What video games are the best games of 2022? That question has an infinite number of responses, depending on who you ask. We will inevitably have games that have won numerous accolades and sold millions of copies. In them, you traverse perilous places or jump across universes, battling all manner of gruesome critters and creatures. We also have games that you may not have heard about. In one, you’re alone with a hose. You’re transformed into animals in a couple – as a determined feline or a young revived ovine. In another, you must navigate the horrors of two siblings while dealing with the horrors of rodents. We also have a game that has been out for a few years but is still going strong.
But what they all have in common is that they give remarkable immersive experiences — similar to watching a season of a heartbreaking TV show, except you have to make many of the protagonist’s decisions. Nothing beats a good video game, and these are some of the best games of 2022.
Cult of the Lamb
Cult of the Lamb is what you’d get if you combined Animal Crossing and an Ari Aster film, then turned it into a roguelike.
Do not be fooled by the charming appearance of your timid young lamb, who has exacted brutal revenge on its would-be murderers and committed loyalty to a heretical outside deity who assisted in the task within the first 10 minutes. All that remains is for you to return the loan by founding your own cult and spreading the message of faith among anthropomorphic followers, while your small village develops in the lush countryside. I dubbed mine “The Hrga,” after the wicked pagan cult in Aster’s Midsommar, and went on a few excursions in one of the hidden dungeons, unbeknownst to the harsh monsters that lived there.
The idea of a Souls-like game set in the vast, hazardous region of the Lands Between, where every living creature works together to humble you, got my masochistic radar buzzing. Despite my mental preparation, my initial steps into the realm of Elden Ring were met by beautiful landscapes and distant landmarks, tempting me to ignore everything I knew about the franchise’s history and simply go explore.
Elden Ring drew me in with its magnificent overworlds, delivering delightful delicacies like twisting caverns, a calm village with pot buddies, and a “mist”-eriously long elevator journey that dropped me into a breathtaking astral setting. All of this — and more — is accomplished without the need of quest markers, objective checklists, or icon barf, allowing you complete freedom of exploration. It’s one of the few times when an open-world game truly feels open, with the extra bonus of no hand-holding and a heads-up display that fades away during moments of calm.
Genshin Impact, which was released in 2020, is not a new game like the others on this list. However, this action role-playing game has managed to keep gamers (including me) interested. Because it is a cross-platform game with multiplayer compatibility, I can play it with a game controller on my iPad while teaming up with friends who only play on their PC, Xbox, or PlayStation.
While Genshin Impact is a free-to-play game, the gacha game mechanisms for monetisation might become tedious. However, free-to-play characters can complete the game by utilizing potions and stocking up on food and “artifacts” that grant an additional bonus.
God of War Ragnarök
How do you follow up a critically acclaimed and universally beloved soft reboot that breathed new life into a franchise? You simply do more of the same. When faced with the daunting challenge of creating a sequel that will also serve as the conclusion to 2018’s God of War, Santa Monica Studio wisely chose to expand on what had previously worked.
God of War Ragnarök maintained its cinematic one-take style while expanding the canvas. As you went about your savage interdimensional anger, you may visit even more planets than previously. It expanded on the father-son dynamic between Kratos (Christopher Judge) and Atreus (Sunny Suljic) that was central to its predecessor.
The time jump helped the story by making Atreus more authoritative and outspoken. As a game, God of War Ragnarök profited as well. It could now send players into missions where Atreus was alone and more than capable of dealing with anything came his way. At least, mostly. More importantly, spending time alone with both father and kid provided us with new perspectives.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
Rarely does a story become so engrossing that you lose sleep worrying about the fate of its characters. The condition of the de Rune family, particularly Amicia and Hugo, is heartbreaking. Furthermore, the secondary characters are fleshed out, presenting a different perspective without weakening the main. These characters are brought to life by the brilliant artists that contribute their voices to them.
Some of the fury scenes are so clearly depicted that my mouth dropped on several times. The game’s natural exploration of the impact of violence on an individual startled me. Amicia is emotionally impacted by the lives she has to kill for the sake of her brother’s well-being, no matter how pure her objectives are. Typically, such a link between gameplay and narrative is missing in most story-driven games.
Work is done through video games. To play and finish, they demand obsessive commitment, tremendous talent, and toughened perseverance. You spend many hours in a role-playing game, developing your character and improving your numbers. You train your grey matter by playing puzzle games and solving perplexing visual puzzles that get in your way. You smashed your head against the wall in an attempt to defeat that one unfair, unkillable boss (I’m looking at you, Elden Ring). Video games are indeed demanding. However, some games recognize leisure as an essential component of play. PowerWash Simulator falls within this category.
PowerWash Simulator doesn’t have anything going on at its core. You’re just a small-business owner attempting to develop your power wash empire by hosing out filth and grime one dirty scene at a time. You take jobs and go around cleaning backyards, mansions, theme parks, and even a large train, armed with a high-pressure hose and a range of power-wash guns and nozzles.
What more could you want? There’s even a’meow’ button. But, in all seriousness, Stray was a breath of fresh air that deserved all of its success. I never saw myself as a cute kitten stranded in a bleak cyberpunk planet. However, the makers have very deliberately weaved numerous amusing or irritating features of a cat into the action, such as (endlessly) scratching on surfaces or knocking stuff out of high places.
It’s a visual joy to deviate from the path and explore every nook and cranny of its brilliantly crafted cyberpunk universe. Interacting with the humanoid robots who inhabit this apocalyptic society is equally enjoyable. For me, it was the ultimate stress reliever. Why waste time scrolling through your social media account looking for cute cat videos when you can go on an adventure as a cat? In that regard, Stray is almost therapeutic.