games / Columns

The Top 8 Games of 2022

January 30, 2023 | Posted by Marc Morrison
God of War: Ragnarok Image Credit: Sony IE

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m here to talk about the best games of 2022, specifically, the games that I played. I didn’t play every game in 2022, no one did. Heck, I didn’t even play half of the big games of 2022. Bayonetta 3, Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Tunic, Stray, among others, I didn’t play for one reason or another. So this isn’t an all-inclusive 2022 best list of games, since I’m a person of one doing it. Still, this is my list, so here we go. An honorary ninth pick would be Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. That’s much more of a HD port rather than a new game though, hence it didn’t quite fit here. Enjoy:

#8: Live a Live

This is a bit of an odd game but I dig it. Basically, Live a Live is a remake of a Super Famicom RPG that never came out in America. The cool thing about both versions is that there’s not really a set story to follow. Instead, the game is broken down into 8 distinct time periods with totally different characters and mechanics. In the present day setting, you’re a fighter trying to prove he’s the strongest by taking down other wrestlers, while in the old west, you’re a gunslinger on the run while trying to protect a town from an evil gang. The nice thing is, even if you go down one path in the game, like the far future storyline, you’re not locked into it. You can pretty much go back to the story select and try a different setting if you’re not into it.

#7: Hardspace: Shipbreaker

I was playing this game in Early Access for years before it finally came out. Now that it’s officially released, I am still enjoying my time with it. The main thing you do is cut/break apart derelict space ships. Once the ship parts are separated, you are to toss them into three different material hoppers to gain money to help pay back the massive debt that you have with your employer. The thing is, this is all dangerous work so you have to be careful about pulling out a live reactor or it could meltdown, or not using your laser cutting beam near fuel tanks, because they have a tendency to explode. I still do wish the game had Steam Workshop or custom ship support, though.

#6: Lost Ark

I really love Lost Ark, up to a point. That point is pretty much right up until you leave the first main continent and you are giving a ship, then I feel the game kind of falls apart. It’s very unclear about where you are supposed to go next, what you’re supposed to really do, the narrative becomes far less pronounced, etc. However, everything up TO that point is great, all the classes are interesting, the game is beautiful to look at, there’s a lot of side stuff to do if you don’t just want to be killing monsters. I dunno, a more guided experience after the first landmass would be very welcome to me.

#5: Fire Emblem: Three Hopes

Unlike with Persona 5 Strikers, Three Hopes is far more like a traditional Dynasty Warriors game. What I mean by that is that is that a lot of maps are laid out in a general 3 by 3 playfield, you’ll be in space 1 and enemies will spawn in from space 9 to begin marching to destroy space 5 so you have to book it over there to defend the space/attack them. In this game though, you can really get around quickly, the main character has a fairly nice dash/teleport option and you do have a few limited use teleports to get around quickly, if you need them. Plus, I just enjoyed spending more time with these characters again, you can play as almost everyone from original Three Houses and everyone has their uses, strengths and weaknesses. I think I played through the game at least twice, since you can really get through it quickly if you over-level your character.

#4: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

I saw the recent news that Sparks of Hope “underperformed” for Ubisoft and got a bit bummed by it. It’s a really great strategy game from Ubisoft that vastly improves on the original game. You’re now no longer forced to have a mixed team of Mario and Rabbid characters, the overworld is vastly expanded, you can customize your characters with the Sparks, which can alter their attacks and such. Plus, it’s just really approachable, it can get hard later on, but for most of the game, there is just a really nice difficulty curve that makes it just right to play. I hope this isn’t the last game in this franchise and it can keep going on.

#3: Sonic Frontiers

Believe me, I’m as shocked as anyone that not only could Sega make a good 3D Sonic game but it would be one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’d argue this is the first ACTUAL good 3D Sonic game, and anyone who responds with “Sonic Adventure?” gets a punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong here, the game is supremely janky, the memory counter thing never worked for me, you can basically drop dash up mountains you’re not supposed to, and the feeling of actual speed never actually increases whether you’re at level 2 or level 99. But…who cares? The game has an immediate sense of wonder and curiosity that I oddly never got with BOTW. I think with Zelda, I knew I would be stymied by not having the right gear or enough stamina. Frontiers sidesteps this problem by not having either system. Instead, it just presents a fairly big (if empty) open world and tasks you to figure out how to get up to a high place. Lastly, the soundtrack is obviously one of the best things ever done in video games.

#2: God of War: Ragnarok

This is a weird one because while it is a fantastic game, don’t get me wrong, it just didn’t grab me as hard as the first game did. The strange thing is, I know the exact thing I don’t like about Ragnarok, it’s basically that the whole “Lake of Nine” hub area is gone. Instead, the specific worlds you visit each have their own quests and stuff but it feels more spread out and diluted. Still, the combat is great, it looks fantastic, it’s well acted, etc. It just didn’t personally hit as hard as it should have for me.

#1: Elden Ring

Souls games have been around for over a decade now and they are still largely a genre I don’t really like. Elden Ring hit me differently though, for a few big reasons. The first is that, unlike most Souls/Souls-like games, it’s a big open world for you to discover. You’re not sectioned off in these separate levels for you to just go through. Another big reason is that I was able to play the game, pretty much from start to finish with a good friend, so having it be a nice co-op experience was a big plus. Third, there are ways you can really break the game, especially if you play as a magic character, that are really fun. It’s really incredible just how diverse the game is, from a setting standpoint but also cohesive as well. I probably wouldn’t like Dark Souls 4 or a Bloodborne 2, but if/when they make an Elden Ring 2, I’ll be there day one.

For comments, list your best games of 2022 and why.

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