Game of the year 2022: Elden Ring or God of War Ragnarök?

Game of the year 2022: Elden Ring or God of War Ragnarök?
(Image credit: FromSoftware/ Sony Santa Monica)

2022 has been a fantastic year for games — but which one takes the trophy as our game of the year? It’s a difficult question that took a lot of debate to decide between God of War Ragnarök and Elden Ring.

Not to say that other games didn’t get a look-in. This year has been packed to the gills with bangers like Gran Turismo 7, Stray and Horizon Forbidden West. But ever since From Software shocked the world in February, and Sony Santa Monica delivered its masterpiece in November, it’s been a clear two-horse race for the top spot.

So, rather than rattle on about the other honorable mentions, let’s just get straight into the list of the best games of 2022.

1. God of War Ragnarök

I mean come on. It was always inevitable, right? God of War Ragnarök is easily my game of the year, and is probably held in the same regard by a lot of you out there. Not only does it meet your sky high expectations, it exceeds them with an epic fantasy tale — punctuated by jaw dropping production values, an addictively deep gameplay structure, tons of lore, and a beautiful, emotionally raw story that will stick with you for a long time to come.

(Image credit: Sony Santa Monica)

The beauty is that Sony Santa Monica could have just gotten away with a copy + paste sequel and called it a day, but the team didn’t. Instead, the developers play with your expectations in such a way that really expands upon the already solid core gameplay formula, to create something truly special.

Bafflingly high levels of artistic attention to detail and fidelity put other AAA experiences on blast. Gameplay mechanics feel amazing, with additional intricacies and a greater variety of enemies making it feel all the more sophisticated and diverse, and each beat of the story is delivered with an emotional maturity that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go.

- Jason England, Content Editor

2. Elden Ring

Elden Ring is the most impactful game of the year. Its immense scale and sense of freedom contrasts wonderfully with the terrors that linger throughout its derelict plains, and since its launch, it’s given rise to a plethora of communities that are still picking apart every nook and cranny to this day.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

FromSoftware presents a robust mechanical evolution to its Soulsborne formula, providing an unmatched level of character diversity, allowing the player to tackle the many creatures of this world in whatever fashion they please. If you were hypnotized by the wondrous curiosity Breath of the Wild evoked in 2017, the ever-fascinating The Lands Between will similarly bind you.  

This is an amalgamation of the many things we love and expect out of FromSoftware, tossed into an open world packed with breathtaking sights and exciting encounters. It’s also the team’s most intricate RPG yet, offering immense build diversity and a slew of captivating quest lines. If you haven’t become an Elden Lord yet, prepare for an epic journey like no other.

- Momo Tabari, Contributing Writer

3. Horizon Forbidden West

Developer Guerilla Games gave us a hell of an encore with Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Horizon Zero Dawn. Forbidden West picks up a few months after the events of the first game and she’s on a desperate mission to save the world from extinction for once and for all. Along the way, Aloy will run into a few familiar faces along with plenty of new friends and foes. 

(Image credit: Guerilla Games/ Sony)

Forbidden West is a bigger adventure than its predecessor with a world map to match. The set pieces are absolutely breathtaking and there are plenty of new enemies both robotic and human to overcome. Some players have complained of the game being overstuffed with sidequests, but compared to the excellent story, combat and vistas, it’s a small concern. Horizon Forbidden West is a worthy sequel to the franchise.

- Sherri L. Smith, Editor in Chief

4. Pokémon Legends Arceus

For years, we’ve been searching for something new when it comes to the traditional Pokémon RPG. The formula had grown stale, but Arceus was the shot in the arm it so desperately needed.

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The new mechanics truly make it feel like you're going out in the wild, with proper stakes and a risk of peril to your character — rather than just being a tourist in the midst of a bunch of wild animals that are strangely passive. Pair that with the new method of sneaking up to catch Pokémon, and an all-encompassing visual and sound style, and you’ve got a banger.

It’s weird to see this be so good, yet see Pokémon Scarlet & Violet be such a disappointment, but if you ignore this blip, the future of the franchise is certainly exciting.

- Jason England, Content Editor

5. Gran Turismo 7

OK I get it. Gran Turismo 7 got off to a very rocky start, after providing review codes without the microtransaction economy activated, but then hitting us hard with reduced race winnings and steep pricing for in-game credits. 

(Image credit: Sony)

In fact, literally just a couple of weeks after the five-star review went up, I wrote about how GT7 is being ruined. Talk about an awkward situation. So, why am I putting it up for Game of the Year?

