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The Best Games Of 2022 So Far

2022 more than lived up to the hype, even with the disappointing delays of games like "Hogwarts Legacy" and "Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League." "Elden Ring" set a launch record for FromSoftware with jaw-dropping sales and Twitch views. "God of War Ragnarok" was a late standout in November, dominating the 2022 Game Awards Nominees with 10 nominations!

But while these two were easily the two biggest eye-catchers of the year, other games definitely surprised. Nintendo capped off three whole trilogies with its releases of "Xenoblade Chronicles 3," "Splatoon 3," and "Bayonetta 3." Long-gone franchises made some big comebacks with titles like "Return to Monkey Island." All the while, new IP invited millions of new fans to join the fun.

Shockingly, 2022 isn't over, and more huge games are on their way for each platform. Even with the new titles on the horizon, gamers can't help but look back on the best ones thus far. Here are the video games that have really blown us away in 2022.

God of War Ragnarok

2018's "God of War" was a sequel that singlehandedly saved the franchise after being gone for so long. But how could any game top Kratos' fourth outing? Like any great sequel, it took its predecessor's ideas and ran with them. It truly sought to conclude the Norse arc with a bang.

Attempting to stop Ragnarok, Kratos and Atreus explore new reaches of the nine realms. On their travels, Kratos gains XP to further master the Blades of Chaos and Leviathan Axe. It's a similar gameplay loop to 2018's "God of War," and yet upgrading is as exciting (if not better) in the sequel. Specific moves have to be utilized a certain number of times during fights in order to modify them, then players can attach modifiers and buffs, like higher damage or increased status effects, increasing Kratos' destructive power.

Boss fights are truly epic; the first one alone will definitely surprise many. Even the optional bosses add interesting bits of lore and vary in difficulty! And speaking of difficulty, Ragnarok has multiple difficulty options to select, making it easy to recommend to pretty much anyone. Overall, "God of War Ragnarok" is a beast of a game and essential for those who loved the previous adventure.

  • Release Date: November 9, 2022
  • Available On: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • Genre: Hack-and-slash, Action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 94 (PS5)

Kirby and the Forgotten Lands

Kirby is known for his addictive side-scrollers, but a new achievement for the pink puffball is proving he can also excel in the third dimension. "Kirby and the Forgotten Lands" has all of the staples of great Kirby side-scrollers with its use of powered costumes, transformations, and unlockable secret levels, but critics found the new game gives it all more depth (literally).

The game contains seven worlds in which Kirby must save a number of Waddle Dees to progress through the game. Side objectives give Kirby plenty of opportunities to collect more Waddle Dees, after which the hub area will fill up with characters, shops, and more lovely decor.

Kirby's transformations are taken to a whole new scale here, like when he turns into a car that has to be maneuvered through a level. Another instance requires air mobility, which introduces a plane-like Kirby flying in an on-rails section. There's a lot to see and do and it's always enjoyable. Despite the title, "Kirby Forgotten Lands" won't be forgotten any time soon.

  • Release Date: March 25, 2022
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 85 (Switch)

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

After a few delays to get things right, "Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course" arrived to critical acclaim. Though it's not a full game, "The Delicious Last Course" pulls out all the stops, featuring as many frames of gorgeous animation as the original (per IGN). The DLC is only one island compared to the base game's three worlds, but the new sights are mesmerizing.

For one, there are twelve whole bosses to defeat. No platforming levels are present here, so it's an all killer, no filler situation. Bosses range from a snow wizard to a gang of bugs. The final boss is quite the spectacle, putting the Devil fight in the first outing to shame.

Ms. Chalice is now a playable character, bringing with her some new moves. Her inclusion affects the original game too, as players can now take her through that adventure as well. "The Delicious Last Course" is an expansion done right, not to mention a perfect swan song to one of the best indie games ever.

  • Release Date: June 30, 2022
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action, Platformer, Shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 89 (PC), 86 (PS4), 92 (Xbox One), 88 (Switch)

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Monolith Soft has been crawling up the list of best Nintendo developers, having worked on "Breath of the Wild" and many "Xenoblade" projects being released. The team's latest effort, "Xenoblade Chronicles 3," is a franchise high point.

