I decided to do a Best of 2022 video games list. A total of fifteen games, plus a DLC is on this list. There are a few games that came out in 2022 which I haven’t finished or started to play yet, so those will not be on here since I cannot judge them as a whole yet. Some of these include Soul Hackers 2, God of War Ragnarök (started not finished yet), Evil West, The Last of Us Part 1 Remake, Sonic Frontiers, FF7 Crisis Core Reunion, and more. I have all of these currently scheduled for me to play this year. I tried playing GoWR before putting out this post, but unfortunately could not finish so I cant rank it here. I am not a “souls” player, so Elden Ring is not something I will play. Something to note about my list is this: besides GOTY, Nintendo GOTY, and PlayStation GOTY, no game is in multiple categories. Lets begin!
Best Score and Music: TMNT Shredders Revenge from Tribute Games & Dotemu
I love a lot of different kinds of music and love it when there are lots of different types of music in video games. In Shredders Revenge, as soon as I started this game up, I fell absolutely in love with the soundtrack from start to finish. Each of the levels have their own unique musical scores or vocalized song and they are all fantastic. Very rarely I get soundtracks for video games and when I do it comes in a collectors edition. For this game though, I actually went out and purchased the CD soundtrack from Kid Katana Records and I imported the CD since it was available and I just love listening to it. The music is terrific, but so is the gameplay, art style, voice acting, and everything else as well so this game is one I am very proud to be a Turtles fan. I am happy that Dotemu and Tribute Games did stellar work on this title.
Biggest Shakeup To An IP: Pokémon Legends Arceus from Game Freak & Nintendo
As big as a full open world Pokémon game was for the franchise, the technical bugs, issues, and performance issues that plague Pokémon Violet make Arceus better for me. Arceus has a better level of polish compared to Scarlet and Violet and also has many changes to the standard formula of the franchise. Arceus allows you to play Pokémon in a new light by catching them without having to battle them and this was probably the biggest thing I missed while playing Violet. I hope future iterations keep this since I did start to get a little bit sick of the “tried and true” formula. This was a huge shake up to the fact you always had to battle. Arceus may not be fully open world, but the technical aspects of the game and the amount of fun that I had with the game make was unlike anything of recent for Pokémon games for me.
Most Unique: Cursed To Golf from Chuhai Labs & Thunderful
Roguelikes are something that I have just recently come to love, beginning with my GOTY 2021: Returnal. However, when I saw Cursed to Golf was a roguelike, and it was a 2D golf adventure where you are trying get back to real life, I was like SIGN ME UP! While playing this game, it kept surprising me how you could progress throughout the adventure and how randomized the different aspects were. From the cards available in the shop, to the different layouts of the levels. When you came back for your third, fourth, fifth, etc run in the game it changes everything and makes it a challenge; but a fun challenge. It is something that is something so unique to what I have played before, I just had to add it to my best of 2022 list. Check below for my full review if you are interested in it.
Best Indie Game: Tunic from Tunic Team & Finji
Best Indie is something that I award to not just the most fun I had in an indie, but everything else that goes along with a game. Tunic was a title that when it released on Xbox back in early 2022, I actually almost bought an Xbox for it. I am glad that it finally got to other platforms since I really was wanting to play this game a lot. Not only was the game created by a very small team, it was a game that looked and felt like it had so much polish, even more than some other AAA games I played this year had. I was so excited when I played this game, I couldn’t put it down. There are things in the game that I didn’t expect but what I can say is this… it is a game that wants you to get better as you progress and challenges you to many different situations and the ability to adapt. Some of the enemies and the puzzles in the game are so good and cleverly designed that I wanted more and more. There is a lot to do in this game and I want more people to play this wonderful title. Here is my review for the game played on the PS5.
RPG of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 from Monolith Soft & Nintendo
I know a lot of people were unhappy when the Elden Ring won RPG at The Game Awards (still not happy about that), Xenoblade Chronicles 3 wins my JRPG, and RPG in general, game of the year. It is a game that I ended up putting almost 158 hours into, and I never even finished everything that it has to offer. Sure, I did all of the main story, hero quests, most of the side missions, and a good chunk of the unique monsters, but there was so much more that I could do in the game. It is a game that hits every aspect when it comes to an RPG. Its action based gameplay may have started off a little bit slow, but it branched out to be MUCH better, a gripping narrative, killer music, beautiful visuals, and so much more that it was sad when I had to say goodbye to the crew. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is one game that every RPG player needs to play if they have a Nintendo Switch; just make sure to understand the stories of 1+2 as it provides a bigger impact.
