That cannot be denied Elder ring is the best game of 2022. That’s my choice by the way. I actually think anyone who chooses anything else should shake their head (although of course I respect their opinion and suggest aspirin for the bumped head).
But at the same time… gosh, there are a few games that I really admire this year. There is Vampire survivors, which has the excellent frenetic energy of a ’90s classic. There is Marvel Snapwhich somehow dragged me back to the world of collectible card games, against all odds, and at the same time that an enhanced digital version of the Pokemon TCG was launched.
I could go on. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a top-tier JRPG, gleefully employing genre tropes without shame or embarrassment – and to great effect. penance is the kind of game the industry needs to make more of. Midnight sunbathing continue Firaxis’ streak of making only shit-hot games, and nothing else, all bangers, all the time. Immortality is mind blowingly brilliant. And God – Sonic Limits made Sonic… a little… good? Again? What the hell is that about?
But it’s all about Elden Ring. For me, only one thing really comes close, and that is Pokemon Legends: Arceus, a game that’s both very good and hugely exciting because of how exciting it is to think about it in the context of the rest of the Pokemon series. Legends Arceus should represent some kind of big change for the series, and as a Pokemon fan, it’s kind of the game I’ve been dreaming about since I was about 12. It’s brilliant. Any other year would have won.
But Elden Ring. Ohhh, Elden Ring. I had an inkling it would be good, but I never thought it would be this good. What’s brilliant about it, I think, is that it’s simultaneously the deepest and most accessible Souls game all at once. It’s a studio that’s never built an open world game before it seems like it’s just casually dropping one of the most natural-feeling and engaging open worlds for good.
It’s actually not really anything. It’s everything. I can point to a number of games this year that do individual, specific things better than Elden Ring – but I can’t point to any this year – or a year back to 2017 and Breath of the Wild – where it all comes together in such a cohesive , irrepressible whole.
I’m not even one of those Souls weirdos either. I’ve always found those games fun enough, but Elden Ring is the first to grab me like this. It’s the first to make me watch excruciatingly long knowledge sessions on YouTube. And it’s the first one I’ve felt compelled to play more than twice.
What a match. Here’s to an expansion next year – and good luck with any new games coming around.