"Xenoblade Chronicles 3" follows Noah and company in a tale about war and friendship. Critics have praised the storytelling, especially since it doesn't require completing the other "Xenoblade" titles to follow along (per IGN). Another positive for the story is how quickly characters join the party. This leads to some well-written interactions between party members early on and causes gamers to quickly get attached.

Gameplay is incredibly deep, even when compared to previous "Xenoblade" games. Party members are no longer stuck to one class. This means that any character can become a tank, or even a healer. Early on in the journey, the game also forces players to switch character classes. As a result, the player is encouraged to experiment with loadouts and rosters as they find the perfect team to take on enemy encounters and bosses. This game will also give players plenty of bang for their buck. This JRPG clocks in at nearly 100 hours – and that's not even a completionist run of the game!

  • Release Date: July 29, 2022
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 83 (Switch)

Horizon Forbidden West

Back in 2017, "Horizon Zero Dawn" came out within a week of "Breath of the Wild." History repeated itself as "Horizon Forbidden West" launched in the same month as "Elden Ring!" Both Nintendo and FromSoftware arguably overshadowed this PlayStation IP, but gamers are missing out if they skip over one of the best games of the year.

As noted by critics, "Forbidden West" improved on nearly every aspect of the first entry. Aloy can implement even more types of ammo and weapons during hunts and fights, while the introductions of additional robotic enemies and mounts are also nice touches. Yes, "Forbidden West" is a positive example of "more is better," but that isn't the sole reason for its success. The story remains ever-unpredictable. Aloy's continued adventure is as enthralling as ever and has even lead some fans to expect DLC in the future.

The game takes players to a variety of locales, from sprawling deserts and breathtaking beach fronts. Each region of the West has so much to see and do, from mandatory story missions or optional sidequests that introduce new characters and lore to the franchise. As a result, "Forbidden West" is one of the best open world games of the year.

  • Release Date: Feb. 18, 2022
  • Available On: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 88 (PS5), 83 (PS4)

Bayonetta 3

Making a near-perfect trilogy seems impossible, but PlatinumGames seems to have cracked the code. Given that the first two "Bayonetta" outings were so well-received, "Bayonetta 3" had a lot to live up to. Thankfully for fans, it did so in spades. Not only did it retain its immaculate combat system but threw in kaiju-like demons to mix things up. These giant monsters can be controlled by Bayonetta, helping her out of hairy situations and assisting her in stringing together lengthy combos. Each of the summons start with basic abilities, but they have their own skill trees, so Bayonetta and her demons are constantly getting more powerful throughout.

She has plenty of screen time (of course), but Bayonetta isn't the only one getting attention in this game. Her friend Jeanne is also featured in some great side-scroller levels, which prioritize stealth and platforming. Another welcomed addition Viola, a mysterious punk rocker who has some tricks of her own. Oh, and plenty of alternate universe versions of the titular character.

"Bayonetta 3" will likely be remembered in part for controversy involving Bayonett's former voice actress. Having said that, it's a terrific game on its own merits.

  • Release Date: October 28, 2022
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Hack-and-slash, Action
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 86 (Switch)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Arcade beat 'em ups are a dying breed, but that hasn't stopped "Shredder's Revenge," a perfect callback to the Turtles' side-scrolling heyday. At the start of the game, four players can hop in as the turtles, Splinter, or April. Each fighter is equipped with a unique moveset that incorporates the character's recognizable traits. For example, April fights with a microphone and camera, referencing her day job as a reporter.

The game takes the turtles and company in a shell-shocking adventure that will most definitely bring back some serious nostalgia. Characters from all over the franchise's history make appearances, from Rocksteady and Bebop to Tokka and Rahzar from "Secret of the Ooze." Level design is nothing short of epic, taking players through a variety of locales from the animated series and even previous games. Each hero also benefits from an expansive moveset. Slides, supers and other powers round out its intricate but accessible combat system. All in all, "Shredder's Revenge" is a grand return that checks off all categories.

  • Release Date: June 16, 2022
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Arcade beat 'em up
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 84 (PC), 85 (PS4), 87 (Xbox One), 87 (Switch)

Marvel Snap

Yep, a mobile game made the cut. A lot of love and passion went into "Marvel Snap" and it really shows. The best comparison to "Snap" is "Hearthstone," which makes sense, as "Marvel Snap" developer Second Dinner is headed by former "Hearthstone" developers. Much like in "Hearthstone," players dole out digital cards while keeping an eye on growing energy costs. However, "Marvel Snap" also encourages plenty of different strategies.

