The best video games of 2022, so far( Part 1 )
A continuous list of notable games from an already stellar year
It’s that time of year again, when we’re debating which game to remove from our backlog before the surge of fall releases. Gotham Knights is quickly approaching. Bayonetta 3, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, and Resident Evil Village Winters’ Expansion are also on the list. We’ll be staring down the barrel of God of War Ragnarok, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide before we know it. If there was ever a moment to test out that hidden treasure we’ve been putting off, this is definitely it.
Even yet, it’s strange to be anticipating a busy release season. 2022 has been an unusual, if enjoyable, parade of enormous AAA games interspersed by fantastic independent ventures, whether due to altered release dates, decreased emphasis on the retail realm, or delays from the COVID-19 epidemic. We went exploring in the Lands Between. We made agonizing judgments aboard a space station polluted by business entanglements. In an alternate world New Orleans, we investigated the repercussions of religion and the climate issue. In addition, we revisited our favorite live-service games and scoured subscription services for the next hidden gem. And we discovered a slew of them.
Thus, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to sift the wheat from the chaff — to pick our favorite games among the flood of ambitious titles that come out throughout the course of the year. We’ll be updating this page throughout the year, with the most current releases at the top, so you can stay on top of everything (or at least as up to date as possible). We’ll also do the same for the top movies, anime, television series, and science fiction and fantasy literature of 2022.
NBA 2K23 is a watershed moment in sports video gaming, the realization of a 20-year dream harbored by Visual Concepts’ seasoned developers: let gamers go back in time, rewrite history, and play their favorite organization in days gone by. It establishes a new standard for other sports developers, who have previously only presented their leagues’ history in extremely restricted ways, none of which are as immersive as the new MyNBA Eras feature. The level of control players have — whether an expansion club joins the league in 1988 or Karl Malone wins the MVP in 1997, both may be erased from memory — is more akin to a PC management simulation than a licensed console title.And for every new memory you make in MyNBA Eras, there is a museum-quality Jordan Challenge mode to relive. —Wayne Good
NBA 2K23 is available for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, as well as less feature-rich versions on the Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
“What if Pikmin was produced by late-’90s Rare rather than early-’00s Nintendo?” Tinykin wonders. It’s a collect-a-thon in the style of Banjo-Kazooie, but with the gameplay of Overlord or, yeah, Pikmin. As a bug-sized individual, your mission is to explore a human house and collect household goods to build a spacecraft. Does this sound familiar?
Tinykin’s concepts aren’t novel, but the execution and visual aesthetic make it a joy to watch. With their individual powers, the small animals you control (the eponymous Tinykin) assist you in solving tasks. But the nicest part about Tinykin is that there is no fighting; there are no foes or bosses to defeat. Your main purpose is to explore and acquire items in this vast environment. The end effect is the most tranquil and contemplative video game I’ve played all year, and one I plan to return to the next time I’m feeling stressed. —Gilliam, Ryan
Tinykin is available on Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
DISNEY DREAMLIGHT VALLEY
“Blend Animal Crossing with Stardew Valley, replace all the locals with beloved cartoon characters, and engage a large mobile game developer to integrate microtransactions.” So why can’t we stop mining, fishing, and farming in a mad dash to keep Mickey and friends happy?
It’s simple: this game was created with a surprising amount of attention. What should have been another throwaway, idle smartphone game has instead evolved into a full-fledged role-playing experience that fits well on consoles. Instead of zigging into predatory avarice, the game zags with brilliant design and generous upgrades. Dreamlight Valley improves the Animal Crossing model in a variety of ways, and contains a roster of new characters, including Scar from The Lion King and Buzz and Woody from Toy Story.The game is still in early access, and we’re concerned about its revenue strategy after its official debut (we’ve been burned before! ), but there’s more than enough entertainment in this virtual theme park right now to justify purchasing a ticket. —Christopher Plante
Disney Dreamlight Valley is available for Windows PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.
