When I started writing this blogpost, my fingers instantly went to the letters "B E S T" to give the post a title. Best games of 2022.
Then, I paused for a second and remembered how every single time I find myself evading those clickbaity titles when searching for good games to play.
So, this is going to be instead a list of games I enjoyed during 2022 as the title says and nothing else. I can only hope one of them will pick your interest and will bring you some good experiences with it.
The following games are going to be in no particular order or rank, since this post is not aiming at controversy but rather sharing my thoughts and feels about some of the experiences I had this year :)
This was the first game I played on the PS5 and almost the reason why I bought it in the first place. The original Ratchet and Clank was my second PS2 game so I have very fond memories of it, and I have played subsequent releases for the PSP, PS3 and PS4.
Now that you know I am clearly biased and a fanboy of the series, let's see what we got here.
This game was everything I expected from it. Fun combat as characteristic from the series, many interesting weapons with weird particularities, endless waves of mobs coming for your bullets, very shiny graphics... the list goes on.
The loading times when entering spacetime rifts is non-existent so you can access completely different scenarios from the level you're in instantaneously. That blew a bit my mind as I had heard a lot about the PS5 SSD capabilities and all, but I thought it wouldn't impress me having already experienced fast NVMe SSDs on PC before.
The game follows the classic formula, so you can expect around a dozen of levels with nanobots and secret bolts to find which unlock special "skins" for your weapon and Ratchet. Rift Apart still focuses on platforming and squashing enemies as you go, and sprinkles in some mechanics for certain levels like flying on a dragon, or "powerskating" through a vast map in a sort of rollerblading experience.
There are also your typical minilevels where you play as Clank and have to solve some tricky platforming puzzles. There are several kinds of these, with some being more tedious than others, but overall they don't slow down the pace that much so I welcomed them when they happened.
While I have been mentioning only Ratchet, this game presents a duality of protagonists having another main character named Rivet. They behave the same in terms of abilities and controls so this does not introduce new mechanics or puzzles to solve, but it's part of the games's story.
Moving onto other formulas preserved: Upgrading weapons. The way to do it is still via Raritanium at any weapons store. I managed to max most weapons in a single run, so you don't have to think hardly to prioritise between upgrades if you have your eyes peeled for Raritanium while playing.
I ended up going for the 100% completion for this game which is something that I rarely do. I had done it on the first one, and I did on the PS4 reboot too so I felt like I wanted to do it for this one too and it wasn't SUPER tedious like in most games :)
I had heard for long about this game but after having played Returnal I felt like Risk of Rain 2 wouldn't appeal to me being a sort of low poly version of Returnal.
Well, I was wrong, and I'm glad I gave it a try. The game sucked me in from the beginning, which is funny because I found it in a subreddit of people recommending short games. No run has lasted less than 45 min after the couple first ones. I ended up sinking almost 20 h before killing the final boss for the first time. And all of this with having barely scratched the surface of all the artifacts and secrets the game has that also alter game mechanics.
Another highlight of the game is its soundtrack. I really like it and I discovered some RoR1 songs in some of my Spotify playlists so I might need to play it too!
I'm a bit scared of writing about this game since its story entails very sensitive topics but I'll try to do my best. First, I want to acknowledge how playing this game, because of its rewind mechanics, makes dealing with stressful situations way more palatable.
The game's core mechanic allows you to rewind choices and see other outcomes and eventually decide what you want to go with. Some of the consequences of the actions are not foreseeable until you encounter them in the next episodes so it still has an element of unpredictability. However, I find it keeps the balance between instant consequences and more complex ones later on pretty well.
Characters are more nuanced and multifaceted than in many other games and that's really great. It makes you stop and think for some seconds if that last choice you took based on the somewhat quick judgement of a situation was really accurate... or maybe you took a quick shot at the wrong person.
What seems to be a cheerful story with cute characters and graphics quickly starts spiraling into a dark series of events that aren't completely under your control regardless of your rewind "powers". I find Life is Strange treats topics that are quite heavy with dignity and makes you reflect on your choices more than once after you're confronted with some unexpected findings later on.
