King Toko’s Game of the Year 2022 (GOTY) Awards

A tradition of playing video games continues.

It’s the last day of 2022 and nearly a new year, but I just finished my Game of the Year list. 2022 was a quiet year for me with games and there is plenty that I should have played. Yet, There weren’t many games worth mentioning this year. The only big-budget game that came out and didn’t disappoint was Elden Ring. All the others like God of War Ragnarök and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II were just more of the same. Stray made a big impression for the sole reason of having a playable cat, and Dwarf Fortress finally got a mass audience release. I didn’t play any of them.

This year I played a mixture of new and old games on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. I had more gaps in the year where I didn’t play games but focused on more creative projects like making my own video game.

Like last year I posted my Game of the Month entries throughout the year on my Twitter page (@kingtoko), and I gave a short review of my experience with each. My GOTY list below contains these reviews with a couple of extra games and my expanded opinions on them.

You can see the original tweet thread here: GOTM 2022.

Note: For a game to qualify for GOTY, I must have played it in 2022, though they don’t have to be from 2022.

Special Mentions

Here are some games that I played that were enjoyable but didn’t make my top ten list:

(II) Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo Switch)

Not too sure why I decided to get Arceus. I knew it would be a disappointment. Deep down I am looking for that feeling of playing the first couple of Pokémon games where you want to collect all of them.

To its credit, some of the most memorable Pokémon are included and there aren’t hundreds to collect, so it is manageable if you did want to collect them all.

The main problem is that it is trying to be The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with Pokémon and fails. It looks worse, plays worse and is more empty. The design of Pokémon is out of control at this point. They are beyond scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

Without actually playing Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Pokémon Legends: Arceus seems a better game. If Arceus failed to be Breath of the Wild with Pokémon, then Scarlet and Violet seem even more flawed.

(I) Citizen Sleeper (Xbox Series X)

I have heard a lot about Citizen Sleeper, so gave it a go. So far it has been pleasant to play through. I have enjoyed the gameplay more than the story, which goes on too long for what you are doing. The experience would probably be better without it.

I need to play it more. That’s why it is only on my mentioned list. I could see it being on my Game of the Year list if I only played it sooner.

I like how it uses a time system to determine the decisions and actions you can take. However, the declining health mechanic is annoying as it limits the already small pool of things you can do. When it reaches zero, all you lose is a skill which can easily be replaced.

Despite this, it’s good to see more games like this becoming popular.

Games of the Year

Without further ado, these are my top games for AD 2022:

(10) The Gunk (Xbox One)

The Gunk could have been amazing if it didn’t feel rushed and half-finished. It doesn’t have any proper cutscenes and starts and ends abruptly. I appreciate the two female characters even though they end up acting predictably.

The gameplay revolves around sucking up goo (gunk) with your vacuum cleaner and fighting easy enemies with light puzzles and platform elements. It could have been so much more, but the developers didn’t have the budget or talent to finish it.

One of the reasons I am down on The Gunk is that I was missing 6 fibre resources at the end. This meant I couldn’t get the final upgrade, and therefore the last achievement for 100% completion. Even though I checked everywhere more than once. I can’t find them. Either they are bugged out, or I am missing something obvious.

(9) Signalis (Xbox One)

This is a mixture of Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dead Space, and Parasite Eve. All of which it borrows elements from but never surpasses. Signalis has more than one ending, except they are phoney endings. I don’t like how it feels like watching an anime, and the characters have no feet for some reason.

There are many little story flashbacks, and it mixes first-person and isometric gameplay to tell an overly complicated story of what is happening.

If you are going to play Signalis, play on the hardest difficulty as it isn’t much more difficult and will allow you to get all the achievements. If you care about that kind of thing.

(8) Stoneshard (PC)

I got to about level 20 in Stoneshard before deciding to start again in a different class. It is fun but needs more variety and content to have lasting appeal. I am sure it will eventually.

I haven’t kept up with Stoneshard. For all I know, it is double the size it was when I last played it. Chances are it isn’t. To be fair the developer has had external troubles to worry about.

Stoneshard is a game you are going to have to wait for years to see finished. They are in no rush. It just means you have to start again each time you go back to play it.

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(7) Control (Xbox Series X)

I recently got an Xbox Series X and completed 100% of Control (excluding the DLC). It is another good piece from Remedy with an interesting if anticlimactic story. I enjoyed the little nods to other games and the Americana aesthetic.