F1 MANAGER 22
Management simulator games come in a variety of forms and sizes, but none have looked as authentic as F1 Manager 22. It’s the first fully licensed F1 Manager game in more than two decades, and the Planet Coaster and Planet Zoo series producers made the wait worthwhile.
F1 Manager 22 is a wonderful illustration of the subtly propulsive power of management simulators, with complicated systems for data geeks, useful guard rails for players new to the genre and sport, and breathtaking visual and acoustic immersion (down to actual radio conversations from real drivers and engineers). The attention to detail in building the tracks, teams, and systems makes it well worth putting in many hours, and I hope you will join me in my quest to win a championship for Nyck de Vries. —Mr. Peter Volk
F1 Manager 22 is available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
Rollerdrome, set in a fascist police state, can be described as an arena shooter on roller skates. Some have referred to it as “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with Guns.” I’m here to inform you that shooting a grenade launcher while doing a 360-rotational backflip is a lot of fun, whatever you name it.
Kara Hassan, our eight-wheeled protagonist, is the most recent subject of a blood-sport reality program in which skaters are thrown into stadiums filled with ramps, towers, and gun-toting security guards. You do tricks to obtain more bullets; you use your bullets to kill more bad men; and you enjoy the freshly vacated area by performing additional tricks. It’s a thrilling loop that, unsurprisingly, is supposed to distract you from the larger meaning of it all: that effective entertainment can distract us from almost anything. —Michael Mahardy
Rollerdrome is a video game for the PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
CULT OF THE LAMB
Cult of the Lamb stands out among management simulators this year, with a mix of roguelite dungeon crawling, theological ambiguity, and a puerile graphic style that leads birth to terrible actions. It’s one of those games that shouldn’t function on paper. In practice, though, it is entrancingly propulsive.
As a lamb raised from the dead by an imprisoned demon-spirit-thing, you’re entrusted with establishing, developing, and leading a cult in the woods in order to wreak vengeance on the four gods that ordered your execution. You sow fields of crops, prepare meals for your followers, bless them to attract their complete attention, and, in certain circumstances, sacrifice them in shows of beautiful violence. Between all of this, you go on battle runs into the wilderness, where you gain new members, powers, and boons to add to your cult. As a result, there is an ouroboros-like cycle of roguelite thrill and zenlike village administration, all with the goal of showing you what type of leader you may purportedly become if given unlimited authority. —Michael Mahardy
Cult of the Lamb is a video game that is available on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.
BEAR AND BREAKFAST
You’re a bear in an abandoned woodland when you come across a collection of decaying structures. What other alternatives do you have? You decide to open a bed and breakfast for human travelers. That’s the basis of Gummy Cat’s inaugural adventure-and-management-simulation game, Bear and Breakfast.
There’s more to the woods than meets the eye, and that plot develops alongside the resort’s construction – think Theme Hospital meets Stardew Valley. Sometimes you just want a game that’s low-stress and enjoyable to play, and Bear and Breakfast delivered on those counts. Nicolette Carpenter
Bear and Breakfast is a Windows PC and Nintendo Switch game.
XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 3
Consider how many ways Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a magnificent achievement. First and foremost, it’s a fantastic end to an unexpected trilogy of RPGs renowned largely for their ambition and passion, one that finally makes the gameplay as gratifying as the rest of the game. For those concerned about time commitments, it’s also a wonderful stand-alone adventure about finding purpose in the worst of circumstances. And, perhaps most tragically, it marks the end of Tetsuya Takahashi’s decades-long ambition to create a big, philosophical science-fiction narrative, long after his first try in 1998’s Xenogears. How fortunate we are to be able to participate. Rivera, Joshua
The Nintendo Switch version of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is now available.
The fact that BlueTwelve Studio was able to properly capture the essence of our most perplexing family of pets is a monumental feat in and of itself. It’s another thing completely for the developer to wrangle catness into a dystopian adventure set in a colorful, forgotten city. Stray may have collaborated with any of the protagonists. It soars, though, with the year’s breakthrough tabby star.
