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It’s the end of March, which means we’re a quarter of the way through 2022. Three months down, nine to go. Feels like a lot has happened, huh. I’m not going to dwell on the bad, though, as in a turnaround from 12 months ago it really feels like the start of this year has been bursting at the seams with almost too many amazing new video games. There’s a strong possibility the game of the year is already out and being played by millions, right now.
A quick peek at Metacritic - which combines review scores to produce an average, out of 100 - shows us that FromSoftware’s Elden Ring is the highest-rated game of 2022 so far, with its PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X releases both averaging 96. That is huge. Sticking with new games and/or notable expansions only - so, apologies to God of War’s PC release with its Metascore of 93 - coming in at second is Destiny 2: The Witch Queen with 89. Third is the PlayStation-exclusive Horizon Forbidden West with 88; fourth OlliOlli World with 87; and joining fifth with 86 is Tunic and Total War: Warhammer III. Those are some mightily impressive scores, right there.
But what about us? It hopefully won’t surprise you that the GAMINGbible team plays a lot of video games, a lot of the time. So here’s three favourites each from a selection of staffers, with a few words on why they think these are the best games of 2022 so far.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus - 8/10 review
As a massive Pokémon fan, it’d be very weird if this wasn’t one of my picks of the year so far. Legends: Arceus’ huge gameplay shakeup was one that went down incredibly well with me - the thrill of sneaking around and lobbing balls at unsuspecting targets is one I didn’t know I needed in my life. Okay, that makes me sound a bit evil. Very fun game, anyway.
Watch gameplay from Pokémon Legends: Arceus below…
Triangle Strategy - 8/10 review
I love a good tactical RPG, and Triangle Strategy is, simply put, an excellent one. The choice-based, branching plot is super engaging - I adore how much influence the player has on the story from start to finish. Also, those gorgeous HD-2D visuals are to die for - please don’t stop making games that look like this, okay? Okay.
Horizon Forbidden West - 8/10 review
I’ll be honest, I only just played Horizon Zero Dawn this year (loved it), and going into Forbidden West straight after just took my breath away. The environments are absolutely stunning (as is Aloy herself, no matter what some have been saying, thank you very much), and the way that the PS5 version uses the DualSense’s haptics and adaptive triggers makes the gameplay experience all the more immersive.
Tunic - 9/10 review
I am a sucker for two things: foxes and The Legend Of Zelda. Put the two together in one gorgeous indie game, and you have an adventure I just can’t resist. Tunic is far more than just “Zelda with foxes”, mind you. While it clearly takes inspiration from the 1986 NES classic, there’s more than a hint of FromSoftware in its cryptic puzzle box world and multitude of deviously well-hidden secrets. Put down the phone, pick up a notebook, and allow yourself to be lost in an impeccably designed mystery. Or use a guide for the whole thing and simply be delighted by how adorable the game looks. I’m not here to tell you how to live.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
It took 26 years to get the Pokémon game I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid, but it was totally worth it. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the real deal: a sprawling, fascinating, and surprisingly meditative experience that puts catching ‘em all over being the very best. It’s not perfect. Visually speaking the game is more than a little rough around the edges, but the occasional pop-in texture or low-poly tree does little to detract from the immense joy of hunting, catching, and bonding with Pokémon in a seamless world.
Check out how to beat Elden Ring’s hardest boss below…
Elden Ring - 10/10 review
FromSoftware’s latest is a sort of ‘Greatest Hits’ package that manages to work in all of the studio’s best ideas from Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and even Sekiro into a vast open world peppered with hidden dungeons, towering bosses, and sweet loot. It’s rare that exploration is its own reward in an age of AAA game maps that basically tell you exactly what you’re headed towards long before you’ve reached your destination, but Elden Ring’s lack of hand-holding allows for one jaw-dropping moment of wonder after the other. I’m fast approaching the 150 mark and still finding new areas. But is Elden Ring going to be everyone’s cup of tea? Absolutely not. Does that mean it isn’t a masterpiece, and one of the best open-world video games in years? That’s for Twitter to decide, apparently. But I think it is, and I can’t see anything else being my Game Of The Year come December.
While the aesthetic of its open world may cause you to compare it to Zelda, or the patient combat and environmental storytelling to a Soulsborne title, Tunic is carving its own wedge. It’s a game which gives you absolutely nothing; an onion to unpeel by yourself. And it’s all the more entrancing for it.
Square Enix shaped its latest strategy RPG in the mould of its older franchises, going as far back to its 16-bit (pre-Enix merger) successes - and still it feels absolutely fresh. A choose-your-own-adventure-style tangled web of a story, where your choices matter in and out of battle.
Lost Dimension is the best PS3-era game you've never heard of, and Monark its understated successor. Personal puzzles and plunges into the depths perfectly compliment the horror aspects of this otherworldly strategy game.