No surprises here, except for me. I had not been able to play this game back on PS4 because I started it right after investing 130+ h on Zelda: Breath of the Wild so I wasn't really feeling like more open world.
Fast forward to years later when I looked for adventure games with a nice story and obviously all websites were pushing me to reconsider Horizon.
Personally, I think it's an amazing game but my reasons for that might not be the ones commonly brought up. I think the story is the main strength of the game, and it kept me intrigued up until the end which is rare. I don't want to say much about it in hopes that I don't spoil the fun :)
I didn't find the open world itself breathtaking, and rather couldn't stop seeing all the points where it fell short vs the sandbox that is Breath of the Wild. Not being able to climb felt dumb after seeing Aloy basically be a ninja of nature while achieving impossible traversal feats in cutscenes.
However, I have to admit the openworldness of the game is not bad when put in context with its peers. What I mean by this is that the "filler" content is way better than in other open world AAA games like Far Cry or MGS V to name some. Secondary missions were somewhat meaningful for the most part and I did enjoy going for a sort of completionist run while tackling many of them and challenges available.
Another point where it excels is visuals. Horizon delivers a beautiful landscape that you can explore for the most part, with enough variation that you won't instantly feel like you're playing the same level over and over again.
Gameplay-wise, combat felt good but challenging. The choice of skills to unlock was not so overwhelming that you don't know where to begin. Most weapons served a purpose since different machines had different weaknesses and the crafting system never felt like a chore like in other games.
I ended up investing around 30h and it left me with a burning desire of devouring Horizon: Forbidden West to know what would happen next.
Having this game on the list is a bit of a cheat because it's here to promote another game. I played my first Dark Pictures anthology game (The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan) at the end of 2021, so I technically couldn't include it. However, during 2022 I played the rest of the 1st season of the Dark Pictures anthology so I want to offer my 2 cents about it.
I really welcomed this series when it launched, and Man of Medan was definitely the reason why. This was my first Supermassive game so everything felt new and fresh. Choices mattered, they were not trivial to take and the story was intriguing albeit short.
My first playthrough was far from perfect in terms of nailing the QTE (Quick Time Events) but in hindsight that was a blessing. Depending on what path you took, you found more or less about what's really going on, so replayability was totally a thing.
When I did replay it with a friend, we did all the QTE perfectly and as a result of that and our choices, we ended up "finishing" the game, but we had barely scratched the surface of what actually really transpired.
That left a very good impression on me, so I became a fan and played the sequel: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope.
Little hope was still very nice atmospherically, like Man of Medan, but it felt a bit less impressive because the formula was the same as its predecessor's.
This is ultimately one of the issues I have with the 1st season. House of Ashes, the game I actually put in the list, didn't feel very special. The main theme of the game was worse (in my opinion) than the two previous ones, and the execution was also poorer.
As the season evolved choices in each game seemed to be less impactful or unpredictable than in the previous one.
After this came The Devil in Me, for me the weakest entry in the season and a sort of skimmed version of Until Dawn
TL;DR: Play Man of Medan + Little Hope and wait for Supermassive to revamp their formula / topics in Season 2
Disclaimer: I haven't finished the game. Regardless, it's worth mentioning as it is a very creative game.
This indie game subverts all your expectations. The concept of the game resides in rules, and how the player is affected by them and can affect them. You win each level by getting the flag present in it, but that flag might be behind a locked door, or enclosed by walls with no door, or you maybe can't just touch it at all. The rules of the level are defined via connections of blocks in the same level, so it all gets pretty meta quite fast when you start messing with those blocks and rearrange them.
It forces you to really think outside of the box in order to solve some of the complex problems presented but it leaves you with a feeling of cleverness when you crack the puzzle.
I picked this game up because I saw a friend playing it on Steam and I thought to myself: "Hot wheels? Really?" so I asked him and he streamed me some gameplay to showcase what it was all about. I have to admit its very shiny graphics sort of conquered my heart. That and the silliness of the circuits and lack of story or any sort of pretension when it comes to the game. At the time, I was feeling like an arcade racer, but without all the glorification of the vehicles and the automotive world in general that most racing games and sims contain nowadays.
The game is exactly what you can imagine. Toy cars racing through toy circuits that are true to real life scale which makes the whole list of tracks hilarious to speed through.
