The best games of 2022: you need to play these 10 top titles
From Sifu to God of War Ragnarok, there have been some incredible video games released this year. Here are 10 of the best games of 2022
It’s been a fantastic year for video game releases. From remakes and remasters to exclusive blockbusters and indie darlings, there’s been plenty for gamers to enjoy over these past 12 months.
After playing countless titles this year on PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and PC, I’ve narrowed down the ten best games of 2022 that resonated with me most. Even though countless more titles evaded my grasp (I’m looking at you, Cult of the Lamb and Signalis), these ten games deserve your attention if you haven’t played them yet.
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You’ll find several of these titles nestled in our best PS5 games and best Xbox Series X games lists, which is a testament to just how good they are. And if they didn’t do enough to squeeze into our prestigious top 15, chances are they’ll have at least earned an honorable mention.
10. The Last of Us Part 1 🦒
Release date: September 2, 2022
Opencritic score: 88
Platforms: PS5 (March 3, 2023, for PC)
The Last of Us Part 1 is the definitive way to experience Ellie and Joel’s harrowing adventure through a post-pandemic America ravaged by a viral plague. Though the $70 price tag might make you think twice if you’ve already played the game on PS3 or PS4, newcomers will be spoilt rotten by the care and attention developer Naughty Dog has put into this bonafide remake.
Yes, this isn’t a simple remaster. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up and it’s all the better for it. The sumptuous visuals, lifelike facial animations, and impeccable motion capture culminate to make The Last of Us Part 1’s evocative story all the more believable, and it feels more poignant today after the Covid-19 pandemic.
On top of the dramatic visual upgrades, The Last of Us Part 1 also features a suite of pleasing graphical options on PS5 – including a silky-smooth performance mode – as well as welcomed gameplay tweaks. I also enjoyed how much the game utilizes Sony’s clever DualSense controller, which adds another layer of immersion to the experience.
Read my full The Last of Us Part 1 review for more.
9. God of War Ragnarok 🪓
Release date: November 9, 2022
Opencritic score: 93
Platforms: PS5, PS4
God of War Ragnarok is an exceptional game. It looks phenomenal on PS5, runs incredibly well, and even features a gut-punching story that will pull on your heartstrings throughout. It’s also won more awards than most man-made trophy cabinets could hope to hold, winning six categories at The Game Awards 2022.
If you enjoyed Kratos’s axe-wielding antics in God of War (2018), it’s almost a certainty that you’ll resonate with Ragnarok’s familiar combat system and refined gameplay mechanics. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Sony Santa Monica’s second stab at the God of War franchise played it a little too safe for a sequel of this magnitude.
Still, Kratos and Atreus’s bloody quest to take down Odin is a thoroughly enjoyable romp full of spectacular set pieces and gloriously gruesome executions. There’s plenty to do once the credits roll, too, with Favours, combat trials, and collectibles all waiting to be discovered.
Read my full God of War Ragnarok review for more.
8. Ghostwire: Tokyo 🗼
Release date: March 25, 2022
Opencritic score: 77
Platforms: PS5, PC
If you have even the slightest affinity for Japan, Ghostwire: Tokyo should be on your radar. The game recreates the Tokyo prefecture of Shibuya with incredible accuracy but populates the neon-lit streets with twisted salarymen, sinister schoolgirls and all sorts of warped creations. It’s also full of references to Japanese mythology and folklore, all of which feature in the game’s unsettling world.
What makes Ghostwire: Tokyo stand out from other titles is the intriguing and satisfying sign-casting combat. You’ll fire all sorts of spells at your foes – that harness the three elements of wind, water, and fire –and then quite literally rip the souls out of your enemies once they’ve taken enough damage. Thanks to the PS5’s DualSense controller, this sensation never gets old.
Ghostwire: Tokyo isn’t perfect, mind you. It suffers from some of the usual complaints leveled against open-world games such as too many sidequests and collectibles, but I was compelled enough to seek out everything on offer and earned the game’s Platinum trophy.
7. Tunic 🦊
Release date: March 16, 2022
Opencritic score: 85
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Tunic may look like a cutesy tribute to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – and it unashamedly is. However, there's a lot more to this little fox’s adventure than you might initially think.
Powered by your curiosity, you have to slowly explore the land, tackling colossal beasts and collecting items as you go that will help you on your quest. As you progress through the intricately-connected areas, you’ll slowly reconstruct the game’s Instruction Manual page by page, which offers hints, tips, and information on where to find the deepest secrets. It’s a novel feature, but one that works incredibly well.
You’ll need it, too, as there are no tutorials or prompts in Tunic to help you on your journey – even the world’s language is an array of symbols and gobbledegook that you won’t be able to decipher.
Throw in some enchanting music and challenging boss battles that will test your reflexes, and it’s easy to fall for Tunic’s old-school gameplay that’s been modernized for a new audience.
Tunic is included with Xbox Game Pass.
6. Pentiment 📕
Release date: November 15, 2022
Opencritic score: 86
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC
Pentiment is probably the game that surprised me the most this year. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Obsidian Entertainment’s clever take on a narrative-driven murder mystery game, but I soon found myself completely hooked.
You play as the journeyman artist Andreas Maler, who is working on his manuscript at the local abbey. Unfortunately for Andreas, he suddenly becomes entangled in a grisly murder and is tasked with solving it.
Pentiment’s stylized art is inspired by great illuminated manuscripts and is a sight to behold in motion. I particularly love how the game writes the character’s dialog as if by hand, complete with the odd spelling mistake that quickly gets corrected. It’s a surprisingly effective replacement for the lack of voice acting and made conversing with the game’s diverse cast of characters oddly engaging.
