The Best Games of 2022, According to me

A cartoon trophy in the shape of a videogame controller on a white background

Somehow we’ve made it to 2023, a glorious achievement for a species that seems completely intent on finding dumber and dumber ways to wipe themselves out. The last year had some pretty awesome games, though, with almost everyone getting at least one or two titles they could run home and bug their mum to buy. And the coming year looks like it’s going to be stacked with stuff to play.

Anyway, with 2022 in the rearview mirror it’s time to publish the traditional list of the best games that were released across the year. All the typical caveats apply here: I haven’t played everything because that’s impossible, and this is my personal list and therefore isn’t necessarily about the best games of the year, but my own personal best titles. And above all else, this list is for fun. I’m not IGN – there are no physical trophies I hand out and developers don’t line up to put my awards in trailers and on game boxes. But considering the swearing I sometimes use, that is probably a good thing.

So, without further ado, here are my top five favourite games from 2022.

God of War: Ragnarok

Hardly a surprising entry on this list but it would have felt impossible not to include Santa Monica’s massive sequel to one of the biggest Playstation games ever. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pressure that Santa Monica must have felt developing Ragnarock because when you put out something as universally loved as the 2018 God of War, expectations only grow.

At its core, Ragnarok is still a game about a father and a son, but it expands its scope to encompass even more themes of parenthood, from coming to terms with a child becoming their own person to the damage that a parent can inflict on their offspring which can, in turn, be passed onto the next generation and on and on until someone breaks the cycle. It’s a game about being better for your children, about forgiveness, about Gods who are just as flawed as humans and seek meaning to life. There’s a lot going on in Ragnarock, yet the writers handle it very well, resulting in a touching, sometimes funny, emotionally interesting story. They’ve managed to rehabilitate Kratos from a one-note slab of anger and muscle into a nuanced, layered person who is one of the deepest characters in videogames. That’s a hell of an achievement.

It’s not like they skimped on the gameplay, either. The combat is fun, visceral and meaty, the world has been expanded to include multiple well-designed sections to explore and there’s a raft of small improvements I won’t bore you with here. Sure, the UI is still terrible and the whole armour/gear system feels kind of tacked on. Yes, there are flaws to be found. Of course, there are. I don’t really care, though. I spent 60 hours with the game, got the Platinum trophy and when I finally watched the credits roll I experienced that sense of loss that only comes when you finish a good book or end a fantastic TV series. That feeling of, “What am I supposed to do now?”

Truly, a brilliant sequel.

Read my full review here.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Let’s jump from the Triple-A end of the spectrum to almost the complete opposite. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a brilliant example of how sometimes simplicity can be just as good as complexity. While Ragnarok is a game of numerous complex and layered systems, Shredder’s Revenge is, in contrast, a pretty simple side-scrolling brawler where you punch the shit out of some goons using a fairly basic set of moves. In simplicity there is beauty, and Shredder’s Revenge is beautiful in every sense of the word.

It shouldn’t have a surprise really. Dotemu’s revival of Streets of Rage was nothing short of sublime and while they only act as the publisher for Shredder’s Revenge, which was actually developed by Tribute Games, it’s impossible to play the game without feeling Dotemu’s experience. Tribute took the classic arcade experience, smoothed it out and added in a few modern quality-of-life tweaks and voila, you end up with a beat ’em up that doesn’t innovate much but does feel fucking amazing to play.

It’s a cliche to say it, but Shredder’s Revenge is basically a gushing love letter to not only the bodacious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but also to the old-school arcade games that bore the brand. It’s a trip down nostalgia lane to a time when you could go down to physical arcades and proceed to lose your entire allowance by shoving coins into machines that featured hard-as-balls games designed to keep you paying. Alright, so modern-day game development isn’t actually very different, but it was still a good time! Mostly. I think. It’s hard to tell with nostalgia sometimes.

Regardless, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge reminds me of those days while rounding off all those rough edges, and is probably a lot cheaper to play overall. The fact that Tribute even managed to get some of the original voice actors to return is just icing on the pizza, even if they only came back to record, like, a dozen lines each.

In the end, I wound up playing through the game numerous times, messing around with how the different turtles handled and then checking out Casey and April. All said and done, I think I must have put in around 20 hours, which doesn’t sound like much until you realise that playing through the campaign only actually takes an hour or two.


Read my full review here.

Two Point Campus

I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to put me in charge of educating future generations and yet there I was teaching a bunch of wannabe knights the ins and outs of jousting. Two Point Studios has made its ambitions pretty clear in its name, so after Two Point Hospital where could they possibly go? College, apparently. According to Steam’s wrap-up at the end of 2022, Two Point Campus was my most-played PC game, beating out the port of 2018’s God of War. That’s probably because in God of War, I couldn’t send Kratos on a Cheeseball course.