The drifting mechanic used to refill your boost meter is not super difficult to learn and a tiny bit more tricky to master but ultimately feels natural for anyone who has played a kart racing game before like MK / CTR. There are no power-ups to annoy your oponents but a savvy driver could ram against an opponent to push their enemies off the track or maybe bump them into some brick trap or other obstacle.
The races of the "campaign" mode are your classic time trial, race vs CPU oponents, and the occasional race against a boss. Nothing very revoutionary here but they're presented mixed enough that I never found myself complaining about too many races of the same kind in a row. It also helps that there are a reasonable amount of different tracks and relatively few races in total so that it doesn't get old before you have completed the game.
When winning a race, you get some coins that you can spend on loot boxes and some cosmetics to customize your basement. The loot boxes unlock random new cars albeit mostly you'll get one that you already have after getting your first few ones. Thankfully, you can resell them and get a decent amount of coins back which makes bruteforcing a decent option. You can also buy from a short selection of cars that rotates every few hours or so but they are a bit expensive, so you have to resist the urge to buy all the fancy cars there.
I am very close to finishing all tracks and I can totally recommend this game if you're feeling like a silly racing game without many bells and whistles but fun to play.
The racing simulator. I have loved the series since its first game on PSX and after the disappointment that GT Sport was, this brought back the original GT experience. The game has again a decent single player mode that follows the classic GT formula but also adds some new twists to it.
You will find your typical driver licenses tests, unlocking new categories of races and cars, and buying new/second hand cars to be able to participate in races with specific restrictions as in any older GT. This time though, they added a couple of fun things to do besides the just mentioned.
One of the new incorporations is the Café and its menus. Every menu has a theme and 3 races to complete that unlock 3 cars with them. The theme could be Japanese rally cars for instance or 80s muscle cars, etc. They spice a bit the rest of races and cups and also help you unlock a ton of new cars that you can also use in the other races.
Another new addition is the Music Rally Mode, where you will race while listening to certain songs. You will have to get to checkpoints in the track before the time expires in order to extend the time left and ultimately you have to try to cover the maximum distance before the timer marks the end of the session.
I particularly liked the races with classical music, but I have to admit that the mode itself could be seen as a bit of a gimmick since it doesn't really integrate into the rest of the game that much.
All in all, I loved playing through this Gran Turismo entry and I think it's probably the best GT entry in the series so far.
The first game I played from Deconstructeam, an indie developer team from Spain, and a very nice introduction to the kind of experiences they create with their games. I really liked it and I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say that it is not a game about making cocktails but it is also a game about making cocktails :P
In all seriousness, a good point and click game, not very long, but it will make you think and reflect.
I have already bought Gods will be watching from them too and can't wait to see what they did with their first game.
I left this game for last after writing the whole post and I almost don't have words left in me for it so I'm going to be brief!
Being a mysterious roguelike shooter with alien vibes, Returnal has already a good punch ready for you from the get go in terms of visuals and story. The "next-gen" vibration feedback on the DualSense is pretty cool too, and I'd recommend playing with headphones not only to hear better where the enemies are coming from, but also because it's quite immersive when you do.
The more you advance and repeat the game loop, the more you'll get to know about why you're there and what is actually going on. I have to say I haven't beat the game yet because it's a bit tough and I don't really know what is going on yet :P When you find yourself stuck dying, you can tell a friend and play coop online which makes it easier since not everyone is focusing on you all the time.
The weapon variety allows you to play in different ways, but also makes some areas easier if you know what weapon to use. Naturally, the more you play, the faster you'll progress through the first levels and get to the point where you died last. Mastering the reload mechanic will also get you way further since you can shoot significantly faster. There are also a bunch of other tips that can make your experience smoother, so don't hesitate to search for some beginner tips.
If you're bummed that this game is a PS5 exclusive, and you might not have one, don't be. Returnal is coming to PC this year if I am not mistaken, so you can look forward to those alien worlds coming to you soon enough!
There are other games that I either didn't finish, or didn't think they were worthy of a detailed summary, but still didn't want to leave out of the list completely.
