Gaming

The Late Best Games of 2022

2022 started out with a lot of doubts due to a suite of popular shooters not firing on all cylinders, but thankfully by the second part of the year that bang to turn around. For me that was much needed – the time spent with friends in these games has been a huge part of my gaming life that it was missed. It didn’t stop me from finding a few gems to play over the months and some that have stuck with me until the New Year.

My best games

It’s going to be a hard for me to split between two this year – one is generally liked by all that have played it and the other to me seems vastly underrated.

Vampire Survivors is an undeniable phenomenon with its combination of simple controls, upgrade management and clear goal of simply surviving. With its old school visuals it might come across as simple (the single stick control is deceptive) but the longer you play you can start to see that a lot of thought has been put into the mechanics and the pace in which the difficulty increases. It does mean that intially you’ll take a lot of beatings but the moment you start working out upgrades and your preferred combinations you’ll hit that special place of “being the bullet hell”. That you can get the full game AND its recently released DLC for well under ten dollars makes it the best deal of the year too. It takes a lot of skill to make a big game awesome but it takes real talent to make a small game as awesome as this.

Hardspace Shipbreaker is a game that clicked for me more than I expected thanks to its gameplay loop, atmospheric presentation and a narrative that really helps set a sci-fi tone that drew me in and kept me playing. Playing a spaceship salvager is not what you might think would be an engrossing game but each ship is like a puzzle in which you have to carefully deconstruct to maximise your profit and reduce your chances of a cheap death from explosion, suffocation and more. It does such a great job of creating thr world in which you inhabit and giving you purpose that it stuck in my mind long after completing it.

Games that surprised

If it weren’t for Hardspace Shipbreaker, PowerWash Simulator would be up there instead. The task of cleaning up a number of properties and vehicles might seem dull but it became both absorbing and calming while also offering a relaxing co-op experience too. Another game that’s deserving of attention thanks to offering an experience that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

Modern Warfare II might be another cog in the massive Call of Duty machine but it’s a welcome return to the world set up in the 2019 installment that also adds some real innovation to the gameplay. While the pace of movement feels a little slower with some welcome adjustments, the gunplay is not in the slightest impacted. The new DMZ mode in Warzone is a revelation, bringing the kind of game that puts players on a much more even level than anything before. Judging by the number of streamers complaining, it’s doing a good job. 😉

Those looking for an old school arcade fix would get a lot out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. It’s not the first attempt at trying to capture the same feel of Konami’s classic arcade beat-em-ups but when you start playing Shredder’s Revenge it becomes pretty clear the developers got it right and made a game that delivers the goods. With a large group of friends it can turn into co-op chaos but it’s great fun and plays brilliantly.

Best games I should be playing

My list of games to catch up on is fairly extensive this year ranging from recent releases such as Pentiment and Return to Monkey Island to late Xbox arrivals in Deathloop and Persona 5 Royal. While shooters have dominated a lot of my time I’ve always been able to find something different to fill the quieter moments in my play schedule and that’s a great situation to be in.

If there’s one that didn’t get as much attention from me this year as much as I thought is Sniper Elite 5. I’ve only now returned to it after a brief start in the co-op mode and it quickly reminded me of why I enjoyed its predecessor so much with its large maps, impressive variety while those slow motion x-ray kills do not get old.

Expectations for 2023

Hopefully that long list of games coming from Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda will finally start to arrive and we’ll begin to see the platform showing its potential to be a Western RPG powerhouse. Yes, I’m one of those who has faith that Bethesda can pull off something special with Starfield. In addition there’s also the prospect of the Activision purchase going through and a substantial number of legacy titles hitting Game Pass soon after. Looking forward to an even better year in gaming. 🙂

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