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Another year, another best-of list for games. This year, however, I wanted to try something different.
It was a busy year for games, so instead of a straightforward list of the best games, I decided to pick a favorite for every month of the year. That’s right: 12 excellent games (and some runners-up) across 2022.
Here’s my list of picks for the best game for every month in 2022.
January – Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Just when I thought Pokémon could no longer innovate on its aging gameplay and mechanics came Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
The game takes a bold step forward to what looks to be the future of Pokémon – open-world adventures where exploration, combat and catching pocket monsters feel seamless and fluid. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Pokémon games ever, and one that any fan shouldn’t overlook.
Runner-ups: Nobody Saves the World, Monster Hunter: Rise
February – Elden Ring
Elden Ring is arguably the most accessible Souls game yet. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s any less unforgiving than its predecessors. It’s just that this time there’s a lot more freedom afforded to players, the highlight of which is the breathtaking open-world that’s filled to the brim with mysteries and bosses to be uncovered.
That, perhaps more than anything, is why the game is so brilliant – that loop of being punished and rewarded at the same time while satisfying the urge to explore. Make no mistake about it, this is a game that’ll continue to be discussed among gamers everywhere in years to come.
Runner-ups: Horizon Forbidden West, Sifu
March – Gran Turismo 7
One of the best-looking games to date on the PS5, Gran Turismo 7 brings the longstanding racing to the next-generation. The photorealistic details on the cars and tracks are gorgeous, while the clever implementation of haptic feedback and 3D audio – new features of the PS5 – dramatically up the immersion. More than that, however, the driving feels incredibly intricate yet surprisingly accessible at the same time, making the game perfect for newcomers and veteran fans alike.
Runner-ups: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Tunic, Kirby and the Forgotten Land
April – LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the best LEGO game yet, and I’ve played a good number of them. The game innovates ever so slightly by providing players more choice in their adventures, with bigger maps and sandboxes to play in, while maintaining the fun of collecting studs that can be used to buy the hundreds of unlockable characters and ships. Star Wars fans owe it to themselves to give this a try, if only to experience all nine films again, which have been lovingly recreated in toy form.
Runner-up: Nintendo Switch Sports
May – Evil Dead: The Game
Evil Dead: The Game brings new twists to the asymmetrical horror genre that Dead by Daylight popularized. It’s a multiplayer game that’s relentless on delivering scares and throwing players a few curveballs here and there, which makes matches genuinely thrilling. And it manages to do this while capturing the campy charm of the cult classics it’s based off of.
Runner-up: Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong
June – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge strikes a fine balance between new and retro, taking the best aspects of the gameplay of arcade beat-em-ups and modernizing it for today’s players. Every punch and kick the Turtles dish out feel oh-so satisfying, making the combat endlessly fun. It also faithfully captures the essence of the classic Turtles games without relying too heavily on the appeal of nostalgia.
Runner-ups: The Quarry, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, Diablo Immortal
July – Stray
An adorable and engaging puzzle-platformer, Stray is one of the most unique experiences of the year. The premise of having players fill the furry paws of an adorable orange cat alone is already pretty intriguing, but the game is more than just that. There’s a strong commitment to world-building here that perfectly complements the simple yet endearing story, which I didn’t expect.
Runner-up: Xenoblade Chronicles 3
August – MultiVersus
If there’s ever a game that could give Nintendo’s Smash Bros. a run for its money in the platform fighting genre, it would likely be MultiVersus. The game pits fan-favorite characters from various Warner Bros. properties, including Batman, Bugs Bunny and Shaggy, to name a few, against each other in anything-goes brawls. The controls are tight and action is always frenetic, making for a good time with some friends, not to mention it’s free-to-play.
Runner-ups: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, Cult of the Lamb
September – Splatoon 3
When it comes to games that are simply fun to play, Splatoon 3 is hard to beat. The family-friendly, competitive shooter – if you can call it a shooter – where players douse each other with colored ink is back, touting more moves, more weapons, more modes and more challenges. While it doesn’t do much to reinvent the winning formula that debuted in 2015, the game remains as irresistibly charming and as enjoyable as ever.
Runner-up: The Last of Us Part I
October – A Plague Tale: Requiem
The 2019 sleeper hit A Plague Tale: Innocence didn’t necessarily need a sequel, but, boy, am I glad that it got one. A Plague Tale: Requiem expands on the scope and scale of its predecessor, boasting more set piece moments that showcase the game’s apocalyptic vision of a medieval plague in impressive fashion – rats aplenty, of course. In spite of this, the game doesn’t ever waver from the heartfelt story it’s trying to tell, with the complex relationship between protagonists Amicia de Rune and her brother Hugo at the very center.
Runner-ups: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Bayonetta 3, Marvel Snap
November – God of War Ragnarök
There’s probably nothing I can say about God of War Ragnarök that hasn’t already been said before. This much-awaited PlayStation exclusive is a pure masterclass in creative design and storytelling, pushing the video game medium in a way that no other game can. It’s a worthy sequel to 2018’s God of War, satisfying, if not surpassing, the insurmountable expectations placed upon it.
Runner-ups: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
December – Marvel’s Midnight Suns
As an avid comic reader and a fan of turn-based strategy, Marvel’s Midnight Suns is my favorite game of 2022. That’s a controversial take, I know, given how Elden Ring and God of War also came out this year. Hear me out though: Midnight Suns is a genuinely engaging superhero adventure that has an addictive and deep combat system. But as fun as busting baddies is, it’s the moments in between – the time you spend developing relationships and bantering with some of Marvel’s iconic heavy-hitters – that ultimately kept me hooked.
Runner-ups: The Callisto Protocol, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
There you have it folks: My list of the best games for every month of 2022. What were your favorite games this year? – Rappler.com