Gamescom 2023 certainly left an impression. Though it’s been a month since NME visited Cologne for the city’s annual gaming convention, we haven’t stopped thinking about many of the fantastic games we got to see there.
That includes post-apocalyptic shooter Stalker 2, Sims rival Life By You, Atlus’ Persona 3 remake, and cosy food-roguelike Cuisineer. Yet there are so many other titles that stood out – and to help bulk up your Steam wishlist, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite games that we checked out at Gamescom 2023.
Where Winds Meet
With punishing combat and a flare for theatrics, Where Winds Meet is a shot of pure adrenaline. An open-world role-playing game set in China’s Ten Kingdoms era, we spent our hands-on in a hectic chase on horseback, firing arrows at pursuers until we dismounted for a challenging boss fight. The game’s third-person combat feels fluid and actively rewards riskier tactics, like parrying an attack instead of dodging out of the way.
Yet we were most impressed with the game’s setting – and a supernatural twist at the end of our preview suggests there’s still a lot we don’t know about Where Winds Meet.
Platforms: PC, with consoles yet to be confirmed
As the captain of a marine strike force, you’re tasked with restoring order to the outer reaches of space, building relationships with local factions and winning turn-based battles against an army of horrific human-machine hybrids. Though a release date hasn’t been announced just yet, the atmosphere and ambition of Menace means strategy lovers should follow developer Overhype Studios closely.
Song Of Nunu: A League Of Legends Story
This heartfelt adventure game follows Freljordian child Nunu on a quest to find his mother, accompanied by best friend and lumbering yeti Willump. Each has their own strength: Nunu can use his magic flute to solve puzzles, while Willump’s strength is crucial for fending off Freljord’s less-wholesome characters.
Though League Of Legends fans will recognise a number of familiar faces, you don’t need to have played the original game to understand what’s going on. Every League spin-off in publisher Riot Forge’s two-year run has been fantastic, which means our hopes are high for this adorable third-person platformer.
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Launch: November 1, 2023
Medical management simulator Galacticare features the best hospitals you’ll never want to be treated in. Though our space station-turned-hospital was crammed with high-tech treatments for all manner of ailments, it was also filled with vomiting humans, accident-prone lasers, and grumpy aliens.
With a slew of levels ranging from a planet-sized farm to an interstellar Burning Man festival, Galacticare feels creative and deeply funny – and if you’ve spent the last few years hooked on Two Point Hospital, it may just destroy the last dregs of your social life.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
It’s hard to sum up one of Sega‘s zaniest franchises, but actions speak louder than words. In just 25 minutes with The Man Who Erased His Name, we laid on the charm in a live-action cabaret segment, won street fights with an exploding cigarette, and visited a glitzy arena to take part in a one-versus-100 battle.
Kiryu’s new Agent Style is some of the most fun we’ve had with combat in Ryu Ga Gotoku’s action series, and we can’t wait to return to The Castle – a vibrant fairground built on a ship – later this year.
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Launch: November 8
With its tricky platforming and surprisingly difficult bosses, Sonic Superstars bruised our ego. It also stole our heart, as the three levels we played were a fantastic blend of old-school Sonic and new ideas.
Though it’s a return to Sonic’s 2D roots, new abilities – like being able to swim up waterfalls – meant we had to think outside of the box to clear several stages, and we aren’t ashamed to admit that some bosses took several tries to beat. Throw in four-player co-op, and Superstars feels like it will be a hit for new and returning Sonic fans.
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Launch: October 17
Created by indie developer Monster And Monster, our 15 minutes with indie hit Star Trucker left a lasting impression. That’s partly because of its stunning detail – repairing your truck means equipping a spacesuit and floating around in zero-gravity to find the damage.
However, it’s Star Truckers’ americana aesthetic that makes it feel truly special. You can banter with fellow truckers by hailing them on a CB radio, and there’s a station of folk rock with every track made specifically for the game. For those of us who spent hours in Hardspace: Shipbreaker, Star Trucker will likely be a must-play.
Assassin’s Creed Jade
Assassin’s Creed Jade will take Ubisoft’s stealth-action series to Ancient China – and in a major step forward for mobile gaming, it will only be available to play on phones. Yet our hands-on with Jade shows it hasn’t cut any corners to bring Assassin’s Creed to mobile.
Assassinations can be carried out with a single thumb tap, but reaching your target unseen requires all of the planning and patience we’re used to seeing from the series. Similarly, the controls for parkour and combat have been simplified, but little has been lost – in short, this feels like as much a thrill as Ubisoft’s big-screen adventures.
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