Best Strategy Game: Mario+Rabbids Sparks of Hope from Ubisoft
Strategy games are a very unique category as they can either work phenomenally well as a whole or have parts that shine while others that are bad. Sparks of Hope was the first of the two in this situation and I was very glad it went so well. This game was announced a while ago and then went radio silent. I got a little scared for it when it was silent. It resurfaced and released this year and is probably my favorite title that Ubisoft has ever released. Kingdom Battle, which is the first game, is really good but the way in which the sequel improves on every aspect makes this one feel like this team seriously cared about every aspect in the game. The battle combat was a much needed and much appreciated change compared to the first title. The team also added voice acting for many characters and that added such a great element to the story that I never knew I needed. 100%’ing games on Switch is something I don’t do very often anymore, but I had to do for this one.
Best Action Game: Bayonetta 3 from Platinum Games & Nintendo
Bayonetta 3 has been MIA for a while now, ever since it was announced back at The Game Awards 2017 and has been radio silent for too long. PG released a game this year called Babylon’s Fall and it did not hit well at all, and is actually being delisted and shut down. So people might have been a little hesitant of this one. Then came the situation around the old actress of Cereza right before the game launch. Besides all of this though, this was a title was one that fans have been waiting for and it did not disappoint in any way shape or form. I think Bayonetta 3 has set the stage for what should be the standard for action based games to hold and beat. The intensive action battles, unique boss battles, time trials, side missions, and so much more both as Cereza and also Viola as so well crafted and well made. The art is great, music is rocking, but the king (or in this case queen) part of the game has to be its gameplay. I also wrote up a more detailed review of the game and if you want, you can check it out here.
Best Narrative: A Plague Tale Requiem from Asobo Studio & Focus Entertainment
Narrative is something that I consider the second biggest pillar when it comes to a game; first and always for me will be gameplay. In 2022, there have been so many stories that hold a very strong story with many levels of depth and complexity. However, for me, narrative isn’t just about the story but rather it is about how the characters portray the story. I honestly think the one that got me the most emotional and most intrigued at the same time, has to be the connection between Amicia and Hugo in Requiem. The way in which there are certain predictable moments, but those moments hit with such a powerful impact and it makes you have certain emotions was very impressive. The way in which you feel the brother sister impact with these two throughout the adventure makes an amazing narrative. It isn’t just them though, since you have both new and old faces rejoining you throughout to both help and impede what you need to do. The way in which the story played out was not what I expected.
Best Platformer: Kirby and the Forgotten Kingdom from Hal Labs & Nintendo
In terms of the Kirby franchise, I never really expect much when it comes to the pink fluff ball. I thought Kirby Star Allies was good but it was too easy. I played Planet Robobot on the 3DS, and I am finally going to finish it this year, but Kirby has never really been that big in my eyes. Forgotten Kingdom is a 3D platformer that shakes up Kirby in the way in which this IP really needed. Nintendo went way above my expectations for this title. There is so much to do in this game from collectables, to the stadium, to the post game content that is fairly tough. I loved exploring everything that I possibly could with this game! This is a must play for Switch owners who enjoy 3D platformers, even competing with the likes of Mario Odyssey, in my opinion.
Best Adventure Game: Stray from BlueTwelve & Annapurna Interactive
Stray was a title that was announced back in June 2020 when PlayStation had their showcase to show the games that were coming to PS5. I saw the cat running on rooftops and in the alleyway and I said that I must have this game. It finally released this year and was an absolute blast to play and explore the world as a cat. I played a bunch of games this year where you are an animal main character, but Stray was one that was unlike others. Stray was an adventure game that has many different aspects of platformer, stealth, speed running, and was one that also had fun and creativity throughout. For example; they wanted you to feel like a cat and made you not touch the controller for 1 hour and sleep, or escape from prey that would overwhelm you when in a big group. These were fun trophies to unlock as it put you in the life of what a cat would do. If you haven’t played it already, you really should. Go check out Chipz’s review on Youtube if you have yet to check more about this game out.
Best Open World Game: Horizon Forbidden West from Guerrilla & Sony Interactive Entertainment
The world in Horizon Zero Dawn is massive and pretty good, but Forbidden West expands on this world and makes it so much bigger and better. Throughout the world there is a lot to do including hunting machines, character substories, side missions, meeting new and familiar friends, races, hunting grounds, collectables, and so much more. The loading between going from the desert sands to the cold mountain tops is also almost non existent and I loved how quick everything flowed together. The speed made it feel like I was in the Forbidden West. Even after 90 hours and the Platinum Trophy for PS5, I still don’t feel like I am fully done with the game. I am so excited for April when the DLC comes out and I can see the Hollywood area and what is happening to the world. Check out my full review for the game here.
Best Art Direction: Triangle Strategy from Team Asano & Square Enix
Honestly, this one was a little harder for me to choose. Art is something that is in the eye of the beholder; however, when it comes to the concept of HD-2D, I am a complete sucker for them. I played Triangle Strategy and thought the game was really well crafted from its combat, side content, to its story that will change depending on your choices throughout the adventure. My favorite part of the game was the absolutely stunning visual use of the HD-2D art. Square and Team Asano have taken the gorgeous art style of Octopath Traveler and made it even better with the games of Triangle Strategy, Live-A-Live, and soon to be Octopath Traveler II and Dragon Quest 3 Remake.
