2022 has been an amazing year for gaming. With established titles trying new things, interesting niche titles, innovative new titles, and some amazing indies, there’s plenty to enjoy. As 2022 ends, we’d like to highlight a few of these.
As with our Yearly Top Visual Novels lists, these are our subjective choices and are based only on games we have personally played. They don’t necessarily need to be the highest-rated games, but the ones we personally enjoyed the most. And if you’re looking for the Top Visual Novels of 2022, you can find them here.
ISAIAH PARKER – SONIC FRONTIERS
My game of the year is Sonic Frontiers, and it’s an easy pick. I’ve been big on the blue blur since I was a kid, and as an adult now, it feels like Frontiers was specifically made for people like me. I go more in-depth in my review, but the somber tone, serious story and writing, and changes to gameplay resonated with me quite a lot. Even despite the lopsided visuals and lack of polish, I enjoyed pretty much the entire thing.
The new open zone format is awesome, and a big breath of fresh air coming off the more trite experiences of previous games. Loads of bosses, collectibles, side quests, and more are peppered throughout big, realistically rendered maps. Coupled with decent combat and linear, arcade-like stages, and it feels like the game gave me a little bit of everything.
POWAHDUNK – RIVER CITY GIRLS 2
Take a dose of one of the best games from a genre I adore and add all the extra ingredients to make a perfect sequel. This gives you my game of the year in the delicious meal that is River City Girls 2. This is something both expected and unexpected in both equal measures.
While I had faith that WayForward could put out another great title, I didn’t expect they would top River City Girls in such a way. It has completely shaken up the Beat ‘Em Up genre for me. Improving on every single aspect of the original and even learning a thing or two from River City Saga: Three Kingdoms, River City Girls 2 has not only become an essential play for fans of the genre but a title I feel I could wholeheartedly recommend to anyone even slightly curious. Anyone would have an absolutely phenomenal time with this.
THOMAS KNIGHT – POKÉMON SCARLET/VIOLET
My game of the year would have to be Pokémon Scarlet/Violet for the Nintendo Switch. Yes, it has serious technical issues, which I covered at length in my review and that makes it difficult to highly recommend it to a wider audience. Despite that, it’s the game I enjoyed the most in 2022.
The open world and ability to choose my own path gave me a real sense of exploration and adventure. The variety of activities and interesting personalities kept me engaged. The ease of playing with friends and the convenience of competitive features had me stick around long after finishing the game. It’s the best Pokémon game out yet, even beating Pokémon Arceus, which completely revitalized a series I was getting bored of.
DAMIEN BOOTH – ELDEN RING
Since my partner (at the time) recited the wiki pages to me whilst I navigated my way through Demon’s Souls on PS3, I’ve had a love affair with Fromsoft games.
Elden Ring is genuinely a perfection of a tried-and-tested formula. What more could gamers want? Everything that was ever great about Souls games is present here, with an enlarged sense of exploration. Perfection? Not quite. Immersion? 110%.
WES PLAYFAIR – NEON WHITE
I have fond memories of high school days spent staying up into the wee hours to catch late-night anime. It didn’t help my grades, but back then that’s what you had to do to watch the good stuff. Neon White is a stylistic throwback to those times, featuring slick action with characters and dialogue that can only be described as “endearingly cringey”. The levels may be bites-sized platforming challenges, but clever mechanics and outstanding design will keep you coming back for one more shot at that Ace rank medal.
First-person platforming has never looked or felt so good. Once you start moving and grooving (the soundtrack is killer), you won’t want to stop, and that’s why Neon White is my game of the year.
CONCLUSION AND HONOURABLE MENTIONS!
There have been plenty of amazing games released this year, and these are only a handful — just our personal favorites. While we’ve gone more into depth on our 2022 GOTY picks, we did want to add in a few honorable mentions that we don’t want to go unrecognized.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist & The Mysterious Dream was a runner-up GOTY for two of our writers. Both loved this charming alchemy JRPG.
Chenso Club is a hidden gem, capturing everything fantastic about retro games whilst also providing a learning curve akin to modern games.
Persona 5 Royal remains one of our few 10/10 rated games and a 2020 GOTY, with its amazing story and modern gameplay. It just didn’t seem fair to add a port of a 2020 title with no significant content changes as a 2022 GOTY.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a thrilling action RPG. A much better experience than at its 2021 launch, the next-gen versions, and 1.5 update were both released in 2022. Again, it’s not exactly a 2022 release though, so only gets the mention.
While there were plenty more great titles released in 2022, if you missed out on these, we hope you’ll give them a try.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.