It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to talk about the games that you played this year, rank them arbitrary, and let a bunch of people on the internet judge your decisions. Luckily for me, I am immune to most online criticism so I have no trouble sharing some of my thoughts. 2022 was a busy year for me. I finished 27 games this year! This is a feat for me since I normally finish around less than 20 games in a year. Most of my accomplishments came from my 50-50 challenge that ended in August.
So let’s briefly go over the games that I finished this year and how I rank each of them. I didn’t know what format I wanted to go with originally, but then I realized that I never capitalized on the whole tier list craze that was going around. Since I am one who tends to be late at adapting trends, I decided to go the tier list route this year. These things tend to be more fun when it is happening in real time, but this is the best that I can do. Going from S to D rank without some type of guidance, so I came up with my own guidepost on how I should categorize each ranking:
S – Stupendous! This Game Made My Year!
A – Amazing Game With Great Things!
B – Better Than Most. In The Middle.
C- Could Play Again, But No Time Soon.
D – My Disappointment Is Immense, And My Year Was Ruined.
Cool. Let’s start the rankings then!
Dynasty Warriors 2
Dynasty Warriors 2 was the first game that I finished this year. Off the bat, it is one of the weaker games in the series. The action feels slow at times and the whole presentation just feels off. I know that this is my fault for starting at the third game and going backwards would affect my judgment. It is still Dynasty Warriors Gundam at the end, so I still had a fun time with it even though I was left wanting more. First game on the list and it goes into the C tier.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
The first new game that I played this year is possibly my favorite game to come out this year. Pokémon Legends: Arceus made me realize what I enjoy the most in Pokémon games; exploring and discovering new things on my own and making it dangerous. To say that this game held my attention from beginning to end is an understatement. There were very few games that I played this year where I completed almost everything in it. Completing the Pokédex in this game is rewarding since it unlocks the true ending of the game and one of the best finales that I’ve seen in a Pokémon game. My only regret is that I will have to wait enough time to pass for me to forget most things, or for another game in this style to get this type of experience again. If you haven’t guessed yet, this is going in the “S’ tier for me. If you haven’t played this game yet, or thought Pokémon Scarlet and Violet didn’t innovate the series enough for you, give this game a try.
HuniePop 2: Double Date
Yes the “aesthetic” is nice to look at in this game, but that is not what drew me into this game. You know your game is special when the T&A is good, but the gameplay is even better than that. I had no idea how the Hunipot developer was going to enhance the gameplay from the first game, but the double date mechanic is genius. It works well when you are trying to strategize your dates and be resourceful with your items. The final boss(es) was one of the best that I’ve encountered in a game in a while. It uses all of your knowledge of each individual girl and makes you think on how to counter each stipulation while being mindful of your turn limit. It took Kat and I a few tries to overcome it, but it was satisfying coming out on top of it. Honestly, I have nothing really bad to say about it. Even though I haven’t returned to the game ever since we beat it, I highly recommend this game if you are a fan of challenging puzzle games (you can turn the nudity off). It might be weird for me to put it in the “A” tier, but I will be honest and say that I haven’t played or thought about this game after beating it.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a mixed game for me. The beginning of the game feels slow and uninteresting to play, but starts to pick up once you reach the second half. The lighthearted nature of the characters threw me off as well since nothing ever felt at stake until you get towards the end of the game. I also didn’t find myself as intrigued with the world like I was with the first Xenoblade. With all of that said, it is not a bad game. Once the combat became more engaging, I was enjoying it. When the big reveals were revealed, it made playing through to the end worth it to see how everything tied at the end. It’s just a shame that the best parts of the game for me were placed in the second half of the game. Not bad, but without its faults. In the middle “B” tier it goes.
Trivia Pursuit Live! 2
How did they make this game worse than the first one? I enjoyed playing the first Trivia Pursuit Live! with Kat since it is a constant reminder that I’m terrible at Geography. You would think the sequel would be better, but it is a downgrade. The game just screams “budget title” since some of the charm from the first game was taken out and replaced with nothing. I know that’s a lot to ask from a trivia game developed by Ubisoft, but a little more effort would have been appreciated instead of just updating the pool of questions. Easily one of the worst games that I’ve played this year. Our first “D” tier game.
Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel
Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel was a surprising game to hear about. A free-to-play game where you can play with others using the current rule set and cards is a great way to get into the game, kinda. It is apparent that if you are unaware of the current meta of the game, then you will have a hard time in the ranked mode. The rules to Yu Gi Oh! are already complicated, and can be intimidating to new players. There are however multiple free rooms that you can use to help test out decks, learn new tricks, and slowly work your way up to the point where you feel comfortable taking on other players. I will say that this game is a great way to get into the game since it’s free and available on all platforms and mobile (you can even keep your progress on multiple systems). While I haven’t played in a while, I still recognize this as a good game. Into the “A” rank it goes!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
After spending some time away from this game, I am now in the mindset of wanting more from this game. It is a fun Kirby game no doubt, but not one of my personal favorite Kirby adventure. While the game was fun to play through and the challenges offered some thinking on my end, it never grasped me to play for hours on end. There is something holding me back from really enjoying this game since others seemed to really enjoy this game. No offense to Kirbo, but the game feels like a “B” tier entry to me.
Final Fantasy V Advance
I don’t mean to be harsh with Final Fantasy V, but it is a let down from other past Final Fantasy games that I’ve played. The job system is great and allows for lots of party customization. The system is so good, that they decided to create a new series that utilizes this system and expand on it even more. What really brings Final Fantasy V for me is everything else in the game. The narrative is one of the weakest for me, and never held my attention during non-key points. While the main cast is good, the way they can go from emotional to having goofy fun made me forget that they were trying to prevent the void from consuming their world. That is where I am at with this game. You can read more of my thoughts in the post I wrote. Seeing as I wasn’t dragging my feet to finish this game, I will put it in the C tier since it wasn’t a complete disappointment at the end.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Now this was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting this game to win Meme of the Year with the heavy emphasis on edginess. What I wasn’t expecting was a well thought out game that required me to be patient and learn things as I played. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin seems stupid on paper and in person, but there is a layer of strategy where understanding your foes and having the right job setup will lead to rewarding victories. I don’t want to compare this to a soulslike game since it is not one at its core. Its similarities come to having limited restorative options, tough boss fights that require you to think and adapt, and not having a straightforward narrative. The game tries to keep you in the action as much as possible while offering challenges to make replayability interesting. There are elements that I don’t appreciate like the stupid amount of loot that you obtain in this game. There is too much loot for me to sort through and figure out if I need it. Big numbers means good right? That’s all I did in my playthrough. I do also wish that the AI companions were a bit smarter, but what can you do when they are always constantly asking Jack what to do. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this game. I want to do the DLC quests at some point once they have all been released and maybe try and go for the platinum achievement. Surprisingly fun game that is held back by the loot mechanic. I feel comfortable putting this in an “B” ranking.
My second “Game of the Year.” I want to break the stigma that there can only be one game in your Game of the Year spot. Both Pokémon: Legends Arceus and Elden Ring provided two different experiences for me that jointly made my year one to remember. I am not the type of person who plays these types of games and finishes them in the same year. Elden Ring only took me three months which is a new record for me. That was in part of playing the game with one of my best friends from almost beginning to end. The fact that I was able to have a partner with me helped me with the exploration hurdles that I have and really challenged me to keep up with my friend when they would get ahead of me. It might be the “blasphemous” way of playing the game, but that made it one of the best games that I played this year. I still have two other buddy campaigns to do, so I don’t see myself being done with the game for a while (especially when DLC officially comes). It is one of my games from this year just for being one of the best co-op experiences I’ve had all year. S tier for Elden Ring even though my reasons are different from most.
Mario Strikers: Battle League
You would think I would learn to stay away from Mario Sport games these days, but there was no way they would mess up Mario Strikers. The previous games were short on content, but provided hours of fun because the core game was just fun. That didn’t really happen with this title. Something is missing from that core in Battle League. It is Mario Strikers in all mechanics, but something about it just doesn’t feel right. I haven’t had the chance to play this with other people so that might be it, but even so, something just prevents me from caring that much about the game. I argue that Mario Golf: Super Rush had more for me to be engaged with; and I hate Speed Golf. Until I figure that out, Mario Strikers: Battle League joins all the other disappointing games this year in the D tier.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
I don’t like this game. I have a big personal problem with 3D platforming games that make them hard for me to enjoy them. Despite this, I try to play these types of games just to see if I can overcome my problems and find ways to adapt and enjoy them. Super Mario 3D World did not help. The way the platforming in this game works feels designed for Mario veterans to me. The floaty and sometimes slipper nature of each character made the simple challenge of jumping from one platform to the next irritating at some points. I didn’t even try playing Bowser’s Fury just because I was ready to be done with this game once and for all. That being said, it is a me problem and not a fault to the game’s design. If you like Mario games, you will have a blast playing through this. Me being the type of person who is bad at 3D platforming finds this type of game hard to enjoy. For my own personal reasons, this game goes into the C tier for me.
