Game of the Year

Game of the Year 2022 | G.H.

Another year has successfully come and gone and with it, a slew of games across all sorts of genres. So, my list might come as a bit of a surprise, as most of it didn’t even come out this year. I’ve never been able to make a ‘game of the year’ list of sorts because I appreciate many facets of a games—and as such I could never truly rank one game over another. Rather than straining myself to give you a list of games I could justify, instead I will talk about ten games that have held my attention for the year and any notable releases that I feel, will impact the industry in some way or another. Don’t take one game being listed above another as superior, as in my eyes they’re all equals in keeping me away from my work.

Without further ado, let me show you my ‘top ten’ games of two thousand and twenty-two!


Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master!

Popping up into Game Pass without a care in the world, Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master! launched early this year onto Xbox consoles and PC. A series of games all about banging on a set of taiko, Bandai Namco’s rhythm game had me banging out to tunes all year long. Featuring a selective song list ranging from video games to anime, it has since grown with multiple addon packs that really test your ability to smash your controller. It’s a lot of fun to just jump in and drum along to a song, and if you really feel like it, taking on the harder difficulties to become the ‘tatsujin’, so to speak. I even gave it a glowing review and I was happy to have a fun rhythm game on Xbox consoles and said genre has only grown thanks to the likes of DJMAX and MUSYNX.

I hope to see more rhythm games come to the platform in 2023!


Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Ah, Mount & Blade. The first game launched fifteen years ago on PC and has since grown to have hundreds of thousands of fans all over the world. A smash hit success for Turkish developer TaleWorlds Entertainment, who has been solely focused on this series of medieval warfare. Players work their way from nothing to amassing large scale armies and founding your own kingdom. You either work for or against the computer factions and the results are endless ways campaigns can go. Plus, it has a strong modding scene featuring plenty of different scenarios if you ever get tired of the Middle Ages.

Bannerlord is the latest sequel to 2010’s Mount & Blade: Warband and although it launched into Steam’s Early Access program in 2020, it officially launched this year alongside a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series port. And since 2020, my brothers and I have spent countless hours on the game. This makes it an easy choice for my ‘game of the year’ list.


Minecraft

Minecraft needs no explanation. It’s grown a lot since its 1.0 release way back when and it’s still a lot of fun to play today. Admittedly my large number of hours are because of my niece, as every time she comes over, she wants to play. But it’s fun to explore and the large number of changes each update brings is a good enough reason for us to create a new world and explore all over again. We have yet to beat the Ender Dragon together, however…

Minecraft is one the best games-as-a-service titles on the market. It’s amazing how much free content players have gotten from the game and it’s even more amazing how much effort modders will go through to add new content. Cross play is seamless, and it also means that everyone in my household can get together and play without any problems.

My hope for 2023 is that Minecraft Legends is a good game and that Mojang finally gives the Xbox version of Minecraft the love it deserves. Pretty please.


Gundam Evolution

A nice surprise popped up for fans of Gundam this year and that would be the hero team-based shooter Gundam Evolution by Bandai Namco Online. Players pick a wide variety of suits to play from all over the franchise and battle it out to complete their objectives. The gunplay is solid and the skills available amongst Gundam units varies enough that each game outcome feels different. This game is a great alternative to the likes of Overwatch for me and I also like giant mechs—it’s a win-win all around. And it’s free-to-play, being available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles.

I was impressed with Bandai Namco Online’s first shooter, and the studio will also be releasing Blue Protocol on Xbox consoles in 2023. I look forward to seeing the output of this studio over the next couple years.


Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Yu-Gi-Oh! is super fun. It is a trading card game series by Konami that is played by people all over the world. Deck combinations can vary wildly thanks to the thousands of cards, archetypes, and gameplay mechanics that have been added to the series over the last several years. Master Duel, a free-to-play digital trading card game, graced the Xbox platform early this year and has taken up a tonne of my time. It’s fun to battle it out with people that are all over the globe with wildly different decks and playstyles. What’s even cooler is that the game supports cross save across all devices and platforms the game supports. I’ve been able to pick up and play from my PC to my Android tablet and even my PlayStation 4 with no trouble whatsoever.

The downside to a game that’s been running this long is that it’s fairly convoluted and daunting to new players. The best way to learn is to jump in for yourself and battle the computer. Then take it online—and don’t take losing personally. It’s a game that, if it clicks with you, will be a go-to app when you just don’t know what to do.


Arknights

A mobile game was probably the last thing on your mind when looking at my list. I’d apologise, but I can’t—because this game is really good. Arknights is a free-to-play tower defense game developed by Hypergraph and published by Yostar. Taking place in this dark and dystopian world of war and pestilence, it’s easily some of the best gameplay mobile gaming has to offer. The number of playable units and maps slash objective types make for a lot of fun planning out defense positions. Even though it isn’t a 2022 release, it gets content updates fairly frequently and there’s always event content you can play alongside the very wordy storyline. If it isn’t up your alley, at least you can skip the cutscenes.

Arknights is available on Android and iOS. A 3D Arknights spinoff titled Arknights: Endfield is currently in development for unspecified platforms, a part of a large movement of mobile game developers creating console-like games not just for mobile platforms but consoles as well. It could come to Xbox. Maybe.


