Our selection of the best video games of 2023 to give as a Christmas gift, for all ages, tastes and budgets – Le Figaro

THE FIGARO SELECTION – Le Figaro has selected for you the most remarkable video games of this year, which was rich in quality titles.

It’s a year to remember for all video game fans. From Baldur’s Gate 3 to Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, including The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Resident Evil 4, 2023 was extremely rich in quality titles. So much so that it’s not easy to find your way around. To help you see things more clearly and not make the wrong choice this Christmas, Le Figaro has compiled a list of safe values ​​​​to give to your loved ones, according to several categories that we have compiled.

For children and families

  • Super Mario Bros. Marvel (Nintendo)

We’re no longer featuring the mustachioed plumber. The most famous video game hero has offered another version for Nintendo Switch, reaffirming his status as master of the platform. Super Mario Bros. Wonder returns to the character’s first love, 2D, offering an adventure as original as it is psychedelic, thanks to its “wonder seeds” that modify the vast majority of its 129 levels. Transformed into an elephant or a screw, Mario stretches, sinks, crushes, runs, explores and jumps again and again in what is undoubtedly one of his best adventures, which can be played by up to four players at the same time.

Available on Nintendo Switch, physical or digital, for 59.99 euros.

One of the first levels of Super Mario Bros. Marvel. Nintendo

Pikmin 4 is one of those games that is forgotten by the general public. Wrongly. The Nintendo title is a real-life UFO and adventure management game in which you take on the role of a tiny alien who has crash-landed on another planet populated by mysterious, colorful creatures. You must lead and manage the population of these small creatures, each with a power depending on their color, in vast environments. Less accessible than Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Pikmin 4 is particularly intended for young children who can play with one of their parents, as the title can be played by two players at the same time. A great adventure that is already unforgettable.

Available on Nintendo Switch, physical or digital, for 59.99 euros.

To play with friends

  • Street Fighter 6 (Capcom)

As edgy as it is beautiful, Street Fighter 6 has established itself as the undisputed champion of fighting games since its release this summer. Japanese publisher Capcom’s latest game addresses the shortcomings of its predecessor, which was hungry for content and shunned Xbox consoles. It stands out for its accessibility and offers several control modes, including one for beginners. And knowing the technical requirements of the saga, we can only welcome this proposal.

With its unique art direction and its open-world single-player mode called World Tour, Street Fighter 6 has already secured a place among the best works in the series, launched in 1987. However, we will regret some missing iconic characters and in particular a penchant for microtransactions – the other side of the coin for a title that wants to endure over time.

Available on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC, physical or digital, between 29.99 and 69.99 euros depending on the reseller.

During a fight in Street Fighter 6. Capcom

  • Mortal Kombat 1 (Warner Bros.)

The other fighting game of the year. Unlike Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 1 is not for everyone. Its difficult gameplay and bloody combat – peppered with extremely violent deaths – are symbols of a franchise as revered as it is reviled. But behind its extravagance lies a beautiful, technical and content-rich fighting game, supported by a surprising if repetitive Invasion mode that allows you to unlock customization elements for the twenty or so playable characters.

The big novelty of this twelfth work is the possibility of using a second character in battle to extend combos. The title is not without its drawbacks (microtransactions, cluttered menus, etc.), especially on Nintendo Switch. We strongly advise you to avoid this version.

Available for Playstation 5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and PC, physical or digital, between 39.99 and 79.99 euros depending on the reseller.

A fight in Mortal Kombat 1. NetherRealm Studios / Warner Bros

For nostalgics

  • Robocop: Rogue City (Nacon)

The good surprise of the year. Very little expected, Robocop: Rogue City has done well since its release on November 2nd. The publisher Nacon also praised the sales figures: 435,000 copies were sold in just two weeks. The shooter, which puts you in the role of half-man, half-robot cop Alex Murphy, is said to be a sequel to the second Robocop film. Line by line we find the actors of the trilogy there, such as Nancy Allen (Agent Anne Lewis) or Robert DoQui (Sergeant Reed).

But far from being a dumb adaptation, Rogue City manages to not only convey the dirty atmosphere of the city of Detroit, but also spice up the adventure with finely written side and main quests. A quality that is far too rare even in larger budget productions, coupled with convincing shooting sensations and technology based on the Unreal Engine 5 graphics engine. A good vintage, as long as you’re not allergic to the Universe Robocop kitsch.

Available for Playstation 5, Xbox Series and PC, physical or digital, between 39.99 and 59.99 euros depending on the reseller.