Super Mario 3D Land
I loved this game. I didn’t have the interest of playing this, but I got it for cheap one year thanks to birthday discount (remember when Nintendo would offer you discounts for your birthday?) I was convinced I wasn’t going to like it since it is a 3D Mario game, but everything in this game just works and clicks for me. I theorize that since the game is on a smaller screen, I have less things to process while moving forward. It also helps that the 3D effect actually works in this game and helps with seeing the 3D environments clearly. Maybe I should have played this before 3D World since I had such a better experience with this handheld game over the console upgrade. Super Mario 3D Land lands in the A tier for me.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
When it was announced that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was getting a remake, I took the opportunity to finish the original PSP game. After not touching it for years, I was surprised to see that I left off right outside the door to the final boss. I couldn’t tell you why I never finished the game then and there. The fun part was relearning how to play the game while fighting the final boss. Once I got back into the hang of things, I managed to finally see the end of Zack’s journey in glorious fashion. So yeah, I don’t really remember anything about this game except that the combat can get frustrating at times. Nothing amazing was sticking out to me, but nothing bad either. I will play the remake at some point, so for now I will place the original in the B tier.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV
The finale to the Trails of Cold Steel saga took the longest time for me to finish. At this point, I was entwined in the story and characters that I had to see everyone’s resolution to the end. Unfortunately that cost me almost 200 hours of my life to do so. I don’t regret the time I spent, but I felt some things did drag on only for the story to speed through at the end. I am a huge fan of this series and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here after finally meeting the Grandmaster of Ouroboros and what plans they may have in store next. Now I just need to find time to play the Sky trilogy and Crossbell duology before Trails into Reverie comes out in July. Sign. I am going to place this game in the “A” tier. Great conclusion to the saga, but could have been trimmed down just a bit.
This is a game from my childhood. Whenever we would visit one of our cousins, we would ask to play this game since it was so chaotic and fun. Revisiting it now made me question how durable we were as children since there are so many flashing lights and it gets hard to comprehend what is going on on the screen sometimes. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online service (words that I won’t say often), I was able to play this game with my older brother and beat it in one sitting. According to him, we have never beaten this game, hence why it is on my list. If you have never played Gunstar Heroes before, give it a try since it is available on almost all systems at this point. Just make sure to ask your optometrist if your eyesight is strong enough to handle everything on the screen. I give this game an A rank on this list.
Final Fantasy VII
I love playing RPGs (more specific JRPGs). To tell people that I have never finished one of the most iconic JRPGs until now was a fun treat. I have attempted to play and finish this game in the past, but losing your progress doesn’t help to motivate you to restart. Having the drive to finally restart this game and see it through to the end was both equally satisfying and comforting to a younger me since the game is not difficult whatsoever. Sure the superbosses are difficult as you would expect, but nothing in the main story presents much difficulty as long as you are properly equipped. I think the biggest hurdle is how slow the game is. Playing this on original hardware would have been a chore since things just move slowly and getting anything done takes time. That is why I recommend doing what I did and play one of the newer versions of this game that includes toggle turbo speed to get to place faster. I will always recommend playing older games at a faster speed in certain points since it really takes some of the bore away when you want to get to the next story beat. I did manage to get my one and only platinum trophy from this game this year, and I found the game enjoyable to this day. Maybe it was the time of the year that I played it, or if I missed the FFVIII hype train back in the day, but at the end of the day I found this game to be amazing and still holds up to this day. That is why it is in the A tier for me personally.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
The surprise sleeper hit for me this year is probably Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. I have given this game so many tries, but the appeal never grabbed me. It didn’t help that I was hours into Monster Hunter World when Capcom decided to release this in the West. With the help of a friend, I was finally able to enjoy the game for what it is. This is a great sendoff to the old style of Monster Hunter, and has plenty of content that not even World or Rise has been able to acquire. While I love this game now, I do know that its limitations are hard to ignore. Even so, I am happy that I no longer have a clear answer to my least favorite Monster Hunter game now. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is deserving of my A ranking. It would be an S if it didn’t take this long for me to enjoy.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a beast of a game. At times I feel like Monolith Soft knows how to work with the Switch better than Nintendo’s first-party developers know how to. The fact that the game can support seven characters fighting hordes of enemies and keep a stable-ish framerate is an impressive feat. I thought this game was better than XC2, and had the same level of mystery and surprises like the first. The ability to change classes is a mechanic that works well for the series since battle tend to get repetitive without some changes. For many, this is probably one of the best JRPGs that they have played this year. If I felt like I wasn’t wasting some of my time with some of the side quests that didn’t yield much benefit for doing them, then I would say XC3 hits the mark. I found myself racing towards the end in the final chapter and getting my big payoff from finishing the game then and there instead of dragging it on with the side stories. I can’t place this lower or on the same level as Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so it must go into the A tier.
