Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Readers’ Top 20 of 2022
Readers vote for their favourite games of 2022, as Elden Ring is nominated with less obvious choices such as Chained Echoes and Wordle.
Every year, at the end of January, we ask readers to vote for their three favourite games of the year, so we can compile a top 20 and compare it against our own list.
Most people agreed that 2022 had been a surprisingly good year but in the end there was zero doubt as to which was the best game. Elden Ring got three times more votes than the second placed God Of War and, as far as we’re concerned, that’s well deserved.
Readers’ Top 20 of 2022
- Elden Ring
- God Of War Ragnarök
- Horizon Forbidden West
- Gran Tuirsmo 7
- Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- Marvel Snap
- Bayonetta 3
- A Plague Tale: Requiem
- Vampire Survivors
- Rogue Legacy 2
- Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3
- Return To Monkey Island
- Kirby And The Forgotten Land
- Sonic Frontiers
- Call Of Duty: Warzone 2.0
- Pokémon Scarlet/Violet
- GRID Legends
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Not done yet
My favourite games of last year are, in first place, Elden Ring. What a game, with its huge open world ripe for exploration and lots of secrets to uncover. After 170 hours I’ve still not completed it and I don’t think I will until later on this year. I’ve played through the majority of it with a mate who has never played a From game before, but now he’s hooked. It’s a tough game, but it’s so rewarding. Especially after taking out a particularly nasty boss.
My second favourite game was Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I played this with my son in co-op, and we had a lot of fun playing through all the films, and exploring all the planets in the Star Wars saga. Traveller’s Tales have really gone to town to make sure this is the definitive Lego Star Wars game. This is the Way (sorry!) to do it.
I hadn’t actually bought that many games last year, as I have a huge backlog, and still have to start playing Horizon Forbidden West, but I have also really enjoyed Call Of Duty: Warzone 2.0, with DMZ being a highlight. The gunplay is as solid as you’d expect, and it gets really tense as you battle to get to the final exfil site with gas and other players closing in fast.
Cu8e5 (gamertag)/Cubes (PSN ID)
Last year, I think, was great for new games. Which makes it difficult for me to cut it down to just my three favourites. But here it goes:
1st place. The Last Of Us Part 1 (PS5). I did keep changing my mind over this one, as it isn’t really a new game. But it is the best version of the single-player story for one of my all-time favourite games. So to me it wouldn’t have felt right not to include it.
2nd place. The Devil In Me (PS5). Probably the best one yet in The Dark Pictures Anthology. I liked how this one had more for the player to do, with bigger areas to explore and puzzles to solve. Also, good on how characters can pick up items to aid them with their quest.
3rd place. A Plague Tale: Requiem (PS5). This was one of my most wanted games last year, after enjoying the first one. And it didn’t disappoint! Great story, characters, and action.
A few other titles which I think are worth mentioning:
Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Collection. My feelings for this are the same as The Last Of Us Part 1. I didn’t want to include too many remastered games though, so reluctantly left it out.
WWE 2K22. A great return to form. And going by GC’s preview this year’s won’t disappoint either.
The Quarry. This had the better story but The Devil In Me had the better gameplay. Was a close call for my top three though.
God Of War Ragnarök. I enjoyed this but did feel the story went on a bit too long. Will go back to it at some point to complete the side quests.
Tony- -1975(PSN ID)
I only played two games that were newly released in 2022, so I don’t have many options here, but I’ll rank them regardless!
The number one slot goes to Marvel Snap. It’s the first free-to-play, live service, or deck building game I’ve played and I’ve sunk countless hours into it. Each game is very quick, at only around three minutes, and varied, with there being seemingly unlimited ways each game can play out due to the distinct interactions between cards and the decks your opponent brings to the game. I’m a big Marvel fan, which I’m sure helps my enjoyment, but I feel the game would also appeal to anyone without knowledge of the characters.
The game also feels very fair and transparent about its monetisation – certain currency can be bought for real money, which can then be used to purchase art variants of cards in your collection. I’ve not felt the need to buy currency for an art variant, as you do get given a decent number of these anyway, but have bought all but one of the season passes, which are £8.99 every four to five weeks and provide you with a new card, art variants, and currencies for your collection.
The game definitely warrants this regular purchase from me, based on my enjoyment of it, and the hours sunk into it, and it’s only this season pass that introduces pay-go-win opportunities for the game.
The number two slot goes to God Of War Ragnarök. I haven’t completed this yet but am enjoying my time with it, where it builds upon its 2018 predecessor. It isn’t a revolutionary sequel but not everything has to or can be. I’m looking forward to seeing how they conclude this two part story, as the first game excelled in its storytelling.
