games / Columns

The Top 8 Games of 2022 (So Far)

August 3, 2022 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Elden Ring Image Credit: FromSoftware

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about some of the better games that I’ve played in 2022, at least so far. There are a few big caveats here though, which I’ll get into. For one, neither site I write for, this and a different one has been getting a ton of games in. So honestly, I haven’t played a lot of the stuff that has even come out this year, since I’m having to use my own money, or occasionally get the games as gifts, to see current stuff. You may not have noticed that reviews here have slowed to a crawl. Second, this has been a pretty dire year in terms of overall releases. Not that there haven’t been great, and sometimes superb, games that have released this year so far, but compared to the release schedules of previous years, a bit “YIKES” would come up. This year, both in terms of actual releases and stuff I’ve played is so bad that I honestly couldn’t come up with a list of eight, 2022 games I’ve played, no matter the actual quality of them. So I’m actually including a game from last year on this list, which I played/enjoyed, simply because I got nothing else. With that said, understand these conditions when you make comments below, and enjoy:

#8: Rogue Legacy 2

I dig Rogue Legacy 2 but I have a problem actually playing it. I don’t have a Xbox and the PC version that I play is a bit borked. The controller support is a little suspect, well, frankly, the PS4 controller has always have lousy driver support, so whenever I try to use that controller, it frequently disconnects and tries to hijack my sound manager to use the PS4 controller as the sound device. It’s very annoying. Aside from these issues though, Rogue Legacy 2 is still a lot of fun to play, tight gameplay, colorful art style, a lot of secrets to unlock and a ton of different mutators for your characters to have to give them both positive and negative talents. Now, just come to the PS4/PS5 please and I’d be all set.

#7: Hardspace: Shipbreaker

I really like the act of playing Hardspace: Shipbreaker. Cutting apart spaceship hulks, throwing the pieces into the various material receptacles, slowly getting better gear to make your job easier, it’s all a lot of fun. Plus, the simple act of flying around in a zero G environment actually does work rather well. That said, there are two big problems with the game, one from a gameplay perspective and one a more philosophical one. Gameplay-wise, it just takes forever to start making a dent into your debt. You literally own a billion credits at the start of the game with the end goal to whittle that to nothing. Even with a maxed out ship to scuttle, you making no errors, and you recycling everything, the most you’ll get is around 15 million, MAYBE 20 million, depending on the type of ship. And that’s not counting things like resources you need to buy, parts that get damaged, etc. So it takes a supremely long time for you to start decreasing your debt. On the philosophical side, I still wish this game had mod/custom ship support. I want to be able to cut apart an X-Wing or an Enterprise from Star Trek, but maybe that’s me. Unlike House Flipper though, with its procedurally generated ship builder, this game does have practically infinite replayability, which is very nice.

#6: Kirby and the Forgotten Land

I really dug Kirby when I played it but the longer it went on, the more bored I got. It’s not to say it’s a boring game but I do think it is perhaps a bit too long, especially with the secret ending thing. I did about two levels of that and just gave up because I found it tedious. The game still does have the classic Kirby look and feel, but they reduced the ability amounts in favor of the ability upgrades and I’m still not 100% sold on that. Some of the upgrades were neat but others felt fairly pointless, Deep Sleep and Wild Hammer spring to mind. Having to farm not one, but two currencies, to unlock new abilities also became a drag after a while. Still, Kirby remains cute and it was an overall good platformer.

#5: Manifold Garden (2021)

So this is the game that I played in 2022 that is actually from a previous year. Technically, the original version came out in 2019 but the PS5 port I played has a 2021 release, hence the date above. Manifold Garden is a puzzle game in the guise of a MC Escher world, which plays around with gravity, skewed perspectives and illogical geometry. The main gameplay involves you activating switches and putting correctly colored cubes into the correct sockets. However, you can manipulate gravity based on your perspective, so if you’re in a room, you can move from the floor to the wall to the ceiling, all to move objects around or get to the exit point. It also just has a neat looking, minimalist but striking art style so just watching the game is cool.

#4: Horizon: Forbidden West

Honestly, I feel kind of bad for Forbidden West. Coming out just a week before Elden Ring did this game absolutely no favors. If it had come out a month before ER, or like two months after, I imagine it would have had a much bigger impact than it did. As for me, I dug my time with Forbidden West but it felt like some of the magic was missing from the first game. Like, it’s funny how much the first game emphasized traps and the tripcaster but in Forbidden West they are extremely limited. I also, personally, didn’t like a lot of what they did with Alloy’s character, she was a much stronger character in the first game and she felt different here. But still, Forbidden West is a lot of fun, just shooting robots with arrows and seeing the decayed ruins of San Francisco.

#3: Fire Emblem: Three Hopes

I’ve been playing this a lot, in fact I’m knee deep in my second playthrough right now. While it does do some things “right”, it does help emphasize why I’m not a fan of the Musou genre. Seemingly, the basic tenant of a Musou game has it on a large battlefield with a bunch of different strongholds on the map. Basically, think of a big Tic-tac-toe board, with it being 1-2-3 on the top, 4-5-6 in the middle and 7-8-9 on the bottom. I hate going from 2 to 6 to 7 to 3 and finally having to end at 9, which is what almost all of these games breaks down into. The only one that doesn’t is Persona 5 Strikers, which is why I really dug it. To Three Hopes immense credit, they do give you a few options to mitigate this busywork, like giving you a limited teleport option to get around the map as well as a very useful momentum dodge that helps you really get around but it still has some of these underlying issues. Aside from that though, Three Hopes is a mostly solid game, I like the weird detours the story takes and once you really get a handle on the combat you can cut through hundreds of enemies with ease.

#2: Lost Ark

Lost Ark being around for years, before finally getting an English release, should tell you how many people have been actually waiting for this game. With a multitude of different classes, some very pretty graphics and a lot of gameplay mechanics, when Lost Ark finally was released in America it was a more mature/robust games than others of its ilk. I’m looking at you Diablo Immortal. The hitch with Lost Ark, for me, is that once I got out of the first “act” (for lack of a better term), I quickly became lost. Like, the game got so much bigger than what it initially was, that I didn’t really have a clue on what to do next. I’m pretty sure the American release just kind of bundled a few expansions together as the American release, but it is a weirdly fragmentary experience if you are trying to get into. With that said, it’s still an amazing action-RPG that I would happily replay just to see how different classes play and to experience the first party of the story again.

#1: Elden Ring

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Elden Ring ruined all other gaming for me for about two months. Like, I didn’t play anything else, nor really wanted to (Sorry Forbidden West), and almost every night was me playing Elden Ring with a friend of mine, usually taking on a few bosses or going through a dungeon or two. It just has such a better sense of exploration than BOTW, like you didn’t have the mindless stuff of keeping your gear up or a limited stamina system (when it comes to exploring), so it had a much more freeform world for you to tackle. The combat is great, even if a I play as a mage, and each death I had either gave me knowledge of enemy placement/attack, or taught me to not roll off a cliff. While I did enjoy Elden Ring by itself, playing the game almost star to finish with a friend really cemented it as a great experience, and something I wish the other Souls games had. Most of them do have co-op but it’s gated by resources or other nonsense. I even got the Platinum trophy in this game, not the hardest thing to do I admit, but I did it because I enjoyed my time with it so much.

For comments, list which games have been your favorites this year and why.

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