Sometimes a game sounds so stupid and ridiculous that you have to try it out yourself. Trombone Champ was that game for me this year. Being a musician myself, I had to try this funny trombone game that popped up out of nowhere on my timeline. What went from laughs turned into something serious however. The power of the trombone started to swell in me, and I found myself compelled to achieve S rank on all the songs and collect all of the collectable cards that I could. The mystery of the trombone still eludes me and I need to find out why they are associated with the baboon. Baboons. Baboons….Ba..boo…ns. Uh sorry. Trombone Champ is a fun game even if the fun lasts for about 5-10 hours. Good on you trombone kid. You get an A rank from me.
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
Lament of Innocence was the second Castlevania game that I played this year, and could stomach to finish! While I enjoyed the combat and soundtrack, I found the level design, camera control, and BS platforming sections to hinder my good time. It is not a long game to beat, so I may one day return to it to 100% complete it. Stuck in the middle, so it will be placed in “B” tier.
The soundtrack is fire, but the rest of the game belongs in a fire (not really). D tier.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
Ah Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. Just when I was ready to write off all 3D Castlevania games being bad to just ok, you showed up and showed me what could have been if more 3D titles were made (by Igarashi). Curse of Darkness incorporated my favorite elements of the series and made it work in a 3D environment. While I have some minor complaints about it, I found the game to be a good palate cleanser to the other average and bad games that I played. Thank you, and take your spot in the “A” tier.
I don’t know if this counts, but the Blizzard treated this as a new game, so so am I! Overwatch 2 should have never happened. Blizzard could have easily done a big update to gut the loot box system and everything would have been fine. Instead, they wasted so much time to hype up this “evolution” to the original Overwatch, and the result was a worse version of Overwatch. It is the same game with one less player on each team. I dislike the UI, the removal of post game stats, and the quirky fun of the game. Don’t even get me started on the bullshit that is the battle pass and how unapologetically predatory it is. This is the worst battle pass system that I have seen; and I am only familiar with two of them. I’m going to stop here before I get into a giant rant of how Blizzard thought this system would be better. I still find some fun in the game on a base level, but there was no need to rush this “sequel” out in the state that it is in. This can go nowhere else but the “D” tier.
Pokémon Alpha Sapphire
Before Pokémon Scarlet came out, I wanted to finish some other Pokémon titles that I had in the backlog. I have tried playing the remakes for the third generation a number of times, but for some reason I could never get past a certain point. I would mostly lose interest in it and would restart the game to refresh my opinion. My final opinion is that this is how a remake should be. Keep everything that was in the original release, but add some new designs, introduce the new mechanics to the series in a way that makes sense to the story, and introduce some new quality of life improvements to make the game stand out. I really wished I played this game soon when it first released since it would have been my go to Pokémon game on the 3DS. Until I revisit Pokémon X and Y (since I have no memories of those games), Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby will now be my recommended titles for the Nintendo 3DS. I would put this in the “S” tier, but one thing that I kept constantly missing while playing the game was the original GBA soundtrack. If my compressed trumpets were in the game, then this would be the perfect game. Even so, this will be placed in the “A” tier.
I had a wave of emotions while playing this game. When it was first announced, I was like “okay….”. When I started playing it, I was like “Okay!”. When I was trying to finish up the last gyms, titans, and Team Star bases, I was like “Okaaaay….”. When I reached the final area and the climax of the game, I was like “OKAY!!!!”. Pokémon Scarlet is a great new direction for the mainline series. Having the world be open for you to explore and discover new things on your own is something people have wanted for ages. The story is a bit one note at the beginning, but opens up to be something more endearing than most storylines in the series. This would have been the greatest Pokémon game that I have ever played, if Legends: Arceus didn’t come out this year. When I compare the two, Legends: Arceus always comes on top for me. Scarlet may get better once the technical issues get resolved, or if future DLC somehow blows the finale out of the water. Pokémon Scarlet just has the misfortune of not being better than the other two Pokémon games that I played this year. Still a great game with great ideas. It still deserves to be in the “B” tier.
Simplicity at it’s finest. Your goal is to power up and survive the time limit in each stage. It is simple on paper, but it is the way Vampire Survivors handles this approach. Normally the difficulty in these games should get harder as time goes. Vampire Survivors mixes it up so that you have several calm and hectic times throughout your survival. It helps keep the player on their toes while playing a simple game. That and the cryptic story that you slowly uncover as you explore each stage. What surprised me the most about this game is that for how simple and cheap it is, The developer put a ton of care to the world building, how all the tools work with each other, and made it so that the game is not as impossible as it may seem. I may be a few achievements away from 100% completion, but I don’t see a time where I don’t boot the game up just to play one round (especially now that
As the saying goes, that is that. If any of my personal placements upsets you, then please consult a medical professional. My goal next year is to try and beat more games than I did the previous year. With the amount of JRPGs I have to get through next year, I may have a tough battle ahead.
Thanks for reading!