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The Best Games Of March 2023, According To Metacritic

The first quarter of 2023 has been filled with one great video game after another. In February, gamers were treated to "Metroid Prime Remastered," which gave an undisputed masterpiece a gorgeous facelift and tighter controls, as well as "Hogwarts Legacy," which shattered sales records in the face of a great deal of controversy.

Even with such heavy hitters in the rearview, March was no slouch. This month brought gamers a highly anticipated remake, a sequel to a beloved JRPG series, an update to one of the most addictive rogue-lites in the biz, and much more. But even with March spoiling gamers of all types, there were a few titles that definitely stood out among the rest. 

According to Metacritic's rankings, these were the best video games to arrive in March 2023. 

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & The Secret Key

There's much more to "Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & The Secret Key" than its unwieldy title. The game puts a lot of effort into making sure that players can jump into this as their first "Ryza" title, including a recap montage of the preceding entries. Although this recap is mainly the broad strokes of the plot, it can get you caught up and ready to join Reisalin Stout's latest adventure.

"Atelier Ryza 3" drops players into a massive, interconnected open map. The game mixes real-time combat with turn-based battles, which is often very fun and occasionally clunky, especially when players have to wait and charge their attacks.

At the end of the day, the biggest draws to "Atelier Ryza 3" are its gorgeous visuals and moving story. The conclusion to the series offers players a fantastical world to explore and much-needed character development for its lead hero. It even manages to help novices tackle the confusing layers of JRPG lore. As noted in RPGFan's review, "every scene is expertly crafted, and adding an active glossary in dialogue windows does wonders to keep names and locations straight."

  • Release Date: March 24, 2023
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Genre: RPG
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 84 (Switch), 86 (PC), 83 (PS5)
  • Zaaz's Review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure

"The Legend of Heroes" isn't a new series, nor is "Trails to Azure" a new game, per se. Even though the title originally released in 2011, it didn't make its way to North America until 2023, so it's a big deal for fans of the franchise. "Trails to Azure" is a JRPG that continues the tale of Lloyd Bannings and the Special Support Section as they attempt to protect the city of Crossbell. "Trails to Azure" is the sequel to "Trails from Zero," which received its North American release in 2022.

CJ Andriessen at Destructoid argued that "Trails to Azure is a worthy sequel, even if it might not make much sense outside the context of the series. It allows players to revisit many of the same locations in "Trails to Azure," but from a different perspective, which reveals the world they got to know in the first game in an entirely new way. Andriessen also noted that "Trails to Azure" continues everything that was great about "Trails from Zero," making it perfect for fans of the preceding game. 

Anna Marie Privitere at RPGamer explained that the amount of care and world-building put into the "Trails" games – both in "Trails from Zero" and "Trails to Azure" – makes the games stand out among other JRPGs. Fans of lengthy, plot-heavy turn-based games will need to check this one out.

  • Release Date: March 14, 2023
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4
  • Genre: JRPG
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 86 (Switch), 86 (PC), 83 (PS4)

Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

Even though March doesn't evoke thoughts of ghosts and other things that go bump in the night, fans and critics alike enjoyed Square Enix's "Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo," a visual novel-style game that follows a group of individuals as they investigate a series of curses. Each character has their own reasons for bringing back an individual from the dead, but who will be able to complete the Rite of Ressurection?

Critics have praised the visual novel for its carefully developed characters and dedication to a lo-fi aesthetic. Ollie Reynolds at Nintendo Life argued that "Paranormasight" is one of the most stunning visual novels available on the Switch, but that the game's lack of a North American release announcement unjustly held it back from becoming more mainstream. Rachel Watts at Rock Paper Shotgun similarly praised "Paranormasight," noting that its 360 perspective brings a new visual element to the genre, and works perfectly with its horror themes.

  • Release Date: March 8, 2023
  • Platforms: Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Genre: Visual Novel
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 86 (Switch), 81 (PC)
  • Zaaz's review

Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania

"Dead Cells" already has a bit of "Castlevania" DNA in it: A gothic hero travels through an impossibly large series of dungeons and fantastical dungeons, all while building up their arsenal and facing down all kinds of creepy-crawly monsters. This seemingly made it ripe for a crossover DLC, which combines the best of both franchises into one challenging mission to take out Dracula.

Players who have already perfected their character builds for the intensely difficult runs through "Dead Cells" will be delighted to add a ton of vampire-bashing tools to their kit. Longtime "Castlevania" fans will be able to pick out a ton of easter eggs and fun nods to the classic Konami series, while the game's unlockable "Richter Mode" offers a chance to play as recurring series protagonist Richter Belmont. 

This DLC maintains a tricky balancing act to deliver a love letter to all things "Castlevania" and a heck of an expansion for "Dead Cells."

  • Release Date: March 24, 2023
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Genre: Action, Platformer, Roguelite, Metroidvania
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 88 (PC)

Resident Evil 4

What else can we say about "Resident Evil 4" that hasn't been said a thousand times before? This remake manages to capture what made the original game so compelling, but also overhauls all of its mechanics to create a thoroughly modern action-horror experience. The campy dialogue and over the top enemies are still there, but the fresh coat of paint, expanded maps, and improved gunplay make this the definitive version of "Resident Evil 4." 

Perhaps most importantly: The "Resident Evil 4" remake has managed to restore some of the series' horror elements to this more adventure-minded installment. The game is dripping with atmosphere, and players will find themselves sneaking around every corner and dreading the next swarm of monsters hiding in the woods.

  • Release Date: March 24, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
  • Genre: Action Adventure, Survival Horror
  • Game modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 92 (PC), 93 (PS5), 91 (Series X)
  • Zaaz's Review