How Fish Is Made
Gloomy, squalid, oppressive. Provoking, entertaining, disgusting. All apply to How Fish Is Made, a short yet sour narrative game where a sardine flip flops their way through a machine. How you got there is inconsequential. Who you'll meet in your travels is similarly so. It's UP or DOWN. Featuring accidentally-on-purpose murder, a musical number from a parasitic isopod and frustrating controls, it's a feverishly odd experience brought to us by a group of student game developers.
OlliOlli World - 9/10 review
I hate being challenged. I hate it. I hate being scored and I hate scarfing a mouthful of gravel when I fall over. Yet I enter a state of utter contentment with skateboarding games and nothing comes close to the wonderful OlliOlli World. The colour schemes are soothing, painting over whatever absurdity is going on in the background of Radlandia, and the characters are eccentric and encourage an enormous level of self-expression. It's ideal for newbies, skaters of the highest order, and those who appreciate a chill banger or five.
Ghostwire: Tokyo - 7/10 review
This game looks so good. Scooping up collectibles in shadowy alleys and creeping through major city landmarks sing with the same commitment to suspense and astonishment. Tango Gameworks wants you to love this despondent reflection of Tokyo as much as it loves the real one and it's got side-quests galore that riff off influences like Silent Hill, P.T. and of course The Evil Within. Though the mist hangs over the streets like a shroud, there's charming moments conversing with nekomata who've taken over the abandoned shops and reading the thoughts of adorable cats and dogs.
Horizon Forbidden West
Aloy is one of the best PlayStation characters, so the chance to play as her again was always going to make me check out Horizon Forbidden West. The game lived up to my expectations, too, and I’ve had many a happy moment in its deliciously pretty world. The enemies are numerous and fun to battle with, thanks in no small part to an excellent array of weaponry. The story is gripping and told with some truly enjoyable cutscenes, making me genuinely care about the plight our hero is facing. Add to that some mind-blowing visual fidelity, and I can’t praise Guerrilla Games enough for this sequel.
Did you know another PlayStation icon can be found in Horizon Forbidden West? Check our video below…
I have never been a big FromSoftware fan. As many others have fallen in love with Elden Ring, including GAMINGbible’s own Ewan Moore, I’ve retained a sense of coldness towards Hidetaka Miyazaki’s latest piece. Miyazaki-san and I both share an affection for Kentaro Miura’s seminal manga series BERSERK, and the array of homages to the latter’s work help me feel at home in FromSoft games, including Elden Ring. I mean, I even created my character in the vein of Griffith, the series’ antagonist. Despite my apparent indifference - and sometimes anger - towards Elden Ring, I beat the game and got Ranni’s ending over a 70-hour playthrough, so clearly I must appreciate it enough to accept that it will likely be Game of the Year come December. I’d also like to apologise to those who love the game that I have been so irritating toward. (This is just you, Ewan. I’m sorry and I love you.) That being said, there’s still one game I prefer more…
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is comfortably my favourite game of 2022 so far. In my review, I made it clear how much I appreciated the new direction Game Freak has gone in to produce this game. The world is gorgeous and filled with critters to catch, and catching them all felt like a fun task for the first time since I filled the Pokédex in Pokémon Yellow when I was a child. Sure, it’s not perfect, but Arceus is more than an exciting indicator of what’s to come: it’s a remarkable effort from a franchise that has played it safe for too long. To move away from the traditional and nail it so effectively is a joy to behold, and that’s why Pokémon Legends: Arceus is my favourite game of the year (so far). Now excuse me while I start playing Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
Bless this lil fox and his creepy gas mask. Tunic has no right being as completely engrossing as it is - but its depths are so vast and its mysteries so compelling that I can’t stop poking around in its world, studying the pages of its manual for clues, and ducking behind waterfalls to discover secret caves and treasures. Yes, on the surface it looks fairly simple, but Tunic isn’t just a game of surprising challenge - it’s also got great spirit, and is way smarter of design than many a bigger-budget RPG.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land - 9/10 review
No game of 2022 so far is as pure hearted and unabashedly joyous as Kirby’s mainline-series 3D debut. What it lacks in challenge compared to the best Mario has to offer it makes up for in colourful charm, countless quirky (and genuinely laugh-out-loud) gameplay moments, and a story that will have you WTF-ing come its credits. That this would be a delight to play through was never in doubt - but that it’s so good is one of the most special gaming surprises of the year.
Kirby’s new Mouthful Mode is ridiculously fun - check the video below…
No other game of 2022 so far is so perfectly equal parts chill and incredibly challenging as OlliOlli World. Its pastel-shaded world of surreal sights and cheerful NPCs is a delight to play in, its soundtrack a bubbling beatscape of electro-bucolic beauty, and its skateboarding gameplay more intuitive than not - and just knowing the basics will get you through much of the, I guess, story. But this is a game where you’re driven, politely and gently, to do better: to smash that score, nail that trick, and beat all rivals. Just passing a level rarely feels fully satisfying, but the game’s approach to progress, locking little behind skill walls, ensures that a magnificent momentum is maintained. (Shout out, too, to Triangle Strategy and Young Souls, both of which are really impressing me a couple of hours into them.)
Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Nintendo, Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe
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