I have known Cody for a long time. In that time we have been everything from good friends, collaborators and even bitter enemies. In a way, we’re the Naruto and Sasuke or amateur content creation, always striving to get better on this journey. After all the dust settles and the bloodshed is over, we usually just chill and play Minecraft or something.
I asked him specifically not to write an intro for me because I wanted to just bullshit for a bit. He better not edit this out or I’ll be so pissed.
Anyway, this new inititaitive on his site to get friends to rank their favorite pieces of media is so good. Following and working with Cody for years and seeing his ambition come to fruition in interesting ways is a treat for me and I’m glad to participate in it. It also gives me chance to actually write stuff because I don’t feel like starting up another blog.
So, as you might know I review games over at GameCritics and the Super Deluxe GamesCast and I have played a lot of game. Granted, I didn’t play nearly as much as I did in 2021 and didn’t really find a true ALL-TIMER. I mean, it’s hard to compete in a year where stuff like Life is Strange: True Colors, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania, It Takes Two, and Forza Horizon 5.
Despite that, I had a good time with the stuff released in 2022. Most of my favorites this year were all in genres I deeply loved. Since I want to keep this already long-winded piece short, I can’t list everything so here are honorable mentions:
Best Month Ever!
Dragon Quest Treasures
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
Okay, let’s get on with it.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (Infinity Ward/Activision)
I have spent about 80 hours in MWII’s multiplayer. At some points, I treat the game less like a game and more like a full-time job, considering I would spend a disgusting amount of hours online. While its campaign was fine and felt like a definite improvement from games past, its online suite is easily the best in the series. The variety of modes, maps, progression and an addictive gameplay loop make it the online game of 2022.
Sonic Frontiers (Sonic Team/Sega)
While another platformer is gonna make this list in a higher position, I can’t say anything in the genre has been as ambitious as Sonic Frontiers. Throwing the Blue Blur in an open-ended environment is probably the most out of left field thing Sonic Team has done since the series’ transition to 3D. Speeding through the world and fighting enemies never got old, as did the presentation. Every original song was exceptional, every boss fight was a spectacle and the story was surprisingly emotional. It’s without a doubt, Sonic’s best adventure in years.
Need For Speed: Unbound (Criterion Games/Electronic Arts)
Criterion is back.
There’s literally nothing more I can say about this other than that. My favorite game studio and the creators of the Burnout series came back to inject life into Need for Speed. The new, comic book-inspired art style coupled with more aggressive and over the top driving makes this one of the most unique triple-A racers ever made. Everything on display here is near-perfect, complete with an attitude that updates the NFS formula for a new generation. Seriously, it just makes me happy to get a new arcade racing game of this scale.
Gran Turismo 7 (Polyphony Digital/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
There were a bunch of major PS5 exclusives released this year that I barely put any time into. Horizon and God of War look fine but didn’t really call out to me. The one major, triple-A Sony exclusive that had its hooks in me was Gran Turismo 7. So many games guide us through story, and a lot of emotional reactions derive from narrative moments. Sure, that’s fine and I love a lot of story-based games but very few games use gameplay as a means to illicit emotion. GT7 was the first time I played something that felt new to me. Driving in this game felt like the real thing, with the trigger effect being utilized better than any game since the PS5’s launch. Even as an arcade racing fan, playing a simulator of this quality blew me away more than anything released this year. A true testament to Polyphony Digital’s technical prowess.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (HAL Laboratory/Nintendo)
Platformers are my favorite genre and I genuinely love the Kirby series. Nintendo’s pink mascot made the jump to 3D and what is not only the best game in the series, but arguably my new favorite Nintendo Switch exclusive. While it’s ultimately structured like the 2D games, the sense of discovery, colorful visuals and the actual gameplay made me happy. Aspects of the older Kirby games are expanded upon and there’s so many new elements like the Waddle Dee Town. Everything in this game seems like it was engineered to make me smile for the 15 or so hours I played it. There’s so few games that inspire pure joy these days, and in an era where every virtual experience seems to get bigger and more “grounded,” it’s nice to sit back, relax and go on an adventure with a familiar face.
Please check out Cj’s work here at GameCritics and listen to the podcast Super Deluxe GamesCast that he is on.