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A 2022 Personal Game of the Year Wrap-Up

Michael Kenney January 31, 2023 22


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Featured image/banner via Mega64 (this is a joke please do not be mad 😓)

1. God of War Ragnarok

My most anticipated game of 2022, Ragnarok delivered on all fronts. After a fantastic soft reboot in 2018, God of War Ragnarok continued the series’ and more varied enemy types helped to freshen up encounters and offer more strategy in taking on hordes of enemies. THe fantastic character performances also carried on from the previous game, with highlights from newer characters in Odin and Thor, along with returning characters continuing to deliver; dwarven smiths Brok and Sindri get some time to shine throughout the adventure. I look forward to seeing where the series continues from here.

 

2. Marvel Snap

Did not expect to get into a digital card battler in 2022, but here we are. Developed by former Hearthstone developers at new studio Second Dinner, Marvel Snap is a simple, addictive spin on the genre packed with cards featuring characters from across the Marvel universe. The more I’ve played, the more I’ve gotten into the game’s intricacies of deck building, figuring which types of cards to build my deck around in order to deal with different situations. While it’s a free-to-play experience, I never felt pestered to buy into anything as the game (at least currently) rewards players well enough with each increased rank by completing daily and weekly challenges. Games are never more than 3-5 minutes, and the double-down (Snap!) feature can make games feel more rewarding when you know you have an opponent beat. Hopefully the game continues to shine with its seasonal content updates over the foreseeable future.

 

3. Horizon Forbidden West

In a year full of big open world games, Horizon more than likely gets lost in the shuffle due to its release proximity to Elden Ring. I’m also a big gamer baby so I did not play Elden Ring. Forbidden West continues Aloy’s journey in a post-apocalyptic robot-dinosaur inhabited world, this time focused on the Western part of what used to be the U.S. While it’s not a completely game-changing open-world, it became incredibly satisfying the explore this new map with the game’s increased gadget lineup, and the weapon and combat updates made enough satisfying additions to keep me occupied to clear out each hunting area, dungeon, and combat arena. The story also ended with quite a bang, and I can’t wait to see where Guerilla Games goes with the next entry.

 

4. Vampire Survivors

A surprise indie hit from Luca Galante, aka poncle, Vampire Survivors released in full in 2022 after spending time in early access since late 2021. The game is simple in nature, but addicting as hell roguelite where players control a character moving around a map picking up upgrades, items, and money while auto-attacking and leveling up. Runs take 15-30 minutes, and I felt like I was constantly uncovering secrets, upgrading across playthroughs in a way that felt consistently rewarding. A $5 steal on PC and Xbox, you owe yourself to check this one out. 

 

5. Splatoon 3

The latest in Nintendo’s ink shooter franchise continued to iterate on the series’ fun formula. New weapons like the Tri-Stringer bow, new special moves, updates to the game’s wave-based Salmon Run mode, and a rewarding battle-pass lite feature made the multiplayer a consistent go-to this year. The single player campaign also made improvements, with a more open hub world to pick and choose levels to complete along their journey. Some issues with matchmaking and game stability, along with a desire for greater improvements hold Splatoon 3 from being further up my list. 

 

6. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Another one of my most anticipated games, Kirby and the Forgotten Land was a complete joy from beginning to end. Taking the classic Kirby formula and applying it to more 3D open levels was a blast, with new and returning power ups that could be upgraded, collectibles, and a challenging/rewarding post-game made this one of my favorite platformers/Kirby games in years.

 

7. Sonic Frontiers

A late entry on this list since I started it late in the year (too busy trying to Platinum God of War Ragnarok), 2022’s Sonic game surprised me in how much I ended up enjoying. Switching it up by going a more open-world route, I found it a blast to run around and zip/grind/bounce through the various environments. The more traditional linear levels break things up enough to keep things entertaining as well. My biggest gripes with the structure of Frontiers lie in its open-world nature as well, with hubs feeling empty and lifeless at times, feeling like those “Sonic in Unreal Engine” demos come to life. Also several of the linear levels’ aesthetics are seemingly recycled from previous games (I’ve seen 3D versions of Green Hill Zone for what feels like a dozen times by now). I look forward to finishing this in the new year, and hope that this is a formula Sonic Team sticks to and improves on.

