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News Opinions 20 December 2022, 13:58

author: Julia Dragovic

Gamepressure's Wrap Up of 2022

2022 is already over, so it's time to wrap it all up. Our editors have selected their favorite games of this year, the biggest disappointments and all kinds of other highlights.

Another tough year is behind us. When 2021 ended, we all thought it would only get better. Was it? In some respects, certainly: in 2022 we didn't face lockdown and severe restrictions, game shows finally returned to venues; shortages of electronics have lessened, and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla was finally concluded.

However, the global situation is nowhere near calm. On the contrary. The gaming industry hasn’t returned to normalcy either – the best evidence of this is the small number of major releases, and among them, the great absentee, the still-delayed Hogwart's Legacy. And the waning world of industry shows.

Fortunately, 2022 was not all doom and gloom. Below, you'll find not only the biggest disappointments of the year, but also the best games and highlights of the year selected by the people behind Gamepressure.

Best game of 2022

The spoils of big releases may not have been there this year, but there was something for everyone. Here are our private moments of the year.

Jerry Bonner

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Jerry Bonner has been writing about interactive entertainment for… far too long. Check him out on Twitter if you’d like to be further entertained.

Stray is a surprising game.

It was a surprise when announced with great fanfare in 2020 at a PlayStation's Future of Gaming event, and was finally released this summer to rather excellent reviews across the board which was certainly hoped rather than expected.

I tried to play Stray when it was first released, but I couldn’t get it to run on my PC. Not gonna lie, I was more upset than a grown man should be over a video game when things shook out like that. But then I read that a patch was released a few weeks after the initial release, so I tried to install it again and…VOILA…it worked, so it surprised me in that way too.

The third, final, and best way Stray surprised me was in terms of its gameplay and story. The narrative pulls at heartstrings at times as expected and in the best ways possible, but how the game plays is what truly surprised me. In the first hour or so, it seems like a standard, puzzle-platformer set in a 3D, underground cyberpunk environment, and during this first hour or so, my 17-year-old daughter sent me a text, asking: “Is the cat game fun?”

I responded: “It is. It’s straightforward, but interesting enough to be fun”.

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Well, then the game flipped the script on me, as it were, and took me in an unexpected, but most welcome, direction where I found my catself befriending a little helper bot named, B12, then allying with a gaggle of old-timey Mac-headed worker drones/robots who want to escape the oppression of the Zurks (who look to be first cousins with Half-Life’s headcrabs) and abscond to “The Outside.” It’s here that Stray truly finds its stride and becomes more an adventure/mystery experience rather than a simple puzzle-platformer with a cool, feline protagonist.

And yeah, by the time I rolled credits on Stray I must admit that I was completely enthralled by it, so it’s really no surprise then that it is my game of the year.

Matt Buckley

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Matt Buckley: It’s hard to describe myself here without being too obvious. I am a writer, which is clear because you (hopefully just read my article) and a video game enthusiast (which is also obvious if you (hopefully) read my article).

Pokémon Legends: Arceus. The Pokémon franchise is not always known for its innovation. The core concept of their games has been generally the same since Red & Blue. But this year Pokémon Legends: Arceus made some big changes to the winning formula. A focus on exploring and observing Pokémon in their natural habitats left the game with a much more laid-back experience.

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Even though there were some Pokémon battles sprinkled throughout, as well as the newly introduced Noble boss battles, for me, it’s a space I still go to months later to relax.

Giancarlo Saldana

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Giancarlo Saldana has been covering video games and tech for over a decade for publications like 1UP, GamesRadar, TechRadar, MacLife, Blast Magazine, and more. Twitter: @giansaldana

It may not have gotten the best scores or made it to many Best Games of 2022 lists (except for this one!), but there is something powerful about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet that I admired from the moment I started playing it. Fast forward to 100 hours later, and it has become the game I have played the most this year but also the one that I still can’t put down.

Blame it on its Spanish-inspired open-world, user-friendlier battle mechanics, and roster filled with unique and charismatic new Pokémon, but it’s hard to not think of Scarlet and Violet as among the best Pokémon games yet. It’s easy to get distracted exploring the colorful world of Paldea, but then you remember you also have to beat some gyms, help your friend beat some giant Pokémon, and even attend class!

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Scarlet and Violet set the series in an exciting new direction while offering some exciting story twists, battles, and a powerful soundtrack. Its performance may have been set back by the Switch’s hardware limitations, but just imagine how future games will play on a brand-new console. Let’s not forget—there is bound to be DLC on the horizon meaning more Pokémon to catch and more hours I will have logged under my belt.