A potential number three – that I’m pretty certain will be discounted! – would be Into The Breach, which came to mobile via Netflix in 2022. A fantastic strategy game that I’d recommend anyone play for short bursts of fun, but I’ll leave it there as I’m sure it can’t count towards the vote anyway!
GC: It does count, but no one else voted for it and so it didn’t end up in the top 20.
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I played practically nothing in 2022, but here goes:
1. Shadow Warrior 3. The main takeaway for me about Shadow Warrior 3 is how long 2022 felt. I can’t believe it was only 11 months ago I took a random day off to play through this very fun shooter. It’s basically Doom Eternal with a mildly racist lampshade hat on, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A gussied-up version is being released on modern hardware on the 16th of this month, with a free upgrade for those who already have it, so now’s a good time to give this under-the-radar game a bit of a spotlight again.
2. Bayonetta 3. This may be the first time I’ve nominated a game I haven’t beaten yet, but I’ve really enjoyed the handful of chapters I’ve played of Bayonetta 3. I don’t like Jeanne’s stages, but Viola is a fun, and very endearing, character to play as and I’m legitimately intrigued to know how she connects to the rest of the cast. The game also does that great character action thing of giving the player a new toy with every level; whether it’s a new weapon, character or beast to summon.
3. Wordle. So I’m cheating a bit, as Wordle was technically released in 2021 and is not a video game in the strictest sense, but I couldn’t leave it off my list. I’m on a 118-day streak at the time of writing, and it is honestly starting to feel like I’ve been given an unboiled egg to look after. Rather than a fun thing to do every day it’s become a sort of responsibility where a failure or missed day means I’m back to square one, but my day wouldn’t be the same without a cheeky game of Wordle.
GC: Wordle is totally a video game but, yeah, it’s a 2021 title.
I doubt my choices will trouble your top 20, but I didn’t play a huge number of new games last year.
Number 1 is Zenith: The Last City. I’ve enjoyed going through this one with friends a lot this year. It’s slowly growing, with new things to do. Even more exciting is the free upgrade to PlayStation VR2. The gliding, fighting, and climbing are so much fun.
Number 2 is Chained Echoes. I wrote in recently about this one but in summary, retro graphics hiding a complex and satisfying turn-based battle system. Maybe this one will make the top 20?
Number 3 is Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist Of The Mysterious Dream. I seem to be in the habit of completing one Atelier game a year and this was the sequel to my entry to the series and it didn’t disappoint. What I love about this series is how integral the crafting mechanics are to the rest of the gameplay – and I love crafting in games.
Honourable mentions would be Horizon Forbidden West, which I enjoyed but never finished, and Circus Electrique which had a great gameplay loop, for a few hours at least.
2022, not one of the most memorable years in gaming.
I only bought two games on release day all year. WRC Generations and Sniper Elite 5. WRC Generations didn’t live up to my expectations; it’s nowhere near as good as its’ predecessor, WRC 10. Sniper Elite 5 is excellent, so yeah, that’s my game of the year for 2022.
As the series has progressed the levels in each game have become more open world, less linear. Sniper Elite 4 introduced a frontal melee attack which made stealth a much more viable option. The game has basically become WW2 Splinter Cell. That’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned! 5 has slightly bigger levels than 4. The main addition to 5 is the invasion mode, whereby the player’s solo campaign can be invaded by an online player or the player can choose to invade someone else’s solo campaign. The new mode works really well.
Now looking forward to the Sniper Elite season pass 2 which is due to drop anytime soon. Excellent stuff!
Spoiled for choice
After much deliberation, my top three games of the year are as follows:
3. OPUS: Echo Of Starsong
I get why the OPUS series isn’t as popular as I think it should be; they are small niche titles that are the very definition of cult games. They are small games and are, deliberately, mechanically simple. Gameplay exists only to unlock more of the plot: you do a puzzle, you get some story, then rinse and repeat. But across all three games, it’s the lore and world building which is better than most, and it’s the writing in this third game especially which earns it a spot on this list.
The game opens with you as Jun, an elderly man, returning to a now abandoned asteroid to fulfil a promise he made to someone in his youth, with the rest of the game playing out in flashbacks as a young man. It’s an excellent story of human interaction set against a backdrop of post-war political struggles, told through every little piece character interaction and flavour text.
It’s a game in which the small, human stories are more important than any big overarching narrative and, like all my top three choices this year, is one which stayed with me long after I finished playing. And for a game that has you listening for the literal songs of the stars, the soundtrack for this game is excellent.
Also, I think it’s on Game Pass, so you’ve not excuse not to try it really.
If William Gibson wrote Southern Gothic literature. NORCO is a point ‘n’ click adventure title set five minutes in the future in the, somewhat surprisingly, real town of Norco, Louisiana. You play as Kay, who has returned home after the death of her mother to investigate the disappearance of her brother. Norco is incredibly well written, and the fact that the lead developer comes from Norco himself lends the game a legitimacy that few others have.
