Remember when we thought how bad 2020 was and that 2021 could never match it? And not only did it, but we’re well into 2022 and it’s already drunk and eager to top both of those previous years. Bright side is we got a year with some of the best games in recent memory and that concerts are finally back. Sort of.
9. Hot Wheels Unleashed
Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed has been king of the arcade racer for years, but it may have finally met its match with Hot Wheels Unleashed. I grew up playing with a lot of Hot Wheels cars, so I was immediately drawn to the idea of playing a game that accurately replicated the real life cars and tracks. Hot Wheels Unleashed takes a lethal injection of nostalgia as each toy car is lovingly replicated to some insane detail. From the toy info on the bottom of the car, to even fingerprints being visible on the car, you can tell a lot of care and attention was put into crafting this game. It also plays amazingly well, with some absolutely bonkers track designs that kid me could only dream of making. Read our review.
Best Moment: Witnessing the track insanity of your first boss battle
8. Aliens: Fireteam
We all know Alien games don’t have the best reputation when it comes to good games, but Aliens Fireteam blew away any doubts. On the surface it takes inspiration from Left 4 Dead, but in actuality it riffs off games like Vermintide with its class based RPG gameplay. The gameplay itself is fun, but it’s the attention to detail that really caught my eye. This is a game clearly made by Alien fans, for Alien fans. The environments throw you into areas that feel ripped right from the movies, and they even took some pages from Prometheus and made me actually give a shit about the lore that film introduced. The sound design however is perfect. Hearing the pulse rifle go off as you mow down screeching xenos just makes me giddy, and the use of wood instruments in the music really helps separate it from the typical grand orchestral music. Aliens Fireteam is definitely my surprise hit of the year and can’t wait to see more. Read our review.
Best Moment: Making it to the ship before it takes off as a horde of xenos are hot on your tail
7. Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil 7 floored me with how well it made the transition to first-person, while retaining that classic Resident Evil gameplay, and Resident Evil 8 does that but mixes in some of the influence from RE4. I loved the pivot to more classic monsters like the werewolves, and the cast is kooky in just the right ways. The sound design in particular is the standout here, as dread just fills your ears while you explore. Read our review.
Best Moment: Ethan getting his hand lopped clean off, then slapping it back on like no big deal
6. Metroid Dread
I’m a relatively recent Metroid fan, as I’ve only ever played a bit of the classic games ages ago, and some of Prime. So in preparation for Metroid Dread I blasted through the first four games in the series and was immediately hooked. It says volumes about the series’ formula that I can play through five Metroid games in less than a month and still be hungry for more. Dread took everything I loved from those games while adding some smart modernization, along with having some of the best boss fights in the franchise. Read our review.
Best Moment: The finale
5. Hitman 3
IO Interactive has been on a roll since they brought the Hitman franchise back to its roots. This trilogy of games have been phenomenal one after the other and instead of the usual explosive finale, they instead opt for a braver subdued end to this trilogy. The game continues the series’ staple of “enter the environment, find the target, then proceed to poke around every corner for the best way to kill them and escape”, and Hitman 3 makes sure to fill its world with entertaining ways to play. It’s a bittersweet feeling seeing the trilogy end and knowing the franchise will be put on pause for the foreseeable future, but I’ll just fill that time by replaying the trilogy all over again. Read our review.
Best Moment: The Knives Out style “whodunit” level
4. Monster Hunter Rise
Listen, I’m a simple man. I love big hammers and smacking a dinosaur in the face with it. I’ve never been hot on the 3DS Monster Hunter games, as I feel like they got a little too “Bandai anime” for my tastes and was concerned Monster Hunter Rise would be the same case. After fiddling around with the game I was quickly proven wrong as the wirebugs, and increased movement options made this one of, if not the best playing Monster Hunter game of all time. Being able to shoot myself halfway across the map with my gun lance is a joy I never thought I’d experience in this series and I hope it stays. Read our review.
Best Moment: Getting that clutch final shot in a difficult Rampage quest
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
I love the Guardians of the Galaxy. The cosmic Marvel stuff was some of the first comics I had read, instantly falling for the classic Starlord outfit, and the films are still probably my favorite MCU movies. It was a bit odd to see a studio that had previously handled an FPS RPG series take on something like this, but playing the game made it obvious they were perfect for the job. The Guardians are perfectly written and acted, and the game features some of the most earnest and humanizing moments I’ve seen in a game. I’m eager to see what a sequel to this looks like, especially if it goes in a Mass Effect 2 direction like the Knowhere level implies is the goal. Read our review.
Best Moment: When the team finally comes together as a family and perform their environmental actions without needing your command
It’s hard to talk about Inscryption without spoiling anything about it. It’s a card game with rogue-like elements, and absolutely oozes uneasy dread. It’s an uncomfortable experience that makes you want to keep going forward to see how deep the game’s mystery goes. Read our review.
Best Moment: Creating the most overpowered card ever, and beefing the entire run because I got cocky and wasn’t paying attention
1. Halo Infinite
I’m sure we all went into this with extremely low expectations. 343 hasn’t had the greatest track record since they took over the franchise from Bungie what with the shoddy release of the Master Chief Collection, Halo 4, Halo 5, and finally that unimpressive E3 showing for Infinite. It was a demo so badly received they delayed the game, and thank god they did. I don’t know what dark magic they did between then and now, but they finally realized what makes Halo work and knocked it out of the ballpark with Halo Infinite. Released a month early, I was (and still am) absolutely hooked to the multiplayer and it’s been genuinely nice to see a developer openly addressing community concerns as they’ve been doing and fixing them (for the most part). The campaign was the hardest sell though, with the idea of an open world Halo being a very dangerous idea as it’s genius in context but could be very easily fumbled. 343 nailed it with the tight, focused map design that didn’t overwhelm you with unnecessary activities (take note Ubisoft) with a story that actually kept me interested and engaged throughout. The Chief is probably at his best in this game, with some of his most humanizing moments ever, and I loved the Weapon and Esparza. Genuinely can’t wait to see where the series goes after this.
Best Moment: The training room gauntlet
- hitman 3