What feels like a year bookended by Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok, there have still been a wonderful selection of games that have made 2022 a memorable year. After the world was rocked by a global pandemic, it’s been a pleasure to see so many titles release that have helped us to escape the daily grind and give us a reason to fall in love with gaming all over again. I never imagined in a million years I’d even come close to achieving what I did with a FromSoft game, or experience something as close to perfection as Ragnarok, or fall for an FMV to the extent I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks, but hey, that’s video games for you.
As we say goodbye to another year of sitting in front of consoles and screens religiously, it’s that time again where I try and formulate a list that highlights my favourites from 12 months of being a part of the greatest site in the world. Here’s my GOTY 2022 list, and I hope you enjoy.
GOTY Honourable Mentions
High on Life just sneaked into the honourable mentions, thanks to some fun mechanics, funny yet intelligent humour, and all the trimmings we’ve come to expect from the co-creator of Rick and Morty.
Arcade Paradise featured a great blend of management and arcade minigames, with such an addictive element to it I could barely step away, even when I found myself playing it for 8 hours straight!
Gotham Knights might not have been the most polished of games, and it certainly didn’t hold a candle to Rocksteady’s Arkham series, but I enjoyed the combat and its layered story, even if it felt a bit of a mess at times.
Metal: Hellsinger was as close to DOOM you can get without being on Mars and blasting demons in the face with a shotgun. The rhythmic mechanics who superb, and its soundtrack was by far the best of the year.
Disney Dreamlight Valley became a game I played with my youngest daughter, and we still put it on now. It did a lot of things better than Animal Crossing New Horizons, and continues to add and improve with every new update.
GOTY 2022 #10. The Callisto Protocol
I started off hating The Callisto Protocol. If I hadn’t been reviewing it, I probably would have given up and never returned, which makes it a weird choice to be sat at number 10 on my list, really. The thing is, after getting used to the brutality of the combat and the intimacy the camera work provides, I began to fucking adore it. Yes, the combat is tough and I died more times than I care to count, but the atmosphere and how the environment is just as much of an enemy as the grotesque and deformed humans are made me appreciate just how well designed it was.
The character development in New Tales from the Borderlands is so well done, especially the relationship between Anu and Octavio. With Fran making up the three playable characters, it was a joy to see this ragtag bunch of misfits grow from societal outcasts to saviours of the world. Special props to Anu who was the standout character for me, and the voice acting was so good I was sad to see it end. I hope we’ve not seen the last of them because I feel there’s still plenty of stories to be told from all three of them.
Part Mad Max, part Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Rollerdrome was so much fun to play. The challenges for each stage were set out that you could try different ones on each run, eventually completing them all before moving on to the next arena. Although there were only four weapons to choose from, they were implemented smartly, making you switch between them constantly depending on the type of enemy you faced. Even the boss fights were enjoyable distractions from the main challenges, and with elements of a story sprinkled throughout, it ended up being one of the most entertaining games of the year.
GOTY 2022 #7. The DioField Chronicle
When I was tasked with reviewing The DioField Chronicle, I had no idea what it was. I’d never played Final Fantasy Tactics, so even that couldn’t have prepared me for the amount of fun I had when playing it. Combat continually evolved, and not just over the course of the game. Each battle took place in a gorgeously designed diorama, with a vast range of combat options for my party. There were moments of panic, triumph, and excitement that gave me all the thrills and goosebumps I needed for my daily fix. The story was also fantastic, and the characters were all well-written and fleshed out until the final moments.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a remake of a game that came out in 2013, but there’s no denying Naughty Dog has done a superb job in building The Last of Us from the ground up. Using the engine from TLoU Pt. II, they were able to not only make it look incredible, but it felt like a new game. The controls were tighter, and the environments were so much smoother. Character animations were sublime, both in cutscenes and during gameplay, and while it’s not like I need a reason to replay this masterpiece, I was grateful I got to experience it all over again looking as amazing as it did.
