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The 10 best video games of 2022

Video game characters stand in front of text that says The 10 Best Video Games of 2022.

This year’s game of the year conversation was over before it could even begin. That’s not because 2022 wasn’t an exceptional year filled with left-field surprises. It’s simply that players were already anticipating what the year’s two biggest games would be: God of War Ragnarok and Elden Ring. Though those two games were indeed two of 2022’s most dominant AAA titles, the “foregone conclusion” attitude ultimately did this year a disservice.

As people anticipated the ensuing war between those two giants, much smaller projects like Vampire Survivors and Immortality were pushing the idea of what a modern game looks like. Nintendo was raising the bar for family games with its strongest lineup since the Switch’s launch in 2017, while lesser-celebrated platforms like mobile and VR delivered some of the year’s most memorable moments. Sure, Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok’s dominance was inevitable, but they were far from the only games worth discussing in 2022.

To honor another standout year for the industry, the Digital Trends team put a lot of careful thought into this year’s big top 10 list. Hundreds of games were evaluated and around 30 were considered for the final list, from heavy hitters to out-of-nowhere indies. Both of those worlds are represented equally on our list this year, serving as a reminder that video games at all levels deserve a chance — not just the ones with the biggest marketing budgets.

Though, of course, that doesn’t mean the power players didn’t make the cut. Here are our 10 favorite video games of 2022.

10. Bayonetta 3

Madame Butterfly battles Homonculi in Bayonetta 3.

When you hear the word “blockbuster,” your mind may immediately go to Hollywood. That instinct might change for good when you play Bayonetta 3. Almost playing like a parody of Marvel movies, PlatinumGames’ long-awaited Switch exclusive delivers a deliriously entertaining gauntlet of multiverse thrills. What it lacks in narrative, it makes up for with over-the-top action set pieces — including spy movie send-ups and full-on kaiju battles. Bayonetta 3 could have easily repeated the formula of its previous installments and called it a day, but its inventive streak makes for an unpredictable adventure that’s confident in its goofiness. Bring on the popcorn. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

9. Vampire Survivors

Screenshot of a horde of monsters attacking in Vampire Survivors.

Vampire Survivors is one of those games that you really need to play to understand. At a passing glance, its retro visuals and one-stick control format may make it seem like a shallow throwback. That’s about as far from reality as you can get, though. Instead, Vampire Survivors is one of 2022’s most engaging and creative action games. It takes elements from the roguelike genre and blends in ideas that you might find in an idle game and a bombastic Musou. That results in a wildly addictive wave defense game that lets players focus their attention on impactful upgrade decisions rather than complicated button inputs. Nothing in gaming feels better this year than locking into a good run and watching your tiny character wipe out thousands of monsters without you even touching the controller. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

8. Stray

A cat walks through a city in Stray.

Before Stray launched, it gained a reductive reputation as “that cat meme game.” That was due to its unique feline hero, which had some players enamored with the idea before they even saw a hint of gameplay footage. The triumph of Stray, though, is that it is much more than its gimmick. Published by Annapurna Interactive, it successfully turns annoying cat behaviors (like scratching everything in sight or knocking objects over) into clever adventure game ideas. Though its hero has gained the majority of players’ adoration, there’s much more to Stray than its central premise. It tells a thoughtful science fiction story that examines the intersection between man and machine. The quiet narrative challenges players to aim their frustrations about tech at the humans abusing it. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

7. Marvel Snap

Venom affects a Marvel Snap playng field.

Mobile games wouldn’t have such a bad rap if they were all like Marvel Snap: easy (and free) to pick up and play consistently, quick to experience, and extremely difficult to put down. Developed by former Hearthstone team members, Marvel Snap is the best collectible card game in years. Its fast-paced matches that see opponents playing cards at the same time across three locations are easy to understand, but stay fresh after dozens of hours thanks to deep deck-building strategies and a layer of randomness that comes with locations and card abilities. Marvel Snap continues to evolve with updates that make the game even better, so this is a mobile game that we’ll definitely not be putting down for a while. ~ Tomas Franzese

6. The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe

A framed photo in The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe celebrates the original game.

