Fawzi Mesmar’s Top 15 games of the year 2022

The yearly tradition continues! So many awesome games came out this year! I tried my best to keep up and pay as much of them as possible, I liked most of the games I played, but these 15 games stood out against the rest, some are among my favorite games experiences ever! without further ado, here they are:

15 – Gotham Knights

I love the Arkham games and they remain my favourite video game representation of the dark knight ever. So I was initially skeptical about a game without him as a playable character, but I was quite pleasntly surprised by the depth of the narrative, the co-op gameplay and how much the teams could take the tried and tested formula of that series forward. It’s not perfect, but there’re enough interesting things here to make it worth checking out.

14 – High on Life

The creators of Rick and Morty manage to capture the show’s humour in brilliant ways in a single player FPS adventure of multi dimensional proportions! As a bounty hunter catching bad aliens, you’re armed with your wits but also the wits of the weapons you carry, that talk to you – a lot – and create a fun dynamic narrative tool that you carry with you wherever you go. Fun and whacky from start to finish, with hysterical moments at time, it’s a game for Rick and Morty fans and beyond.

13 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

I grew up with the Ninja Turtles, they were everywhere! Toys, TV shows and video games you name it and I played a lot of those games in the arcades and home consoles of my childhood. Without a doubt the most memorable for me was Turtles in time which Shredder’s Revenge is heavily inspired from! All the classic beat’em joys from the past, simple and intuitive controls and lots of couch co-op fun! Shredder’s Revenge is a trip down memory lane that impresses in so many ways and had me replaying it every time I had some friends over.

12 – Pokemon Legends Arceus

The open world Pokémon game has been a long awaited fan fantasy that Arceus makes a reality. Though I will never for the life of me be able to properly pronounce that word. This Pokémon game also departs from traditional Quasi-modern setting and goes for more traditional Japanese influences. All the usual hooks of a gotta catch’em all Pokémon game is still as captivating as ever, with new presentation, level ups and upgrades and cool story, it’s one my most memorable Pokémon games since GO.

11 – Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration

Atari 50 is part docu series, part historical timeline and part classic video game collection. Across several timelines the player is able to scroll through the history of the company through articles, photos, really candid interviews, never before seen footage, unreleased games or prototypes. As you’re scrolling through those timelines you’re able to either directly play the games that are being discussed or in some occasion play a brand new remade and re-imagined version of those games that are made with the sensibilities 2022. So much fascinating history to read about, Atari 50 is important. It’s important to the medium and I can’t wait to see similar treatments … like one for Neo Geo, Sega or even Nintendo. Any video game history fan will find themselves at home with this one.

10 – Neon White

Neon White is fast and stylish first person speed running parkour game, you play a series of levels where you must get to the finish point as fast as possible. You can carry two types of cards that represent your weapons, you can either fire them or discard them which activates their other movement ability to help you navigate the level quickly. You are rewarded for faster level clearance, which what allows you to level up and unlock other levels. The general presentation design and narrative feels heavily inspired by Japanese games similar to Persona. The game is fast and you can reset the level instantly whenever you fail or miss valuable seconds, going fast over and over and getting better with every run is a lot of fun, and makes for a memorable experience.

9 – Norco

I guess the easiest way for me to describe Norco would be as a point and click adventure game, though the more you spend time with it the more you realize that it is much much more than that. Set in a fictionalized version of Norco, Louisiana developer Geography of Robots create a surreal tale that weaves detective journalism, personal relation to small town culture and backdrop of intersection of social and political issues that go hand in hand with big industry and their responsibilities and effect to neighboring towns. Such a deeply engrossing game coming from a first time developer is so impressive. This game really goes places.

8 – Need for Speed Unbound

What if Criterion games took the best parts of Burnout Paradise, added the high speed police chases of Need for Speed games, put it all in a super tight grafitti street art inspired style that makes it’s way to everything from the dust on the tires to the character design and wrapped it all with a hip international original soundtrack of underground recording artists from different parts of the world? you’ll end up with Need for Speed Unbound, one of the best car games to come out in recent memory! Could not put it down!

7 – Xenoblade Chronicles 3

XC3 is probably the best entry of Monolith’s JRPG series to date. An epic adventure on all proportions, high stakes and touching narrative, hundreds of hours of gameplay, a wealth of mechanics that seem to never end, even after 40 hours I was still getting tutorial boxes with information on how to work with this new system that was introduced. All orchestrated to the beautiful tunes by the returning composer Yasunori Mitsuda – legend behind the music of the Chrono games and previous Xenoblade entries – making XC3 soundtrack one of my favorites in recent memories. Over 11 hours of music in this game, that’s an achievement on it’s own!

6 – Stray

Cats can go places we can’t and it’s always interesting to see the world from their perspective, so when that world is a whimsical cyber punk walled city that is mostly inhabited by sentient robots and a mystery however has come to be, it’s even more compelling to join this heroic feline on this epic quest. This game is beyond the initial pitch of “you play as a cat”, there’s so much heart in the world it’s developed within that it’s a beautiful journey start to finish, with lots of memorable characters that can make you feel things with their limited set of emoticon displays for a face than you may have initially thought possible.

5 – Kirby and The Forgotten Land

Kirby goes full 3D platformer for the first time with incredible results! A charming solo or couch co-op experience that will have you smile the whole time, as the game’s trade mark cuteness goes on to deliver one of Kirby’s best adventure in years. Never be too demanding but hosting a wealth of secrets Kirby is a game that masterfully balances challenge in a way all generations can enjoy, at the same time even, which is no small feat. Also, Kirby now tries to ingest a whole car, that’s worth the price of admission alone.

4 – Return to Monkey Island

The king is back for one more swashbuckling adventure! Many of us have very fond memories of the Ron Gilbert historic franchise, and it’s great to see the band come back together for one more hilarious adventure. Guybrush Threepwood is at it again! The mighty pirate is out to find the secret of Monkey island and is getting help – and hindrances – from a host of familiar faces in a classic point and click adventure game that has updated design to fit modern day standards creating an instant treat for newcomers and a fitting place in the franchise for those who’ve been onboard all along.

3 – Marvel Snap

From the brilliant minds that has created and operated Hearthstone for over a decade, comes CCG seemingly out of nowhere that takes the world by storm. Allowing you to play mind-tricks on your opponent with round lengths that are perfect for quick game on the tube or all night marathon, Marvel Snap creates a very compelling game that makes you feel smart, tense, competitive and ignites the collector within you. I can’t remember the last time I was drawn into a game as much as I have to this one, I even canceled plans the one night just to stay home and play that game all evening while listening to music.

2 – God of War Ragnarok

If the 2018 entry of this beloved franchise established the rule set of how this world functions. The intricate combat systems, the loading free elevator and corridors, the father-son relationship, the mythical landscape backdrop, the puzzle design structure … then Ragnarok just builds and improves on that formula with so much content, epic battles, beautiful vistas and a story that will have you guessing what’s going to happen from the very beginning. God of War Ragnarok is a great sequel and a fitting continuation to Kratos’s Nordic adventures.

1 – Elden Ring

From Software takes their phenomenal Souls design to astronomical heights while keeping their trademark difficulty! Elden Ring is an astronomical achievement in video games design, one that will be remembered for years as one of the most wonderfully designed open worlds ever, a game that truly encourages exploration in all ways, exploring mechanics, the world, the narrative, the enemies and different ways to play giving the player full agency to make this experience their own at their pace in whichever way that fits their play style. Not only is it one of the best games this year, it’s quite possibly one of the best games to come out in the last decade and without a doubt From Software’s finest game to date.