This story is part of Gamepur’s Best of 2022 round-up.
Gaming is finally becoming more interconnected, with wretched platform exclusivity starting to fall the wayside to the celebration of players everywhere. Former PlayStation exclusives such as God of War and Persona are enjoying a new audience in the PC sphere while Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass continues to pull outstanding numbers, letting everyone enjoy the brilliance of developers from indie gems to triple-A titles. Still, there are titles that simply shine on PC, either due to the amount of data that needs to be conferred to the player, or its simplicity of development and patching. Here are the five best PC-exclusive titles of 2022.
5. Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator
- Released on December 13, 2022
- Developed by: niceplay games
- Published by: tinyBuild
Taking residence in an old house, Potion Craft has players developing dozens of differing brews from alchemical ingredients to cure whatever ails them. Sometimes, what ails them is another person, and you’ll need to concoct a daring poisonous brew, but it’s all part of the medieval experience. For many titles, the crafting is a necessary step with the end-result being the desired, tangible product.
In Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator, the crafting is what makes it such a joy. It encourages ingredient exploration and thought, rather than a chore. It may be close to the Atelier series in this sense, where crafting is an involved and thought-provoking experience to end up with a worthwhile result, but the art style elevates the gameplay just a bit farther. Add in some humorous anecdotes by all sorts of bizarre villagers, and you’ll likely find yourself spending far longer in this title than originally planned.
4. Dwarf Fortress
- Released on December 6, 2022
- Developed by: Bay 12 Games
- Published by: Kitfox Games
The granddaddy of villager sims, Dwarf Fortress makes a return to form on Steam with a modern graphical user interface. With robust world generation which includes the entire history of the land from artifacts to notable wars and heroes of civilization, every interaction within Dwarf Fortress is indicative of far greater reach than meager need-satisfaction. The learning curve is also gargantuan, which may frustrate players coming from more modern PC titles such as RimWorld and Settlement Survival, but if you can climb it you’ll be amply rewarded.
The introduction of Dwarf Fortress onto Steam has made the two-developer team into overnight millionaires after more than 20 years of working on the dwarven life simulator, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean that the new version is any easier. Whether you’re struggling with cave flooding from poor planning, or trying to figure out why your animals aren’t mating for meat in the winter months, this game purchase should come with a second monitor for the amount of searching you’ll be doing to turn your fortress into a cornerstone of Dwarven civilization.
3. Settlement Survival
- Released on October 24, 2022
- Developed by: Gleamer Studio
- Published by: Gleamer Studio
Settlement Survival is another village simulator, although admittedly far more straightforward than Dwarf Fortress. Take a band of survivors and make a new home in an uncharted world, handling everything from housing to food production, even including the very formation of land. The depth of this game is there for those that want to explore it, taking the village from surviving into a well-designed town with trade routes and supply chains all on top of a clean yet robust UI.
Many players compare Settlement Survival to other PC titles such as Banished, or the Anno franchise. The singular downside is that the modding community hasn’t adopted this title as readily as the others, likely due to its more-recent release date. The vanilla mechanics are there in spades for those that like to provide for virtual citizens, however, and it’s obscenely satisfying to carve a notch into the land over time as your citizens begin a civilization.
2. Total War: Warhammer 3
- Released on February 17, 2022
- Developed by Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive
- Published by SEGA, Feral Interactive
Blood for the Blood God, and Total War: Warhammer 3 brings it in spades. Cut through millions of soldiers in your aim to unite the entirety of the Immortal Empires under your banner. With dozens of unique races and heroes to play as, all with their own unique bonuses, units, buildings, and art, every playthrough of Total War: Warhammer 3 is a gory romp through a never-ending battlefield with enough nuance to make it feel fresh again. While the campaign map is serviceable, it’s a Total War game at its root, and the playable battles with massive units on all sides are a brilliant spectacle that’s simple fun.
Of course, gaming on PC means modding the game until the experience is almost unrecognizable, and TWW3 has this as well. Give your units to an AI commander for them to control while you handle only monstrous units or your Lord, and punch through lines with resounding fanfare. Add in new clans that tear through enemy elves and orcs in new ways, or increase the dismemberment rate for a bloody party in every fight. Whichever way you opt to step on the warpath, from outright hostility and brute force or by cunningly trapping enemy lords away from their cities, Total War: Warhammer 3 is a grand fantasy executed in the most grandiose manner possible.
1. The Mortuary Assistant
- Released on August 2, 2022
- Developed by: DarkStone Digital
- Published by: DreadXP
You’ll learn things about yourself while playing through The Mortuary Assistant, but not necessarily pleasant things. This horror title steps beyond the mundane jump scares that are popular in the horror genre, and develops a foreboding atmosphere of grisly discovery against the backdrop of authentic mortuary work to bring the best scares of 2022. It’s terrifying, exciting, and embraces a twisted storyline about humans attempting to battle something bigger than they are.
This game isn’t for the squeamish, if for nothing else than the accurate portrayal of post-mortem work, but the terror is brilliantly dark as players wrestle with the horrors of their past. With multiple endings available depending on how well players can puzzle out the demonic possessions, an impeccable level of voice acting, and all from a single developer, The Mortuary Assistant is elevated beyond a horror title into a brilliant game, through and through.