The Gamepur Staff’s Games of the Year 2022

Another eclectic group of games made our top 10, and we’re sure you loved them too.

Images via Nuverse, Focus Entertainment, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, Finji

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This story is part of Gamepur’s Best of 2022 round-up.

It’s hard to characterize 2022, because it very much feels defined by titles that were delayed to this year. In the third straight year of a global pandemic, the games industry still feels like it’s catching up during a period of uncertainty and massive change. But when you look at the games themselves, it’s clear that it was a solid year with quality titles. Single-player narrative games still bring in the numbers, for both reviews and sales, and players were entranced by titles that were expansive, experimental, or just plain cute.

The Gamepur Staff’s Games of the Year 2022 list is based on poll responses to all writers, contributors, and editors. Each respondent listed their favorite games that released in the calendar year of 2022 and marked one as their overall favorite title. The following list of 10 games takes into account how many times a game was marked as a top game, with the final list ranked by volume of frequency. Below is a reflection of the Gamepur staff’s tastes and interests at large — each title includes a blurb from a Gamepur author explaining why it is their top game of 2022.

10. Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Image via 2K
  • Released on December 2, 2022
  • Developed by Firaxis Games
  • Published by 2K Games

Marvel’s Midnight Suns is the culmination of the work that developer Firaxis has been doing for a decade. Throughout my 60-hour first playthrough, I was sucked into this world by the sheer force of the performances in this game. You can go at your own pace and take 80 hours to finish the story, if you get as lost in it as I did. Midnight Suns is one of the most inviting games you’ll play all year, and it’s a game you can fall in love with whether you’re a lifelong Marvel fan or you’ve seen none of the movies. — Chris Edgerton

9. Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap
Image via Nuverse
  • Released on June 9, 2022
  • Developed by Nuverse, Second Dinner Studios, Inc.
  • Published by Nuverse

Marvel Snap is a winner no matter how you look at it. Developer Second Dinner was founded by Ben Brode, who was previously the lead designer of Hearthstone — there’s a serious pedigree there. Then, you take all magic of Marvel Comics and give players tons of characters and variants to collect, with options to turn them into even shinier cards. On top of all that, the game has some of the least intrusive microtransactions of any mobile experience, ever. Oh yeah, it’s also a rock-solid card game with smart mechanics and deep deck-building strategies. — Tony Wilson

8. Stray

Image via BlueTwelve Studio
  • Released on July 19, 2022
  • Developed by BlueTwelve Studio
  • Published by Annapurna Interactive

Stray stands apart from other games released in 2022 thanks to its unique atmosphere, in-depth movement system, and adorable protagonist. After seeing tons of sequels, remakes, and remasters, Stray is a comfortable change of pace that puts you in a magnificent world populated by robots, machines, and mutated bacteria as you try to escape a walled city and return home. The story takes twists and turns that will keep you on your toes while also giving you moments of pure joy such as ruining a game of mahjong in a way only a cat could. There is no doubt that this game will be remembered for years to come. — Aden Carter

7. Tunic

Image via Finji
  • Released on March 16, 2022
  • Developed by TUNIC Team
  • Published by Finji

To be honest, Tunic would still be considered one of the best games of the year on charm alone. The colorful polygonal art style is very easy on the eyes, and the real star of the show is the in-game manual, which takes delightful inspiration from the old illustrated instruction booklets of yore. But Tunic is so much more than a pretty face, combining tight gameplay with a king’s ransom of secrets hidden around every corner. With genuinely intelligent puzzle design, a healthy dose of mystery, and an entire custom-made language to translate, Tunic has a dizzying amount of depth to it. Plus, the hero is a cute little fox! — Max Fagandini

6. Vampire Survivors

Image via Poncle
  • Released on October 20, 2022
  • Developed and Published by Poncle

If the video games of 2022 all went to a party, Vampire Survivors would be dressed in a Miami Vice suit and wearing the kind of shades that wouldn’t be out of place in Macho Man Randy Savage’s dressing room. It would also probably be dealing cocaine. This game might not have much going on graphically, but its frenetic gameplay is pure, unfiltered bliss. It’s all gas, no brakes. Once you get into the groove of moving your character around, killing enemies, and picking up drops, you’ll enter a trance and wake up 30 minutes later wondering where the time went. Then, you’ll evolve your first weapon and know that no other game this year can match Vampire Survivors for a pure adrenaline boost. And the best part is that you’re just getting started. — Ricky Frech

