Marvel’s Midnight Suns is a refreshing delight. One you know went through rigorous stages of pitching and proposal and, at one point, may have been left on the cutting room floor. I am so glad this game has been made as it offers a fascinating insight into characters you know and some you may not. It tells a compelling tale that has room for humor and typical Marvel fun. Most of all, it has intriguing gameplay mechanics that evolve over time and individually suit one of the most impressive rosters we’ve seen in any Marvel title before. Midnight Suns is simply brilliant and a must play whether you love the franchise or just fancy a bit of strategic action.
Syberia – The World Before is a wonderfully directed, well-flowing story that keeps you guessing and invested through developing mechanics, varied puzzle solving and well written characters. There are some minor performance issues but nothing that holds the adventure back from being a fitting, apt conclusion and the best installment in a series that began nearly 20 years ago.
Pentiment has unexpectedly shot towards the top of my favourite games of the year. It’s yet further proof of the amazing talent and creativity bubbling away in the Obsidian studios and is one of the best examples of a game that dares to be different by not trying to do everything, instead focusing its approach. Smartly written, beautifully drawn, and masterfully designed, Pentiment is an intelligent, humorous adventure that is as enriching as it is enjoyable.
Sonic Frontiers takes the Hedgehog in an exciting, fulfilling direction. The controls feel cohesive and coherent, the open zone concept is a smart game-changer, with the freedom of exploration coupled with a genuine feeling of enjoyment. It doesn’t always get its choices right, it doesn’t look as crisp as it could and there’s a few things holding it back from being the game it should be. Ultimately, though, the future of the franchise is looking less blurry and more bright!
God of War Ragnarök is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. It’s visually enchanting, has world-class acting, is complete with a scintillating musical score, and pacing that puts it head and shoulders above everything else in the AAA space. This isn’t just the best God of War game ever made, it’s a generation-defining title that makes the best of PlayStation 5 and leads the line in terms of accessibility, care, attention to detail and quality. If you’ve been waiting for the game to justify your journey into the next generation, this is it!
A Plague Tale: Requiem took me on a journey I won’t soon forget. I loved its gameplay evolutions over its predecessor and much like Innocence, I fell in love with its characters, laughed and smiled gleefully at their exchanges, all while bearing my teeth and holding my breath through some of its chapters. While the story pacing is slightly off and stretches on longer than it needs, this is a beautiful, compelling and enriching game with a budget to provide some truly epic, jaw-dropping moments.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has one of the most interesting cast of characters and gripping stories I’ve played in a good, long time. It hooked me from its opening moments and despite some misgivings and frustrations with its controls and mechanics, it’s a CRPG that will stay in my rotation and remain with me for years to come.
Splatoon 3 is pure joy in a video game. It gives you a dose of the familiar, splicing it with the new and giving it all a sparkling coat of paint. It’s a complete package that will continue to delight for years to come with updates and additions. Without question, this is the defining game in the franchise and one that is sure to provide an exciting, interesting and bold new future.
The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow is one of the most memorable and engaging games in recent years and is both a wonderful throwback to a classic era and a marvellous step forward in design and execution. You’ll be hanging on its every word and desperate to discover the truth from one turn to the next. Just brilliant!
Return to Monkey Island is a smart reinvention of the adventure game that caters to new audiences while still managing to appease long-term fans of the genre. From the witty dialogue, to the beautiful visuals, the excellent voice acting, and the clever puzzles, this is an adventure you won’t soon forget from beginning to end and a joy throughout.
A remake that opens up the possibilities to more players and communities than ever before, The Last of Us Part 1 has never looked or played better, despite the game now being several generations old. It feels natural and completely at home on PlayStation 5 despite the stripped-out multiplayer and the eye-watering price-tag. All that considered, there’s never been a better time or place to enter the world of The Last of Us in a version that’s definitive and ensures the franchise continues to evolve and won’t be lost to time.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a fine party game that offers a nice alternative to other Nintendo properties, uses the Kirby license well and is at a competitive price point to other indies that it borrows elements from. The variety is limited, and the games are quite repetitive, so it’s not of the same caliber and quality of other party games but what Dream Buffet does, it does very well.
The Cowabunga Collection truly is one of the best compilations of retro quality I’ve seen in a long time. Not every title is a hit and particularly enjoyable, but the way each game has been lovingly presented and masterfully recreated for modern formats deserves infinite praise. It’s also a fantastic reminder of how important this license was for Konami and the love, respect and care they showed it can teach publishers important lessons for years to come.
If you ever loved Tony Hawks, Jet Set Radio, Max Payne or any/all of the above, you should definitely look into Rollerdrome. It’s a smart, well-designed, polished genre hybrid that genuinely does something a bit different while still giving you a game you’ll enjoy and be familiar with.
Neon White is full of some of the most refreshing, engaging action I’ve seen in ages, but it also has surprising soul and heart in its characters and story. It’s a total package in every sense of the word. Just be prepared, it’ll keep you glued to the screen long into the night and deep into a weekend.
Without question, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is one of the best side-scrolling beat-em-ups in years and it stands proudly alongside the quality lineage of products we’ve seen from the genre over the years. It might even be an unexpected Game of the Year contender. Just delightful.
The Witch Queen is, without doubt, the best Destiny 2 expansion. The things it sets in motion, the flow between missions, the beautiful setpieces, epic battles, and wonderful voice acting marry up beautifully to create an unmissable expansion, even if some questions still remain about Destiny 2’s treatment of its content and how to access some of it.
I would go as far as to say Pokémon Legends: Arceus is my all-time favourite Pokémon game. It’s one I’ve already spent an obscene amount of time with, but also a game that has found a smart way to play into familiar tropes, while also evolving and developing them for a newer generation. There’s a more engaging story that opens up exciting possibilites for the wider world, the graphics and animations are beautifully suited and the game feels stable even during heavy conflict and activity. Even the music is something to treasure with tracks you’ll find yourself quickly humming along to. If 2022 is going to be the best year for Switch yet, Nintendo couldn’t have started it any better with this absolute treasure and sure-fire Game of the Year contender.
Endwalker is a thank you to the fans for their patience, passion and perseverance. Without question, it’s the defining moment of one of gaming’s greatest ever comeback stories, now somehow more popular than it’s ever been. Because of that, I truly hope we’ll see these faces again someday, taking on new stories and venturing to new places. Square Enix can be proud that this is the best Final Fantasy has been in many years and it sets the bar high for anything that follows.
No question about it, Playground Games have redefined the genre with Forza Horizon 5. Visually, mechanically, and everything else in-between. This is a remarkable achievement in every sense of the word and a truly incredible video game that’s the most accessible next-gen title to date. When Microsoft talk about how Xbox Game Pass will alter the landscape of the industry and is more than just a selling point for a console, Forza Horizon 5 backs up every word as its flagship title.