You could argue that 2022 has been a disappointing year for games.
Despite being more than two years into the life cycles of the PS5 and Xbox series X, there are still only a handful of games you could truly call next-gen, let alone yet to be released on the previous generation of hardware. Meanwhile, massive titles like star field and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom were both surprised to arrive in 2022, and both slipped into next year. The absence of a proper E3 for the second year in a row hasn’t affected the games that have been released, but there’s just been a general lack of excitement in the industry since the summer.
And yet, we will never forget the February 2022 barnstorm, at the end of which quite possibly one of the greatest games ever committed to coding arrived, and our game of the year by far. Nintendo also had a very strong year, even without Mario and Zelda, Microsoft Game pass the service is always great value, and there are so many amazing games coming out of the indie scene all the time that the relative lack of AAA games in the second half of the year didn’t seem be a huge problem. We also got the steam bridge this year, which transformed our relationship with older games in our PC library.
Not a record, perhaps, but far from a year to count as a disappointment, and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings to our eager thumbs and fingers. But for now, let’s celebrate the best in interactive entertainment of 2022.
Game of the Year: Elden Ring
Ring of Elden is much more than an open world dark souls. This is an open world game for people who are tired of open world games, for people who are tired of their relentless side quests of hand grabbing, tower scaling and busy work. Ring of Elden is the first open-world game of this scale since breath of the wild who fully trusts you to go on an adventure.
And what adventures there are to be had in the Lands Between. You’ll die. A lot – it comes with the territory in a FromSoftware game. But the beauty of Ring of Elden does, unlike the souls games that paved the way for this, getting stuck on a particular boss doesn’t present a dead end. If you’re struggling, you can just leave and explore. Choose a point on your map, mount your horse and save the merciless loop of failure for another session.
We could talk for days about the brilliant combat, the huge range of playstyles the game allows for, the incredibly intricate world design, quirky NPCs, mysterious lore, and awesome boss fights. But the best thing about Ring of Elden, this dizzying masterpiece of an open-world RPG that has consumed our time this year like nothing else, is that everyone gets to experience it entirely their own. One of the greatest.
Highly Recommended: God of War Ragnarok
2018 God of the war was a complete reimagining of an almost forgotten hack and slash series that hadn’t really been a big deal since the days of the PS2. Not only did the combat become much more visceral and cinematic, but the game told us a beautifully written and deeply human story about fatherhood, legacy and regret that made it one of the PS4’s greatest triumphs.
The rest will therefore never have the same impact, and it is true that the opening hours of God of War Ragnarok feel a little too familiar. But it eventually becomes clear that this is a much bigger and more ambitious game than its predecessor. Kratos is still a fantastic character to control and watch, oscillating between chopping up mythical beasts and worrying about his son’s teenage angst in a way that must be exhausting. There’s very little here that doesn’t ooze quality whether you’re playing the game or watching it. In a year bereft of big-budget AAA productions, God of War Ragnarok is the winter blockbuster we needed.
Congratulations: Stray, OlliOlli World, Return to Monkey Island
It’s well documented that everyone wants to be a cat, and the memorable cyberpunk meow, Wanderdidn’t do much to change our minds. OlliOlli World is a great cartoon skateboarding game that we still play today, and Back to Monkey Island made us laugh more than any other game this year. The legendary series is fresher than ever.
About Stuff Gadget Prizes
The Stuff Gadget Awards are where we reward the best tech we’ve seen over the year with gongs that celebrate their status as the crème de la crème of gadgets. Learn more about The Stuff Gadget prizes.