If you haven’t played The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, you might be baffled as to its inclusion here. If you’re asking yourself, “Why is a rerelease of an old indie game taking a spot that should go to something entirely new?” right now, I’m guessing you haven’t played it yet. Ultra Deluxe isn’t a port packed with some extra content, but rather a secret sequel contained entirely within the original Stanley Parable. What’s more astonishing, though, is that Ultra Deluxe actually outdoes its predecessor in just about every way. Rather than waxing philosophical about free will, it focuses its attention on the current media era to create a wildly funny and often harrowing satire about our constant need for content. Though its biggest question is much simpler: Is this a bucket? ~ Giovanni Colantonio

5. God of War Ragnarok

Atreus aims his bow in God of War

God of War Ragnarok lives up to the expectations that come with being a sequel to one of the best games of the last decade. It’s bigger and more bombastic than its predecessor in almost every way, featuring better visuals, more characters, a grander narrative, and improved combat with a variety of new weapons and playable characters. While God of War Ragnarok certainly flaunts all of that pomp, it still tells a deeply relatable and emotional story about a father and son who are trying to stick together as they grow apart, all of which is held up by an all-time great performance from Christopher Judge. God of War Ragnarok is one of the most refined AAA gaming experiences ever, making it a must-play for anyone looking for the gaming spectacle of 2022. ~ Tomas Franzese

4. Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Noah and Mio stand back-to-back near a giant machine in Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

For RPG fans, the Xenoblade series has been overlooked for too long. Despite containing some of the richest stories, worlds, and systems in the genre today, it just couldn’t get the recognition it deserved outside of niche circles. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was the mainstream moment fans had always hoped for, and it was completely earned. The Switch exclusive offers a rich story about soldiers coming to terms with who their true enemies are: the oppressive powers that see them as pawns in a conflict they don’t need to die for. With stunning landscapes, fully realized character arcs, and excellent MMO-like combat, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 made sure that no one passes over the series again. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

3. Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby in his ranger form in the snow.

Some games feature deep, complex stories and wildly innovative gameplay that will redefine the industry. Others are just a whole lot of fun. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is this long-running Nintendo series’ first full foray into a 3D game of this scope, and the developers of Hal Laboratories knocked it out of the park. Kirby’s approachable platforming and copy ability moves are enhanced by excellent level design that creates a ton of memorable vistas for Kirby to venture through. In a year when some Nintendo Switch games are starting to show their age, Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks fantastic, and you can share the whole experience with a friend. Also, Mouthful Mode; need I say more? ~ Tomas Franzese

2. Immortality

Clips from Ambrosio appear in Immortality.

Every year, an indie darling is able to stand in the face of AAA behemoths and become one of the best games of the year. In 2022, that game is Immortality, an innovative video game where players must scrub through production footage of three unreleased films to discover what happened to missing film star Marissa Marcel. Its gameplay mechanics might seem familiar to anyone who has interacted with a video file before, but its match-cut system lets players jump between various clips by clicking on a character or object in a scene. Immortality is a hard game to discuss without spoilers, so we’ll just say that it features one of the year’s best narratives as it grapples with why people create art and what they suffer through to make it. Immortality is a master class in nonlinear video game narratives, features outstanding production values, and redefines its narrative and gameplay mechanics multiple times throughout its runtime. Equal part unsettling and captivating, Immortality is a must-play. ~ Tomas Franzese

1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring still of the Tarnished fighting the dragon Agheel on horseback.

Elden Ring is the kind of behemoth that’s simply hard to argue against, try as we did during our end-of-year discussions. No matter how many ways you try to pick at its various flaws, the breathtaking experience of riding around The Lands Between is simply unmatched this year. By applying open-world design to the standard Dark Souls formula, FromSoftware creates a more approachable Soulslike that gives players the freedom to tackle its challenges at their own pace. The seemingly limitless exploration and experimentation potential made the game a social hit when it launched, proving that FromSoftware’s games weren’t simply a niche experience for die-hards; they’re for anyone brave enough to step outside of their comfort zone and dive into its enticingly twisted worlds. ~ Giovanni Colantonio

Honorable Mentions

  • Neon White
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
  • OlliOlli World
  • Cult of the Lamb
  • Pentiment
  • The King of Fighters XV
  • Teardown
  • The Entropy Centre
  • Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  • MultiVersus

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
The best video game narratives of 2022: 7 stories we’re still thinking about
Art from Pentiment sits in front test that says The Best Video Narratives of 2022.