Matthias Pawlikowski

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Matthias Pawlikowski is a managing Editor at Gamepressure. Loves old RPG games, including jRPGs. On a daily basis he tries to make Gamepressure work and the writers have something to write. And eat.

Elden Ring was proof that you can still create something great in the soulslike subgenre and that it can reach millions of players around the world and keep them enchanted for many months. A huge game by any measure – and without the microtransactions or other services that are so fashionable today – in which you can spend entire days doing just additional exploration. It's not a technological marvel, but so what, if in terms of art it pretty much beats everything that has appeared on the market this year.

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An amazing adventure, in its own way overwhelming with the vastness and scale of the world. One of the best games ever made. Ever. And in addition, with almost endless replayability.

Jacob Nowak

There were two games that I’ve had a lot of fun playing this year, an none of them was new: I returned to Cyberpunk 2077 after two years, and the game, although it largely feels the same, was at least twice as fun in ver. 1.6; the other title was… Minecraft Dungeons, in which I’ve spent prolly around 50 hours, sharing the slightly infantile dungeon-crawling experience with my nephew. Strongly recommended.

Julia Dragovic

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Julia Dragovic is an editor at Gamepressure and a fan of monotone games. Among other things, she is responsible for ordering and publishing articles.

As every year, when everything around me starts to become erratic, I find the best break from reality in games based on routines. Ever since "pandemic" permanently entered our vocabulary, it's been ACNH, AC Valhalla (with all due respects), LEGO Skywalker Saga, PowerWash Simulator, Disney Dreamlight Valley, and the like.

That's what Ooblets is, too, in a way, and that's why I noticed it at all. We sow various plants in the game, buy furniture, dress characters, furnish the house, collect the same mushrooms and cans over and over again, walk, walk and walk some more. But Ooblets is also a constant conversation with the townspeople, and it's a cross-section of society where I feel like I'm in a microcapsule of warmth and comfort. The slightly antisocial and neurodiverse vibe of not only my neighbors but the entire game world combined with how the writing, music, charming information screens, Ooblets fighting each other in dance battles – the perpetually angry Ooblet is my favorite one! – all of this made the overall clunkiness of the game on Switch become insignificant.

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For the first few or a dozen hours, I kept taking screenshots of the next moments in the game, as it were, collecting evidence that here, the impossible happened at last and a world tailored for me was created. In 2022, it was this game that I told my friends the most about, and it’s the one closest to me. This is my game of the year.

Matthew Sawka

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Matthew is one of the busiest people in the editorial department and a mainstay of the newsroom and tips section.

I have played only a handful of games released in 2022, but, to me the best was God of War: Ragnarok. The changes in overall formula and gameplay done in God of War from 2018 made me fall in love with the game. Kratos was finally a likeable character, the combat was satisfactory, and I simply was interested in the story. Ragnarok wasn’t as much of a breakthrough as the previous game, but I wasn't expecting another evolution. The conclusion to Kratos’ and Atreus’ story had me hooked to the point where I didn’t play any other game until I was done with this one (and got the platinum).

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But why not Elden Ring – GoW: Ragnarok’s biggest competitor? It’s because I’m currently playing Dark Souls 3 and its DLCs.

The biggest disappointment in 2022

This year, as last year, disappointments were not hard to come by. Some hurt especially.

Jerry Bonner

My biggest disappointment of 2022 is that Peggle 3 hasn’t been announced yet…

While Peggle 3 would be awesome, my biggest disappointment this year isn’t anything that specific, it’s more of an industry-wide thing. I guess I’m jonesing for some true originality because I’m just tired of all the remakes, reboots, rehashes, and re-imaginings of the same experience over and over. Case in point, an “update” of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for current-gen consoles was just released today. Why? Was anyone really clamoring for that?

I would typically say here that the indie game scene is the remedy to this recurring disease, but even there, almost all I see are puzzle-platforming roguelikes. And because of that, the last thing I want to ever say, or type, again is the word “roguelike.” I suppose my only hope for some true gaming originality lies in the VR/AR realms, but who knows…?

And until that question is answered, I’ll be off collecting powered monster tissue with my boy, Geralt… once again.

Matt Buckley

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While not absolutely crushing, it certainly stung to hear that the long-awaited, highly-anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, would be delayed. Breath of the Wild continues to be one of my favorite games of all time, so needless to say, a sequel was very exciting. The hype being dialed up so high is what made the delay sting so much more. Ultimately, I hope Tears of the Kingdom will be better for the delay, and I believe it is better to wait than to rush out an unfinished product. It just can’t help but be a major disappointment for 2022.

