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Even though people keep claiming to hate Fortnite these days, I still see you all online. Fortnite Chapter 4: Season 4 is hands down one of the best Fortnite seasons in years.

Photo collage by Jaden Holz, VOX Journalism Fellowship

VOX 5: The Top Video Games of the Last Year

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Most teens enjoy playing video games. Some are loyal to a specific series or genre, while others are open to all varieties. If you fit into any of these groups, here are five titles that are perfect if you just want to go straight into a game without needing to play any prequels. They have great stories and are very extensive, making them worth your time and money. If you enjoy playing games, then keep reading to see what number one is.

#5: Pokemon: Scarlet and Violet + DLC

These games had a very rocky release in November of 2022, but don’t let that stop you from trying them. Pokemon SV are the 16th mainline Pokemon game and, like past games, have their version differences, so make sure you pick the right one for you. “Scarlet” and “Violet” start with your character moving to the Paldea Region and registering for their respective Pokemon school, Naranja in “Scarlet” and Uva in “Violet.” These are the first Pokemon games to have a completely open world, and you can also challenge anything, in any order. You can also transfer old Pokemon to these games all the way from Ruby and Sapphire. Finally, you can trade, battle, and join other trainers (only if you have Nintendo Switch Online though). While Scarlet and Violet aren’t the best games, they did a great job and recently released part one of the “Hidden Treasure of Area Zero” Downloadable Content, “The Teal Mask.” Most fans are upset that rather than fix the bad parts of the games they just threw a DLC in our faces. But nonetheless, it was still great and the second part is looking even more promising.

#4: Baldur’s Gate 3

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the “Baldur’s Gate” franchise before, but after playing “Baldur’s Gate 3” I went down a rabbit hole of timelines and easter eggs. “Baldur’s Gate” is a tabletop Role-Playing Game, which is mostly based on “Dungeons & Dragons.” This game takes place 120 years after “Baldur’s Gate 2,” but you do not need to play any of the other games to play this one. For those who have this game, it offers tons of easter eggs and references to past games. In this game, you can level up your character, unlock spells and weapons and build a strong party. You can be as lawfully good, or chaotically evil as you wish, with really almost no limit.

#3: God of War: Ragnarök

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Even if you haven’t played any other “God of War” game you have to give “Ragnarök” a try. “God of War: Ragnarök” is the sequel to “God of War” (2018) making it technically the fifth “God of War” game, but you do not need to play any of the originals to jump into this one. The game starts with the main character, Kratos, and his son, Atreus, camping out in a cave trying to escape the cold in this mysterious winter. In this game, you and Atreus wander about the nine realms fighting all kinds of bosses, finding armor and new weapons and adding more people to your crusade. “God of War: Ragnarök” has so many hidden details and really tiny easter eggs that no other game would’ve thought to put there. Even though this game is a PlayStation exclusive, it is still on PlayStation 4, making it accessible to more people.

#2: Mortal Kombat 1

Everyone has at the very least heard of “Mortal Kombat.” Well, this new version of the game turns everything up to a 12. “Mortal Kombat 1” starts where the last game ended, with Liu Kang restarting the whole MK timeline, and if you ever paid attention to it, you will notice some big differences. First off, Liu Kang is now a fire god and basically took over Raiden’s job, and Raiden is now like Liu Kang. Instead of Kung Lao being a Shaolin Monk, he and Raiden are farmers. Also, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, once mortal enemies, are now brothers, working together. These aren’t nearly all of the changes but I don’t want to spoil the fun of seeing all the new story developments. Even if you don’t care about the story, MK is still a multiplayer fighting game, meaning you can connect a second controller or even play online. With this new game comes all sorts of game modes with three different types of story modes with some being different each time. MK1 is also on every platform, though it is a new-gen exclusive and there have been reports of it being very bad on Nintendo Switch.

Honorable Mentions

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

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The only reason this game isn’t actually on the list is because it isn’t released yet. Even though we have only seen trailers and small clips of gameplay, this game is shaping up to be number one on the list. What we do know is that “Spider-Man 2” takes place after “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” with at least three new villains. The lizard, Venom and Kraven the Hunter are all going to be in this game, with Peter Parker being infected by the symbiote. I really cannot wait for this game to release on October 20, even if it is only on PlayStation 5.

Fortnite: Chapter 4, Season 4

Even though people keep claiming to hate “Fortnite” these days, I still see you all online. “Fortnite Chapter 4: Season 4” is hands down one of the best “Fortnite” seasons in years, even with triple the amount of people playing than last season. One of the reasons it is so great is because of the vaults. This season there are three different vaults each with a boss guarding them. When you get into the vault there is a choice of random mythical weapons from past “Fortnite” seasons. Finally, the season is just getting started, with “Fortnitemares” coming on October 10, and it never fails to be the best event all year. The only reason this isn’t on the list is because people claim to hate it (even though I see them play it), and there is no guarantee the game will stay this great forever. Just remember “Fortnite” is always free and is on almost every platform.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

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If you thought “Breath of the Wild” was good then you have seen nothing compared to “Tears of the Kingdom.” TOTK took everything great about “Breath of the Wild” and multiplied it by 100. This game starts with Link and Zelda going under Hyrule castle to find the source of the mysterious gloom. In TOTK, you have four main abilities making your adventure infinitely more fun. First, you have fuse, which allows you to combine any material or object to your sword, armor, and arrows, most fusions even have special mechanics. The next one is recall, which allows you to rewind time on movable objects. Then there is ascend where this ability allows you to go straight through structures. Finally, there is ultrahand, the most interesting ability, granting you the power to move objects and glue them together, letting you create all kinds of inventions. There are also new Zonai devices each with different functions, adding even more creativity to your inventions. The story and mechanics of TOTK make for hours of fun, and I speak from experience because I have 500 hours in it.

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