When this year’s Game Awards nominations were first revealed, the Best Narrative category sparked a bit of discourse. Nominees included giant games you’d expect like God of War Ragnarok, but one pick stood out: Elden Ring. Some were left scratching their heads considering that story isn’t front and center in the fantasy epic, while others defended the choice citing the game’s deep lore and worldbuilding.

There’s a specific reason that the moment was so divisive, though: 2022 was filled with experiences that raised the bar for video game storytelling. Elden Ring’s inclusion almost felt like it was doing a disservice to an excellent year for game narratives, taking a spot from other (often smaller) titles that built equally rich worlds while still having something profound to say about our own.

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Everything announced at The Game Awards 2022
A mech carrying things overlooks a destroyed world in Armored Core 6's reveal trailer.

The Game Awards has rolled around once again, awarding developers who made some of the year’s best games and unveiling a bunch of new trailers and game announcements. Geoff Keighley’s annual event is equal parts award show and video game showcase, and The Game Awards 2022 was no different.
Games like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Final Fantasy XVI, and Tekken 8 made appearances, while Death Stranding 2 and Armored Core VI were revealed for the first time. There were a ton of game reveals to take in, so here's a roundup of every announcement from The Game Awards 2022.
THE GAME AWARDS 2022: Official 4K Livestream: Thursday, December 8 (7:30p ET/4:30p PT/12:30a GMT)
Hades II announced by Supergiant Games
Hades II - Reveal Trailer
Supergiant Games, the developer behind 2020's critically acclaimed Hades, revealed its next game will be a sequel to Hades. We got a look at some beautiful animation and roguelike gameplay starring the Princess of the Underworld, and we learned that the game, officially titled Hades II, will enter early access next year.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is out on March 17
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - Official Reveal Trailer
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor got an awesome and intense trailer at the Game Awards 2022, and voice actor Cameron Monaghan came out afterward to hype up the game further. The game is launching on March 17, 2023. 
Hideo Kojima unveils Death Stranding 2
DEATH STRANDING 2(Working Title)- TGA 2022 Teaser Trailer
It wouldn’t be a Geoff Keighley show without an appearance from Hideo Kojima, and thankfully Kojima had more to promote than a podcast this time around. We got the first trailer for the Death Stranding 2, a working title currently stylized as DS2, from Kojima Productions. This first teaser trailer is just as vague as Death Stranding's were, as it features Lea Seydoux's character traveling with al baby before talking with Norman Reedus' Sam.
Horizon Forbidden West will get an expansion set in LA next April
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores | Announce Trailer
Like The Frozen Wilds for Horizon Zero Dawn, Burning Shores is a massive expansion for this year's Horizon Forbidden West. The cinematic reveal trailer shows Aloy flying around a volcanic Los Angeles archipelago before a giant creature in the Hollywood sign attacks her. Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores will launch on April 19, 2023.
New The Super Mario Bros. Movie clip stars a ton of Toads
The Super Mario Bros. Movie | “Mushroom Kingdom” | Official Movie Clip
Keegan Michael-Key showed up during The Game Awards to show off a new clip from The Super Mario Bros. Movie. After joking about whether Toad has a hat or just a head, he showed off a clip of Mario walking through the Mushroom Kingdom amid ton of multicolored Toads. It's our longest uncut look at footage of this animated feature yet and it does a great job highlighting Illumination's interpretation of Mario's world. The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes to theaters on April 7. 
Crash Team Rumble announced by Activision
Crash Team Rumble - Official Announcement Trailer | The Game Awards 2022
After two years of leaks and rumors regarding a new Crash Bandicoot multiplayer game, Activision finally revealed Crash Team Rumble at The Game Awards. Crash Bandicoot literally crashed the show to unveil the 4v4 multiplayer action game where players must shoot and jump around stages as classic Crash Bandicoot characters. Crash Team Rumble launches in 2023.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon coming from FromSoftware
ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON アナウンスメントトレーラー【The Game Awards 2022】
Hot off the heels of Elden Ring, FromSoftware was ready to tease its next game. "Feed the Fire. Let the Last Cinders Burn," the trailer says before it becomes clear that it's a new Armored Core game. We then see a lot of cinematic mech action that looks unlike anything FromSoftware has made in the last decade.  Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon will launch in 2023 for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. 
Final Fantasy XVI Revenge trailer gives us our best look at the game yet
Final Fantasy 16 - Revenge Trailer | The Game Awards 2022
Final Fantasy XVI Executive Producer Naoki Yoshida revealed a new Final Fantasy XVI trailer titled Revenge at The Game Awards. This showing gave us a deeper look at the story and themes of revenge that run throughout the whole game. We saw more of the Eikons that players will fight against and some new bits of exploration and combat gameplay. To cap things off, Square Enix confirmed that Final Fantasy XVI would be released for PS5 on June 22, 2023.
Everything else

