Game of the Year 2022

Game of the Year 2022


The Hooked Gamers team reveal their favourite titles from 2022

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2022 feels like a gateway year in so many ways. Hardware stock is levelling out, games that saw delays are releasing, and things are settling into something that resembles normalcy. However, the year was filled with brilliant games, both big and small.

With 2022 nearing completion, it has given the team at Hooked Gamers a chance to look back at the year in PC gaming. As is the case every year, there were big AAA titles such as the sword wielding RPG Elden Ring, the atmospheric Ghostwire: Tokyo, the D&D shooter Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and the hero-based turn-based tactical game Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

There were also several indie titles with some great new gameplay mechanics…Unknown Number with its gameplay that requires you to interact via your headset microphone, SuchArt which has you becoming the next Van Gogh or Bob Ross, or Cult of the Lamb which has you managing a cult. All these bring some added innovation to the gaming scene.

But whether you enjoyed the grand visuals and stories of the AAA titles, the innovation of the indie games, or the immersion of some VR titles, there is no doubt that each of our readers have a favourite from this year’s crop. So too, did the writers on the Hooked Gamers team…

Cult of the Lamb (William)

Game of the Year 2022

It was another big year for games and although the two Borderlands titles (Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands and New Tales from the Borderlands) gave me my fix of gunplay and adventuring, it was the indie game Cult of the Lamb that I had most fun with over the course of the year.

With its perfect blend of hack-and-slash and town management, Cult of the Lamb had me saving and recruiting devotees to my cause and then using them to further my cause. While the game starts out with the hack-and-slash adventuring and saving the poor souls, once you begin having a small army of cultists, the focus turns to keeping them happy and healthy in your little compound. Housing them, feeding them, and keeping their devotion high is a major challenge in the Sim City style portion of the game.

The simple combat and cute visuals belie the fact that the level of detail in Cult of the Lamb is surprisingly deep. With dungeon play-throughs that are never the same, and the ability to train and treat your subjects however you see fit, Cult of the Lamb is a game that never feels dull and is destined to become a cult classic. And combined with an impressive soundtrack and sound effects, it has been a game that I kept coming back to, and why it was my favourite of 2022.

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord (Howie)

Game of the Year 2022

Mount & Blade has been a fan favourite medieval sand box knight on horseback fighting game for a long time. It all started back in 2008 with the release of the original Mount & Blade which was later followed by Warband and With Fire and Sword. Giving fans a way to produce their own mods continued to breathe life into the series, with players modding the game to cover the American Civil War and Warcraft.

Now we have Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, the successor to one of the most beloved tactical sand box combat games. Although players still spend much of the time on horseback, the visuals have been greatly improved giving players a further sense of realism as they ride across the Calradian Empire and castle sieges have been enhanced, There's a new opening storyline where you need to piece together a banner and then declare yourself as the king that will ultimately save the Calradian Empire. Last but not least, party companions can do quests if you don't feel like doing them yourself. A new clan system along with the ability to have a family has been added allowing a better diplomacy system. But one of the biggest improvements in ability to have hero companions in your band. Bannerlord companions such as engineers, medical, scouts, and fighters can certainly round out your band of brother.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is so much more than the original M&B and it will make for another successful product for Taleworlds. Add in the fact that it apparently is the most fan modded computer game in history counts for a whole lot in my book. Even though Bannerlord retains the same premise as the original, it is greatly improved thanks to the wonderful visuals, streamlined combat and added mechanics. That's why Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is my game of the year!

Two Point Campus (Dan)

Game of the Year 2022

While Two Point Campus doesn't quite manage to reach the same unexpected heights as its genre-redefining predecessor, its consistent use of dry-witted Monty Python-esque satirical humour, relaxing yet compelling gameplay, and its extensive worldbuilding tools make this newest entry in the Two Point series one of, if not the single, most entertaining casual strategy games released this year. Rarely has a transition from an emergency room to a university lecture hall been handled so well.

