2022 has been a bit of a strange year for video games. For a start, it’s quite possible that the most anticipated game of the year came out in March, well before the usual holiday season for releases. But that holiday rush itself has been muted this year, thanks to delays from big-name franchises Diablo to me starfield to me The Legend of Zelda.
This has led some commentators to call 2022 a “slow year” for the gaming industry still recovering from the chaos of COVID development. And this is true; We had some collective difficulty making it to our usual roundup of 20 games for this year’s best games list, a possible sign that there are fewer “obvious” picks than usual.
Looking at the selections made on the 2022 roster, it’s hard to feel like the collective industry has disappointed us in any way. The relative lack of big-budget films has provided an opportunity for many indie games to shine, including the ones that made this list relying on the strength of brave new ideas in gameplay or storytelling. Finally, the games listed below will stay with us for a long time and pay tribute to the gaming industry’s continued creativity and resilience.
This year we chose to list our game picks in alphabetical order, with our Game of the Year selection at the end. here they are.
Atari 50: Anniversary Celebration
Digital Eclipse Windows, Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series, and Atari VCS
It’s rare that a group of older games is considered for Ars’ annual Game of the Year list. It is unprecedented for such a game to actually win one of our coveted spots. But Atari 50 It does some crucial things to separate itself from the countless classic game emulator collections that have sprouted up over the years.
The first is the heavy emphasis on supplemental material. Atari 50 Filled with video interviews, design documents, contemporary ads, trivia, quotes, and more. It all gives crucial context to Atari’s 50-year history, and makes even the least playable games in the collection more interesting from a historical perspective. The ‘timeline’ presentation is also top notch, making the entire product feel more like an interactive museum than a simple collection of old titles.
Atari 50 It also stars in half a dozen “reimagined” versions of a few Atari classics. Featuring updated graphics, sound, and gameplay that take advantage of decades of advances in game design and technology, giving old concepts new life for a new audience. While not all of these bids are winning, Addictive Vctr Sctr lonliness Enough to warm the heart of any old card game fan.
Mega Beast Windows, Mac, Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series
Here’s an odd statement: There aren’t enough cult simulators out there. However, there are plenty of roguelites out there. Aries cult Both, and while a good roguelite, it’s the cult simulation part of the package that made it stand out this year.
The combat portions of the game play like a more forgiving and accessible cousin to the classic indie game The Binding of Isaac. The dodge-and-slash action offered here is tight though, nothing too original. But you’ll spend at least as much time in the city-building ring where you’ll produce and harvest resources, perform tasks for the benefit of the townspeople, and manage the overall happiness and productivity of your sect—all while giving speeches, silencing heretics, and performing anthropomorphic animal sacrifices.
There are dashes of animal crossingAnd the Stardew Valleyand even Peter Molyneux black and white here. It’s all very fun, but it’s the cartoonish vision of running a cult in a world of Lovecraftian horrors that really sells the game.
The art is top notch, the music will get stuck in your head (in a good way), and the progression systems are just the right amount of addictive. Aries cult It doesn’t reinvent one wheel, but it’s a delicious mix of some of the best indie games have had to offer over the past few years – whether we’re talking roguelite crawlers or the relaxing gaming phenomenon.
In other words, it’s the “greatest hit” of popular indie game mechanics with an original and funny theme. As such, he deserves your devotion.
Gulf 12 Games; windows
Issuance Dwarf castle The one that’s been around for 16 years has been, well, unkempt. The default graphics are colored in ASCII characters; The setup relied on wikis and agonizing trial and error; The underlying difficulty was also the game’s rallying cry: “Losing is fun.”
Still, dwarf castle Unparalleled complexity And the possibility of epic storytelling gave it a loyal following and kept the game funded with donations — but just barely. Which makes The first appearance of the game in the modern era– With 16-bit-style graphics, a great soundtrack, and improved tutorials and shortcuts – something like inviting newcomers. It’s also a chance for longtime fans to show their love for Zack and Tarn Adams, the two brothers who keep this crazy simulator running without a hitch. Sell the game.
New commercial version of Dwarf castle This year’s release is much easier to dig than the old version. Now, after the first few tries in the game, you’ll likely be left with a question like, “How do you find a camp with sand that also has enough minerals?” Instead of, “What is this Turkish-looking red symbol and how did it kill my hunter?”
However, despite the spitting glitz, the extremely deep systems and mythical procedurally generated chaos are still there, just with more logical ways to access and make sense of them. (Which leads to another possible question: “Why does this cat get so depressed when he thinks about tables?”) This new version of Dwarf castle It only adds to the charm of this already impressive piece of work and hopefully brings the game to a wider audience who can better preserve it. We will all be better for it.
God of War: Ragnarok
Sony Santa Monica Studio; PS4/5
four years later, Ragnarok He could have done more of the “Dad of Boy” style. God of War that Remembered and loved again in 2018. Perhaps that game was in contention for a spot on this list.
And yes, at its core, much of the gameplay and many environments in this sequel will feel familiar to fans of its predecessor. This is not a bad thing. RagnarokThe combat systems are as in-depth as ever, so much so that major new combat options were introduced nearly 20 hours into my game.
But Ragnarok It also stands on its own, thanks in large part to its supporting characters. The Norse pantheon that the game’s title refers to masterfully steals the show, trading gentle barbs and mythological drama through some hilarious and fun performances. While the relationship between Kratos and his pre-teen son Atreus doesn’t tug at heart strings this time around, there are enough interesting side stories to cover up this relative shortcoming.
The sequel does a good job with its varied pacing, too, switching to the agile bow-equipped Atreus or to stretching puzzle-solving sections before Kratos’ standard ax-and-chain-swinging gameplay feels overwhelming. And the beautifully decorated environments shine, especially on PlayStation 5, practically begging you to explore every corner in search of tons of hidden paths and stories. Touches like that help propel this sequel onto our list, even if it doesn’t live up to its predecessor.
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