Firaxis managed to achieve something seldom developers have done since the MCU took over the world, and I’m so happy they did. They managed to make Marvel relevant and feel fresh without relying on the movies to create a world of superheroes that mirror the comic books more than the movies. Not only was the story fantastic and the characters likeable, they built an addictive gameplay loop that utilised both new and familiar ideas. It’s a game I never expected to love as much as I did, but it’ll stand out as the biggest surprise of the year for me, as I wasn’t expecting it to be as enjoyable as it was. It proved there’s more to Marvel that what Disney has put out on small and big screens across the globe.
GOTY 2022 #4. Horizon Forbidden West
While it may not have had a particularly memorable story, there’s no denying the gameplay was about as good as it can get. Fighting the variety of machines across a dense and well-detailed map made Horizon Forbidden West an excellent example of combat done right. Using your staff up close, and your bow and arrow from afar, it gave you freedom to tackle all kinds of enemies however you wanted. It was also a stunner, as the different biomes all looked gorgeous. I’m so excited to return when the expansion comes out next year, and with the Christmas break now upon us, there’s a good chance I’ll jump back in as well.
Nobody can take away the experience I had playing Immortality. For weeks after playing, I kept thinking about Marissa Marcel, and the three movies she made, and what her place in the world meant. It’s the best original game of the year, with acting that was beyond anything I was expecting. Manon Gage is a beautiful, smart, and talented actor, and I hope this game has given her the platform to be in more movies, tv shows, and even games as the years roll on. I never imagined the weird and wonderful way it went from a game about finding clues to the horrors and surprises it threw at me, but I’m never going to forget the moment I saw exactly what happened to Marissa Marcel.
Honestly, these top two games could be in any order, and I’ve switched them back and fourth over the last few weeks. Regardless, God of War Ragnarok is the most ambitious video game I’ve ever played, and more than deserves to be in my list for GOTY 2022. It’s story blew my mind, and the emotional depth it carries is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Kratos and Atreus’ relationship, the death of popular characters, the staggering scope of its battles, and the visually incredible worlds I explored. Honestly, it never skipped a beat, from its storytelling to its level design. Not only did it look great and featured some of the best writing to date, it succeeded in being such a fun game to play. The combat was layered and ever-evolving, the traversal was enjoyable, and throughout every step of my 30-hour playthrough, I was left in awe at the work Santa Monica has put in.
GOTY 2022 #1. Elden Ring
And here we are…
Up until Elden Ring, I had never finished a FromSoft game. I guess I never had the time or the patience, always hitting that brick wall and essentially, I’d give up. It was a frustration I was never proud of, and I was always somewhat jealous when others talked about beating the Dark Souls trilogy or Bloodborne. When Elden Ring released, something had changed. Maybe I was a little older, or maybe I’d learned to control my frustrations better. Whatever it was, I became addicted to it. The world was fascinating to me. I took in every bit of lore and talked about it with my friend. We tried to work it all out, always being amazed by the world-building Miyazaki had created. Every new boss presented a different challenge. Every new path opened up hours of exploration. The sense of adventure Elden Ring presented was unlike anything I had ever played before.
I’d forget just how far I’d come. By the time I defeated the Elden Beast, it was almost impossible to imagine I’d finally done it. I’d beaten a FromSoft game. I’d slayed the final boss, and I’d done it all on my own. The personal goals and accomplishments I’d reached in Elden Ring will always be among my most cherished. Defeating the Fire Giant stands out as the biggest of them all, and I will never forget what this game gave to me. It showed me I was good enough – that I was more than capable of overcoming the impossible. I can’t wait to return to the dark fantasy of Elden Ring, and when that DLC comes out, I’m going to finish my GOTY 2022 with the same passion and love I did with the main game.
Well, that’s it. My GOTY 2022 list. I just want to thank everyone of you that spends time reading my reviews, previews, and everything in-between. It means so much that you give me your time, and with another year about to begin, I’m grateful that you’ll hopefully do it all over again with me. I wish you all a happy new year, and if you ever need someone to talk to, reach out.