Stray is a platformer with minor exploring and puzzle-solving features on a mechanical level. There are certain perilous times, such as when swarms of invading Zurks chase the feline protagonist into small alleys or over perilous roofs. And, sure, the cat may die in the sense of a soon-to-respawn video game. But, despite its rug-scratching, box-toppling, furniture-destroying features, the major emphasis of the game is simply being a cat and being a loving, friendly presence for the abandoned androids looking for escape from their neon purgatory. —Michael Mahardy
Stray is a game that may be played on a Windows PC, a PlayStation 4, or a PlayStation 5.
F1 22 is the series’ second version since EA purchased publisher Codemasters, and it mixes the basic thrills of simulation racing with complex career mode possibilities for a wide range of gamers. It’s an immersive experience with fantastic visuals that bring racetracks from all around the world to life.
While flaws with the game’s AI persist, the game’s innovative two-player career mode, first introduced in F1 21, is one of the finest experiences in sports video games. To put it simply, F1 22 is the game that finally convinced me to get a USB racing wheel and pedals, and I have no regrets. —Mr. Peter Volk
F1 22 is available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, as well as PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
If you’re upset with a friend, coworker, or significant other, it might be because of this game. Neon White has reignited the race for top leaderboard rankings while also emphasizing the value of milliseconds, since sometimes a millisecond is all it takes to leapfrog your mate.
Angel Matrix developer Ben Esposito describes Neon White as a “smoothie” of inspirations, drawing as much from friction-defying Counter-Strike surf maps as gravity-defying Half-Life and Quake jump levels. In a tiny but significant sense, Neon White is also a deck-building card game. If this is a smoothie, it is equal parts sweet, tangy, delightful, and flowing down your face, since your friend has just surpassed your score yet again in the time it took you to read this line. It’s quite an accomplishment for a game about leaping from one platform to another that Neon White can be so sleek and simple while still instilling such deep grudges and terribly pained wrists. Video games are as stupid as hell.Let’s grab some smoothies. —Michael Mahardy
Neon White is a Windows PC and Nintendo Switch game.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SHREDDER’S REVENGE
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a popular game.
When Foot Clan troops aren’t speeding past on motorcycles or in automobiles, they’re working the cash register at a pizza parlor before leaping into the fray with shopping bags as lethal weapons. Shredder’s Revenge is noisy and chaotic, but never annoying, making it a fantastic tribute to a series of legendary games. It’s a short game, but with seven distinct characters — the four turtles plus April O’Neil, Splinter, and Casey Jones — there’s a lot of replay value in mastering each character’s techniques.While it pays homage to its forefathers, it is distinctly contemporary, with more thrilling combat versus swarms of opposing soldiers and character enhancements to boot. Its vehicle is nostalgia, but its fuel is sheer joy. Nicolette Carpenter
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is a video game that is available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Linux.
Until Dawn, the developer’s breakout hit, put a group of vacationing adolescents through the wringer in a secluded mountain cabin, a crumbling sanatorium, and an abandoned mine shaft, before the Dark Pictures anthology traveled from a boat at sea to a frightening Midwestern ghost town to a desert tomb. And now we have The Quarry, a horrific forest adventure that pays homage to one of America’s iconic horror settings: the sleepaway camp.
The Quarry, like Supermassive’s other games, puts you in control of a group of characters — in this case, nine camp counselors who are stranded at the camp for an additional night — as they explore the surroundings and try to survive when things turn nasty (read: potentially lethal).
While player input is almost entirely limited to walking, binary character choices, and basic quick-time events, it’s a testament to Supermassive’s skill that it can make a search for duffel bags as compelling as a terrifying encounter with otherworldly creatures, and an innocent kiss as significant as pulling a trigger. The Quarry resides in between the worlds of movies and video games, and it’s astounding how much it mines from both. —Michael Mahardy
The Quarry is available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, as well as PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.