Some cards are more powerful than others, but most have their own distinct abilities. For instance, Mr. Fantastic lends power to either sides of the board while Carnage powers up by destroying neighboring allies. As a result, each card emulates their namesake character extremely well, and one card can totally change the game. Leveling up a card will also change a card's appearance, giving the game even more of a dynamic feel. The first upgrade causes the character to pop out of the frame, while further upgrades will increase the animated effect.

"Marvel Snap" is a superhero fan's dream, combining interesting gameplay and digital collectables into a mobile game well-worth anyone's time.

  • Release Date: June 9, 2022
  • Available On: PC, Mobile
  • Genre: Strategy, Card Battler
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 85 (iOS)

Gran Turismo 7

Some would say nine years between games is a lot, and "Gran Turismo" fans would probably more than agree. "Gran Turismo 7" finally arrived in 2022 to fill the hole in the mainline series. A lengthy campaign and gorgeous graphics are two of many elements that made this racing simulator sequel worth the wait.

Upon release, the game had some issues with online connectivity and fans took issue with its microtransactions, but that hasn't stopped the "Gran Turismo 7" developers from responding to the criticism. Since launch, Polyphony Digital has put out patches and awarded players free currency for the early hiccups. And it should be noted that the game itself is pretty great. Vehicles have never looked better, and the line-up is the quite diverse.

The game's "GT Café" mode is the real star of the show, though. License challenges and intense races must be completed to progress through this campaign, which rewards players with a huge assortment of new cars. Online races and the new Music Rally mode are other notable additions, rounding out a great "Gran Turismo" experience. Despite the bumpy ride at the beginning, it looks like "Gran Turismo" will be handling smoothly from here.

  • Release Date: March 4, 2022
  • Available On: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Genre: Racing simulator
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 87 (PS5), 82 (PS4)

Return to Monkey Island

As noted by TheGamer, point-and-click adventure game genre dominated the PC space in the 90s. The likes of "Full Throttle," and "Grim Fandango" proved that adventure puzzle games could be truly enthralling, creating a hardcore following, and the wacky "Monkey Island" series remains one of the most beloved of all time for its characters and story. "Return to Monkey Island" is a worthy followup that reunites the franchise's original creative leads.

Bringing the franchise to the present came with a number of challenges. After all, these classic adventure games might be well-regarded, but gameplay has evolved over the years. For instance, the mostly well-received "Grim Fandango" remaster reminded critics of the "obtuse nature" of many point-and-click puzzles (per Polygon). Fortunately for fans, "Return to Monkey Island" provides a whole slew of new features to alleviate frustration. 

For one thing, a hint system can be toggled whenever players are stumped by a real brain teaser. If that's not enough, there are two difficulties to select, so those who are only following along for the story won't have to worry about frustrating challenges. Lastly, the puzzles and overall interface have been streamlined, making the comeback of "Monkey Island" feel better than ever.

  • Release Date: Sept. 19, 2022
  • Available On: PC
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 86 (PC), 86 (PS5), 85 (Switch)

Splatoon 3

"Splatoon 3" is more of the same, but that's by no means a knock against it. This third iteration is filled with solid single-player and multiplayer fun, just like its predecessors, but there are plenty of little things that are brand new, like the extra weapons. For those who were complaining of a lack of archery in Splatoon, there is now the Tri-Stringer, a compound bow that can be charged to deliver three separate shots. Another welcome addition are the Splatanas, which players can swing around to shoot out a wave of ink.

What really makes "Splatoon 3" sing are the quality of life changes. Most notably, there's an overhauled lobby, where players can now train and try out weapons while waiting for a match. Also worth mentioning are the three-teamed Splatfests, in which gamers choose a side to represent and spend a weekend racking up points.  All of the new touches went over well with critics.

Those fearful for the game's future will be happy to know Nintendo is cracking down on cheaters in online multiplayer to keep the competition fair. "Splatoon 3" may not reinvent the wheel, but it improves on what already worked so well.

