It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Another year, another handful of video games played. I told myself last year that I would do my utmost to beat the 14 titles I played through last year. Naturally, I decided to throw not one, nor two but three fuck-off gargantuan open-world titles into the mix. Regardless, I hit the heady milestone of ten titles played in 2022. So, for the viewing pleasure of absolutely nobody, I give to you my top 10 games of 2022, culminating in my GOTY. As an aside, this list covers titles played on Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Also, not all of the games are from this year. But I played them in 2022, hence their inclusion.
10. Pokémon Scarlett | Nintendo Switch
What more can be said about this title that hasn’t already been mentioned at least 75 times already on the least toxic place on the internet, Twitter? A train wreck of a title that was released in such an unfinished state you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a CD Projekt Red title.
A bold new direction for a franchise that has grown more stale than the biscuit used in the inaugural game of soggy biscuit (which incidentally ended in mass suicide, the sodden pastry bagged up as evidence before eventually being donated to the museum of why are you like this?). The ambition admirable, the execution inexcusable.
9. Firewatch Xbox Series X|S
After years of hearing about Firewatch from co-workers, I finally sat down to play it through the majesty of Xbox Gamepass. It was fine, a very decent walking sim. The ending worked for me too. Closure.
8. Resident Evil | Nintendo Switch
Resident Evil is a franchise I’ve never really sat down with before. But seeing that the beautiful, brilliant Lance Reddick would be taking up the mantle of the ever-enigmatic Albert Wesker in the live-action Netflix series convinced me to finally head to the mansion.
Although dated, it retains so much that made it such an iconic title upon original release. The mansion is atmospheric, mysterious and downright disturbing. A gripping little jaunt through video game horror history.
7. Grapple Dog | Nintendo Switch
Grapple Dog is just an excellent video game. An indie delight. The protagonist is a dog and he has a grappling hook with which he traverses tricky platforms and crosses perilous pits. Need I say more?
Oh, you’d actually like me to say more. OK!! Grapple Dog offers up plentiful platforming perfection, permeated profusely… probably…
6. Blossom Tales 2: The Minataur Prince | Nintendo Switch
Blossom Tales 2 continues the tale of the best-named protagonist in gaming as she attempts to rescue her brother from a dangerous minotaurs labyrinth. BT2 is once again a love letter to 2D Zelda titles and as Nintendo doesn’t seem fussed about making a new entry anytime soon, leave it to the fine folk at Castle Pixel to deliver. Top-drawer shit, this.
5. The Gunk | Xbox Series X|S
The Gunk is brave. The studio behind the darling SteamWorld titles, Thunderful (formerly Image & Form) pumped a huge amount of resources into creating a new IP for the Series X|S consoles. With Microsoft Studios having less output than the blown Marantz amp from my childhood that I still keep to this day, I suppose at least they were safe in the knowledge that there was an audience (people wanting exclusives on the world’s most powerful console). Still, it’s admirable that they tried something new and their class permeated throughout this title. The best compliment that I can offer up is that is an infinitely superior game to Kena.
4. Lil Gator Game | Nintendo Switch
Lil Gator Game was a surprise, but a pleasant one. I picked it up for my daughter, as it seemed ideal as a stress-free entry-level gaming jam. While my daughter admittedly liked it, it was I that fell in love with it. Reminiscent of A Short Hike, but with more about it. You could say it made A Short Hike look like A Shit Hike. Or A Short Shit. You don’t have to, of course, but you could. You could also say wombats are Earth’s mightiest heroes. The Avengers might want a word, but they’re probably all busy at this point anyway.
Regardless, Lil Gator Game is a triumph. Spare a lazy weekend to appreciate its charm.
3. Horizon Forbidden West | Playstation 5
Horizon Forbidden West is a gem and another entry on this list to benefit the presence of the mighty Lance Reddick. In truth, it was held back slightly by its arrival at a time when PlayStation Studios were still pushing titles to release on both PS4 and its significantly larger, whiter sibling.
While it looked and played phenomenally you always felt as though it was being held back by being cross-gen. Hopefully, we get a full PS5 entry in the series at some point. Maybe even the upcoming DLC will give us a glimpse of Guerrilla’s full vision, as well as technical prowess.
We also have the VR title beforehand but that doesn’t count because only the world’s most affluent people will ever play it.
2. Ghost of Tsushima: Directors Cut | Playstation 5
Ghost of Tsushima is phenomenal. Simply majestic. Breath of the Wild kind of ruined gaming for me as nothing since really made me feel anything close to what Link’s unaided exploration through Hyrule did. Jin-sans journey through Tsushima is a sheer delight and as far as open worlds go, the one that Sucker Punch has crafted here is from the very top tier. The Iki Island DLC is an equally rapturous romp. Did I mention that this game is utterly stunning? Take a gander at a sunset from a cherry blossom orchard and tell me otherwise. No? Disagree?
I’ll fucking cut you! Tsushima style!
1. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 | Nintendo Switch
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 IS EVERYTHING. Never before have I experienced a narrative, driven so much by world-building. It truly is remarkable and a testament to Monolith Soft’s mastery of the JRPG genre.
Furthermore, the game looks and runs phenomenally. Every time I see a jumped-up Pokénonce flaring up over how the latest iteration of Pokémons performance is due to the dated hardware, I want to pry open their eyes, strap a cardboard VR screen to their face and show them how good things could be if the developers in question weren’t dinosaurs of the 3DS era.
Anyway, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 slaps harder than a disgruntled cuckold at a pompous award ceremony.
Honourable mentions go to God of War: Ragnarok, The Last of Us Part 1 and FIFA 23 (all PlayStation 5), though I’ve not played enough of them to include them in my list. I dunno. There’s just something about that homely, raucous prick that just pisses me off.