Best games of 2022

I didn’t play all the games I wanted to play in 2022, but I still had some quality gameplay experiences last year and I’m looking forward to continuing that in the new year. For now, here are my 10 favorite games I played in 2022.

As I get older, it’s becoming increasingly harder to try and put in as much time as I can to play the games I do want to play. However, I always try and make an effort in order to keep this passion for gaming alive. With that being said, I’d like to get right into it. But, before I do, there are some games that won’t be on this list because of a variety of reasons, but the main reasons are I didn’t finish playing them in their entirety, or at least enough of it to form a worthwhile opinion, it simply wasn’t for me, I liked them but didn’t make my list, or I just didn’t play them at all. Some of the games I didn’t play include Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, and so on. I’m sure there are more I want to try out, but these three round out the list, for sure.

As for the other games I did play, you may be shocked about one missing the list entirely, and that’s none other than the Game of the Year, at least in many people’s eyes, Elden Ring. Personally I think the game is great and worthy of all the hype, but I’m starting to think these Souls-like games aren’t really for me. You have to invest quite a bit of time into these games not only because they’re massive, but they’re also incredibly difficult. Maybe I’ll go back to it in the future, but we’ll see. Other games MultiVersus, which is a proper Smash Bros. clone I enjoyed playing for a bit, Somerville, which tells a unique and thought-provoking story, and even Warzone 2. It’s probably the game I play the most with friends, but it has a ton of issues the developers need to work on quickly before it slowly starts to fade into irrelevancy.

Alright, let’s start with the list.

10. Sifu

It seems Sifu hasn’t gotten the love it deserves. Sure, it was nominated for three categories at The Game Awards 2022, including Best Action Game and Best Independent Game, so it definitely didn’t go unnoticed. However, in terms of my friends, I only know of one other person who actually played it. I rarely saw any big time streamers or content creators playing it either, but maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. Regardless, I think Sifu deserves to be played, and a big reason why many gamers sort of strayed away from it, in my opinion, is because of its difficulty. From a viewers perspective, the game looks awesome. You’re basically beating up enemies on every level and progress through until you reach the boss. It’s not as simple as it looks, though. The game can be insanely hard and it only gets increasingly more challenging as you move forward. You have to use the right moves and combos at the right times while still timing your dodges, blocks, and counters. The crazy part is, every time you die, you age a year, and although you get stronger the older you get, you also can’t take as much damage. I never finished the game, unfortunately, but I have thought about going back to it to revisit it. Getting through a specific area in the game is incredibly rewarding and I can only imagine how satisfying it must feel to finish the game in its entirety. I encourage everyone to try it out to try something different.

9. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

One of the best parts of playing this game was playing it alongside my wife. She isn’t a gamer by any means unless it’s the Super Mario series, but with the nature of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, most of the games, at least the good ones, are side-scrolling beat-em-ups where you don’t have to think much other than moving forward and mashing buttons together to kill enemies and bosses on every level. This reminded me of all the best games I played in arcades growing up, such as the original TMNT games, which Shredder’s Revenge is heavily inspired by, as well as others, including The Simpsons and Streets of Rage. It was a nice nostalgia trip, for sure, and another reminded as to why I love playing video games. As for the game, it’s exactly what I expected it to be. Simply put, it’s mindless fun to play with a bunch of other friends. I love the graphical style that reminds me of the early 90s, as well as the dialogue and the different characters to use, including all the turtles (Donatello is the GOAT), Master Splinter, April O’Neil, and Casey Jones. I can see myself revisiting this game periodically just to play with family and loved ones since it’s so easy for everyone to pick up and enjoy.

8. Pokemon Legends: Arceus

There’s no doubt Pokemon Legends: Arceus has its issues. To name a few, the world feels a bit empty and other than catching/fighting different kinds of Pokemon, taking on the challenge of facing off against Alpha Pokemon, or completing different missions, both story based and side quests, it all became a bit redundant after putting hours into it. I found myself looking for more based on the potential the who game had to offer, but unfortunately, that potential was never met. The good thing is, this doesn’t necessarily mean the game was bad. In fact, I found it quite good. Most importantly, I think it’s a fantastic starting point for where this series can go next since we all know the series can use some new features and gameplay elements. Granted, Scarlet and Violet probably offer some of those things I’m looking for, but I haven’t had the chance to play it, and I haven’t heard the best things about its performance, so I haven’t been motivated to go and buy it either. When I think back on Pokemon Legends: Arceus, I think of the potential and all the good it has to offer, and I’m hoping GameFreak can capitalize on what that game establishes and enhance the overall experience. With all that being said, this game deserves to be played and I had a fun time with it.

7. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

I’ve been clamoring, for years, for the Kirby series to finally make its way into the 3D platformer genre since the majority of the games are usually side-scrolling platformers. I always saw the potential to play this game from a different perspective since the kind of gameplay this series offers caters perfectly to it. Sure enough, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a thing and I had a blast with it. In some ways, it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking for the genre and the series, but there are plenty of innovative gameplay features here, and a certain charm to the game, that many other games and platformers don’t offer. I love how it still blends in side-scrolling gameplay elements as well, and how it seamlessly transitions to the 3D world, while also having unique boss fights, stages to play through, and a ton of replay value in order to complete stages in a certain time, find all the missing pathways and items, and so on. I hope there’s more Kirby games in Nintendo’s future because I’m all in.