Dwarf Fortress (Jordan)

Game of the Year 2022

My favourite game of 2022 finally saw a wide release on December 6th, has been in production since I was in elementary school, and has been technically playable since my Junior year of high school. The impact of this game is hard to overstate, as you can see the threads of its systems in so many popular games today.

Dwarf Fortress was, until recently, an ASCII art colony management game with brutal difficulty and a staggering level of complexity. With its Steam and Itch release we now have a graphic representation that loses exactly none of its previous charm. It's also the first time the game has been available for a monetary price, and it’s well worth it. The two designers, the Adams brothers, spent over two decades with this passion project generating zero income, and that alone is cause for recommendation.

The game itself is, simply put, massive. The level of interconnected systems and simulations are a sight to behold and can easily leave you speechless repeatedly. Managing the elements of the world and the emergent gameplay is as fulfilling as it is challenging. And while the game now has a tutorial to lead you in, it does little-to-no handholding. The entire experience is a slack-jaw inducing management ride on the first and ten-thousandth play through alike. With the popularity of games like Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress might be destined for another twenty years of obscurity, but I will forever remember 2022 as the year it finally got its chance to shine to the world. It's a gargantuan product developed by two brothers, it's a Museum of Modern Art inductee, and it's the 2022 game release that most deserves to shine. Beware, though, as you
can easily spend hundreds of hours pouring into this colossal and demanding world. Just remember: losing is fun!

Marvel's Midnight Suns (Quinn)

Game of the Year 2022

Midnight Suns was, at the same time, both a safe bet and a huge gamble for Firaxis Games (of XCOM and Civilization fame). With a strong turn-based tactical formula to build on and one of the most beloved entertainment IPs of all time available to work with, expectations were understandably high. However, with those expectations came worries that Midnight Suns would simply be an XCOM reskin, and relative disappointments like Marvel's Avengers soured some on big-budget Marvel games. Fortunately for both the studio and fans, Midnight Suns is a fantastic tactics game that utilizes the best parts of past Firaxis games while also carving out an identity as something undeniably new.

What Midnight Suns does best is successful in keeping the feel of a Saturday morning superhero cartoon. Fights are much smaller in scale than those in past Firaxis games, but the action is as colourful and bombastic as any Marvel fan could want. Each of the playable characters felt great to play and had their personalities and power sets translated extremely well. Beaming entire Hydra squads with Captain Marvel, shoving Sabretooth through a portal and into an electrified box with Magik, or calling down a massive missile barrage with Iron Man look and feel good, and the deck-building elements allow for a satisfying level of customization and strategic squad building.

Beyond combat, though, the game isn't afraid to slow things down and explore the human side of being a superhero and working as part of a team. While the Abby friendship and teambuilding content may not be for everyone; it succeeds in adding personal stakes to the story and fleshing out under-represented characters in a way that, for some, hasn’t been seen in popular media. Midnight Suns is fast, fun, and exactly the type of Marvel content that the gaming medium needs more of.

Little Witch Nobeta (Samuel)

Game of the Year 2022

In a world where there are a few hundred souls-likes and a few dozen of them where you play as some manner of cute anime girl, it can be easy to lose Little Witch Nobeta in the herd. Doing so would be a mistake because you would miss out on one of the best action games in years. Little Witch Nobeta is a skilful mix of traditional Souls melee combat with 3rd-person shooting, that manages the rare trick of making all its different combat options complement each other seamlessly.

Sure, Little Witch Nobeta lacks the breadth of options and depth of content of something like Elden Ring. But in a world where games are getting increasingly bloated, I can't fault an indie developer for opting for a simpler, more polished approach. Little Witch Nobeta is a perfect 15-hour action game with great combat, memorable bosses, and a subtle but engaging storyline. Highly recommended for any degenerate weebs, and worth checking out even for normies.

Do you agree with our selections? Follow us on Instagram and let us know what your favourite of 2022 has been. And as always, keep in touch for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.