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2024 Unveiled: Kotaku’s Game of the Year Countdown

The gaming industry witnessed a whirlwind of events in 2024, marked by layoffs, corporate acquisitions, and numerous leaks. Despite the challenges, the year proved to be a prolific one for game releases, offering a plethora of titles that left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape. As the year drew to a close, Kotaku embarked on the challenging task of selecting the Game of the Year (GOTY). The resulting list of top 12 games, compiled by the Kotaku team, reflects the diversity and excellence that defined the gaming scene in 2023.

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Navigating the Gaming Maze: The Kotaku team faced a daunting challenge in curating the GOTY list, given the abundance of quality games released throughout the year. From blockbuster releases like the Resident Evil 4 Remake, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, to the long-anticipated Baldur’s Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077’s Phantom Liberty expansion, the gaming landscape was diverse and rich.

The Unveiling Begins: Without much surprise, the list expands to 12 games instead of the previous year’s ten, reflecting the abundance of exceptional titles. The countdown kicks off with the Resident Evil 4 Remake, a title that defies the expectations associated with remakes. The inclusion of thoughtful changes and enhancements by Capcom elevated it beyond a simple visual upgrade.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Swings In: Following closely is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, a game that builds upon the success of its predecessor. Insomniac’s seamless integration of Peter Parker and Miles Morales, coupled with an expanded and detailed Manhattan, earns the game a spot in the top 11. While not groundbreaking, it stands as a testament to the refinement of a winning formula.

Dave the Diver Makes a Splash: In the 10th position, an unexpected indie gem, Dave the Diver, catches the attention. Mintrocket’s creation, with its engrossing gameplay loop, surprises and captivates players. The unexpected success of this diving simulator highlights the unpredictability and diversity present in the gaming landscape.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Shines: The rollercoaster journey of Cyberpunk 2077 takes a turn with the Phantom Liberty expansion, earning the 9th spot. The DLC’s spy thriller narrative and sweeping systemic changes showcase CD Projekt Red’s commitment to redeeming a game marred by a rocky launch. The transformation of Cyberpunk 2077 into a phoenix rising from its ashes is a testament to the potential for redemption in the gaming industry.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Fights On: Seizing the 8th position is Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, a title that successfully merges Dark Souls-like gameplay with the expansive Star Wars universe. Respawn’s ability to deliver an action-packed Star Wars adventure that resonates even with non-fans showcases the power of a well-executed cross-genre approach.

Diablo IV Unleashes Hell: Despite its imperfections in endgame content and seasonal updates, Diablo IV secures the 7th spot. Blizzard’s commitment to delivering a gothic and dark sequel that resonates with the franchise’s roots shines through. The visceral experience of running through hordes of monsters and the promise of future updates position Diablo IV as a standout title.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder: A Joyous Odyssey: Taking the 6th spot is Super Mario Bros. Wonder, a game that evokes nostalgia while injecting fresh and inventive elements into the classic formula. The developers’ ingenious riffs on the original Super Mario Bros. concept deliver a game that exudes joy and captures the essence of timeless gameplay.

Armored Core VI: A Mech Masterpiece: FromSoftware’s Armored Core VI claims the 5th position, embracing the intricate details fans have cherished. The game’s fusion of fast-paced action, captivating customization, and unforgettable boss fights showcases a masterful balance between complexity and accessibility. Armored Core VI exemplifies the liberation found in focusing on core gameplay elements without unnecessary distractions.

Street Fighter 6: A Fighting Game Triumph: Street Fighter 6 secures the 4th position, demonstrating the essence of iterative design in the fighting game genre. Capcom’s dedication to refining each fighter’s moveset and introducing universal mechanics ensures a holistic experience for players. Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode, with its endearing character expansions, adds a layer of depth and charm to the iconic franchise.

Baldur’s Gate 3: A Bold RPG Venture: Claiming the 3rd position is Baldur’s Gate 3, an immaculately designed Dungeons & Dragons RPG from Larian Studios. The game’s commitment to unparalleled character customization, tactical battles, and rich storytelling makes it a standout in a crowded genre. Despite falling short of the GOTY, Baldur’s Gate 3 stands as a testament to the potential of immersive, player-driven narratives.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: A Hyrulian Odyssey: Securing the 2nd spot is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, dispelling initial worries with its release. Nintendo’s ability to innovate within its own established franchise, enhancing the relationship between the player and the game world, earns it accolades. Tears of the Kingdom stands as a reminder that creativity and imagination can breathe new life into familiar series.

Alan Wake II: A Beacon of Originality: The coveted title of Kotaku’s Game of the Year for 2023 goes to Alan Wake II. Remedy’s sequel rekindles the magic of playing something wholly original, defying industry norms. The game’s boldness, unconventional narrative, and inventive use of live-action elements solidify its position as a masterpiece, reminding players of the transformative power of unwavering artistic vision.

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Kotaku’s top 12 games of 2024 encapsulate the diverse and dynamic nature of the gaming industry. From remakes that defy expectations to indie surprises, each title on the list contributes to the rich tapestry of gaming experiences. As the industry grapples with challenges, these games stand as beacons of creativity, innovation, and the enduring power of storytelling in.

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