It was totally worth it. Campus is an awesome strategy game that expands nicely on everything Hospital was built on, though Two Point Hospital itself was erected on the foundations of Theme Hospital. Running a hospital is more like a revolving door, though, as people stagger in, get cured (maybe) and leave. Or die in the corridors just to excessive waiting times. Whatever their fate, they bugger off, but when you’re running a college everyone hangs around all the time because they have to attend classes, and those classes are bloody cool. There are classes for learning magic, becoming a kick-ass knight, playing Cheeseball, studying the noble art of clowning and so much more. The humour is excellent and overwhelmingly charming, and all of these courses you can run help combat the sense of visual fatigue that Two Point Hospital could suffer from.

It’s also a nicely balanced experience. Getting the higher star ratings really does take some work and thought, but you can snag a single star and move on to the next location without having to pull out your hair because you’re haemorrhaging money so fast that you probably need to go back to Two Point Hospital. That made it relaxing to play, a chilled way to spend a couple of hours that quickly turned into six, a forgotten meal and a mildly miffed girlfriend.

Read my full review here.

Sniper Elite 5

I think there are certainly “better” games than Sniper Elite 5 that were released this year, games that were more impressive when you try to think about them somewhat objectively. That’s the beauty of videogames, though: there might be better stuff out there but some of them just click with you more than others. That’s almost always been the case with the Sniper Elite series for me, a janky franchise that has slowly improved with every entry.

There’s nothing deep or fancy going on behind the scope of Sniper Elite 5: it’s a goofy game about sniping Nazis in the testicles from across the map and it knows it, although the plot still takes itself more seriously than it probably should. I love this simple, playful attitude and Sniper Elite 5 has some really awesome environments, huge environments to mess about it. In some ways it has a Hitman vibe because while it may not have the same range of methods to wipe out targets, there’s still room to dick about laying traps, luring Nazis and being a sadistic nutcase by kneecapping everyone.

The new multiplayer concept was a heap of fun, too. Getting a game invaded by a random player intent on blowing my brains out from across the map resulted in some incredibly tense cat and mouse hunts. Deathloop has a similar invasion-style feature but the maps were small and the other player usually spawned pretty close, so while there was tension it was more immediate. In Sniper Elite 5 the areas are huge and the other player could be just about anywhere. They can use phones to help ascertain your location but if you’re moving around, which you should be, then there’s a constant sense of dread – are you going to get a bullet through the skull at any second? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Read my full review here.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

This one is the trickiest to talk about because I only just reviewed it. After a friend bought the game earlier this month and began raving about it, I gave into my love of all things superhero and raided my piggy bank. I’m glad I did because Midnight Suns turned out to be a fascinating mixture of gameplay ideas and I wound up spending nearly 60 hours enjoying the excellent card-based combat system.

In a way, it’s more like a superhero sim because it plays out as a series of days: you get up and can set about dictating the research that Tony Stark and Dr. Strange will focus on, do some sparring, open up Coils for new cards and upgrade abilities before picking out a mission to embark on. Then it’s into the actual superhero gig of smacking HYDRA goons around, figuring out what cards to play and grinning like an idiot when smashing everything as the Hulk. After that, you head home, get out of the ‘ol spandex and just hang out with everyone else, maybe grabbing a drink with Wolverine or stargazing with Nico. Or you could go out and gather up ingredients for health potions on the Abbey grounds. It’s a bizarre mixture of ideas and it’s honestly surprising how little time is actually spent in combat, by far the strongest part of the whole game. I’d say the majority of the time is spent doing everything else, which can be a problem because the dialogue does suffer from the MCU Quip syndrome.

The thing is, though, while it irked me at first, after a few hours the clunky dialogue started to become charming, and the rhythm of doing missions, getting upgrades and hanging with friends grew on me. Before I knew it I was still completing missions even after the story had wrapped up, chasing all of the character’s special Midnight Sun abilities and sharing goofy pictures of the game with my pal. There are four new characters coming as DLC (well, three now because Deadpool is already out) and I’m actually excited to check them out and find out how they play.

So well done, Firaxis. Your weird little high-school social simulator with Marvel characters got me.

Read my full review here.

Destroy All Humans 2: Reprobed

At this point, I’m beginning to suspect that it’s impossible for me to write one of these lists without including some sort of remake or remaster. One or more always seem to wind up on it somewhere. My therapist would probably say it represents my inability to let go of the past or something like that, but I think it’s just because I want to get probed by aliens. What?

The point is, Reprobed is a rather excellent remake of a rather silly game where you play as an alien, abduct humans, wreck buildings using a flying saucer and try to chat up incredibly sex femme fatale. It’s a goofball game that embraces the glorious, schlocky nonsense of classic b-movies, delivering quips-a-plenty

Without a doubt, the basic gameplay loops don’t exactly stand toe-to-toe with modern-day behemoths. While this remake looks lovely and smooths out a lot of the rough edges of the original, it’s still a very straightforward 3rd person action game with simplistic combat. Luckily for Destroy All Humans 2, that’s exactly what I wanted from it. Going into a remake of a cult classic you can’t get angry for it playing just like it did back in the day, and when I booted up Reprobed I knew exactly what I was going to get: fun. Lots and lots of stupid fun.

Read my full review here.

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