While 2021 may not have been all that memorable of a year for gaming, the medium came back in full force for 2022. There was almost too much video game content, so I rarely found myself waiting too long for something new or interesting to play during the past year. That being said, there were certainly some titles that stood out more among the many that I played. From astoundingly great live-service expansions, to playable slasher movies, to fantasy-themed spin-offs, these were my favorite video games of 2022.
Honorable Mention: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
In this fan’s humble opinion, Destiny has never been stronger than it is now. The Witch Queen’s campaign harkens back to developer Bungie’s Halo days with an excellent set of missions that are fun to play and replay on your own or with friends, and a Legendary difficulty that is as brutally difficult as it is rewarding. The story that unfolds makes the most of the franchise’s stellar sci-fi world while surprising longtime fans with its reveals, and the titular villain, Savathûn, is one of the most memorable video game villains from the past few years as well. Savathûn’s servants, an army of Light-powered Hive, are also great, ranking among the very best enemy types in all of Destiny. In addition to the brilliant campaign, The Witch Queen offers up new, powerful weapons to use and an eerie world to explore with tons to find throughout. Bungie’s continued efforts to improve and refine Destiny to please players have paid off with the game’s newest expansion. I honestly can’t think of a better stretch time I have slent playing Destiny than during the first few months of The Witch Queen.
You can read my full review of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen here.
Number 5: The Quarry
When it comes to interactive horror video games, Supermassive Games is far and away the most accomplished developer in the subgenre, and their latest game – while admittedly imperfect – only further cements their status as the top dog. Excellent motion-capture technology, along with a talented group of film and TV actors, helps pull you into The Quarry’s story, and heighten the terror as you make your decisions; and many of those decisions can ultimately lead to a player character’s gruesome demise or cheer-inudcing escape or survival. The result is one of the more frightening video games that I’ve come across in recent memory, and one that I’ll probably find myself playing again and again and again over the next few years, as I did with Supermassive’s first horror gem, Until Dawn. And while The Quarry rarely chooses to deviate from the formula that made its aforementioned predecessor so great, and it usually falters when it does, it’s still a delightful creepy tale that overcomes its shortcomings by simply continuing to do what works the majority of the time.
You can read my full review of The Quarry here.
Dad of Boy 2 God of War Ragnarök
Ragnarök may not be my all-time favorite entry in the highly esteemed God of War franchise, but there really is no denying how great it still is. I was moved yet again by watching Kratos and Atreus continue to learn about themselves, each other, and their world based in Norse mythology. Exploring the realms often felt rewarding, and the combat continues the trend of its predecessor by being easy to understand, difficult to truly master, and equal parts brutal and gratifying. Ragnorök’s villains, while a little lacking when compared to 2018’s Baldur, are still quite interesting, being a mix of what you’d expect from their legends while offering snippets of surprise and depth to them as well. The world-building that was set up in the genre-swapping 2018 God of War is still going strong in Ragnarök too; the game gives almost every single realm and supporting character – new and old – a worthwhile story of their own to tell. All in all, the God of War Ragnorök is another must-play feather in Santa Monica Studio’s cap.
Number 3: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a fantasy-themed twist on the Borderlands formula that does enough to stand out as something new, but never loses sight of what has made Gearbox’s looter shooter series so popular. The seemingly infinite mixture of guns, spells, melee weapons, and varied subclasses give the game a deeper role-playing feel. You can be a speedy runner with a focus on critical hits and elemental damage, a close quarters brawler with a pet demi-lich, and so much more. The best-in-series voice cast features TV and film comedy icons who all vibe wonderfully with the game’s wacky humor and kept me laughing long after I finished the campaign. I was still hooked after the main story wrapped up, and began further exploring each biome, engaging in dozens of outlandishly entertaining side-missions, and ended up experiencing everything that Tina’s world of Bunkers and Badasses had to offer. Seriously, I even have the platinum trophy to prove it! The Chaos Chamber, Wonderlands endgame is a blast as well, offering repeatable dungeons with randomized enemies types and modifiers to even keep players with strong character builds on their toes. In my opinion, almost every risk that Gearbox took with Wonderlands was worth it.
You can read my full review of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands here.
Number 2: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion
The half remake, half remaster of FFVII’s Playstation Portable prequel is about as great as I had anticipated it would be. Reunion smooths the rougher edges off of the original Crisis Core’s one-of-a-kind combat, gives the visuals a little bit of polish, and tells the exact same story that affected me so deeply 15 years ago. Zack Fair’s adventure throughout Midgard is one filled with over the top, stunning battles, powerful emotions, an unfathomably good soundtrack, and plenty of likable, unforgettable characters. The people who made Reunion certainly hold Crisis Core in high regard as well, as this updated take stays as close as it can to the fifteen year-old gem for the most part. The result is a product that definitely feels like an older game in some places, but is rarely ever bogged down by its past. Instead, FFVII veterans get a strong dose of nostalgia on a “second” ride through one of the greatest JRPG’s of all time, and newcomers get a completely competent game that widens the scope and deepens the lore of an already incredibly rich universe.
Number 1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Shredder’s Revenge isn’t just a stellar TMNT game, it’s one of my favorite pieces of media in the entire franchise. It’s a retro game in all the right ways – as a cooperative beat ’em up and as a TMNT title – that introduces only a small number of more modern mechanics that end up raising its replayability far higher than I had expected. The character level-up system in particular kept me coming back to max out multiple different heroes – and not just the turtles – who all have their own attributes and attacks. There are also cameos, collectibles, and in-game challenges that encourage you to revisit previously beaten levels. You won’t feel left out if you’re a beat ’em up purist though, because Shredder’s Revenge also has a classic arcade mode that does away with those additions and is a great way to test your mettle, reflexes, and endurance. The arcade game type has limited lives, no upgrades, and has to be beaten in one sitting. No matter your playstyle preference, this shockingly low-priced package offers hours of fun for solo players and groups of friends alike.
And those were my favorite video games of 2022! If you liked this, follow me on Twitter or bookmark my author page to see whatever I write next. Also, you can check out my favorite TV shows of 2022 here. Until next time, remember: the best seats are in the Middle of the Row!