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As we reach the end of 2022, it’s time to look back at our favorite games of the year. This was an interesting year. While we had some great triple-A experiences, 2022 had many smaller indies and games that could fill the gap.
The GamesBeat editorial team selected our picks. They represent games from many genres and platforms. While we had to remove some of our personal favorites in order to keep the list at 10, we feel great about being able to highlight these amazing titles.
Stray, the indie title that was known simply as ‘that cat game’ before its release, proved to be so much more than that. The adventure game features a lot of story, cyberpunk flair and good platforming mechanics.
While Stray is a little on the short side, it doesn’t waste any of its time. The feline hero is much more than a joke. He has a lot of intelligence and character. It may not be a big game, but Stray is a lovely, soulful title that sticks with you even after it’s over.
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— Rachel Kaser
9. Modern Warfare II – Call of Duty
Activision created a new engine to power Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Warzone 2 and Warzone 3. It was compatible with the next-generation consoles and the PC. Additionally, it allowed integration of Modern Warfare II multiplayer weapons and maps in Warzone 2. MWII was also able to offer both single-player and multiplayer campaigns that were very enjoyable. It was a unique twist on the story, which strayed from the American war propaganda path in a way that is acceptable for a game that is widely embraced.
The storytelling is better, with enhanced roles for CIA task force leader Kate Laswell and the new Mexican special forces soldiers — who all become important characters in the campaign. Although the action is intense, the game manages to strike a better balance between entertainment and violent war scenes than the 2019 title.
— Dean Takahashi
Tunic is a cute indie action game. It wears its Legend of Zelda roots on its sleeves. The game lets you play as a fox wearing a familiar green tunic, discovering secrets and fighting the monsters that live in the world.
If you’re looking for a game with minimal hand-holding and tutorials — this is it. The design philosophy of Tunic is a resurrecting of the NES/SNES era. Tunic’s tutorials — inspired by game manuals of old — are written in a unique script that players must figure out how to read along the way. This game has a very simple story. The game updates some 1980s retro elements and borrows from Souls-like games.
Tunic is about as indie as it gets — other than music, the game was developed by Andrew Shouldice over seven years. It taught me how much craft and art goes into creating this wonderful world. It’s an easy recommendation for gamers motivated by discovery.
— Jordan Fragen
7. Cult of the Lamb
Cult of the Lamb is the game for you if you like cutesy and eldritch terror. You are an adorable lamb who is now a cult leader. Your time is split between managing your flock of Animal Crossing-inspired sheep and running dungeon-style dungeon runs to find resources and new followers.
It is filled with charm and humor, and offers enough customization options for players to roleplay as cult leaders. For players looking for depth, there’s enough to keep you occupied. The combat is frantic and takes some getting used to, but it’s the right blend of satisfying yet challenging.
Publisher Devolver Digital also teamed up with Streaming Toolsmith for Twitch integration. This allowed viewers to be a part of the action. A raffle will allow viewers to choose and personalize a follower. Twitch chat users will be able vote on streamers’ progress. This increased interaction enabled me to have fun while watching and playing. This combination of genres, depth, customization, and cute vibes combined with horror was enough to elevate this little lamb to the top.
— Jordan Fragen
6. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
I’ve wanted a 3D Kirby platformer for decades. These 2D games have been a delight, even though the last, Kirby Star Allies was a bit boring. However, I think the franchise could also work well as an immersive 3D experience.
Kirby and The Forgotten Land proved me wrong more than I could have imagined. The game retains the charm, fun and depth of the series but adds more depth (literally). It also features boss battles, a co-op mode for two players and a catchy soundtrack. I love the way it increases difficulty. Sure, at first this is another breezy Kirby adventure, but you’ll have to put in some effort to beat some of the optional offerings after the credits roll.
— Mike Minotti
5. Neon White
Neon White is one the most original games of the year. It’s hard to try to distill and explain in a couple of paragraphs. It’s a first-person action-platformer where you use cards that represent guns and special abilities to try and make your way through levels as fast as possible.
I couldn’t get enough of it. Neon White feels as good to play as any first-person title ever, and it’s designed to have you replaying stages dozens (in my case, even hundreds of times) as you chase perfection. Its bright, Y2K-era-inspired aesthetics are also a delight.
— Mike Minotti
4. Marvel Snap
It’s no secret that mobile games are dominating the market, but Marvel Snap has been a breakout success in 2022. I’ll lay my cards out on the table and say I’ve been obsessed since launch. Second Dinner team members Ben Brode, and Second Dinner created a game for this medium. It shows.
Marvel Snap borrows from Brode’s digital CCG Hearthstone roots, but in a concentrated, mobile-friendly experience. With only 12 cards to choose from, games typically last six turns. This makes deck building easy and manageable. The randomization of location makes each match feel unique. Snap mechanic rewards skillful players with game knowledge and rewards them for their skills.
However, Marvel Snap’s most important contribution to the industry was its consumer-friendly monetization. Players can compete and progress at a high level, unlike other mobile games or card games. I hope the team continues to add new ways to earn cards and extends its seasons for longer than a month, but I’m still using many of the cards you earn early on in my decks. It’s the perfect Clash Royale meets Hearthstone mash up for when you’ve got a coffee break.
— Jordan Fragen
3. God of War Ragnarök
Ragnarök is the culmination of the God of War series’ long journey into maturity. While its predecessor distanced itself from Kratos’ murderous past, treating it as a shameful secret, Ragnarök confronts it directly and ties the two dissonant halves of the franchise together. It features a richer and more varied cast of characters as well as improved combat mechanics.
It feels like the final leg of a very long journey we’ve all been on with Kratos, with all the bittersweet feelings that though invokes. Sunny Suljic, Christopher Judge, and Christopher Judge are still a great father-son pair.
— Rachel Kaser
Pentiment was 2022’s best surprise. It’s a juicy combination of historical drama and murder mystery — something we don’t get often enough in video games. Following the life of artist-turned-amateur detective Andreas Maler, Pentiment delivers a brilliant small-town mystery story, folding in tragedy, romance, humor and drama with its cast of colorful characters.
Its unique art style is also one of its high points — Pentiment looks more distinctive than any other game of 2022. Some might find it a bit slow-paced, but the pacing serves to build atmosphere and tension as Tassing’s community draws closer to the breaking point.
— Rachel Kaser
1. Elden Ring
The most visible, discussed and omnipresent game of 2022 was also the year’s best. Elden Ring took FromSoftware’s addicting action RPG formula and made it more engaging and interesting by plopping into a giant open world. Elden Ring will reward you no matter what way you choose to explore the world.
You felt like you were part in a group. This could be as simple as teaming up with friends or strangers to fight giant bosses. This meant sharing notes and talking to other players of the game in order to learn from their strategies, builds, and discoveries.
Elden Ring was also a giant hit and it’s sure to influence the medium in the coming years. This could allow for larger, more open games that have more faith in players.
— Mike Minotti
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