In terms of gaming, 2022 was like visiting a theme park. I was drawn to some exciting new attractions but also revisited some comforting favorites. Games like Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V, Back 4 Blood, Planet Zoo, and No Mans Sky offered the familiar and many hours spent both solo and with friends. I also shot my way through some games (Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4, and Far Cry 5) in my favorite franchise and communed with the dead in Phasmophobia.
In addition to these revisits and continued play throughs, I got a hold of a number of new releases. For the sake of brevity (it’s a hectic time of the semester), I’ll only highlight my top three games of the year and provide a list of some of my other favorites.
1. Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)
As part of my gaming roundup in May of this year, I wrote that Horizon Forbidden West lived up to my expectations by presenting a beautiful world, satisfying combat, and a cast of interesting and developed characters. When I thought back to my experiences with the game, I realized there was something missing from that original write up. A key component that made Forbidden West special for me. Adventure. I love open world games for their sense of freedom and the adventure that follows. Traversing Forbidden West’s landscape was a delight. When I wasn’t actively engaging with the game’s main story, I was exploring every marked and unmarked area on the map. It was exciting, relaxing, and captivating. The game is beautiful and nearly everything I want out of an open world game. I eagerly await any and all adventures with Aloy.
2. God of War: Ragnarök
While the first half of 2022 is defined by my time with Horizon Forbidden West, the second half is defined by my excitement for and experience with God of War;”: Ragnarök. Ragnarök has to be one of the best well written video games I have played. Everything from the side quests to the main story was so well thought out and detailed, and the voice acting so perfectly brought the various stories to life. Ragnarök offers a more linear experience than Forbidden West, and there are inevitable various advantages to that. A more cohesive story is told and curated as Kratos and Atreus deal with the ever-looming threat of Ragnarök. If you haven’t already, bump this to the top of your list. And Sony, please keep showing up with the strong single-player lineup.
3. Farm Simulator 22
This one came out of nowhere. I recently finished God of War: Ragnarök and needed a break from grinding camps in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I started thinking about chill games that might carry me through the last two weeks of the semester and through winter break. I saw that Farm Simulator 22 was on sale and thought, “what have I got to lose?” Hours. The answer is hours. I started playing and was immediately hooked. I’m now the proud owner of a small farm, and I’ve got my eyes on buying out the surrounding fields. I haven’t fully figured out why simulators scratch a particular itch in my brain, but there’s something about the meticulous details, the process, and the progress that is deeply satisfying. Farm Simulator 22 is no different. I have a LOT to learn about the game but I relish the process. I’ve already sunk nearly two dozen hours into the game and it just arrived a few days ago… I sometimes think simulators don’t receive the attention they deserve, so I wanted to highlight something different in this list. If you enjoy management and building towards your own goals, Farm Simulator 22 might be a good starting point. And yes, I know this game released in November of last year. Shhh…it’s a 2022 game for me. It’s in the title! 😉
In no particular order, here are some other new releases I enjoyed throughout the year:
- Elden Ring (PS5)
- Disco Elysium (PC)
- Stray (PS5)
- The Quarry (PS5)
- Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers (Switch)
- Sniper Elite (PS5)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS5)