Given the pandemic is still having a serious effect on the games industry you could’ve been excused for not expecting much from 2022, with the assumption it would be another year limping along at half speed, with only a few notable releases. That wasn’t how it was at all though, and while our choice for best game of the year wasn’t a difficult one the quality and variety of other games was highly impressive.
There was so much quality around that even well-reviewed games like Horizon Forbidden West and Splatoon 3 didn’t manage to make the cut – and we still can’t believe that Sonic Frontiers almost did. As usual there are plenty of indie games in our list, but even then we didn’t have space for the likes of Tunic, Card Shark, and Signalis.
It would be very strange indeed if you ended up agreeing with the entirety of our list, so at the end of January voting will begin for the Readers’ Top 20 of 2022. Although we’ll be very surprised if Elden Ring doesn’t manage a double victory…
- Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Somehow there managed to be two mainline Pokémon releases this year and while they both had their technical faults, in design terms they finally started to push the series out of its long-standing stagnation. Except for the low-tech visuals Scarlet and Violet edges dangerously close to the dream Pokémon game, with a giant-sized open world, a non-linear mission structure, and turn-based battles that happen instantly and without going to a separate screen. Almost all the new pokémon designs are great and the co-op, while still having room for improvement, is another major step forward.
- Marvel’s Midnight Suns
(Xbox Series X/PlayStation 5/PC)
Although Firaxis’ latest game was initially assumed to be XCOM but with superheroes, the core turn-based gameplay has much more in common with Slay The Spire. It’s a beautifully versatile system that manages to be both fun and accessible, while also representing the very different powers of the various heroes. The story element isn’t quite a successful, but despite the mammoth length of the single-player campaign it still manages to keep your interest, even if some heroes are more fleshed out than others.
- Vampire Survivors
(Xbox One/Xbox Series X/PC/iOS/Android)
This indie gem stands as the best proof this year that high-tech visuals are not a necessity for a great game. At first glance it looks like an amateurish mess, but Vampire Survivors is essentially a dual-stick shooter where all you have to do is move, with your attacks handled on a timer as you carefully upgrade your character with new weapons and powers, to take on hundreds of undead monsters at a time. Its just one more go factor is the highest of any game this year, even if the pacing is a little off at times.
- Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
(Xbox One/PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch/Xbox Series X/PlayStation 5/PC)
It’s been a long time since there’s been a new Lego movie game and developer Traveller’s Tales made up for their long absence with a game weighed down with so much content it’s hard to understand how they had the time for it all. Not only are all nine mainline films represented but there’s also dozens of open world hubs for every planet in the galaxy, both obscure and well known. There’s so much side content, including deep space battles, it could keep the average child or adult happy for the whole year – which is precisely the intent with the enjoyable co-op options.
- The Case Of The Golden Idol
Detective game Return Of The Obra Dinn seemed liked it would always be a one of a kind deal but while this is no clone it does scratch many of the same itches, with a similar approach to solving the game’s series of grisly murders and of using low-tech graphics to enhance the mood rather than distract from it. It can get a bit overblown before the end, leading you to rely more on guesswork than logic, but the over-arching story is handled extremely well, as you take on the role of an 18th century Columbo.
(Xbox One/Xbox Series X/PC)
One of only two Microsoft published games this year (the other is fellow narrative driven title As Dusk Falls) and absolutely not what you’d expect from either them or The Outer Worlds developer Obsidian Entertainment. They are known for their excellent storytelling, but the setting of 16th century Bavaria is taken completely seriously, despite the graphics looking like something out of a Monty Python skit. And so a complex tale is told, of a travelling artist caught up in a murder mystery whose repercussions last for generations.
- Neon White
If you can ignore the cringeworthy dialogue this stylish and imaginative first person shooter is one of the best action games of the year, mixing card mechanics with the thrill of speedruns, so that it’s not just what you shoot but how quickly and stylishly you do it. The level design is excellent throughout, making the most of the premise, which mixes Mirror’s Edge parkour with more traditional action. Figuring out the optimal route through a level, for the maximum score, is hugely compelling and the urge to shave just a few more seconds off your best score is hard to resist.
- God Of War Ragnarök
(PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5)
Sony’s big budget Christmas exclusive was never going to be as revelatory as its immediate predecessor, which so effectively reimagined Kratos and his world, but this is still a solid sequel with some of the best action storytelling of the year. Or at least the character work is excellent, as the plot does meander just a bit too much, with a lot of repetition from the first game in terms of gameplay and locations. Some of that is unavoidable though and as familiar as the combat might seem it’s still enjoyably visceral right to the very end.
Although it’s only a few static images away from being a text adventure, Roadwarden is another excellent narrative-driven game and a completely different experience from any of its peers. You’re cast as a combination of policeman and business development guru, as you patrol an unusually downbeat fantasy world, protecting ordinary citizens and trying to stimulate economic growth. This Is a true role-playing game; in that you have full control of every aspect of your character and their decisions. That means how you go about your job is entirely up to you, with every decision having lasting and often unforeseen consequences.바카라사이트
- Return To Monkey Island
(Nintendo Switch/Xbox Series X/PlayStation 5/PC)
It’s always dangerous wishing for a beloved franchise to return, as it risks being either nothing like you remember or so similar it becomes little more than nostalgia bait. Return To Monkey Island neatly avoids both problems, as while there are plenty of familiar sights and characters this can still be played and enjoyed by those completely unfamiliar with the series. For veteran fans though it’s a relief to find that not only is it as charming as ever but, unlike most modern graphic adventures, it actually has proper, difficult puzzles too. A far better sequel than anyone could’ve expected, even if it’s not quite as funny as it might have been.
