back to Hyrule to experience a story about living through end-times. Link uses a new suite of powers to explore the kingdom’s highest highs and deepest depths. Unearthed Zonai devices and Zonai shrines open a new level of creativity not seen in Breath of the Wild.
Breath of the Wild, a game that revolutionized how we look at open world games, got the best possible sequel.