SNIPER ELITE 5
For the uninformed, it’s tempting to dismiss the Sniper Elite franchise as a hyper-violent Nazi-killing X-ray gore fest. Yes, that is that. But it’s also a model of level design, and Sniper Elite 5 maintains that tradition, with some of the greatest sandbox missions I’ve ever played. They sprawl across mine-infested beaches, idyllic wineries, and coastal chateaus, seizing any opportunity to offer you a glimpse, however brief, of the next soon-to-be-shattered Nazi head.
This was no easy assignment, given that the latest installment takes the franchise to World War II-era France, probably the most cliched setting in video games. However, developer Rebellion Developments has found fresh methods to make the Normandy beaches intriguing. The roguish Karl Fairburne is forced to sneak inside bunkers and cobblestone lanes, surrendering his beloved sniper rifle for a silenced pistol and close-quarters know-how, reminiscent of IO Interactive’s Hitman series. There are also several echoes of Arkane’s Dishonored games, with multiple routes to each task ranging from non-lethal to what I can only characterize as extremely deadly. Sniper Elite 5 has lifted an already excellent franchise into the pantheon of immersive-sandbox greats. —Michael Mahardy
Sniper Elite 5 is out now on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
THE STANLEY PARABLE: ULTRA DELUXE
The Stanley Parable is the most popular video game of 2013. You take on the role of an office drone who escapes the monotony of data input to walk the halls of a mystery office building that branches like the pages of a choose-your-own-adventure book. It’s a walking trainer. It’s a parody. It’s a sly parody of video game storytelling, player agency constraints, and serious peers obsessed with “games as art.” That is, The Stanley Parable was a video game about video games from a time when the medium was at its most self-conscious and navel-gazing.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is the most popular video game of 2022. You take on the role of an office drone who escapes the monotony of data input to walk the halls of a mystery office building that branches like the pages of a choose-your-own-adventure book. But then you come upon New ContentTM. This is a sequel. It’s a postmortem examination. It’s a sly parody of video game commercialization, the aesthetic constraints of mining intellectual property, and its audience-tested peers obsessed with “games as a service.” That is, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is a video game about video game culture at a time when the medium has never been more powerful and mercenary. —Christopher Plante
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is available on Windows PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
WARHAMMER 40,000: CHAOS GATE – DAEMONHUNTERS
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters (sigh, that name) takes the XCOM formula and strips it down to its basic necessities before rebuilding it into something entirely new.
In Daemonhunters, you take leadership of a crew of Grey Knights — effectively Space Marines with a religious zealotry — as you journey across a star system on a spacefaring cathedral. You personalize the Knights, outfit them with ever-improving gear, and enhance their skill trees in an attempt to synergize the ultimate murder squad and halt the spread of the Nurgle virus. It’s a tribute to Complex Games’ expertise that the turn-based combat is equal parts subtle and spectacular, and for every explosion that rattles the screen, there’s also a calm moment of victory when a Justicar arrives just in time to evacuate the whole crew. —Michael Mahardy
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a Windows PC game.
This text-heavy, tabletop-inspired RPG feels intellectual and melancholy in comparison to the larger cyberpunk mythology. You awaken aboard the space station Erlin’s Eye in a body that is both yours and not yours; your awareness dwells within an Essen-Arp-owned humanoid machine. You were designed with “planned obsolescence” to keep you — and others like you — from fleeing. To survive, you must take a supplement, and your first priority is to figure out how to stay alive. The Eye then opens up, exposing stories about the people who dwell there and the power battles that rule their lives.
Citizen Sleeper, which borrows extensively from dice-based tabletop games, compels players to make daily trade-offs — do I want to repair the Ambergris, assist Feng in hacking the Eye’s secrets, or give mushrooms to street seller Emphis? — all with a limited and daily randomized set of dice. Unlike other decision-driven games, Citizen Sleeper never makes me feel “punished” for making a bad decision. It primarily highlights how scarcity influences decision-making — how living in survival mode necessitates hedging and scrounging. As you develop and discover new methods to fuel yourself, your options broaden, leading to the ultimate question: do you stay or do you flee? — Clark, Nicole
Citizen Sleeper is available through Xbox Game Pass for Windows PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
………..to be continued………..