Best Games of 2022: Colin’s Top 5 Games of 2022
This year has been both bigger and smaller for me at Noisy Pixel, in a lot of ways. I have spent more time working on the site this year, launched a podcast, and released more written and video content than I did in 2021. I’m really proud of a lot of what I wrote here – but most of the games I’ve really loved this year have simply not been properly of 2022. I haven’t reviewed as many brand-new titles, and as a result, I feel like I missed out on a lot of what made this year special in gaming. But, tradition dictates that I have a list to make, and games to choose. Without further ado…
Honorable Mention: The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe Edition
I’m not really supposed to be putting re-releases on this list, but I would honestly feel it incomplete if I didn’t mention my true best game experience of 2022. Ultra Deluxe’s main event is a two-hour tour-de-force of gaming satire that elevates the medium of video games itself, and reaches right out into the player’s mind. I struggled with how to even approach writing a “review” for this title, and ended up creating the piece I’m most happy with out of anything I’ve written for Noisy Pixel – so, while it can’t officially be on my list, I wanted to give it the honor it deserves regardless.
5. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
Master Duel surprise-released out of nowhere and, briefly, took the world by storm. It had a few hiccups early on, in addition to a contentious format, a card pool woefully behind the real game, and a lack of space for casual players. Still, it was still an absolute blast that offered players a more legitimate way to play the game online than they’ve had in years. Perhaps it would have been better-timed in 2020, but it can’t be denied that the release of Master Duel led the Yu-Gi-Oh! series to a state of relevance it hasn’t been seen in nearly twenty years.
4. Elden Ring
I think I’m probably in the majority, in saying that while I didn’t finish Elden Ring, I was nevertheless absolutely enamored by it for many hours this year. I unexpectedly ended up buying it on launch day and fell head-over-heels even as I had my ass handed to me on the regular. I’m not amazing at games like this, but what made Elden Ring surpass the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne was how much it managed to offer me anyway – even when I hit a wall, there was still so much more of its gorgeous world to explore, and I could always come back later. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough to finish this game, but even without that, Elden Ring consumed me enough this year to deserve a spot on this list anyway.
3. AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative
Kotaro Uchikoshi has made an entire career out of making lightning strike multiple times. Every time you think that the man must by now have exhausted his supply of twists, turns, and insanity, he pulls another trick out of his hat – and this year only extended that streak. Even before the game came out, he had crafted a devilish alternate reality experience to tantalize his players, a feat that hasn’t been effectively accomplished in many years. nirvanA Initiative has a lot of shared elements with its predecessor, but this team is capable of taking all of those beats and effectively remixing them into a brand new tale that descends into absolute insanity and then makes you cry anyway.
Stray was, very clearly, not what many people expected it to be. Where I think a lot of folks were expecting basically an open-world tech demo out of this, starring a cat exploring a city, those who gave it a real shot and engaged with it on its own terms found far more in store.
Stray is a story about what we as humanity leave behind, and in many ways, about how we need to consider our own society. It may not have #StraySwept, but I’m thankful that it received all the love and praise it did in the end – it was a journey I won’t soon forget.
1. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Skywalker Saga may have been made under far-from-ideal working conditions, but I must honestly say that no new game this year brought me more joy and happiness than this one. LEGO Star Wars has always been a celebration of the franchise that first brought “nerd culture” into the mainstream, and this title more than any other represents that.
It’s a collectathon on a Galactic scale, an adventure that ups the ante from any previous title, and a love letter to the most expansive sci-fi universe ever imagined. Star Wars is ever-growing and ever-iterating, and Skywalker Saga was responsible for setting me on a year-long spiral into exploring all that current-era Star Wars has to offer. More than any other game, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga defined and shaped my 2022, and I had a blast for every moment of it. I am overjoyed to present it as my very best game of the year.
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