Go to homepage

Reid Main

  1. Archives
  2. Tags
  3. About Me
  4. Email
  5. Resume

Games of the Year 2022: Honourable Mentions

I know the top three games on this list are going to piss a lot of people off so let's just dive right in.

Elden Ring

Elden Ring is a fantastic game. It is a massive leap forward in the development off the Souls formula.

In most Souls games, if you find yourself constantly being defeated by a boss you typically only have two options: just keep trying or go grind for some more levels to make the boss fight easier. For some people that is the whole allure of Souls games. But in Elden Ring, if you find yourself overwhelmed you can simply hop on your horse and head off in a completely different direction. The open-world of The Land Between is so vast and well designed that even after 80 hours I still haven't fully explored it. As a matter of fact, for the first 40 hours I barely followed the main quest. I just roamed aimlessly.

I truly hope that FromSoftware releases DLC for Elden Ring in 2023 because I cannot wait to play it.

So why is Elden Ring here in the honourable mentions instead of being my game of the year? Unfortunately, the answer to that is quite subjective.

For whatever reason when I was choosing my starting character I saw the Prisoner class and the idea of a battlemage, a character that focused on magic but had a backup sword, really spoke to me. And for the first 60 hours of the game that playstyle was amazing. I truly enjoyed watching my character level up and find better spells and swords.

But about 60 hours in something happened. Elden Ring slowly regressed to a more standard Souls game with linear dungeons that you absolutely had to beat to progress. At the same time my battlemage playstyle was becoming less effective. I kept trying to switch things up but I could never find a good magic & sword combo for my character. Then I got to the final bosses where my magic became utterly useless. I tried respeccing my character to have more intelligence to make my spells more effective but no matter what I tried I could not win. In the end, the only way for me to beat the final bosses was to put away my staff, unequip my spells, and dual wield my katana. After 70 hours my battlemage essentially became a samurai and I had to abandon everything I loved about my character to beat the final boss.

That is why Elden Ring is top of the honourable mentions this year. When I finally put down my controller after 80 hours, I just had a really sour taste in my mouth. If I was ranking Elden Ring after those first 40 hours it would undoubtedly be my game of the year. But since my final memories of it are so painful it is hard for me to say that it was "good".

I am sure there are some people reading this thinking "Reid you're insane" and you're probably correct. Elden Ring is still a stellar game and I recommend everyone play it. I think it will be one of those games that we remember for decades. But for this article, when I look back in 10 years I want to remember that I encountered some rough edges with Elden Ring and it wasn't all puppies and rainbows.

God of War Ragnarök

In my opinion, God of War Ragnarök is simply more of 2018's God of War. It easily feels like DLC that could have been released a year or two later.

Everything I loved about the first God of War is still amazing. The visuals, the voice acting, the world design, the story, etc. But I abhor the combat and while the world is amazing and fun to explore, the amount of backtracking you have to do became quite tedious.

But I completely understand why some people can love basically every aspect of God of War Ragnarök which is why it is in my honourable mentions and not the bad list. I appreciate what Sony Santa Monica is doing and after playing this game I really hope they finally get the opportunity to start a new IP. I want to see the quality and craftsmanship they put into this game, put into something new and fresh.

Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remake

I know this is going to be blasphemous to many people but I think that Final Fantasy VI is a middling Final Fantasy game.

I will also readily admit that by playing the Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster nearly 30 years after the original game was released I am judging it to a different scale. When this game came out in 1994 it was miles ahead of its contemporaries. But since Final Fantasy VII was my first game in the franchise and I have played every game after it (except VIII), it is impossible for me to say that I would chose Final Fantasy VI over almost any of those games.

If you put a gun to my head and forced to me rank every Final Fantasy I've played (except the MMOs) I would probably say:

  1. Final Fantasy VII
  2. Final Fantasy IX
  3. Final Fantasy X
  4. Final Fantasy XII
  5. Final Fantasy XIII
  6. Final Fantasy VI
  7. Final Fantasy XV

Pokémon Scarlet

Pokémon Scarlet is an honourable mention and not on the bad list simply because of its name. If this game was called anything else and used all the same mechanics but didn't have the inexorable tie to my childhood, I do not believe I could have kept playing it.

In a world where Breath of the Wild exists and Pokémon Legends: Arceus was released 11 months earlier, Pokémon Scarlet is absolutely unacceptable. It is a technical failure and a worse open-world game than almost everything that has come before it. To play Breath of the Wild and realize that it was released nearly six years ago, for Game Freak to release a game like this is mind boggling.

But there still is a shiny jewel at the core of this game. Just like I praised Pokémon Legends: Arceus for being the first step towards the dream of an open-world Pokémon game, Pokémon Scarlet is also a step in that direction albeit a much smaller one. Given another year to flush out this world and make it feel truly lived in, this game could have been one of those tent-pole releases we talk about for decades. Instead, it is going to be forgotten within six months, just like its predecessor Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Aperture Desk Job

There isn't much to say about Aperture Desk Job other than it is a cute little introduction to the capabilities of the Steam Deck wrapped up in a funny story about Aperture Science.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is a homage to the beat 'em up games of the late 1980s and admittedly it does that quite well. I played through the entire game with friends over Discord so my opinion is obviously tainted by that. Nearly every game is better with friends and since I only played it for three hours I really don't think I can recommend it for anyone to play solo.