  • Release Date: Sept. 8, 2022
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Third-person shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 83 (Switch)

Sifu

"Sifu" gives gamers the ability to essentially play their favorite kung fu movies. The martial arts brawler is incredibly fast-paced and requires real precision to overcome. If not up to the task, players may find themselves stuck in an infinite loop. Many critics praised "Sifu's" challenge, particularly when it comes to the game's resurrection system. Death doesn't just mean starting over; each revival ages the character and alters gameplay. The character becomes more of a glass cannon, since each jump in age increases damage output while decreases player health. To support this mechanic, the developers ensured that the game was finely balanced.

Make no mistake, though, "Sifu" isn't a roguelike, as enemies and layouts are identical every run. But even when you know what's coming, the whole affair is still challenging. There are enough added elements to make the main character feel powerful, like weapon pickups and parries, but even hardcore gamers will find this to be a daunting tale. Even with its blend of styles, "Sifu" feels utterly unique, which is why it's such a gem in 2022.

  • Release Date: Feb. 6, 2022
  • Available On: PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 71 (PS4), 81 (PS5), 79 (PC), 80 (Switch)

A Plague Tale: Requiem

"A Plague Tale" is not for those with musophobia. Gamers with a fear of rats will have to sit this one out, but those who stick around will find a cinematic experience like no other. Some critics have even compared the game to "God of War" and "The Last of Us" for its heartbreaking narrative and unflinching cinematic storytelling.

"Requiem" continues the story of Amicia and Hugo as they struggle to survive the Black Plague. Amicia doesn't attack head-on, but rather crafts traps and sneaks up on foes. Environments themselves act as mini stealth levels, complete with shortcuts and branching paths. But the horror elements are where this game really sticks with you. Like the first game, "Requiem" presents rats in a disturbing way, with the rodents appearing as large black waves. According to Xbox Wire, it took a lot of computing power to produce nearly 300,00 rats on screen, and the results are as impressive as they are repulsive.

From the beginning to its multiple endings, "A Plague Tale: Requiem" feels like a AAA experience.

  • Release Date: Oct. 17, 2022
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
  • Genre: Action-adventure, Stealth, Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 83 (PC), 82 (PS5), 85 (Series X)

Mario + Rabbids Spark of Hope

Seeing Mario and the Rabbids together now is just as surreal as it was when the first game launched in 2017. The adventure continues into space, expanding the scope of this bizarre crossover series with plenty of humor and new characters, not to mention some much-appreciated "Super Mario Galaxy" references (of course). With that being said, "Sparks of Hope" very much has its own identity. In an interview with Inverse, creative director Davide Manzanares described development on the game and explained that many "Mario Galaxy" elements were cut to keep things focused. The move paid off for the better, since "Sparks of Hope" has enough ideas on its own. 

Combat is relatively the same as 2017's "Kingdom Battle," but characters have more freedom when moving along battle arenas . The various Spark provide unique conditions on the playing field, ranging from bonus weapon damage to altered enemy positions. As noted by Polygon, this keeps things fresh and exciting through every level. Overall, "Sparks of Hope" is even more in-depth than "Kingdom Battle" and serves as a solid sequel.

  • Release Date: Oct. 20, 2022
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Real-time Strategy
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic: 86 (Switch)

Elden Ring

The concept of "Souls" gameplay in an open world was enough to attract countless players to "Elden Ring." It makes so much sense: FromSoftware is all about secrets and exploration, so what better way to execute that point than in one intertwined world with no boundaries? "Elden Ring" is so beefy that entire bosses and sections of the world can remain undiscovered if not explored thoroughly. The game is just bursting with tragic small details and hidden mythology.

Spirit Ashes are the name of the game this time around. Over the course of the adventure, players will acquire these summons that can be devastating in battle. From a hoard of wolves to a copy of the player character, these spells are fun and easy to implement, no matter your character build. And you're going to want to master these Spirit Ashes and secondary abilities as soon as possible, because the game's main bosses are extremely taxing. Malekith and Malenia are particularly dangerous and can delete whole health bars instantly. 

Luckily, "Elden Ring" allows gamers to play through most of the game in any order. FromSoftware has multiple masterpieces under its belt, but "Elden Ring" has quickly risen towards the top of that list. It's also one of the best games of 2022 overall.

  • Release Date: Feb. 25, 2022
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Genre: Action, RPG
  • Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Metacritic: 94 (PC), 96 (PS5), 96 (Series X)