5. A Plague Tale: Requiem

Image via Asobo Studio
  • Released on October 17, 2022
  • Developed by Asobo Studio
  • Published by Focus Entertainment

A Plague Tale: Requiem takes everything its predecessor did and makes it even better. The combat has been tweaked and expanded with more lethal options like a crossbow and better alchemy options; the side characters have vastly improved and are a key driving force that keeps the main characters grounded when they begin to stray too far; and the story is gripping from beginning to end. Amicia and Hugo’s continuing journey is a heartbreaking tale of survival and sibling love with no shortcomings. It’s cinematic, emotional, and a beautiful game to boot. — John Hansen

4. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Image via Nintendo
  • Released on January 28, 2022
  • Developed by Game Freak
  • Published by Nintendo

After the previous year’s Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl failed to match fans’ expectations of a modern-day rendition of the Sinnoh region, Pokémon Legends: Arceus became the true Sinnoh remakes that we’ve all been craving. Legends: Arceus makes up for its visual shortcomings by focusing on its gameplay mechanics, particularly the addicting gameplay loop of catching. We can sneak around Pokémon and throw Poké Balls, and capturing Pokémon feels faster and easier, bypassing the typical Pokémon battles. Add in a fun story with endearing side characters and deep cuts to the Pokémon lore, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus succeeds expectations and proves why the Sinnoh region — or the Hisui region, rather — is so beloved. — Misael Duran

3. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Image via Nintendo
  • Released on July 29, 2022
  • Developed by Monolith Soft
  • Published by Nintendo

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the pinnacle of developer Monolith Softs’ storied franchise. Its blend of science fiction, engaging gameplay systems, and mature narrative create a modern JRPG classic. Despite being the third entry in a trilogy, it is a fantastic entry point for new players while rewarding the time veteran fans have spent with the series. It features a vast open world dwarfed only by the size and depth of its rich musical score. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is an ode to the franchise’s history while also pushing the series forward in a bold and modern direction.  — Dave Rodriguez

2. God of War Ragnarok

Image via Santa Monica Studios
  • Released on November 9, 2022
  • Developed by Santa Monica Studio
  • Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment

God of War Ragnarok does not reinvent the series as 2018’s God of War, but as a sequel, it is equally groundbreaking in its tone, structure, gameplay, and depth. The combat has been refined and is as gruesome and gripping as the storytelling. Although the characters are pulled directly from myth, they remain as life-like and emotional as any other human featured in a grounded tale. God of War Ragnarok remains a masterclass of creating a sequel to such an innovative game and keeping pace with the ripples left by it years later.  — Zack Palm

1. Elden Ring

Image via From Software
  • Released on February 24, 2022
  • Developed by FromSoftware Inc.
  • Published by Bandai Namco Entertainment

Several games in 2022 were able to meet players’ expectations, as they were built from their predecessors or titles that paved the way in their genre. Although this is arguably a cause for celebration in the medium, it was primarily Elden Ring that became something far more than anyone could have anticipated. Tossing you into the massive world of the Lands Between with not a hand or map marker to hold dear, the game is host to hundreds of locations, enemies, and abilities that are solely your responsibility to discover. As if that was not daunting enough, the RPG is just as torturously difficult — if not more — as any other Soulsborne game before it.

But, that’s the beauty of Elden Ring. It is far too rewarding to finally slay a boss or an army of bloodthirsty monsters on your umpteenth attempt and then be met by a sprawling, new area or a powerful weapon that gives you just enough confidence to push forward. This confidence will eventually reveal itself to be only a false sense of hope, but that shouldn’t stop you from witnessing the most graphically pleasing FromSoftware title to date in its entirety. Altogether, Elden Ring holds countless technical triumphs that combine to form the best video game of the year, and one should certainly not miss out on this merciless, yet unforgettable journey. — Ryan Willcox