We already know what the industry thinks is the top title this year, so stick with us as we list the best games of 2022 and talk a bit about the state of gaming.
The gaming industry didn’t take a massive U-turn since last year. It’s still the fastest-growing entertainment media, so as a whole, things are looking up. But passionate gamers still have some issues with the direction the most prominent companies are taking.
They still release broken products and put out DLCs later simply for profit. They’re thinking in free-to-plays and microtransactions, or remakes and remasters rather than new, original, creative IPs that gamers worldwide would love to see.
But hey, like always, there’s much to look forward to. 2022 has ended, and we have a whole new year ahead full of gaming. Let’s see our list.
Platform: PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PC
Release: February 25
We knew from the start that Elden Ring was going to become a massive hit. And at the end of the year, it won first place, plus ‘Best Art Direction and ‘Best Direction’ at The Game Awards.
This open-world RPG usually gets the ‘Soulslike’ tag, and though both stem from FromSoftware and are similar, Elden Ring is far bigger and far more advanced.
It’s a game-changer for this genre as it features vast, fantastical landscapes and complex dungeons in a unique open world. The game is dense and just an unprecedented level of large. Plus, Elden Ring’s development was aided by Game of Thrones writer George R. R. Martin, who was responsible for the game’s lore:
Even though it’s the most accessible FromSoftware game to date – so it’s easier to start even if you’re not used to Soulslike games – the difficulty is still pretty high, and the learning curve can be quite steep. That being said, mastering Elden Ring’s punishing combat system and game mechanics is as rewarding as it gets. The game provides an open-class development tree that offers infinite variety in character building and begs replayability and multiple runs with different characters.
The storytelling is fragmented, and you need to be invested in grasping what’s happening. That means sinking hours into exploration and getting to know this vast world. But the lore is dense, and curiosity is always rewarded.
All in all, Elden Ring is an excellent RPG for any motivated gamer. So if you’re looking for a new world full of new challenges to explore, it might be worth giving the game of the year a go.
Platform: PS4, PS5 and PC
Release: July 19
Street kitten meets Blade Runner: the concept of this indie game caught the industry by a bit of surprise, and it was hard to pass it by in July.
In the game, you’re a stray cat that separates from the pack and finds itself in a strange, mysterious underground city. As you progress in this sci-fi adventure, you mostly explore, do puzzle-solving, and stealth. But the show-stealer here is your character, the street cat, whose movement and behavior are just 10/10 cat-authentic and fun.
Stray has some fun magic that captivates you from the start. Meowing on command or scratching the carpet and getting a gamepad vibration that mimics a cat’s purr are small added details that make the game stand out. Art-wise, it has a lot to offer, from slightly cartoonish styles cool robots, spooky areas, and unique clothing. Not to mention the underground views of the city mixed with top-notch music and sound design. It’s the chillout game of the year.
Platform: PS4 and PS5
Release: November 9
The series doubles down on an emotional, impactful story with the next iteration. There are a lot of cool gods to look ahead to. The setup looks like this without going into spoiler territory: time has passed, the world, and Kratos, have changed, and the focus is now more on Atreus with his coming-of-age story.
He’s leading the two into a world-hopping adventure that grows bigger and bigger. It’s a solid story, and while you’re playing, you know it’s a successor of the old game, but it doesn’t want to pander to nostalgia too much.
Visually, it’s stunning, and there’s much to explore in the game as new areas open up. It’s not a typical open-world, sidequest-filled game. And Santa Monica studios improved and expanded upon quite a few things, like the 2018 version of the combat. They also added new layers to what you’d already expect. Plus, there are bigger and more vicious baddies to fight; they are more varied, and there’s a lot to do.
Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S
Release: October 12
Another sequel on the list, nominated for Game of the Year and continuing the story Asobo Studio, began in 2019 with A Plague Tale: Innocence. And it’s pretty essential to play the first iteration to enjoy this next one since the payoffs here will hit a lot better if you finish the first game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is an adventure-stealth game. You’re following the story of a brother and sister, in 1340s France, with millions of people dying and swarms of killer rats destroying everything in their path. Both heroes possess skills to help them flee to the south during their adventures.