Best Action/Adventure Game: Fire Emblem Warriors- Three Hopes from Omega Force/Koei Tecmo & Nintendo
Fire Emblem Three Houses was a game I put so much time and effort into with playing all 4 paths in the story, plus its DLC house. When it was all over, I was sad to say goodbye to everyone; but then out of nowhere, Three Hopes was announced and released in 2022. I was thrilled we got to see more of Byleth and crew and I was thrilled to pick up the game. I even managed to grab a special edition from overseas as there wasn’t one offered here in the states. The game may have “Warriors” in the title, but let me tell you it is absolutely a FE game to the core besides the battle scenes which is a combo of the two. The game has relationship building, character classes, skills to unlock, war base to upgrade, side missions, and much more. This game was one I only played 1 route to completion, with the other 2 being planned to finish this year. FE fans are also anticipating FE Engage in January in a couple weeks and I am excited for that one too. Hopefully it will be my favorite RPG in 2023, but there is a lot coming out so, who knows.
Best DLC: Cuphead The Delicious Last Course from Studio MDHR
I am going to be blunt… the standard Cuphead game is one of the most intensive and nerve-racking games I have ever completed. The Delicious Last Course was something that I have been waiting on for a long time, and this was seriously the best DLC that I purchased and played this year. I love the fact it was DLC and it was called Delicious Last Course just makes the cherry on top of the beautiful cake. The DLC was definitely not a walk in the park, but it felt easier than the main game did. The amount of strategies that you have to learn that is unique to each boss was so much fun to learn. It appears as though since they are calling it the “Last Course”, they might be done with Cuphead; however, I’m excited for what Studio MDHR is crafting next.
Best Remake/Remaster/Port: Arise A Simple Story – Definitive Ed. from Piccolo Studio & Untold Tales
There have been a lot of remakes, remasters, and ports to different consoles this year, but my favorite title probably from 2022 that was also a new game for me, has to be Arise A Simple Story. Piccolo Studio, who is working on one of my most anticipated games in 2023, and publisher Untold tales made the definitive edition available on Nintendo Switch back in April. It was a game that I have been wanting to sink my teeth into on PlayStation but hoped it would go to Switch at some point. When a game can hit so hard and cause so much emotion without having any dialog, it says a lot about the title. This game is an emotional rollercoaster that caused a lot of feelings when I understood why the title was called Arise. This might be an indie, but it was better than some AAA I played this year. It will be on my favorites list for a long time.
Biggest Impact: Endling – Extinction is Forever from Herobeat Studios & HandyGames
This was a game that was one I wanted to play since it was announced and it was one that floored me by the end. I don’t usually get too emotional over video games, but the team made something that will live with me for ages. The way in which the games story is told is by a mother fox trying to keep her three cubs alive. Throughout a chaotic world that is filled with unnecessarily hunting and killing, predator vs prey scenarios, factories, pollution, and so many other themes is one of the most powerful titles to cross my path in 2022. The game never went too hard on any one theme, but when looking at all of them together, its stunning. Check out my full review here and please play this game if you haven’t already, you will not regret it.
Nintendo Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3
PlayStation Game of the Year: Horizon Forbidden West
Nick’s GOTY 2022: Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Clearly, when Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was announced in the first direct in 2022, I knew that it was probably either going to end up being XC3 or HFW for my game of the year. They are obviously my Nintendo & PlayStation games of 2022, so it was one of them. XC3 beats HFW in my personal opinion for a few reasons. As much as I loved the open world of HFW, sometimes it did feel just a tad too big in some ways. I loved the openness of the game don’t get me wrong, but it felt as though there was more padding than I wanted. Secondly, as much as the combat has become so much stronger in HFW compared to HZD, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 combat took what XC2 did and elevated it so much more that I couldn’t say it Horizon was better. Thirdly, I thought that Horizon was great, but PlayStation had a mission that appeared like it was in the game, and it wasn’t in there at all and it made me a little upset to know that. Xenoblade 3 did not have something like in its trailers and showcase and I like it when companies don’t lie to show off a game. I get the point was to show off the game, but I hated it when Nintendo did the same things with one of the tracks from BOTW. I am very excited for the HFW DLC, but when it came down to choosing one, I think XC3 is better than HFW in a lot of ways.
So, my list for 2022 games is done. I have a couple others to play that I stated previously, but not much left. 2022 has had a lot of fantastic games, and 2023 looks to have even more coming with what has already been announced. My most anticipated games of 2023 include a variety of indies and AAA titles. We are only in January so we haven’t even seen a lot of what will release this year, so I am very excited to see the pipeline of new titles coming soon. Everyone has a slightly different taste in video games and my list might be different than other people, but that is okay. Is there something that you played in 2022, that released in 2022, that I missed out on? Let us know in the comments.