  • Star Ocean The Second Story R (Square Enix)

A remake that is a role model to follow. Star Ocean The Second Story R, ​​​​a great classic of Japanese role-playing games (RPG) from 1998, has just returned in an updated version. What hits first? His artistic direction mixes pixel art and 3D decorations. Between tradition and modernity, the second – and best – work in the Square Enix saga has lost none of its splendor and still offers this unique universe halfway between the Middle Ages and science fiction.

But RPG obliges, Star Ocean The Second Story R takes time. Once you get past the slow introduction, the game offers a rich and customizable real-time combat system thanks to the numerous unlockable skills. A great epic that will also delight adults who played the original version as teenagers.

Available on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC, physical or digital, between 50 and 60 euros depending on the reseller.

Near a village in Star Ocean The Second Story R. Square Enix

A masterpiece that has lost none of its splendor. Resident Evil 4, a 2005 video game monument, has been re-released by Capcom in a brand new version and has already sold over five million copies. The action-horror title puts you in the role of Leon S. Kennedy, who comes to a small Spanish village in search of the daughter of the President of the United States. The special agent, who already faced the zombies of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2 (also released in 2019), quickly becomes a target of the locals, who have mysteriously become extremely violent.

Supported by wonderfully excessive staging and a supposed “body horror” style, the Japanese title benefits from generous action scenes, cleverly paired with tough handling to keep the pressure on the player. However, we will regret some rare scenes that were cut from the original game, such as the one with the legendary lasers.

Available on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series and PC, physical or digital, between 40 and 60 euros depending on the reseller.

  • Super Mario Bros. Role Playing Game (Nintendo)

Despite its status as a cult title, it was never released in France. The first turn-based role-playing game called Mario, released in Japan and North America in 1996, was finally released by Nintendo in Europe in November. Beyond the revised technical aspect, Super Mario RPG is innovative compared to the basic work, adopting certain codes from its successors (particularly Mario and Luigi), such as the action commands that allow to strengthen your characters’ attacks by pressing a button to the right one Time. We also praise the title’s pervasive humor, which is a breath of fresh air in an industry that’s increasingly taking itself more seriously.

Available for Nintendo Switch, physical or digital, for 59.99 euros.

Mario’s house in Super Mario RPG. Nintendo

For blockbuster fans

  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Nintendo)

“Already a million sales in France. » Nintendo France can be proud: the latest installment of Legend of Zelda is a commercial and critical hit both in France and the rest of the world. And for good reason: the sequel to Breath of the Wild (BOTW), released in 2017, is a little gem that will undoubtedly be a milestone in video game history. Tears of the Kingdom (TOTK) is more than an adventure game, it is a long journey into the heart of the fallen kingdom of Hyrule.

What the game loses in originality – the world of TOTK echoes that of BOTW in almost every aspect – it gains in opulence, with a jumble of quests and puzzles and, above all, an almost seamless “assembly” system. In this work, Link has the ability to connect any object to another: a branch connected to a tree trunk turns into a spear, a stone on a pot lid becomes a sturdy shield, and a fan with a handlebar is created…in Helicopter! An extraordinary freedom that more than compensates for the graphical aspect of the game limited by the Nintendo Switch.

Available for Nintendo Switch, physical or digital, for 69.99 euros.

  • Hogwarts Legacy (Warner Bros.)

A video game in the Harry Potter universe, in an open world like Assassin’s Creed? The ambitious project was as feared as expected, given the relative quality of previous adaptations of the famous wizard’s adventures. Hogwarts Legacy is ultimately a winning bet.

This action-adventure game, set in Hogwarts and its surroundings in the 19th century, accurately recreates the world of JK Rowling and puts you in the role of a student of the famous magical establishment, attending its classes by day and fighting trolls by night , goblins and black magicians fights . And for that alone we forgive its narrative aberrations, its repetitiveness and its combat system without imagination.

Available on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and PC, physical or digital, between 30 and 60 euros depending on the reseller.

In the corridors of Hogwarts, in Hogwarts Legacy. Avalanche Software / Warner Bros.

  • Final Fantasy XVI (Square Enix)

The legendary role-playing saga has produced an intense action game that denies almost everything about its predecessors. With this sixteenth main installment, Final Fantasy 16 is actually more Devil May Cry than Dragon Quest – and it’s no coincidence that “XVI” is the first entry in the series not recommended for under-18s. With its art direction and its Game of Thrones-inspired scenario, Final Fantasy XVI multiplies the brilliant staging shots throughout its adventure with Dantesque boss fights and an amazing soundtrack composed by Masayoshi Soken. A must, despite its excessive lightness.

Available on the Playstation 5 between 40 and 80 euros, depending on the reseller.

  • Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 offers little innovation, but succeeds in everything. Photorealistic graphics, respect for the Marvel Universe, dynamic battles… It’s difficult to find a fault, apart from its formula, already seen in previous episodes. We would particularly like to highlight the treatment of the character Venom, who is all too often missed in the Spider-Man films and video games, as well as the quality of travel in the city of New York: commuting between the skyscrapers of the Big Apple has never been done like this sensational.

Miles Morales in New York, in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Sony / Insomniac Games

For connoisseurs

  • Baldur’s Gate 3 (Larian Studios)

Baldur’s Gate 3 won Video Game of the Year at the Game Awards and is not a mainstream work. And that’s probably why it’s so popular. The Belgian game from Larian Studios doesn’t sacrifice its ambitions on the altar of lightness and impresses with its slow, turn-based combat, wordy quests and nuanced protagonists. All this in the service of a dense and epic story in which you are 100% the hero: in fact, dozens of decisions are possible throughout the game, affecting the main missions, the side quests and the multiple relationships between the characters. A wealth of content that may overwhelm the newbie, but will forever leave an impression on the most experienced players.

Available for Playstation 5, Xbox Series and PC, initially only digitally, for 69.99 euros.

  • Alan Wake 2 (Epic Games Publishing)

Let’s try the graphic slap. Then we’ll stick with his cryptic scenario. Alan Wake 2, produced by Remedy Entertainment, has all the makings of an author’s work. This action-horror game that multiplies the risk-taking and lets us take turns playing the role of a Stephen King author and an FBI cop trapped in a horror book reminds players that even in big-budget productions it’s still possible to be innovative. Proof of this are these impressive “live-action” cutscenes, which are combined with the game sequences in real time. Warning for the sensitive souls: in addition to its dirty atmosphere reminiscent of the best episodes of Twin Peaks, Alan Wake 2 multiplies the “screamers”. A violent way to keep the pressure on the player.

Available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series and PC, digital only, for 59.99 euros.

  • Fire Emblem Engage (Nintendo)

The spearhead of “tactics”. Engage, a new episode in the Fire Emblem saga, is a must-have for all gamers who like to rack their brains. Nintendo’s turn-based game is incredibly challenging on the highest level of difficulty and visually spectacular on the Switch. It offers its users the ability to embody the “Divine Dragon”, a being in human form responsible for preventing the return of the “Divine Dragon”. Fallen Dragon. To this end, our protagonist will bring together several elite soldiers with different skills and classes that we will control in tactical battles throughout the game. Furthermore, Engage in no way revolutionizes the genre: the Manichean scenario is complemented by lovable and colorful characters. whose relationships outside of combat can be explored in depth. A successful management aspect that confirms Fire Emblem: Engage as a safe bet.

Available on Nintendo Switch, physical and digital, for 59.99 euros.

One of the first combat zones in Fire Emblem: Engage. Nintendo / Intelligent Systems

  • Dave the Diver (Mintroket)

A game of unexpected depth. Dave the Diver has the simple look of a standalone 2D game whose goal is to dive into an ocean to catch different types of fish. But the more the title is revealed, the more it is enriched with new mechanics, notably allowing you to manage a sushi restaurant or explore the remains of an ancient underwater civilization. Featuring compelling boss fights and gorgeous pixel art scenes, Dave the Diver is a surprisingly dense game, especially for its low price.

Available for PC and Nintendo Switch, digital only, for 19.99 euros.

The main protagonist of Dave the Diver prepares for the dive, against the backdrop of the sushi restaurant that you can manage. Minrocket

  • Decarnation (Shiro Games and Atelier QDB)

It’s impossible to conclude this selection without mentioning the little-known gem Decarnation. Developed by French studios Atelier QDB and Shiro Games, this independent title tells the tragic story of 29-year-old Gloria, including nine years spent as the manager of a Parisian cabaret. A series of bad news will cause him to lose his girlfriend and his job. As she sinks into depression, she believes she finds salvation when a mysterious employer makes her a career offer she can’t refuse. But when she arrives at the meeting point, a bench in a public park, she suddenly loses consciousness… before finding herself in the house of a famous stranger.

Then follows a deeply introspective story in which Gloria, confronted with her demons, tries to escape her prison guard. The story of Decarnation, which alternates between horror and pathetic, is supported by beautiful pixel art and 100% French pop music, which almost makes us forget the sometimes annoying gameplay phases.

Available for PC and Nintendo Switch, digital only, for 14.99 euros.

Gloria faces her inner demons in Decarnation. Shiro Games / QDB Workshop