It has a lot of similar tricks as the first game. It’s mainly about stealth and trickery, and everything is smoother: movement, abilities, and swapping. The gameplay blends action and adventure well, and the story is – just like the first time around – fantastic. Deeply depressing but fantastic. And worth following through all the way.
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Release: July 19
We wanted to choose a narrative-driven game for our list, which had to be As Dusk Falls. If you love these games and know what this genre offers, you must give it a run.
The design is just ingenious; you see still images throughout the whole game and don’t even notice. And the story’s pacing moves as you’d expect from a serial drama.
The best parts of this genre, like the captivating story, high-stakes decision-making, and exciting characters, are all there in As Dusk Falls. But it loses more tedious parts, like lame movement and walking around without a clue to find the next thing that’ll kick the story into movement again. It’s just purely the narrative and the decisions. Characters come to life with fantastic voice acting. And you’ll be sweating making decisions as you progress further and further in the story in this choose-your-own-adventure style game.
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Release: December 2
If you know Civilization, you know the type of game Firaxis studios calls a flagship product. They’re behind many incredible games, but the strategy is their bread and butter. We could say they’re the kings of this genre in video games.
This time they’ve come out with something that we didn’t see coming: a multi-platform Marvel game. If we had to put a label on it, we’d say it’s like a strategy-tactics RPG game, where you talk a lot in in-between fights and just get busy with character mechanics more than in their typical strategy games.
The game encompasses a shocking amount of places and Marvel heroes, which is, of course, amazing if you’re a fan of the comic studio’s characters. You can see lesser-known heroes in the spotlight, go more in-depth into the universe, and see well-known main characters in a new light.
The strategy combat in the game is a lot of fun, though not too complicated. It gets you thinking, but you won’t be buried in your thoughts for too long like you would be while playing any other Firaxis game.
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Release: March 25
This one is a bit of a wildcard, we know, but stick with us. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is essentially a new Borderlands game. However. It’s also a fake fantasy Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game. In this mad setup, Tiny Tina is your Dungeon Master, and you’re playing D&D in her crazy story.
What’s impressive to see in a Borderlands game is building a character from the ground up. You get to choose everything, like good old-fashioned RPG character-building.
And it might not be the game of the century, but in the genre, it’s a worthy mention; plus, it’s a breath of fresh air for the Borderlands franchise and fans. Of course, there’s a huge focus on guns and gears still. But it’s a lot less sci-fi and a lot more magic.
Platform: PS4, PS5
Release: February 18
Horizon Zero Dawn was released in 2017, which feels like an awful lot of time ago. The game continues where it left off: we follow Aloy’s battle since it isn’t over. Safe to say the end of the first game was just the beginning. The new game’s story is more ambitious and plays out on a bigger scale, which is excellent since the story arc, and the characters were not the most impressive in the first, and this second iteration has improved on that.
You’ll probably need a recap if you’ve played the original story a long time ago since this game builds on a lot of that – religions, leaders, and cultures. It’s all pretty overwhelming.
Combat is still a tad strange, you still have to manage tools a lot, and it can get a bit much. Meanwhile, the world has gotten more engaging, with new things to discover and more compelling side quests. And visuals, of course, are super impressive – the lighting, the character models, the details, particles, colors, it’s all just breathtaking.
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and Xbox One
Release: January 20
It’s been 25 years since Windjammers came out on the NeoGeo. This year, the iconic arcade game got an upgrade. And we couldn’t be happier with what we got.
This new version changed a little from the original, and the old formula still holds up today. It’s still the same old chaotic arcade experience and pong-like frisbee game. There have been a couple of tweaks; the gameplay had some changes, new characters were added, and the graphics were upgraded too.
You can expect the same fast-paced gameplay, with the standout improvement of jumping in the air and striking your disc down into the opponent’s court.
Windjammers 2 is easy to grasp but difficult to master. But once you’ve mastered it, it’s super addictive. We loved the new game so much that competitive Windjammers tournaments took place at Codecool, and we plan to play even more together.
What were your favourites this year?
Our list could be made even longer and there are for sure titles you miss here. Let us know what your favorites were!
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