Started this game on the Steam Deck and poured 30+ h in, but eventually the grind got a bit repetitive and I stopped playing. Have to admit the story kept me hooked for some good 20 hours and the (old) graphics were not an issue after 1 h or so in when I got used to it. I hope I can find the motivation to finish it in the coming year!
Another game I picked up again in 2022 after years of giving it the first try. This time I managed to sink in around 50h and yeah, it's the great game everyone says it is. Sadly, my completionist gene brought me to end up dropping it after doing too many side quests. Maybe 2023 will be the year that I finally close this open chapter?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
A game I always was curious about because I'm a MGS fan (excluding The Phantom Pain :P) but never really found the moment to play. Gameplay is engaging, story/characters are probably too silly but I'm doing it for the fanboy in me more than anything.
Finally completed No Man's Sky years after having purchased the game. Taking the newest big update as an excuse I got back into it and ended up beating the game in around 50h (a lot of farming was involved in that time though).
I think the game is at the point where it is worth playing, and probably has been for a long while. It's really tricky for games to overcome their initial bad press but I think Hello Games delivered on their initial promise albeit many years later and deserves a redemption arc.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
I bought this game during xmas for the second time to replay it on my Steam Deck... I have beaten the OG Crash trilogy many times as they were my first games on my first console, and then I beat the full N Sane Trilogy on PS4 when it came out... and now I'm doing the same on PC 🙈
I also got this during xmas but I haven't played as much as I thought I would... Too many mechanics to learn to the point that I was literally googling for each action I wanted to do. Maybe it wasn't the time to get into Rimworld ? I will give it another try at some point to see if it clicks better.
This has a similar story to Crash Bandicoot's mentioned above. I beat the OG trilogy on PSX back in the day and I thought I'd play the Reignited one on the Steam Deck now.
Stopped playing around 10h in :') It's nice, but it bothered me that on the Steam Deck because of the crappy EA launcher shenanigans and the need to be online to play it, it became pretty difficult to get the game to actually run...
I hope I can give it another shot and finish it in the future because I liked the souls-like flair it has, even though I am not really into the formula in other games like Bloodborne or DS itself.
After 30h I couldn't bring myself to finish the game even if I'm pretty close to the end from what I know. The character personalities and dialogues ended up bothering me too much. The gameplay is pretty visually and engaging but I got to a point where I wasn't interested in the story anymore so I dropped. It's a good JRPG but I think I have played too many "typical" JRPGs to find true love in this one.
I'm a bit sad about this one because I was really eager to play it based on the things I had read about it. The premise was that this would be a point n click adventure similar to Thimbleweed Park in tone and with Twin Peaks/X-files vibes.
What the game actually is, is 6 different mini stories (detective cases) where the complexity is not veeery high and the dialogues are okay, but not that good that they make up for the quite simplistic gameplay/puzzles. Could only plunge through 3 of the cases before dropping it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
Can only say good stuff about this beat'em up because it was so much fun to play it co-op (couch) with a friend. Reminiscent of old games of the genre, it sports a couple of attack buttons, power ups and the typical stuff for these kind of games but still manages to deliver a very fun experience with friends.
I was expecting to love this being a Fallout fan, and I have to admit that the dialogues were pretty good for as long as I played the game, but I didn't feel that pull that the Fallout games somehow have for me.
I think it might have to do with how messed up the world in Fallout is somehow... Here, even if things are also not great, the kind of funny dialogue subtracts importance to the matter and I didn't immerse myself so much into the story. I might have invested 20+ h on it but it feels a bit tough now to try to pick it up since it's a story-heavy game and I forgot most stuff :')
Nevertheless, the story is nice, and the combat is okay. It's a good game, and you should not be discouraged by my fanboyism of Fallout. If you like these kind of RPG games, it should provide you some nice playtime.
Can't believe I finished writing this long blogpost, and that someone would actually read it and get to this paragraph! Thanks for sticking around :)
For the next edition, I think I will try to keep some notes throughout the year so I don't have to do so much digging at the end. I felt like an archaeologist trying to find out what I had played when, and trying to remember how I felt, and what stood out from each game.
All in all, I'm happy with the recap and I look forward to this year's experiences :)