Yes, it has robots and AI in it, but it feels like a real place, the characters feel like real people you could expect to find in Norco right now. Ultimately, Norco is a game of immaculate vibes, which is handy as the last act veers so wildly that you would think I was making it up if I told you how it ended. But by that point the atmosphere and mystery were enough to carry me through to the end, even if I did end up coming away with more questions than answers.
1. Citizen Sleeper
It might be too early to call this, but I think Citizen Sleeper is an all-timer. Certainly, it’s one that I’m going to look back on as being one of my favourite games of all time, even if no one else does.
In it, you play as a Sleeper, a digitised copy of a human brain placed into an artificial body and used as cheap slave labour. You’ve escaped and fled to a space station known as the Eye, where you begin a struggle for survival. You’ll take on odd jobs to gather the resources you need to stay alive (although it’s quite difficult to actually get a game over in this game).
The thing to understand about Citizen Sleeper is that it’s less a traditional computer role-playing game and more of an adaptation of a tabletop role-player, most obviously because the tasks you can perform each day are governed by literal dice roles. A high level of condition means that you have more dice to play with each cycle, and you can assign these dice to whatever tasks you wish to achieve that cycle.
It’s because of this that it took a couple of attempts to fully ‘get’ what the game was about, but once it clicks it’s a remarkably elegant system. There’s no real main story here, either, more a collection of multi-stage side quests you can prioritise in almost any order you like, but each one affords the writing a chance to shine, each one with a set of fully realised characters that grow and grow on you.
It becomes less of a survival game as you go on, true, but by then the people on the Eye will have opened up to you and the writing will have its hooks into you. Citizen Sleeper is a game written by someone who set out to make a very specific sort of experience and absolutely nailed it.
I thought 2022 was a good year for gaming; this list changed several times throughout the year. It could be two or three times the length it currently is and there would still be a really long list of games that I’ve had to leave out, as I haven’t got around to playing yet. Usually, I struggle to find three new games I’ve played to fill this list but this year I feel as though we have been spoiled for choice.
Eiichihoba (PSN ID)
A great year
I’ll caveat my top three by first saying that I’ve yet to play either God of War Ragnarök or Elden Ring which I’m sure will make up the readers’ top two.
But even having missed out on those two I still think 2022 was excellent, even if the new console gen hasn’t really kicked in yet.
Anyway, my top three are as follows:
1. Horizon Forbidden West
The original was one my favourites on PlayStation 4 and the sequel is better in every respect, albeit with a slightly weaker story. I’m 120+ hours into it so far and have only just completed the main quest. Really looking forward to the Burning Shores DLC later this year.
2. The Quarry
I have a soft spot for interactive movie games and I’ve enjoyed the developer’s previous work, such as Until Dawn. I don’t think The Quarry was quite as good as that one but it’s still one of the better examples of the genre and the cast were all great.
3. Return To Monkey Island
What a surprise this was for 2022! I didn’t like the art style when I saw the initial reveal, but it really grew on me over the course of the game. I genuinely didn’t want it to end and hope there’s another one in the future. They did the original proud.
So yes, a great year. And with the two biggest releases of 2022 still to play – plus the release of PlayStation VR2, Starfield, Final Fantasy 16 – 2023 is looking to be even better.
1. Elden Ring
My particular favourite of the year and I’m still playing it right now. A game so big, and with so many creative creatures and boss battles, fought within so many areas, which all have their own darkly delicious scenery and sounds. The lore begs to be explored and deciphered, which brings more questions than answers. I am quite amazed that FromSofware had the energy and momentum to create this huge game without having at least some dull or underdeveloped locations. So much work and effort to pull off this momentous project and if DLC is on the cards then wow, can this game get any better? Awesome work Hidetaka Miyazaki.
2. Return To Monkey Island
So chuffed that this game was released for all the many fans of the original games and the updates they’ve had since. The cult classics now have a worthy sequel to enjoy, with gorgeously realised graphical artwork that complements the series’ theme and setting.
3. Cult Of The Lamb
To me, personally, this is a game to behold on so many different levels. It is an ingenious game, with its cute characters but what it is that you’re actually doing is trying to manipulate folk for an entity to drain the will of the masses for its own nefarious needs. Your lamb character is the go-between, and you are to gather followers and find out secrets within various regions, as you spread enlightenment to your newly acquired and awakened folk from the surrounding woodland.
Such a well realised game and though it’s dark in nature it keeps getting more addictive as your power base grows and you learn more secrets, with the ultimate destiny of the world’s populace a decision which rests with you and you only. Awesome stuff.
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MORE : Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Readers’ Top 20 of 2022
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