Some years loom large over the history of gaming. The year 2001 saw the release of Halo: Combat Evolved, Advance Wars, Super Smash Bros: Melee, and Grand Theft Auto 3. In 2007, gamers were floored by games like Bioshock, Mass Effect, Portal, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Recently, the most impressive year for gaming was inarguably 2017. That year saw publishers release heavy hitters like Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Now, we’re not even halfway through 2022 and the year has already proven to be one of the biggest for gaming ever.
In the first few months of 2022, we’ve seen everything from the open-world masterpiece Elden Ring to the sprawling Witch Queen expansion for the long-running looter-shooter Destiny 2. It’s impossible to overstate the sheer magnitude of excellent games released in only four months since the start of 2022. What’s more, there are some stellar games on the horizon that will continue to make 2022 one of the best years in gaming history.
What’s Going on with All These Games?
Let’s address the obvious answer first: 2022 has been a great year for games because most projects that were under development in 2020 for release later that year or in the holiday season of 2021 were delayed. Global conditions pushed most developers to work from home, and some studios took to the change of pace better than others.
These conditions led to numerous delays in the gaming industry, shunting games like Elden Ring, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and Horizon: Forbidden West into early 2022. Whatever the cause, the effect remains. This year is absolutely stacked with blockbuster titles.
Let’s start by taking a look at the most outstanding games of 2022 so far before diving into the best-looking games on the horizon for the back half of the year.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Game Freak finally broke the mold and made something incredible with their latest title, Pokemon Legends: Arceus. The new Pokemon action RPG still sees players chasing magical monsters and completing their Pokedex. However, Game Freak switched up the gameplay, eliminating the friction seen in recent entries in the long-running series.
When you throw a Pokeball at a wild monster, you’ll know almost instantly whether you caught it. Combat is now seamlessly integrated into exploration, as you’ll dodge monster attacks in real-time before sending out your own Pokemon to retaliate. It’s a more immediate, engrossing experience that breathes new life into the aging Pokemon formula.
If the upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Lavender continue this new type of exploration-focused gameplay, then fans are in for a treat. The series hasn’t felt this fresh and exciting since Red and Blue for the Game Boy.
Horizon: Forbidden West
The Horizon series can’t seem to catch a break in terms of release window. The first entry, Zero Dawn, is an excellent third-person action game that pushes the PlayStation 4 to its technological limits. It was also released a week before The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of the most important video games ever created.
Flash forward five years to the release of the game’s sequel, Horizon: Forbidden West, and it’s the same old story. Forbidden West is inarguably excellent, sporting incredible graphics and delightful gameplay. It’s also been almost completely overshadowed by the incomparable masterpiece Elden Ring, another open-world fantasy RPG in the vein of Breath of the Wild.
That awful timing aside, the series continues to surprise and impress fans, and Forbidden West is one of the best games of 2022 so far.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
The first Destiny hit the scene back in 2014. Eight years later, the franchise is still going strong with its latest expansion, The Witch Queen. The latest chapter in the long-running looter shooter sees Bungie pushing the story forward with uncharacteristic immediacy.
For years, Destiny’s plot has advanced at a glacial pace. Even when players have dealt grievous blows to the force of Darkness, the game’s narrative has barely shifted to acknowledge these victories. Now, with series antagonist Savathun at the forefront of the latest expansion, players are finally learning more about the villains that are gunning for humanity.
The gameplay in this latest outing is also pitch-perfect, as always. The combat is tight and frenetic, the new locales are gorgeous and terrifying in equal measure, and the production values are as high as Destiny fans have come to expect.
What can I say about Elden Ring that hasn’t already been said? The game is a towering achievement for From Software. It’s a colossal open-world fantasy RPG that puts its trust in the player. You’re free to explore every deadly corner of the Lands Between, but one wrong move can see you defeated in the blink of an eye and whisked back to the nearest Site of Grace.
The game’s phenomenal combat loop, which sees players learning how to maximize their limited resources, reinforces its central theme. You might be small, but you’re also persistent. This humanity-affirming message gives players something to fight for as they battle towering demons and seemingly invincible demigods across the doomed landscapes of Elden Ring.
Players patient enough to stick with Elden Ring and discover its countless secrets will find a game that becomes more rewarding the more you’re willing to work with it. If you work with it and learn to speak its language, the game will show you the best RPG open-world since Breath of the Wild.
God of War Ragnarok
The next big game from PlayStation Studios, God of War: Ragnarok, faces massive expectations from fans. The 2018 God of War reboot blew fans away with its immersive story, well-realized Norse mythology setting, and stellar vocal performances. The game’s straightforward combat and refreshingly simple RPG elements made it accessible to a wide audience, and it became a smash hit for Sony’s PlayStation 4 console.
Ragnarok will pick up where its predecessor left off, pitting Kratos and his son, Atreus, against more of the Norse pantheon. The first game’s post-credit stinger hinted that Thor, the God of Thunder, would play a major role as an antagonist in the upcoming action game.
Fans won’t have to wait much longer to play the new God of War. Sony confirmed that it will release on the PlayStation 5 sometime in 2022.
It’s been seven years since the final Rocksteady Batman title, Arkham Knight, hit the scene. Rocksteady wisely stepped away from the mega-popular franchise after four entries saturated players with more henchmen fights and stealth sections than you can shake a Batarang at. However, some fans have grown to miss the familiar Gotham City action of these superhero titles, and Gotham Knights will soon return players to the world of the Caped Crusader.
This time, players will assume the role of Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, or Dick Grayson. Batman is no longer active in Gotham City thanks to the efforts of his seemingly endless rogues gallery, so it’s up to his four proteges to bring justice to the streets. Players will be able to engage in drop-in, drop-out co-op play as one of the four playable characters, offering up tactical nuance and unique challenges for each superhero. The new title will hit PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on October 25.
Bethesda’s latest open-world RPG, Starfield, is still largely a mystery. Fans are mainly excited to see what the studio has in store because its previous RPG outings, Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, are some of the most beloved games of all time. This new title will take place in the distant future after humanity has colonized the stars and created civilizations beyond our solar system.
Bethesda promises the upcoming Starfield will be a more “traditional” RPG than their prior entries, using old-school character stats and a robust character creation system. Aside from this, we really don’t know much about the game. It will release on November 11, 2022, for the Xbox Series X and PC.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
The newest mainline entries in the Pokemon series, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, will likely follow the same pattern as Pokemon Legends: Arceus by giving players the freedom to explore with a third-person camera and an open world full of monsters who patrol the landscape in real-time. Nintendo has suggested the new game will have no borders like Arceus does and will allow players to seamlessly travel between its cities on their latest Pokemon adventure.
Scarlet and Violet will feature landscapes inspired by Spain and the Mediterranean region of Europe. It will also introduce a new generation of Pokemon to the ever-expanding roster of cute monsters that players can track, capture, and train.
So, there you have it. 2022 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years in gaming history, with tons of massive titles all landing in quick succession. The only thing gamers need now is more time to play all of these huge blockbuster titles!