The video game launch calendar for 2022 has suffered the effects of covid, with so many titles being pushed back. Still, it's not like we didn't get any good games. In all honesty, this has been one of the most top-heavy Game of the Year lists I've made – while the bottom half (which confusingly are listed first) aren't exactly blockbusters, they did well in terms of scratching a particular itch.
10. Sniper Elite 5
Speaking of itches, there's something very satisfying about landing a headshot after accounting for distance and wind. The main reason I enjoyed Sniper Elite 5 was because it allowed me to take my time, find a cozy little spot, and shoot Adolf Hitler in the head. The running and gunning parts were by far the weakest, but the game made it so that you could work your way around them. Taking my time to wipe out a whole squad of oblivious Nazis is very cathartic.
Personal Award: Most Cathartic Game of the Year
9. Horizon Forbidden West
I don't know what to say about Horizon Forbidden West or the original, Zero Dawn. It seems every time one of these games comes out, another developer releases a genre-defining open-world title. It has the ingredients to be the game we want it to be, but hasn't managed to get the proportions right – again. However, I like the bow combat, and this is the only game which prompted me to play around with Photo Mode, a feature I generally do not give a damn about.
Personal Award: Best Photo Mode of the Year For A Guy Who Hates Photo Mode
Like many others, Sifu was not the game I thought it would be. But once you get into the flow, you're reminded of Bruce Lee's iconic line, "Be water, my friend." While they come around in spurts, the moments that make you feel like a juggernaut are where Sifu shines brightest.
Personal Award: Best Movie Reference of the Year, for the Oldboy hallway scene
I've been wanting to adopt a cat for the longest time, but I haven't yet been able to for a number of reasons. Stray gave me an outlet for my love for cats, while also building a unique and interesting world. Despite being robots, the NPCs were brimming with more personality than those in some triple-A games.
Personal Award: Best Pointless Button of the Year, for the meow button
6. Metal: Hellsinger
I'm not one for rhythm based gameplay – Guitar Hero and Rock Band can get fucked. I don't even like quick-time events. But then someone decided to add guns and heavy metal into the mix, and I'm here for that. Landing headshots to the beat while Serj Tankian screams his lungs out is a great release after a long day. But, besides the fun gunplay and great music, one of the best parts about Metal: Hellsinger is that it's short.
Personal Award: Best Doom Substitute of the Year
5. Cult Of The Lamb
How has nobody else made a half-decent game about being a cult leader before? Massive Monster jumped onto it, and boy, did it pay off. Besides the cute visuals and unapologetic Satanic rituals, where Cult of the Lamb shines is the balanced gameplay. Were it only a roguelike, or only a management sim, I don't think the game would have become as popular as it did. But the devs managed it perfectly and indoctrinated me in the process. Oh, and the game rewards you for playing like an actual cult leader rather than a good person – so that's another win.
Personal Award: Best Power Trip of the Year
The biggest mistake I made with Tunic was underestimating it as a mere Link to the Past clone. Only once I realised that I know nothing – both in the game and outside of it – was when I truly started to enjoy Tunic. There aren't many grand reveals or plot twists, but there are still moments that will make your jaw drop. A game where knowledge is the most powerful weapon will always grab my attention.
Personal Award: Best "I'm A Fucking Idiot" Moment of the Year
3. God Of War: Ragnarok
God of War: Ragnarok is a tough one. It is a good game with beloved characters, and a good story. But there were times, especially during the combat, that I felt like I was playing the exact same game as before. The only reason Ragnarok isn't higher on the list is because, at times, it felt like Santa Monica was too focussed on making it premium that they forgot to make it fun. Again, the game itself was brilliant, but I didn't feel it took things to the next level in the way God of War 2 did for the original original God of War.
Personal Award: Best "I'm Not Crying, You're Crying" Moment of the Year
2. Into The Breach
I don't normally put ports, remasters, or remakes of games I've played before, but the mobile version of Into The Breach adds a lot more to the game, and it's worth jumping in again for. Even though it's not my Game of the Year, this is the game I had the most trouble putting down – mostly because its format lends itself to the mobile platform perfectly. Commuting? Into the Breach. Taking a break? Into the Breach. Taking a dump? Into the Breach.
Personal Award: Best 'Totally Better Than Marvel Snap' Award
1. Elden Ring
Let me just start by saying I have tried to play Bloodborne and Dark Souls multiple times and hate them. I got the furthest in Sekiro, but couldn't find the motivation to carry on. This year FromSoftware finally made a game for me, and I am so grateful. Finishing a FromSoft game was legit on my bucket list, and I have prevailed.
Some hardcore fans may consider it easy, but I finally see why people love these games so much, and why they soldier on after getting smacked down over and over again. Add to that the thrill – and horror – of exploration, and it gave me a feeling I haven't felt since Breath of the Wild.
Personal Award: Best "Can't Wait To Hear The Theme Played By The TGA Orchestra" Award
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