BioShock creator Ken Levine finally revealed his first title at Ghost Story Games: Judas.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, an isometric action-adventure game, was announced by PlatinumGames and launches on March 17, 2023.
Nintendo showed off a sizzle reel of its announced 2023 games.
Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord got a trailer. 
Destiny 2's Lightfall expansion got a new gameplay trailer.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League got a new trailer revealing that an evil Batman is in the game, meaning that it will feature the late Kevin Conroy's final performance. It will be released on May 26, 2023.
Party Animals' trailer showed off its various playable animals, the outfits they can wear, and the stages they fight on. 
The Last of Us Part 1 comes to PC on March 3, 2023.
Celeste follow-up Earthblade was announced and launches in 2024.
Dune Awakening got an in-engine trailer.
Forspoken is getting a demo on PS5.
Genshin Impact got a trailer teasing an upcoming character.
Ascendant Studios and EA Original revealed Immortals of Aveum.
Tekken 8 got a new trailer revealing lots of new fighters.
Nightingale got a new trailer.
An Xbox Game Pass trailer highlighted games available on the subscription service, as well as ones coming in 2023.
Colossal Cave's full 3D reimagining from Sierra Online founders Ken and Roberta Williams will be released on January 19, 2023.
Baldur's Gate 3 will finally leave early access and release in August 2023.
Airship Syndicate and Digital Extremes announced a fantasy online action RPG called Wayfinder, which will get a beta next week. 
Fire Emblem: Engage got a new trailer confirming that a DLC starring Three Houses characters and more will launch throughout 2023.
Sky got a trailer highlighting an upcoming in-game concert.
Diablo IV's June 6, 2023, release date was confirmed after a musical performance from Halsey and a new trailer.
Amazon Games will publish Bandai Namco Studios' anime-style MMORPG Blue Protocol for PC and current-gen consoles in 2023.
Remnant II, a sequel to the sleeper hit multiplayer shooter Remnant: From the Ashes, was announced.
Transformers: Reactivate was announced with a cinematic teaser trailer. 
Company of Heroes 3 got a live-action trailer
Meta Quest game Behemoth VR was revealed with a cinematic trailer. 
Don't Nod and Focus Entertainment announced action RPG Banishers: Ghost of a New Eden.
Warhammer 40K: Space Marine II received a new gameplay trailer.
Meet Your Maker's April 4, 2023 release date was confirmed in a cinematic trailer.
A gameplay overview trailer for Blood Bowl III was shown off.
The next-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was highlighted in a launch trailer. 
We got a first look at The Lords of the Fallen gameplay.
Epic Games and 505 Games announced Crime Boss: Rockay City, a first-person heist game game starring Michael Madsen and Kim Bassinger, Damion Poitier, Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Michael Rooker, Vanilla Ice, and Chuck Norris. It will launch on March 28, 2023.
The first raid for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II received its debut trailer.
The Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty expansion got a new trailer that reveals Idris Elba is in the game. 
Rocket League: Frosty Fest begins December 14.
Wild Hearts got a new trailer unveiling some of the giant new Kemono that players will fight.

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A Sea of Thieves skeleton sits in front of text that says 2022 Best Live Service Games.

Some games are meant to be played once, savored, and then shelved for the next one -- not unlike a book or a movie. But many other games are meant to be played and replayed over a long period of time, offering wildly different experiences each time you sit down and boot them up. There were many ongoing games to pick from in 2022, a lot of which include live service elements like online multiplayer, microtransactions, and regular content updates -- though not all are worth investing your time into.

Even though there are plenty of stinkers out there to avoid, there were also several ongoing games that kept our attention in 2022, ranging across several genres. From globe-trotting online roleplaying games to far simpler games you can play at a café bench, here are 10 games that set the bar for live service in 2022.

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