Spencer Legacy’s Top 10 Games of the Year
Best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s weeklong celebration of the entertainment that made this past year so memorable.
As with most years, 2022 has been a grand time for gamers. Although the pandemic has still had a lingering effect throughout the industry, it still couldn’t stop the torrent of enjoyable titles from flowing. So many titles came out that I still haven’t gotten around to big names like God of War Ragnarök, Cult of the Lamb, Midnight Suns, Elden Ring, AI: The Somnium Files: Nirvana Initiative, and Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe. They might have been on this list if there were at least 48 hours in each day.
But that’s enough of a prelude. Let’s look my top 10 games from 2022.
10. Soul Hackers 2
Shin Megami Tensei is a grand RPG series. You could argue that no other franchise has had such successful spin-offs as well, with the Persona series essentially becoming its own major franchise. Soul Hackers 2 may not quite be at the level of Shin Megami Tensei‘s best, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. The tried-and-true Press-Turn combat system is even more refined and satisfying here, while the general aesthetic is cool as hell. If you slept on Soul Hackers 2 last year, I highly recommend giving it a go.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
The Ninja Turtles have always been associated with fun beat ’em ups, so Shredder’s Revenge turning out wonderfully was hardly a surprise. The amount of love and passion for everyone’s favorite animal-mutant warriors (sorry, Street Sharks and Biker Mice) is clear to see throughout every inch of this game, but even if you’ve never seen a single piece of Turtles media, the core game is incredibly fun — especially on a couch with friends. Plus, that intro is too nostalgic.
8. Neon White
Given it mixes the edgy anime aesthetic of the mid-2000s with Dreamcast/PS2-inspired visuals in the year 2022, Neon White is the definition of “up my alley.” Blasting through stages again and again to get better times while establishing relationships with all sorts of cliché anime archetypes served as the perfect way for me to close out the year, especially with Steve Blum’s dulcet tones complementing the whole thing. If you have a soft spot for that era of anime dork culture, Neon White will bring back delightfully cringeworthy memories.
7. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
A bunch of bros decide to kill the evil being Chaos. That’s the plot. What more incentive do you need to do just that? Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin‘s Team Ninja-made gameplay is surprisingly deep, and it’s story had me heavily invested by the end. I’d love to keep getting weirder Final Fantasy spin-offs like this — especially if they all come with trucker hats.
6. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII: Reunion
As someone whose username was once CrisisCoreKid, I came away rather pleased with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII: Reunion. The voice acting was disappointing when compared to the original, but otherwise, Reunion improves upon the PSP prequel in every way. It looks incredible, the gameplay is exciting and absorbing, and the story is just as silly, emotional, and awesome as it ever was. The ending still hits hard and the Junon cannon fight linked above? Well, that is every bit as “rule of cool” as it was when I was a teenager.
5. Sonic Frontiers
I’ve written a fair bit about Sonic Frontiers since its launch, but I truly haven’t been so absorbed by a game in a good while. Running through huge open fields and collecting various baubles just triggered something in my brain that had me absentmindedly roaming the plains of the Starfall Islands whenever I wasn’t working or sleeping. The more serious story served as a pleasant change for the franchise too, and I feel more optimistic than ever for future entries of Sega’s most iconic series.
4. Digimon Survive
In some ways, the Digimon/Pokémon wars of the late ’90s still rage on. Digimon won this year, however, as not only was Digimon Survive completely functional, but it was a great game overall on top of that. The story of a bunch of kids being trapped in a fearsome world with Digimon allies is familiar to series fans, though the intense and dark tone of Survive makes it stand out amongst the series’ similar tales. The simple tactical combat is fun when it crops up, but it’s the emotional narrative that really sells this one. Even if you’ve never delved into Digimon, Survive is worth trying for those who want a new flavor of ‘mon.
3. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
My free time throughout the first half of this year was essentially just consumed by getting 100% in Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I’ve never seen so much content stuffed into one game, so as a big Star Wars fan, I was practically in heaven.
The usual endorphin-releasing collectible-fueled exploration is perfected here, and the revamped combat system has me more excited for future TT Games than ever. I don’t know what license TT will be tackling next, but if it’s half as engrossing as The Skywalker Saga, I’ll be there on day one.
2. Vampire Survivors
I guarantee that when you first see footage of Vampire Survivors, you’ll think, “Oh, that looks fine.” It’s simple, straightforward, and not visually striking. That changes when you play it, as your brain gets completely devoured by the stimulating gameplay loop, sound effects, and colors. I don’t know the last time a game hooked me so thoroughly, as my Steam Deck was just a Vampire Survivors machine for a good month or two.
Friends and I would excitedly talk about its many secrets as though we were back in the schoolyard — an experience that is much less frequent when you’re 26. The Legacy of Moonspell DLC just came out, though I hesitate to try it given how much I have to get done this month, and I know returning for just one run will lead to the game sinking its fangs into me once again.
1. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
I’ve thought a lot about mortality lately, partially due to how wonderfully Xenoblade Chronicles 3 embraces the topic and all the uncomfortable baggage that comes with it. The enormous world that is expected of Xenoblade Chronicles at this point does not disappoint, nor does the brilliant cast of characters and enthralling story.
The gameplay is less overwhelming than that of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but is just as deep, and the voice acting is once again as charming as it gets. It’s rare that a series can be as consistently excellent as Xenoblade Chronicles, but the third entry showed that Monolith Soft is unparalleled. I don’t know what’s next for the series (beyond the upcoming DLC), but I know it’ll most likely be incredible all the same.