 

8. TMNT Shredder’s Revenge

Shredder’s Revenge is a throwback to classic beat-em-ups from developer Tribute Games (Panzer Paladin, Flinthook). This game was a short but sweet  evolution of the classic TMNT brawlers like the TMNT arcade game and Turtles in in Time, featuring crisp pixelated visuals and a fantastic soundtrack from Tee Lopes, and even vocals from Wu-Tang Clan legends Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.It also features voice acting from some of the original Turtles voice actor from the 80’s animated series. I highly recommend Shredder’s Revenge to any fans of TMNT, or classic beat-em-ups

 

9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II/Call of Duty Warzone 2.0

A sequel to 2019’s reboot of the Modern Warfare sub-franchise, Modern Warfare II felt like two steps forward and one step back for Call of Duty as a whole. The meat of the game, the multiplayer is just as fun as the previous Modern Warfare, but also launched in what felt like an early-access state with no daily or mode-based challenges to play towards and no in-game way to track countdowns on the game’s infamous 2XP tokens. The game’s Season 1 launch made some improvements on the game’s core, while also adding the free Warzone 2.0 and DMZ modes. I had a blast playing the new Escape from Tarkov inspired DMZ mode, a new cooperative run-based mode where players drop in on the large Warzone map and collect guns, currency, and more then extract with those items. Instances of squadding up with other 3-player squads to take down an AI controlled Juggernaut boss and extracting with a weapon case, wiping a enemy player squad while both my teammates were downed, and failing to save a downed teammate who had accidentally missed the last extraction will some of my favorite gaming moments in recent memory.

 

10. Pokémon Violet

As someone who gets caught in the Pokémon craze every time there’s a new release, plays the new game for 15-20 hours, then promptly stops, Pokémon Violet has had the most staying power in years. While the infamous graphical bugs and glitches are there, this has been the most attached I’ve been to a Pokémon game in years. The more open structure lets players pick and choose what they want to do, whether it’s focus on catching, battling, or exploring the game’s open world. I hope to continue playing/finishing this in 2023 and plan to return to Pokémon Arceus, which was also a much-needed breath of fresh air for the franchise.

 

11. Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2 launched in early October in a rough state, with servers unable to handle the amount of players looking to return to the class-based FPS. While the game has been a very up-and-down experience overall, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my overall time with it. The reworks to existing heroes have been mostly positive, the new heroes have been fun, the change to a 5v5 system in PvP has made games feel faster/frenetic, as well the new ping system allows for players to point out enemies and items. However, it’s difficult to look past the game’s intense monetization practices since it’s transitioned to a free-to-play model. New heroes are no longer free once they launch, with players having to grind to level 45 (formerly level 55) in a battle pass to unlock them or pay $10 to unlock them right away when a new season starts. The cosmetics system is also much less rewarding, with players no longer able to unlock a number of the new skins, emotes, and more unless they fork over real money. While it’s great to see the predatory loot box system removed, the new battle pass and store-based model feels even more skeevy and gross. Hopefully the new year sees some adjustments come to Overwatch 2 (please bring back the old scorecards and on-fire system 😓), and I look forward to the much anticipated PvE mode set to release this year.

 

Some Favorite Older Games I Played in 2022

Ghost of Tsushima

Originally released in 2020, I got the chance to play Ghost of Tsushima via the PlayStation 5 Director’s Cut version early in the year. Initially skeptical of the game due an overexposure of open world games, I came to enjoy Tsushima the more I played it. With a beautiful open world, combat that gives the player freedom to go stealthy or become a one-man army, and what I considered an engaging story, I ended up prutting nearly 80 hours into the main game and DLC chapter in order to get the game’s Platinum trophy. The game’s online cooperative multiplayer, Legends, was also a fun distraction after completing the story where players can coordinate attacks and work their way through more supernatural versions of the game’s areas using different class builds. I look forward to when Sucker Punch reveals the game’s inevitable sequel.

 

Fortnite

Who knew that the world’s most popular battle-royale shooter would actually be fun? After avoiding the game for years after trying it in 2018 on Nintendo Switch, and not having a great time, I decided to give Fortnite another go this past summer after hearing that the game’s “no-build” mode was a lot more inviting. Taking out one of the game’s main mechanics (love to shoot at someone and see them turn into a 20 story building), along with seeing some of the major changes Fortnite had made in the years since I had played it, made a huge difference. I slowly fell down a rabbit hole, and got addicted enough to grab the game’s battle pass and have maxed it out in several seasons. Even if you don’t spend money, I found the game rewarding and fun, with daily, weekly, and seasonal quests that encourages you to explore the map and try different strategies. Seasons/chapters also change up game mechanics and map layouts enough to keep things fresh, with mechanics like leveling up guns through doing damage, event-oly weapons to celebrate collabs like the kamehameha from Dragon Ball (please don’t judge for buying the Goku skin), as well as mid-season updates. I can see myself returning to the game as a go-to for years to come. 

 

Games I Wish I Had Got Around to Playing in 2022: Elden Ring, Immortality, Tunic, Neon White, Signalis, Norco, Citizen Sleeper

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