Granblue Fantasy

Granblue Fantasy is the Final Fantasy millions of folks and I have been asking of Square Enix for years now. A free-to-play browser-based game by Cygames, Granblue Fantasy follows the tale of Gran or Djeeta as they adventure through the many skydoms to reach their father, who has arrived in Estelucia, a land that is out of reach for the current Skydwellers. There are plenty of other plotlines as well that feature their own casts and complications—there’s a lot of content to go through! Featuring a turn-based combat system with a unique party, job and equipment mechanics, you can basically make tonnes of different set ups to advance the main story or challenge side story bosses. The game is a lot of fun, and even if it launched back in 2014, it gets on this list due to the sheer amount of time I’ve put into it this year just like some of the other games on this list.

Cygames has been venturing into console gaming too, with their first big release Granblue Fantasy Relink targeting a 2023 release. It will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. It is my most anticipated game of next year and I cannot wait to play it.


Elden Ring

For a bespoke list, this one should come as a shocker, right? No? Well Elden Ring has taken millions of players across the world by storm and for good reason. Developer From Software has taken the natural step of placing their award-winning formula of Dark Souls into an open world game. But it’s not just any open world game: it doesn’t treat the player like a baby, but rather expects you to seek out the land and find solutions to problems you come across. Not powerful enough to progress or perhaps a boss is just too hard? That’s okay, just turn around and go do something else. And you can always find something else to do, whether that’s a dungeon or another boss you randomly stumble across. Or heck, even rethinking your build to take on a fight. It’s just a lot of fun and no wonder it infatuates so many.

Compared to the others in this list, this is the game I spent the least amount of time in. But I put it on this list because, while what it’s doing isn’t game changing, it’s doing what I feel many game developers have been scared of doing these last couple of years: letting go of the player’s hand. Nothing kills my enjoyment in a game faster than one that never lets its players experiment, something this industry has never had issues with before the 8th generation of consoles. And for that, I need to highlight Elden Ring in hopes that aspiring developers will learn the right lessons and give control back to the players.


RuneScape

RuneScape is my favourite massive multiplayer online (“MMO”) game. Nothing plays like it and that’s why I keep coming back. Unlike the dreadfully boring themepark MMOs such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, RuneScape is a sandbox MMO whose world changes as you complete quests across the massive lands of Gielinor. There’s more to that, thought, and that’s because once you start playing the game you can complete quests or work on whatever skill you’d like right away. Unless there’s a requirement to whatever you want to do, like a quest needing another quest completed, you aren’t bound to linear and long stretches of exposition—paragraph after paragraph of nothing notable melting away your brain.

RuneScape’s quests are also bespoke challenges. Rarely will you come across a true fetch quest, because one quest will always take an unexpected turn. For fans of point and click adventure games, RuneScape is an easy recommendation. Never mind the countless hours of grinding you can do to improve your skills and fight enemies… or create things! Also, people actually talk to one another. A novel concept to MMO players these days, I assure you.

But this isn’t a perfect game either. No MMO can truly be player friendly when it’s undergone so many changes and RuneScape particularly has a terrible new player experience. Gielinor has also been developed in pieces and you can walk past three different art styles from the last two decades. Still, if you are tired of your theme parks and want a good change of pace, RuneScape is easily my MMO game of the year. Available on PC, Android, and iOS. And maybe Xbox, one day!


Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S

And last but not least, another surprise! I spent more time than I’d like to admit solving the puzzles in Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S. A game all about filling in paint in the correct order. Making a mistake won’t penalise you but it’s annoying enough that you’ll end up restarting the puzzle anyway. We have a review on it and it glows quite well if I do say so myself. An easy pick because it’s a game that wasn’t enjoyed by just me but my entire family. And, well, I feel it would be wrong if the majority of my ‘game of the year’ list was a bunch of titles our Xbox crew can’t play on their consoles.

You can grab the game right here! Who knows, maybe SEGA will throw Xbox players a bone and finally port a Hatsune Miku Project game over in 2023.


That’s a Wrap!

And that’s my list for 2022. Nothing numbered nor bullet pointed. That’s not a system that works for me, and when you have a list like mine, rankings can be a bit hard to decide on. But looking back at what I’ve played this year, this list doesn’t even encompass the huge list of old games I’ve touched this year and particularly because I felt that this year would be a little slow for me release-wise. It was a good time to catch up on some of my backlog and that’s because 2023 is shaping up to be one of the best years in gaming. There’s just so much coming out that I’m looking forward to and I hope that I can get the chance to talk about them in the coming months.

Til then, I hope you, my valued reader, have a blessed and warm holiday, and never stop playing video games.

Genghis "Solidus Kraken" Husameddin

I like video games, both old and new. Nice 'ta meetcha!

Discussion:

  1. First articles are up!

  2. And we’ll obviously do a Community GOTY vote in January as always!

  3. Whoever has Hatsune Miku Logic Paint in his list can’t be a bad person :star_struck:

    I myself am a very civilized person have all stars and over 80 hours in this awesome 5€ game. Thanks, Xbox!

  4. Nice. Hoping the deadline is January 31st. I need a little extra time to get through a few more games from 2022. Hehehe.

  5. I want to play Omori and Signalis (add Deathloop, Scorn and A Plague Tale: Requiem if I’ll finally manage to get a SX soon) and I still haven’t finished High On Life…too many great games this year on Game Pass/Xbox.

  6. Agreed. And 2023 is going to be insane!!

    I have to finish God of War Ragnarok and then in January, I’ll sign up for Game Pass to play Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and High on Life.

  7. No worries.

  8. first post updated with today’s. Tomorrow we have 2 more, one on Thursday, and the staff list/video on Friday.

Continue the discussion at forum.xboxera.com

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