Giancarlo Saldana

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I had high hopes for Saints Row when it was first announced. I vividly remember playing the original games and just having fun playing a game that looked like Grand Theft Auto without taking itself too seriously. After the last few games steered too far from the originals, I thought this reboot would kick things back into gear. It did, but it left me wanting so much more.

Don’t get me wrong—I loved the setting of the Saints Row reboot and the ability to customize your character as much as you wanted, but this was just fluff on top of a game that was devoid of personality. Not only that, but the game didn’t add anything new to the open-world format and simply gave us what we would expect from a release from ten years ago.

There was hardly any backstory to your characters, the main story was too short, and glitches just ruined the fun the game tried to set up. It’s great the series went back to its roots, but I think it took the assignment too seriously and gave us a game that felt tried and done. Despite my disappointments, I really want a sequel but only hope this next one learns from its mistakes.

Matthias Pawlikowski

It was hard for me to make this call. 2022 failed me repeatedly and passionately. Darktide failed me, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 did too. In both of these games, however, I had a good time, even despite the fact that I felt that someone was pulling wool over my eyes. Therefore, instead of choosing one, I will simply point out what hurts me most. I.e. that releasing incomplete or untested games has become the new normal. Games that do not work on a given platform as they should (or as announced). Games priced at over $70, even though they are aren't well-optimized nor more polished. Things are very bad on our beloved market, and it's hard to find a game that would be released without a controversy on all platforms. And we players have allowed it.

Jacob Nowak

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Jacob Nowak is the guy working behind the curtain and making this website tick. He is responsible, among others, for the publication and editing of the articles you read every day.

My biggest disappointment this year was Vladimir Putin’s rabid attack on Ukraine.

The second one was learning that key people, who delivered what was for me a godsend, a groundbreaking step in gaming – artists from ZA/UM, responsible for Disco Elysium, were sidelined by the corporate.

Other than that, it was definitely a lean year, and although I was perfectly enchanted with the art direction of Elden Ring, the game, as all soulslikes, ended up being more obtuse and frustrating for me than fun – sorry, I do have a lot of persistence, but I prefer to invest it elsewhere; defeating Maliketh The Black Blade may be hard, but cycling in winter is my real jam.

And sure, I’m glad there was room for a game like Stray, but that’s not enough to warrant calling 2022 a great year for gaming. Dying Light 2 was sort of a downer for me, and the remaining releases were mostly unsurprising sequels.

Julia Dragovic

Where should I begin? Microsoft buys big studios, Musk buys Twitter, the biggest games are still dominated by tiny leads... It's impossible to pick one. One developer, when we were talking about the plague of delays of upcoming titles, told me that after Cyberpunk, gamers would not forgive any studio another botched release. That the industry has seen what is at stake and no one wants to share CD Projekt's fate. I think that, in a way, he was right, but in the meantime the world, it seems, has managed to get used to getting unfinished, imperfect releases full of game-breaking bugs. That when buying a product, we can be almost certain that something will be wrong, and that we will be forced to turn a blind eye to some flaws until they are fixed. This is not ok.

The ZA/UM studio, associated with perhaps the greatest idealism and responsible for creating one of the best games of recent years, is now over. Yes, yes, I know, the studio is still around, and it was only the Arts Collective of the same name that was formally disbanded. But the creators of the world of Disco Elysium are no longer at the studio, all that's left are accusations of great offenses and perhaps even crimes. So, can we still say that ZA/UM studio isn't over?

Meanwhile, nostalgia can still sell anything. I'm still waiting for that beautiful year to come, in which we get some new, big and great games, not just more-of-the-same-things, or remakes of games we already know by heart.

Matthew Sawka

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This year, I have finally got and finished Disco Elysium which quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. After beating it, I wasn’t expecting that we would get a direct sequel, but a spin-off set in this bizarre and depressing universe would be really nice. Now, when I’m writing these words in December, I’m pretty sure that we won’t get anything Disco Elysium-related, period. The whole situation with ZA/UM reminds me of the plotline from Disco Elysium about the video game developers who broke up after many difficulties and arguments. This is OK to witness in a video game, not in real life.

The most important event in 2022

This year's momentous events – sad and joyful.

Jerry Bonner

In my mind, there are two events in 2022 that were both equally important…and kinda sad. First, is the cancellation of the E3 Expo by the Entertainment Software Association. And the second is another cancellation, this time of the G4 TV network which didn’t even last a year after its re-launch in November of 2021.

These are both important because it shows how gamers consume media and information has unequivocally changed over the last decade or so because they no longer need (or want) a centralized event or network to obtain the knowledge they desire. I think this was kind of known for some time now, but these two cancellations, a few months apart, put a definitive exclamation point on it in my mind.

