2022, has not squandered any time.
The initial months of 2022 have now become a triple whammy of video game releases, whether due to changed release calendars, decreasing dependence on the retail sector, or delays caused by the COVID-19 virus. We've been across The Lands Between. We've cracked coded languages. We've been to 31st-century America. And, even though we're no longer in the midst of the busy release schedule, we're still finding the odd hidden gem or two, and revisiting titles that were too big to complete the first time around.
So we've taken it upon ourselves to sift the grain from the dust and pick our favourite games among the plethora of ambitious offerings.
Here it is:
1. Weird West (PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One)
Weird West is the creation of WolfEye Studio, a production company comprised of Arkane (the studio that created games like Dishonored and Deathloop) veterans, and it comes as no surprise that it has transported one of its hallmark, perpetually cursed regions to the American frontier. Bounty hunters, cults, and the chittering zombies are on your tail as you seize control of a slew of misfit characters hungry for vengeance. This is a tactical shootout with a wide-open playing area. Nothing is presumed. Have you seen that chimney right on the rooftop of a bank you’re attempting to steal from? If you can get up there, you might be able to shine through the hole and escape a fatal battle. Weird West is the ultimate proof of concept for WolfEye's belief that players ought to be able to interact with the environments they explore.
2. Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo Switch)
Pokémon are on a rampage. With the arrival of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl in Arceus last year, and then the freshly-announced Scarlet and Violet arriving later this year, there's a tremendous quantity of Pokemon to capture in the year 2022. Arceus is one of, if not the, most enjoyable Pokémon to capture. Maybe never. It's the first truly fresh Pokémon game in years, and we want—no, we need—more.
3. Tiny Tina’s Wonderland (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC)
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands appears to be the devs of Borderlands finally letting loose, and the results of its operations speak for themselves. It is a joyous journey through tabletop-RPG-inspired environments, with seemingly little changes that cause tremendous waves in the series' "Diablo meets guns" formula. You can mix and match two different character classes, navigate a board-game-style overworld, and spend dozens of hours in the incredible "Chaos Chamber" climax. Throughout it all, Gearbox is willing to admit that we're not here for a narrative or even a comprehensible narrative, and it tends to lean into that attitude with an adequately haphazard story—it doesn't take itself very seriously, that it chose to sacrifice unpredictable nature, delight, or the fulfilment of mesmerizing, well-earned loot.
4. Ghostwire: Tokyo (PlayStation 5, Windows PC)
Tango Gameworks is best known for the pulpy, janky Evil Within franchise, but Ghostwire: Tokyo is the developer's first foray into brilliance. It has abandoned American suburbia in favour of an eldritch, rain-soaked Tokyo, which is tormented by every angry devil from Japanese folklore. Although the grind does drag Ghostwire down at times, we've been intrigued by its slick first-person animation and realistic adversary design, as well as Tango's resonating hometown pride in the capital city. You will vanquish devils before dropping into an ersatz 7-Eleven for just some health-restoring mochi in this game. It's Japan during the apocalypse, shown as truthfully as possible.
5. Tunic (Mac, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X)
Developer Andrew Shouldice's action-adventure game has elements of Myst, The Witness, and the classic Legend of Zelda. It's also been compared to 2012's Fez, a game that used its own distinct shared text to perplex, entice, and ultimately lead players to the game's large-scale secrets. Its combat can get annoying after a while, especially during the later boss encounters, and the level design does not provide for the most relaxed retracing. However, it is a masterful adventure in and of itself because it trusts the player's intelligence, patience, and, most importantly, appetite for discovery.
6. Horizon Forbidden West (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5)
Horizon: Forbidden West is the highly anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, a PlayStation exclusive that ranks alongside Uncharted, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War as one of the best games of all time. With stunning graphics, incredible boss fights, and a heartfelt tale, it might be the finest-looking console game out there. It's a pity that Sony released this game straight after Elden Ring, years after Sony released Zero Dawn right after Breath of the Wild. It's a measure of how big of a deal these fantastic masterpieces still are.
7. Elden Ring (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X)
Several games have attempted to replicate Breath of the Wild's explorative wonder, but Elden Ring is the first one to genuinely succeed. It's every bit the strange, impenetrable, and an ultimately gratifying game we've come to expect from creator FromSoftware, with a terrain that will take several years to fully grasp. The game's open-world elements, on the other hand, reinterpret most of the savagery of prior games, not detracting from the obstacles, but rather encouraging gradual gains over brute strength. It's fairly rare to get lost for a dozen hours in a remote part of the world just to return to a previous task as an entirely different character, with stronger abilities and newfound insight.
8. Sifu (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC)
Until Sifu, we are positive we had never played a kung fu game. Until Sifu, that is. It's as if you enlarged the combat in Batman: Arkham or Insomniac's Spider-Man to the point where every action feels deliberate and intense. Sifu is challenging, but once you get the feel of the controls, the gameplay is second to none. When you combine a very fascinating progression mechanism with some of the greatest art designs we've ever seen, you get an incredible gem.
9. Total War: Warhammer 3 (Windows PC, Mac, and Linux, and via PC Game Pass)
Some video games are ambitious, while others are not. The latter is Total War: Warhammer 3. Its map is larger than the combined maps of its predecessors, and it debuted with eight fantastical factions, each more bizarre and extravagant than the previous. It's also bizarre, refusing to rest on its oars as the strategic trilogy comes to a close, instead of pushing the boundaries wherever it can. It sends players to the ethereal Chaos Realms while returning them to their homelands to fight sick behemoths and shape-changing demon rulers. It's the furthest thing from a safe third instalment since Hitman 3. And, if the Total War: Warhammer 2 DLC road map is any indicator, the following few years will be stranger.
10. OlliOlli World (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X)
We're in the midst of a brief skateboarding-game revival, which, predictably, coincides with a wave of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater nostalgia from the early 2000s. OlliOlli World isn't influenced by those classics. Instead, it reduces skating to a 2D plane on which forward momentum reigns supreme. Each level throws you into a gruelling obstacle course flanked by jumps, rails, and half-pipes, intending to make it to the checkpoints alive. In practice, this means you'll be able to seamlessly integrate wall rides with 5-0 grinds, establishing a rhythmic, nearly parkour-like rhythm with your tricks. But it's the slacker-utopia look that makes it stand out. Who wouldn't want to live in a world where the only mode of transportation is kickflips?
Well, that is all for this blog, hope you enjoyed it and now know what games are trending in 2022 currently!
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