Polyphony Digital has worked hard in re-energizing the community with various updates that provide better generosity and fairness to the players, and content drops that make any gearhead drool, which has allowed me to head back and truly appreciate this motorsport mecca.

It’s drop dead gorgeous, the automotive simulation physics are meticulously researched and incredibly grounded, there is so much to sink your teeth into and it answers a lot of the problems players had with previous iterations. 

- Jason England, Content Editor

6. Sifu

Sifu could have been a run-of-the-mill action game with interesting fighting mechanics, but this indie hit from developers Sloclap takes the beat ‘em up genre up a notch. From its explosive yet grounded Kung Fu combat to its fascinating, artistic design and clever age mechanic, Sifu will make you want to beat down the hordes of imposing threats it throws at you over and over again.

(Image credit: Sloclap)

Sifu’s learning curve can be hard to get used to, but that’s part of the fun. Honing your skills in the majestic Pak Mei Kung Fu moves our main protagonist uses to pummel foes to the ground is hugely satisfying, and it even throws in little nods to iconic action movies in scenic levels. As for its stand-out age mechanic? It’s not a gimmick; it’s both an integral part to the story and gives players different ways to tackle the game.

With thrilling Kung Fu combat, creative level design, and a clever age mechanic that will have players persistently wipe the floor with hordes of fighters, Sifu excels at making you want to come back for more.

- Darragh Murphy, Editor

7. Immortality

Immortality might be the most eerie experience you’ll get out of a game this year. This interactive movie from the mind of Sam Barlow, behind other notable hits like Tell Me Lies and Her Story, asks you one compelling question: what happened to Marissa Marcel? This rising star disappeared, leaving behind footage from three movies across three decades that were never released. With an archive of behind-the-scenes footage and reels of each movie, it’s up to you to parse through each clip to find out what happened.

(Image credit: Half Mermaid)

What starts as an interesting look at movie development and the trials and tribulations of an up-and-coming star soon turns into something a whole lot creepier. You have the ability to play, pause, rewind, and fast-forward each clip, and jump from scene to scene by clicking on people of interest and a vast array of objects to discover new footage. While it seems simple, you’ll soon realize the spine-tingling footage you can unearth. It’s thought-provoking, to say the least.

- Darragh Murphy, Editor

8. WWE 2K22

Sadly, WWE 2K22 didn’t get a nod for GOTY, yet this game was worth at least an honorable mention. After a two year hiatus, the WWE 2K games franchise came back bigger and better than ever. We reviewed this game and found its realistic graphics, accurate character movement and ease of play impressive.

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

WWE 2K22’s graphics are noticeably improved compared to previous releases. Character likenesses are spot on, venues are vast and immersive. 2K games did a great job at giving gamers the feel of being at an actual wrestling match. 

- Hilda Scott, Deals Editor

9. Neon White

Card-based battle systems and speed running are a hard nut to crack across a broad gaming audience. So, when Neon White entered the scene, a game that mixes a card-based system with time-based levels, many understandably got fairly squeamish. Yet, developer Angel Matrix pulls you in with its bizarre mix of puzzle-based first-person shooter gameplay and story-driven narrative, delivering a crazy FPS speedrunning platformer that is nothing like you’ve played.

(Image credit: Angel Matrix)

I get it, speedrunning and card-based gameplay isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But If you’re a fan of anime concepts that throw you into a world where angels are seen as hard-working cats, and want to try a unique puzzle-based FPS platformer that will have you using your brain to achieve a top place on the leaderboards (and you’ll want to), Neon White is the type of tea you’ll want to take a sip of.

- Darragh Murphy, Editor

10. Bayonetta 3

At long last, our favorite Umbra Witch is back in grand fashion. Bayonetta 3 brings us back into the action-packed, zany world of Cereza with her acrobatic, hair-based combat. Following the lead of many properties, developer Platinum Games introduces a multiverse along with a brand new playable character. One of the biggest surprises are the foes –– this time around aren’t angel-based, but something else entirely. 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Platinum Games introduced some interesting new combat mechanics which add to the frenetic gameplay that Bayonetta fans have come to know and love. Plus, there’s a generous open-world ripe for exploration. The game does drop the ball on the story, which doesn’t really explain the main antagonist’s reasoning or motivation. However, fans of Bayonetta will overlook it for the opportunity to get into all manner of stylish hair-themed hijinks.

- Sherri L. Smith, Editor in Chief