And both G4 and E3 going the way of the dodo in the same year is sad to me because, well, they were two staples of the video game industry that I truly enjoyed, warts and all. So sue my old ass.

Matt Buckley

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As someone who is not even a big fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, I still found the leak of GTA 6 to be a huge moment of 2022. Leading up to the leak, frustrated fans were tired of Rockstar (the developer of the GTA series) continually pushing out updates and re-releases of GTA 5 nearly ten years after its release. Especially with the sloppy release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition at the end of last year, whose convoluted title did it no favors, Rockstar wasn’t exactly in fans' good graces. The leak itself wasn’t what really interested me, it was the discussions and reactions that came from it.

Of course there were plenty of people with less-than-constructive criticism, but generally there was a lot of support for the developers. Over the last few years the industry has been moving towards employee unions and anti-crunch mentalities, and this felt like another step in a positive direction, particularly in the relationship between fans and developers.

Giancarlo Saldana

As someone who made watching Batman: the Animated Series a daily afterschool tradition, I was saddened to hear that Kevin Conroy passed away this November. Just like Charles Martinet is the voice you hear when you think of Mario, his voice is the voice I hear when I think of Batman. After all, I grew up hearing him on TV as a kid and then later as an adult in games like Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Injustice.

While it’s sad knowing we will never hear his voice grace another Batman video game again, it is amazing knowing that his life’s work touched a generation of Batman fans. We all grew up hearing Conroy be the caped crusader we always admired, and now his voice will live on in the classic games and shows we return to when we want a taste of nostalgia.

Matthias Pawlikowski

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Elon Musk buys Twitter and a bizarre spectacle full of absurdities and idiocies begins. In fact, it's hard to add anything to what has been said about Musk in the last year. I think it's important that we finally understand what kind of man this technological idol is. And he is a man, well – they wouldn't accept him to knighthood. It pains me to continue Musk's position in pop culture – for many he is still the only person on Earth, who knows what they're doing. The one who sets trends and generates progress. I don't know, I never trusted a man who had more money than convictions. I guess it's all too easy to confuse one with the other.

Jacob Nowak

I was pretty excited to learn that CD Projekt had finally announced it’s strategy for the coming years after scrambling for two years to stitch CP2077 together. I still love the studio and their franchises; I’ve had lots of fun with their newest game this year and I hope they’ve learned the hard lessons with it.

So, for me, the ambitious announcements of a new Witcher saga is a promise of exciting times for RPG fans, myself included. I hope the studio will be able to deliver an inspired work, and that corporate machinations and technical challenges (nor a pandemic) won’t stand in their way this time. Fingers crossed!

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Julia Dragovic

Sony has expanded the PlayStation Plus offering with two new plans, and my console-couch heart is finally happy. 2022 became the year when, owning an Xbox Game in addition, I stopped buying games. I got all of Yakuza; I won't be able to complete them all in one lifetime.

I should probably say something about the official announcement of The Sims 5, but actually... What is there to be happy about? It will be the same game, only more polished (?) than the previous one, and history shows that the content will be even more diluted than in part four, with the prices of add-ons will be even higher. EA will have to make a real effort to appease an impatient part of the community. For too long we have ignored the shortcomings of the next add-ons. I'll ask for an open world and perhaps an online gameplay option; a less backward interior design and finally some innovations – then I'll be a satisfied simmer.

But let's not kid ourselves, I'll be playing it like crazy.

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Matthew Sawka

After a few different conferences, I pretty much gave up on seeing Armored Core VI getting announced. Still, a small hope remained. I’m super happy to see that FromSoftware is working not only on a new mech game but also on a straight continuation of the AC series and not a reboot. I can’t wait to spend 30-40 minutes in the garage tweaking my mech just to be utterly demolished in about 2 minutes because an enemy not listed in the mission briefing was using a weapon with damage type that I wasn’t prepared for. Time to make mechs mainstream.

Julia Dragovic

Julia Dragovic

She studied philosophy and philology and honed her writing skills by producing hundreds of assignments. She has been a journalist at Gamepressure since 2019, first writing in the newsroom, then becoming a columnist and reviewer, and eventually, a full-time editor of our game guides. She has been playing games for as long as she can remember – everything except shooters and RTSs. An ailurophile, fan of The Sims and concrete. When she's not clearing maps of collectibles or playing simulators of everything, economic strategies, RPGs (including table-top) or romantic indie games, Julia explores cities in different countries with her camera, searching for brutalist architecture and post-communist relics.