My Games of the Year: 2022 Edition

According to my Steam replay for 2022, two of the games I’ve played the most this year have been Apex Legends and Destiny. Steam is of course not counting the hours I spent in a non-Steam game like Overwatch. Yet, none of these games are on my list of games of the year.

Apex Legends, Forza Horizon 5, Destiny 2, Yakuza Like A Dragon, Cyberpunk 2077 - these are the top 5 games by % of playtime according to Steam.
Apex Legends, Forza Horizon 5, Destiny 2, Yakuza Like A Dragon, Cyberpunk 2077 – these are the top 5 games by % of playtime according to Steam.

It seems despite my enjoyment of multiplayer shooters, I grow increasingly tired of their progression systems. Every multiplayer game has a battle pass. Every game is a grind. For a time some of this grind is even mildly enjoyable. But only for a time, eventually I get tired of them. I slogged through an entire season of Apex Legends, bought the battle pass for the next one and then lost interest part way through.

So for my 2022 list of games of the year I have a list of single player games I consider good or interesting or weird or all of those things. More importantly all of these games don’t have an endless treadmill. They end.

Here they are, in no particular order.

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The Open Worldification of Video Games

Today I read an article on Rock Paper Shotgun which was a bitter rant about how bad Sonic Frontiers is and there is a paragraph in it that I want to expound upon:

Oh, for God’s sake, of course I’m bitter. How could I not be bitter that Sonic has thrown all that delightful strangeness, that off-beat wrongness back in my weeping face? What the hell is Sonic Frontiers, anyway? A set of enormous maps that you gradually reveal portions of, complete with icons all over it to tidy up? It’s blinkin’, bleedin’ Assassin’s Creed, isn’t it? This is what people want from Sonic! This is what makes them cheer! To see him to fall in line. For him to be boring.

Stuart Gipp, “Sonic Frontiers is popular, but it’s a boring Sonic game – and I’m bitter about it”
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Boring Bethesda

a screenshot from the Starfield official reveal video showing the “digipick” lockpicking minigame

What is that saying? “There is nothing new under the sun.” Well, Bethesda is out here proving that a hundred times over. A hundred star systems, a thousand planets, all of them with the dreadfully boring lockpicking system in them. But hey, this time we called it “Digipick”, isn’t that cool and futuristic?

For fuck’s sake. I don’t think Bethesda is capable of making something that is not Skyrim with a different coat of paint anymore. This time they don’t even have the lore and world of The Elder Scrolls universe to finger-paint with. Maybe the modding community will yet again bail them out of their creative bankruptcy.

There never was any Bethesda “magic”, just the one trick that they keep doing on the back of crunching developers.

I don’t want to climb that damn mountain Todd.

2021 Games of the Year

It is Christmas as I write this post and this year in games feels like a total blur. While making this list I had to think long and hard to make sure there wasn’t anything that was really good but I had forgotten about in the haze of seasonal depression.

But as it turns out no, I played a bunch of games this year but only two really stand out as games I think are worthy of being called my Games of the Year.

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Zelda

This week reviews for the Skyward Sword HD remaster came out and it brought me to a realization. I realized that I don’t actually care about Zelda as a franchise.

The reason I played Breath of the Wild was because it was a novel open world game which encouraged exploration. Nothing about the characters or the story was particularly interesting or compelling. The final boss fight felt more like a obligation than a fun thing to do.

One thing that was interesting to me from reading this review was seeing the origin of ideas that got refined in Breath of the Wild. Systems like the stamina system and weapon degradation were present in a crude way in Skyward Sword. I hope BOTW 2 sees further refinement or even removal of the weapon degradation system because that was another part of BOTW that was not enjoyable at all.

Weapon degradation in BOTW meant that the flow of the already mediocre combat system got broken in the middle of a combat encounter. So you stop and switch to another weapon. Aggravating to say the least.