Game of the Year 2023 – Best PC Game

GOTY 2023 Best PC Game

The PC Master Race has been a meme for a good 15 years now, but it’s truer than ever in 2023. A top tier gaming PC might be horrendously expensive when stacked up against a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, but these days it gives you the best of all worlds. Almost.

You have all the cutting edge big budget gaming from giant third party publishers, but now we have day and date first party Xbox games on PC, and PlayStation games will traipse along onto PC after a couple years of being steadfast console exclusives. Then there’s the hive of creativity that is the indie gaming scene and early access, which is far more prevalent on PC than it is on console.

Oh, and then there’s Steam Deck, which makes non-Nintendo gaming handheld once again. Surely Microsoft and Sony need to take another look at portable gaming again?

All of which brings us to our Best PC Game award, drawing from across the breadth of what PC gaming can offer.

GOTY 2023 Best PC Game award Dave the Diver

With Dave the Diver you should prepare to be constantly surprised. On the surface, this is a game about diving with a portly man called Dave. You know he’s out of shape because everyone comments on it within the opening moments of the game, but it soon becomes clear that this is a man, and a game, with hidden depths.

Yes, you need to go diving, and using your harpoon gun you’re soon in the business of catching an array of beautiful pixellated fish and other sea fauna, which is supposed to stock a nearby sushi restaurant. What Cobra – totally an 80s action asshole – doesn’t tell you is that you’ll need to also muck in on the other side of the counter, helping to serve customers in the sushi restaurant, while also setting the menu, hiring staff, and helping to pacify an extremely talented but aggressive chef.

To be honest, I’d have been happy with just those things, the peaceful depths of the ocean punctuated by some hectic sushi-serving frivolity, but it’s not. Suddenly, you’re embarking on archaeological expeditions, helping with environmental studies, and collecting Pokémon-style cards with fish on, and that’s still not everything. Dave the Diver is an indie delight, and a game that every self-respecting gamer needs to try.

– Dom L

Lethal Company – Runner Up

It’s relatively rare that we include games still in Early Access in our Game of the Year awards, but Lethal Company is one that absolutely deserves to be here, and it really typifies the kinds of inventive and experimental gaming that can be fostered by PC gaming. Not only that, but this game has been made and self-published by solo developer Zeekerss.

Lethal Company follows in the footsteps of Phasmophobia as a co-op horror game, but jumps from haunted mansions to monster-filled abandoned moons. You have to love the low rent feel of the whole thing as well, with gigantic terrors clipping through walls, quirky nonsense monsters, and distinctly grimy visual style. All of this has made it a regular playground and haven for countless Twitch streamers, furthering its reach, and making it one of the biggest indie games of 2023.

– Stefan L

Baldur’s Gate 3 – Runner Up

We’ve waxed lyrical about Baldur’s Gate 3 for months now, reviewing it on multiple platforms, and featuring heavily within our Game of the Year awards so far – it has somehow managed to appear in both single-player and multiplayer awards while it’s at it. That’s really an indication of just how good it is, and how it can be all things to all people. This is a world teeming with life, and with stories, that marks a true turning point for RPGs and what can be done with a team of phenomenal writers and designers.

PC is where it all began (with Stadia on the side for a while), with the Early Access release back in 2020, and it’s on this platform that the game matured on its way to full release. This is also a genre that plays best with a keyboard and mouse under your palms, even if there’s solid and robust controller support, making PC arguably the best place to enjoy it. Either way, exploring its far reaches remains one of the true highlights of the year, and it’s as enthralling, unique and exciting as all of its plaudits suggest.

– Dom L

Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Are you a PC gaming or Steam Deck acolyte? Let us know what games stood out for you this year, whether you were bound to your desk or lounging around with a handheld alternative.