The Max Payne series is still the best thing Remedy has made. Thinking about it, I would rather go back and finish Alan Wake, than play more Control and the DLC. This is because the combat in Control never feels satisfying.

Its story idea and style are great. Except the ending isn’t. At least it lets you carry on playing after the credits roll.

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(6) Crusader Kings III (PC)

I prefer Crusader Kings II with all its DLC and how it plays to this version. Crusader Kings III is accessible, but the victories and stories feel less impactful. I am hopeful it will be better in time.

You think a more updated Crusader Kings would be great, except the insistence on using 3D characters leads to odd poses and faces in character events. A piece of art in Crusader Kings II said a lot more. In the end, it doesn’t add anything to the gameplay.

With that, all said, Crusader Kings III still offers unlimited immersive gameplay that most games dream of.

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(5) Solasta: Crown of the Magister (PC)

Solasta is the most fun I have had with a CRPG or D&D game since playing Drakensang years ago. It allows you to create a party of four dwarfs and doesn’t make you take others. It also has a full editor, which is extensive.

I would rate Solasta: Crown of the Magister higher if it wasn’t a classical Dungeon & Dragons-style fantasy game. I know why the setting is chosen, but games like Disco Elysium have shown that different backdrops can be more engaging and have better potential.

(4) Deep Rock Galactic (PC)

A mixture of Left 4 Dead and dwarfs make Deep Rock Galactic a fun game whether you are playing with strangers or alone. It can feel repetitive on occasion. The developers seem to really care about their product.

It has a good loop, and if you have a group you always play with, probably one of the best. Ultimately, most people won’t.

I fell off Deep Rock Galactic quickly. I am sure I will go back sometime in the future, but it just started to feel like a job. Once that happens I lose interest in a game.

(3) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition (PC)

I never played Morrowind. While I was aware of its reputation, I didn’t know if it was like blowing skooma out of your backside or not. It’s good, but I have installed 215 mods, which helps.

I played a bit of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (the Unity edition) in 2022 and had fun. So I thought I might as well try Morrowind. All the mods help Morrowind feel more modern and add to its overall playtime. I stopped playing after 55 hours and have no clue how close I am to completing it. I must be miles away.

If someone asked me, “Should I play Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, or Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind?” I would probably say, “Play modded Oblivion”. If you don’t want to mess with mods, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition is still excellent.

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(2) Persona 5 Royal (Xbox One)

I have enjoyed playing despite never playing a Persona game. While the story is too heavy on the anime, it gives off the right teenage school vibe. I have always liked games that are set in Japan, such as Shenmue and Yakuza.

I haven’t completed Persona 5 Royale yet. One thing that bothers me is the over-sexualisation of characters, which makes playing the game embarrassing.

None of the individual aspects is great by itself, except it all comes together to make it enjoyable.

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(1) Hitman (3) Trilogy (Xbox Series X)

I originally played Hitman on PC and now started again on Xbox. While annoying, I have relished playing the old levels and completing all the challenges. I am currently in Colorado. I hope more is added after the Freelancer mode in late January 2023.

Hitman 3 is the worse Hitman in the trilogy in terms of locations. Regardless, if you have the Hitman Trilogy you have so much content, almost too much to get through, that no others can compete in terms of value.

The games aren’t particularly hard as they guide you on how to complete each level. If you are doing suit-only silent assassin runs, it becomes more interesting. The Hitman games are essentially puzzles if you want to play them properly.

The online-only requirement is still an issue. For some reason, most of the content such as challenges and items is linked to being online. This makes all the hard work you put into the Hitman almost feel pointless. With one switch, they can remove all that hard work. You would be left with just the levels themselves. No fancy items, clothes, or challenges to complete.

I suppose you can’t blame the developers solely for it, as that is what gaming is nowadays. It doesn’t have to be like that of course.

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In Fine

That’s my 2022 Game of the Year feature done. I will continue using Twitter to post my Games of the Month in 2022. I may also create separate posts for each to be able to go into more detail.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on these games as much as I did playing and typing about them.

2022 was a bad year for many people for various reasons, and the climate is on a death loop. 2023 will hopefully be a better year for all. Covid-19 is still menacing in the background. Except no one cares about it or common decency with helping to stop the spreading of illnesses.

2023 should be a good year for video games. I am hopeful S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl will live up to its heritage and isn’t a huge disappointment.

Happy New Year!

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