Ranking The 10 Best Performances in Video Games in 2023

COGconnected’s Game of the Year Awards – Best Performance

Happy end of 2023 everyone! It’s time for the video game community to sum up our thoughts about what the best video games of the year were. All the COG staff got together, and had a massive discussion, and a massive vote. The following is a list of the top 10 nominees for Best Video Game Performance of 2023. There were some incredible triple-A games this year. With the advent of motion capture, acting in video games has become so much more than voice-over. Some of these nominees are seasoned voiceover veterans, some of them are newcomers you may have never heard of, and a few are even Hollywood names that have dipped their feet in the video game world. COGconnected’s nominees for, and winner of, Best Performance are:

alan wake 2 third person

10. Wes Lacy (Eryk – The Last Faith)

After that intro about motion capture, and transcending voice over, we begin our Best Performance list with a 2D indie title! The Last Faith is a dark, and richly imaginative Metroidvania. Eryk is the protagonist, seeking the cure for a disease that’s slowly turning him into a monster. Wes Lacy has a resume that includes lots of voiceover work, but nothing of note in the video game world. Hopefully his gritty delivery as Eryk will lead him to more excellent performances in video games.

9. Matt Mercer (Minsc – Baldur’s Gate 3)

The COG staff’s second most beloved companion in Baldur’s Gate 3 was the dopey warrior Minsc. Even though he has a vaguely Russian accent, you’ll probably hear the recognizable voice of Matt Mercer poking through. He’s voiced tons of anime characters, like Levi from Attack On Titan, and tons of video game characters, like Leon from Resident Evil. He’s also the Dungeon Master for the popular Dungeons & Dragons webseries critical role. The combination of great character and great acting makes for an easy nominee for Best Performance.

8. Ralph Ineson (Cid – Final Fantasy XVI)

Even if you don’t know Ralph Ineson by name, you’ll instantly recognize his deep, gravely voice if you hear it. He’s a rising Hollywood character actor, with major roles in films like The VVitch, and The Green Knight. Final Fantasy XVI had one of the best video game narratives this year, and its characters and performances were a huge part of that. Cid (in this game) is the leader of a resistance group that wants to shake up the balance of power in his world, and create a better quality of life for the less fortunate. It’s a memorable role, and a memorable performance.

7. David Harewood (Mr. Door – Alan Wake 2)

Alan Wake 2 is such a bizarre game, and Mr. Door was a fantastic part of that bizarreness. He’s an interdimensional being that can travel between alternate worlds. He leads the title character on his journey through talk show FMV sequences. David Harewood is a British TV and film actor that comic fans might recognize as Martian Manhunter in the Arrowverse TV series. He hasn’t done much video game work, but maybe this memorable role in Alan Wake 2 will lead to more.

6. Neil Newbon (Baldur’s Gate 3 – Final Fantasy XVI)

The Best Performance of Baldur’s Gate 3 is Asterion. He’s a flamboyant character, but takes on the classic thief role. Neil Newbon’s performance really brings Astarion to life. He’s a British actor who’s mostly known for television. Strangely, Newbon got his start in video games through motion capture, but he’s shining brightly now as a voice actor. Look out for more of his performances in the future, as his video game resume is rapidly growing.

5. Takaya Kuroda (Kazuma Kiryu – Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name)

Takeya Kuroda has been the Japanese voice of Yakuza series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu since its PS2 days. The Yakuza and Like a Dragon games (as they’re now known) have always had incredible narratives and performances. I’m going to cheat a bit. This was my vote for Best Performance of 2023. The video below shows a scene from late in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, where Kiryu sees a video message from some kids at the orphanage he used to run. So minor spoilers, but this scene moved me to tears. It’s got a lot of built-up narrative behind it, but maybe this will convince someone to check out the Like a Dragon series for nothing other than its incredible storytelling and performances.

4. Matthew Porretta (Alan Wake – Alan Wake 2)

Alan Wake 2 exceeded expectations, because of its excellent, bizarre narrative. The aspect that held everything together was the performance of Matthew Porretta as the title character and protagonist. On top of the cinematic third person gameplay, there were also a lot of FMV sequences, where the acting can’t be polished by animation. Matthew Porretta has done some TV and film acting, most notably as Will Scarlet O’Hara in Robin Hood: Men In Tights, but his most notable career performance has been as Alan Wake. Hopefully the success of Alan Wake 2 leads Porretta to bigger roles.

3. Idris Elba (Solomon Reed – Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty)

Cyberpunk 2077 might still be full of too many bugs for many to enjoy, but CD Projekt RED has been hacking at it, and the game has turned into a modern triple A must-play. Idris Elba lent his performance to the Phantom Liberty DLC, which is essentially a narrative sequel to the base game. Solomon Reed, his character, is a sleeper agent that the player isn’t sure they can trust. Elba’s performance was excellent, but he also added some very needed high profile star power to the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, and our Best Performance nominations.

2. Yuri Lowenthal (Peter Parker – Spider-Man 2)

Insomniac’s Spider-Man games are better movies than any of the Spider-Man movies (although I have a soft spot for the Sam Raimi trilogy). The performances by all the actor’s involved with the cinematic narrative are excellent. But if we had to choose one from Spider-Man 2 to shine, it’s gotta be the OG himself, Peter Parker. Yuri Lowenthal is another veteran voice actor, who’s done tons of animation and video games. He played Sasuke in Naruto, and Luka in Bayonetta. Peter Parker is probably his greatest starring role in a video game, and that’s saying something considering his resume includes hundreds of projects.

1. Ben Starr (Clive Rosfield – Final Fantasy XVI)

The Best Performance of 2023 is Ben Starr as Clive Rosfield, the protagonist of Final Fantasy XVI. Final Fantasy XVI has a long narrative, with lots of memorable characters, and lots of fantastic performances. Clive is the glue at the center of the narrative, and has the most screen time of any character. It’s a testament to the quality of the game that it had multiple Best Performance nominees, and Ben Starr still got the award. Starr is a British actor, mostly known for his TV roles in Jamestown and Dickensian. Clive is his first videogame role, so hopefully we’ll see him blowing us away with acting in lots of game in the future.

Do you agree with our choices? What was your favorite video game performance of 2023? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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