While Stray wasn’t quite as long as I had hoped in the run-up to release, by the time I finished my playthrough I was happy that it wasn’t. In its roughly five to six hour runtime it achieves all it sets out to do in a consistently surprising and faintly surreal feline based adventure. As a cat lover I enjoyed indulging in all the spiteful little behaviours I’m sure cats enjoy too. Any opportunity I had to knock over a line of carefully placed beer bottles or claw at a stranger’s carpet, you had better believe I seized those chances.
I appreciated the inclusion of a dedicated ‘meow’ button, and used it hundreds of times to convey my disapproval or confusion with some of the story plot points. Did this do anything to affect characters in the game? Of course not, I’m a cat, but I did them anyway.
4) Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
The gameplay in Stranger of Paradise was every bit as addictive and satisfying as I recall from the demo I played for it earlier in the year. The party you play as existing in a constant state of rotating outfits to have the best stats for each fight amused me to no end. My favourite moment in the game by far was during a cutscene where a boss was attempting to monologue menacingly only for the protagonist, Jack, to yell ‘I don’t give a fuck who you are’ and flying punch them in the face mid-sentence.
There’s not really anything special about Stranger of Paradise. A lot of the dialogue and story reflect lazy writing and recycling long used Final Fantasy tropes. The game does lean on its legacy quite a bit more than it really should have, endeavouring to justify doing so by calling it a ‘Final Fantasy Origin’ game. All of that said however, the most important part of any game has to be the gameplay, and what we have here is consistently fun, exciting, accessible and often spectacular, more than enough to justify its inclusion on this list.
I cannot praise this game enough. I purchased it release week after a glowing recommendation from Gameranx and must have sunk a dozen hours into its easy to learn but hard to master gameplay. Any game which gives me the option to play with cheats on and makes the only penalty being barred from the online leaderboard, as if I care, is going to be a favourite of mine.
The concept is a skating game with guns, complete with complex tricks and skin of your teeth shooting and platforming. Rollerdrome never lets up on the adrenaline from your very first shot all the way through to your last of each round.
The fact it sits in the centre of my favourite games of this year list should not dissuade anyone from playing it as it’s well worth the price of admission. An absolutely sensational experience which I will still be dipping back into years from now.
2) God of War Ragnarök
One of my most anticipated games of this year and the first in a long time to cause me to go into a complete social media blackout at launch to avoid reading unwanted spoilers. I am pleased to report that I didn’t have a single thing spoiled for me throughout the ten days it took me to complete the story and a decent chunk of the side activities. I emerged following the ending satisfied with my time spent exploring the Nine Realms.
In any other year, God of War Ragnarök would comfortably sit as my favourite of the year as it has one of the very best stories, soundtracks and characters in recent video gaming memory. Unfortunately for it, this is no ordinary year in gaming, and the crown must go to a game which resides as a deity among royalty.
1) Elden Ring
Elden Ring is a diamond of the industry and a wholly captivating experience, oozing replay value and discussion topics which will keep players talking about it for a long time to come. The quality of Elden Ring is so substantial that I abandoned my first playthrough some 30+ hours in to restart the entire game and play properly this time. The adventure I’ve had through the Lands Between, which I will point out isn’t even over yet for me (damn you Maliketh), has been one of my most cherished game journeys in years.
When I wasn’t playing Elden Ring I was writing about it, watching videos about it, reading tips about it, hell, I was even dreaming about it and setting myself reminders for what to do first in my next session. I’m not alone either, as millions of other gamers around the world have immersed themselves in the lore and spectacular combat the game offers. There is nothing I would change about Elden Ring. It is indomitable perfection which deserves nothing less than being mine, and many others, favourite game of 2022!
Written, edited and images sourced by Alexx.