If you’ve been searching for a game where your decisions have a profound impact on the world around you, Pentiment is a masterclass in storytelling that you won’t want to miss.
Pentiment is included with Xbox Game Pass.
5. Vampire Survivors 🦇
Release date: November 10, 2022
Opencritic score: 88
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC, Mobile
Vampire Survivors may look like a fairly unambitious game at first glance due to its rudimentary visuals, but this is easily one of the most engrossing games you’ll play this year. The twist that makes Vampire Survivors special is that you’re the “bullet hell” instead of the enemy, meaning you won’t be dodging countless bullets – you’ll be unleashing them instead.
If you’re to survive the almost endless waves of enemies, you’ll need to collect hundreds of gems to purchase weapons and power-ups, and level them up as you fight back the hordes in the game’s quick-fire levels. It doesn’t take long for the onscreen action to descend into absolute chaos, and it never gets old.
Vampire Survivors is one of those games that you just can’t put down, and it always feels like there’s time for one more run (even in the early hours of the morning). The game has technically been available since last year, however, it only came out of early access recently and is now playable on Xbox consoles and mobile. Seriously, you need to play this game – just don’t blame me when it sinks its fangs into you.
Vampire Survivors is included with Xbox Game Pass.
4. Stray 🐱
Release date: July 19, 2022
Opencritic score: 84
Platforms: PS5, PS4, PC
I never thought my favorite protagonist of 2022 would be a cat but then Stray came along to steal the spotlight. From the way your furry friend moves to how you interact with the game’s robot inhabitants, Stray is a clever adventure puzzle game that embodies all the cheekiness and athleticism of a real-life ginger tabby. It’s the most accurate representation of a feline in a video game to date, and that’s no mean feat.
It helps that your cat is grounded in an incredibly detailed and believable world, one which is full of secrets to discover. You’ll need to scamper across rooftops, crawl through tight spaces, and interact with the environment in playful ways. Try thinking like a cat if you ever get stuck and the solution will quickly become clear.
Stray also features a genuinely evocative story, gorgeous graphics and accessible gameplay that even dog lovers will enjoy what Stray has to offer. It’s the only game Sony has included on PlayStation Plus Premium and Extra service on day one, too.
Stray is included with PlayStation Plus Premium and PlayStation Plus Extra.
3. Elden Ring 💍
Release date: February 25, 2022
Opencritic score: 95
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s hard to see how developer FromSoftware will ever top Elden Ring if an eventual successor comes around.
The game offers players a level of unprecedented freedom that’s rarely seen in video games, particularly those in the Soulsborne genre. Surprises and deadly encounters lurk around every corner, but it’s the joy of carving your own path that makes Elden Ring so appealing to the masses.
If you hit a brick wall of a boss, you can always come back when you’re feeling more equipped for the fight, or choose to find an alternative path. This greatly alleviates some of the frustration that other games in the genre can cause without watering down any of the stern challenges that await.
The sense of satisfaction you’ll gain from finally vanquishing a hulking baddie that’s blocked your way for the better part of a day or two is hard to beat, and it’s this sense of accomplishment that will keep you coming back for more. Elden Ring is a triumph in video game design, and a worthy winner of The Game Awards 2022’s coveted ‘Game of the Year’ award.
2. Gran Turismo 7 🏎️
Release date: March 4, 2022
Opencritic score: 87
Platforms: PS5, PS4
It’s a pleasure to be able to play a fully-fledged, feature-packed Gran Turismo game so early in the PS5’s lifecycle. New entries in Polyphony Digital’s esteemed racing sim tend to arrive many years after Sony’s consoles have launched, and can often be bereft of content as a result.
That’s not the case with Gran Turismo 7, though. Not only does the game continue to receive regular updates that add new cars, tracks, and gameplay refinements, but it launched with countless hours of racing to enjoy from the outset.
Of course, it helps that the driving mechanics in Gran Turismo 7 have never been better in the history of the series. Thanks to a combination of the game’s stunning photo-realistic visuals, advanced physics simulation, and impressive use of the DualSense controller, you’ll really feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
With an expansive online mode and hundreds of cars to collect, it’s easy to see how I sunk 154 hours into Gran Turismo 7 in 2022, making it my most-played game on PS5 by some margin.
1. Sifu 👊
Release date: February 8, 2022
Opencritic score: 81
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch (March 2023 for Xbox and Steam)
Sifu is, without question, my game of the year. I can’t remember the last time I was so doggedly determined to keep going, despite the overwhelming odds laid out before me.
And that’s because no matter how many times I was beaten to a pulp, Sifu kept me coming back for more. The game does an amazing job of making every combat encounter feel engaging as you unleash devasting combos on various enemies, dodge, counter and parry, and make use of the surrounding environment to deadly effect.
The twist that makes Sifu truly special, though, is its ingenious aging mechanic. Your character gets older every time you fall in battle, which gives your punches and kicks more power but leaves you with less health overall. Mastering the game’s many combos is one thing, but perfecting each level so you’re still in your prime condition and not a decrepit old man is another story.
Fans of martial arts and legendary kung fu films will immediately love what Sifu has to offer, as this is the closest we’ve come to a video game equivalent. Challenging and super satisfying to play, no other game can make you feel like a kung fu master. Thankfully, there’s some new content on the way in 2023, including an arena mode. Excuse me while I let out a little squeal of excitement.
It’s clear 2022 has been a fantastic year for video games, then. But what about next year? Well, it’s shaping up to be equally as impressive, if not more so. You can keep up to date with all the PS5 games 2023 and Xbox Series X 2023 releases as they happen with our handy lists. And don’t forget to check out The Shortcut Gift Guide 2022 for incredible present ideas that are perfect all year round.
Happy holidays and happy gaming!