6. Marvel SNAP

Marvel SNAP is definitely the game that caught, not only myself, but everyone by surprise in 2022. To be honest, when this was first announced, I figured it would just be another card game I would never play and have no interest in. The buzz started circulating shortly after its release however, and since it was free, I gave it a try because why not? Turns out the buzz was warranted because I absolutely loved playing this game. Marvel SNAP is so accessible in the sense that everyone, even everyday people who usually don’t play games, can play it directly on their phone and not have to worry about spending too much time on it. The matches are short and sweet, but also action-packed and full of stakes. This, along with the customizable options with the cards, and trying to collect every superhero available, kept me addicted for weeks. Unfortunately, the only gripe for me was the microtransactions. It isn’t entirely fair that I put so much time into unlocking specific cards by grinding the game and, most importantly, winning, just so others could buy very good cards and sort of skip the some parts of the whole process. I feel the experience would’ve been so much better without it, but even then, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the game and I still play it from time to time.

5. Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West is a visually stunning spectacle. In fact, it probably is the best looking game of 2022. There are plenty of new gameplay features which only compliment the outstanding mechanics from the first, and the story basically picks up right where it left off, expanding on Aloy’s story and those she encounters along the way, both familiar characters and new friends and foes, and the ambitiously immersive world makes you feel you are in it, especially with the vicious encounters against the machines. I found myself getting somewhat bored with it at times since it’s such a massive game with plenty to do, and a lot of the side quests felt a bit uninspired and uneventful. On the other hand, there were some that were also a blast to play through and, of course, the main story is still emotional, engaging, and sets a path forward for future installments. One thing for certain is there aren’t many other game developers that can create a world so vast, gorgeous, and full of life like Guerrilla Games can.

4. Tunic

One of the most pleasant surprises of the year for me, for sure. Tunic won’t be for everyone, and it’s one of those games where the target audience may not be the mainstream gamers in today’s society. But, I consider myself a versatile gamer who’s willing to play all kinds of games. I grew up playing games like The Legend of Zelda series, a handful of RPGs, and so on. I truly believe Tunic scratches all of those itches with its playstyle and how you approach playing this game. It has an overhead approach, which sort of reminded me of the top-down RPGs I’ve played in the past. It also places a heavy emphasis on exploration and figuring things out as you go. It never holds your hand and it heavily relies on you trying to see what to do next. The challenging gameplay definitely made me rage at times, but completing certain areas of the game was one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of 2022. The highlight for me, however, was how the game’s world, characters, and narrative is constructed. This has some of the best boss fights I’ve ever played through in a game, and it reminded me a bit of Death’s Door, which I also highly recommend. Once again, this may not be for everyone, but I’ve recommended Tunic to everyone and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

3. A Plague Tale: Requiem

I was fortunate enough to play through A Plague Tale: Innocence right before Requiem dropped and, collectively, this series has told one of the greatest single-player stories I’ve ever played through. Specifically speaking though, Requiem, in my opinion, is such a vast improvement to the original in almost every department. The gameplay is vastly improved in terms of additional features and different things you can do as Amicia, making your creativity flow and giving you more options to approach different tasks. The world is grander in scale and is aesthetically more impressive, and the stakes feel even larger with the narrative, with it increasingly becoming darker and brutal. At one point, I really couldn’t stop playing and started to get attached to these characters, both familiar ones and newcomers, and especially to Amicia and Hugo. I still haven’t emotionally recovered from that ending. As it stands, a sequel is all but guaranteed, but I’m not sure where the story goes next. You better believe I’ll be ready for it when the time comes, though!

2. Stray

Stray was one of those indie games I was immediately intrigued by the moment I saw gameplay footage on it. The idea of playing as a cat in a dystopian, cyberpunk-ish setting was enough to garner my interest. I just didn’t expect it to impact me as much as it did. I’m not going to lie, at the very beginning, I wasn’t sure of what to think of it since it’s mostly an introduction of how you maneuver through the world and some of the things you’ll encounter as you’re doing so. Things really started to come together when you reach the underground city and start meeting those who inhabit it. The story is more emotionally engaging than I could’ve ever imagined and I was so invested in solving everyone’s issues, trying to bring joy to every sentient being/robot who lived there, and so on. It’s an absolutely beautiful and entertaining game to play through. My only gripe was it not taking full advantage of the world and its length. With the ending, I’m not sure a sequel is warranted, but I can see specific avenues where the story can continue, and the selfish part of me hopes it can eventually become a reality.

1. God of War: Ragnarok

There are simply no words to express how much God of War Ragnarok surpassed every expectation I had for it. When you look at what Santa Monica Studio was able to accomplish with 2018’s God of War; the world-building, the aesthetically stunning universe, the emotionally engaging narrative, the brutally entertaining combat, and the incredibly well-developed characters, as a player, you can think the sequel will expand on the greatness already established, but you find it hard to believe it’ll actually go ahead and do it. Ragnarok went ahead and did the damn thing. Not only does it improve on all of this, but it also sets itself apart with the entire experience, delivering a Kratos portrayal we have yet to see in the series, while also showcasing a more mature Atreus. In fact, every character’s portrayal is simply fantastic and a huge improvement over what was already incredible in the first game. I was invested in this game until the very end, and it ends on a high note. In fact, if it were to end right there and no more God of War games are made, I’d be content. Selfishly, however, with the quality of this game, I definitely want more.

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