- Citizen Sleeper
(Nintendo Switch/Xbox Series X/PC)
The problem with trying to convey a story in an action game is that you always have to stop said action in order to get across your dialogue in a coherent manner. So it is that the best storytelling games tend to be those that allow the narrative to be delivered organically through the gameplay, which is why Citizen Sleeper works so well, as you try retain your sanity and humanity in a dystopian future where corporations own everything – including your robot body. Arguably the best written game of the year, this is top class sci-fi in interactive form.
- Hyper Demon
A psychedelic, hyperbolic first person shooter of incredibly simplicity, and difficulty, this has about as much in common with Fortnite and Call Of Duty as it does Animal Crossing. There’s no extra weapons to pick up or experience points to earn, just a race against time to keep your score ticking up, since the second your rampage suffers any kind of pause it’s game over. Frustrating and disorientating at first, Hyper Demon soon becomes an obsession you don’t want to escape from and the perfect antidote to other more overblown shooters.
- Gran Turismo 7
(PlayStation 4/PlayStation 5)
It’s almost a decade since the release of Gran Turismo 6, on the PlayStation 3, and in that time it appeared as if Xbox’s Forza franchise had eaten all of Sony’s lunch. Gran Turismo has little in common with the Forza Horizon series though and in the end the real driving simulator had no trouble reclaiming its former throne as the most accurate, comprehensive, and entertaining simulator on consoles. The volume of content is staggering and while the damage modelling is still disappointing this comes perilously close to being the perfect racing game.
- Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
One of the trends of 2022 has been the continued rise of strategy games, with a seemingly endless parade of impressively different games that perfectly demonstrate the flexibility of the genre. Nintendo don’t let just anyone make a Mario game, but this excellent turn-based strategy mimics the whimsy of the Mushroom Kingdom perfectly (even if we wish the Rabbids had been jettisoned, ideally into the sun). Regardless of the setting this is simply an excellent strategy game, with the non-grid based movement system working extremely well and hopefully something other new strategy games will emulate in the future.
- Rogue Legacy 2
(Xbox One/Nintendo Switch/Xbox Series X/PC)
The game that helped popularise the modern obsession with roguelites finally got a sequel in 2022 and it’s every bit as good as fans hoped. A considerably more refined experience than the original, in terms of both graphics and gameplay, it adds a number of Metroidvania elements, more varied backdrops, and a much larger menagerie of monsters. The new classes are also more distinct than before, with a wide range of equally functional weapons and even more peculiar genetic traits – that can see you starting a run with everything from colour blindness to irritable bowel syndrome.
- Total War: Warhammer 3
To illustrate our point about how good 2022 has been for strategy games, Warhammer 3 is about as different from Sparks Of Hope as you could possibly imagine. As the final part of the Warhammer trilogy, you’d think this would hold little in the way of surprises but not only does it introduce new factions, but the story campaign revolves around the Realms of Chaos – the home turf of Warhammer’s various gods. This allows the game to get especially inventive with different terrains – from lakes of poison to magical floating islands – and a range of unique rules and enemies for each realm.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Despite their long history and wide range of games, role-playing has not traditionally been something you would associate with Nintendo. That changed as soon as they bought developer Monolith Soft, who have not only been a help with the open worlds of Zelda but have forged their own classic series of role-players with the Xenoblade Chronicles franchise. The latest sequel is the best yet, with its uniquely flexible combat system, stunning visuals, and endearing characters – assuming you get on with the peculiar range of British regional accents.
(Xbox Series X/PC/iOS/Android)
As entertaining as Christopher Judge’s acceptance speech was, we do feel the Best Performance trophy at The Game Awards should have gone to Manon Gage for Immortality, but then the whole cast are fantastic in Sam Barlow’s latest twist on the interactive movie concept. That’s a description that’s more literal than usual, as you sift through movie footage form the 60s, 70s, and late 90s in order to try and discover the fate of Gage’s Marissa Marcel.
The interface, including in the recent mobile versions, is as inobtrusive as possible, as it allows you to browse through the archives, trying to piece together the mystery at your own pace. Some might argue that Immortality isn’t even really a video game, but while it may share little in common with the rest of this top 20, its open-ended narrative is just as interactive and pliable as the action of an online shooter or sports game.
- Bayonetta 3
Only PlatinumGames could end up making the second best game of the year and the absolute worst, in Babylon’s Fall. It’s not even as if the two games are worlds apart in terms of gameplay but when it comes to execution Bayonetta 3 is on another plane of existence. Some have groused about its performance on the Switch, but the issue is irrelevant when contrasted with the audacity and imagination of the game’s set pieces and the depth and accessibility of its combat.
Despite being the third entry in the series, the level of invention is astounding, from the new ability to control Bayonetta’s demonic pets to the endless array of outrageous set pieces and boss battles – our favourite of which involves taking a bath in the clouds while flicking bubble bath at a representation of the Monkey King form Journey To The West. And we’re not even sure that’s the weirdest thing in the game.
- Elden Ring
(Xbox One/PlayStation 4/Xbox Series X/PlayStation 5/PC)
There was never really any doubt about this. Although it launched as early as February, Elden Ring always had Game of the Year written all over it and we’re certainly not the first to confer that accolade upon it. FromSoftware has emerged as one of the most respected developers in the world but while we don’t actually think this is their best game (Bloodborne and Sekiro, at least, are better) it is a staggering achievement, with a massive scale married to a seemingly impossible level of detail. You could build an entire separate game out of the secrets most people will never see on their first playthrough, while the combat, traversal, and co-op is the most accessible and versatile From has ever created.
Not only is Elden Ring a great game but it’s also a hugely successful one; an anathema to committee led game design, that never holds your hand and has no interest in microtransactions or battle passes. It’s a style of game you never would have imagined entering into the top 10 sellers of all-time and yet its commerical success, and influence on other games, could end up being its most important legacy.온라인카지노