2022 has been a busy year. With three days left to it, we’ve decided to share our GOTY 2022 list. And we know, a lot of you are waiting for our Top 10 Optimized PC Games list. This will come out, most likely, on December 31st. Until then, you can find below the games that Nick, Spencer and John enjoyed the most.
We talk about a ‘once in a generation’ game, but Elden Ring legitimately earns such a title. The world is so incredibly expansive. There is great depth to character builds and gameplay approaches. The game is also geographically deep. I remember stumbling into one of the underground areas and realizing there was another world to explore beneath the surface. Whether above or below, the sheer quality of it all is what sets Elden Ring apart. Nearly all locations feel hand-crafted, and I can almost feel the delight of the developers as I find the many secrets they painstakingly placed within their world. The narrative is fun to piece together, and New Game Plus means you can play for ages. Even with the minor PC stutter issues, Elden Ring is easily the greatest game of 2022.
PS: What’s also amazing is FromSoftware’s journey to Elden Ring. They’ve created 50+ games since their first release in 1994. In their first two decades, they rarely had a well-reviewed game. Then they hit on their winning Souls formula with 2009’s Demon’s Souls. Now, a dozen years later, Elden Ring has conquered the world. Massive respect to FromSoftware for putting in the hard work year after year and not selling out to the devils of ‘live-service’ and ‘monetization.’ Therefore, FromSoftware wins my Developer of the Year award as well.
Honorable Mention: God of War PC. It’s a great linear, narrative-heavy experience. But it’s no Elden Ring.
Writing honestly on the topic of Game of the Year, I didn’t play many new games this year. I spent a lot of my gaming time this year on my Steam Deck pondering whether I should swap my desktop OS from Windows to Linux (I’m leaning towards yes, eventually). Accordingly I spent a lot of time playing older games that had been in my backlog for years, they felt so good on the Deck. Games like Ryse, Katamari Damacy: Reroll, Gurumin, Metal Gear Rising and many more. On my desktop I’ve recently been binging Dawn of War II which I never actually got around to beating back in the day when it was still a franchise under the THQ umbrella. My Steam Replay shows Deck occupied well over half of my playtime this year. 43% of my games played this year were released 8+ years ago, vs. 19% for the average gamer on Steam.
With that out of the way my game of the year based on what I have played, is Sonic Frontiers. Longtime readers know I am very partial to platformers, I picked Psychonauts 2 in last year’s GOTY. What makes Sonic Frontiers special is it finally feels like Sonic Team has a formula for the 3D entries in the franchise, which has historically struggled with the most basic requirements (not being buggy, being at least somewhat controllable). The game has very obvious flaws and it may sound like I am setting the bar low but it’s also a meaty, fun, enjoyable 3D platformer. While it doesn’t achieve the heights of Psychonauts 2, or Super Mario Odyssey I put 20+ hours in and enjoyed the vast majority of my time with the game.
To be honest, I struggled with my GOTY. Although I’m a big Yakuza fan, Judgment and Lost Judgment were not as polished as I had hoped. On the other hand, A Plague Tale: Requiem had a great story but felt more like a cinematic experience than an actual game. Marvel’s Spider-Man games were also great, but were nowhere close to what I’d describe as a “GOTY” gaming experience. Contrary to a lot, I enjoyed the second half of The Callisto Protocol (when you find the exosuit and increase your inventory space) way more than its first half. And as for Elden Ring, while I did like it, I was never a fan of the Dark Souls formula.
To be honest, it came down to Shadow Warrior 3, Prodeus, Evil West and UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection. These were the four games that I enjoyed the most in 2022. However, I believe that UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection offers the best package. The game offers great cinematics/cut-scenes, some cool puzzles, incredible set-pieces, big environments to explore, and a compelling story. Hell, it even offers you the ability to be stealthy or guns-blazing.
So yeah, UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection is definitely my GOTY!