Go to Reviews.org US Edition
There’s no such thing as the “best” video game, so instead, we’re looking at our favourites. These are the games the Reviews.org AU team has spent far too much time playing this year, and we think you’ll like them too.
Words and picks by
Alex Choros, Fergus Halliday, Georgia Dixon and Nathan Lawrence
The Last of Us Part I
The Last of Us Part I is a beautifully recreated remake and the best version of the game, but it sure is pricey. Of course, there’s extra fidelity, but there’s also extra detail added to the game world to make it feel more lived-in. Naturally, the incredible story and well-rounded characters remain untouched.
It’s a shame The Last of Us Part I wasn’t gunning for 4K, 60fps in Fidelity mode, and some of the gameplay hasn’t aged particularly well. Still, none of that can hold back The Last of Us Part I from being a triumph worth revisiting.
I typically can't stand open world games. They often feel pointless, like busy work designed to pad out your play time. Elden Ring is one of the rare exceptions.
The expansive world is meticulously crafted, and it's truly a joy to explore. And despite being the latest in a lineage of brutally difficult games, Elden Ring manages to be a whole lot more accessible thanks to some smart mechanical changes and a more fluid structure. A must play.
Neon White is a first-person parkour game where you play as a deceased amnesiac forced to prove yourself worthy of getting into heaven by running, jumping and shooting your way to the top of the leaderboard. The freakish combination of card-based gunplay, first-person platforming, vaporwave-ish visuals and quirky writing makes for a fast, furious and fun time regardless of your previous experience with speed-centric shooters. Neon White isn’t perfect, but it’s a delightful, if brisk, change of pace to pretty much everything that mainstream video gaming has to offer in 2022.
Dune: Spice Wars
It’s only just entered Early Access, but Shiro Games’ take on Frank Herbert’s Dune is already dripping with flavor, texture and potential that feels wholly unique to it.
Spice Wars blurs the lines between the 4X and real-time strategy genres, while leaning into every delicious opportunity afforded to it by the subject material.
Each of the four playable factions currently in the game provides a different way to dominate Arrakis, with diplomatic advantages and economic smarts proving to be just as valuable and interesting as military might.
PowerWash Simulator is exactly what it says on the tin, but it's also so, so much more. I've never been a huge fan of the [insert mundane activity here] simulator game genre, but this bad boy had me hooked immediately. I can't even put my finger on what it is exactly that's so good, but it is just SO GOOD. Like, blink-and-five-hours-have-passed good. There's a bit of a story in there, which is weird and wacky and fun, plus some quirky easter eggs to find, but the true joy comes from simply disassociating with the chaos that is the real world and letting the white noise of the power washer lull you into a state of pure bliss. And the before-and-afters at the end of each level? They did more for my mental health than any therapist ever could.
If you loved Until Dawn, you’re going to love The Quarry. While The Quarry does have some neat new tricks up its sleeves, the reasons to return to this spiritual successor are much the same.
You’ll learn to love or loathe characters based on clever writing and great performances, plus there are some compelling mysteries to drive everything forward.
Still, exploration is a chore because of clunky movement controls, which disincentivises you from uncovering all the mysteries The Quarry has to offer.
*Pricing and deals only accurate as of last page update.
NORCO is all about atmosphere. The less you know about it, the better, but in short, expect a Southern Gothic Sci-Fi point-and-click adventure drenched in magical realism.
It's a pretty short title, and it’s a little too easy to get caught up in its weird yet wonderful story and finish it in a sitting or two.
Cats! Cyberpunk aesthetics! Robot friends! What more could you want in a game? Stray is a third-person adventure developed by BlueTwelve Studio in which you control our adorable, nameless feline hero through obstacles and puzzles in a beautifully realised open world inspired by Kowloon Walled City. You can nuzzle up against NPCs, snooze in comfy spots, meow, knock over glasses and cans, and generally just be a total menace. The story, art design and music are all phenomenal, but it's the unique gameplay and platforming that comes with playing a cat that truly won me over.
God of War (PC)
For those who didn’t get to play God of War on its original PlayStation 4 release or upgraded PlayStation 5 version, there’s now a non-PlayStation way to play one of the best games of last-gen.
Even though I don’t tend to replay games in their entirety a few short years after release, I was immediately re-immersed and fully compelled to play through the entirety of God of War again on PC. Minor port woes and the odd performance hiccup aside, the core God of War experience is as good as it was on PlayStation. Hell, if you have a powerful enough PC, it’s an even better experience, with the option for uncapped frame rates and beyond-PlayStation gorgeousness.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
I have loved Pokémon games since Pokémon Blue on the Game Boy, but even as a lifelong fan, I can admit that the games are pretty damn formulaic. That's why Arceus appealed to me so much when it was announced. A (semi) open-world Pokémon game? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, located entirely within my Nintendo Switch? Yes, I was hooked within the first five minutes. Though the story is much of the same (not that anyone plays Pokémon for the story, anyway) and the graphics aren't the best, the fresh gameplay additions and revamped Pokédex system were more than enough to land it a place in my top five games of the year.
Dying Light 2
Dying Light 2 builds on and improves the original game in all the right ways: from boosted parkour to meatier combat and better mission variety (not just fetch quests). You feel the impact you have on the game world with some meaningful choices.
It can feel overwritten at times and the main story drags on in a Return of the King kind of way, which holds it back from truly soaring. Fans of the first game will feel right at home, though, and newcomers are more than welcome. Ultimately, Dying Light 2 has an addictive gameplay loop, best-in-class parkour and plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim launched to rave reviews when it launched on PlayStation 4 in 2019, but I didn't get around to playing it until it released on Nintendo Switch this year.
Part visual novel, part real-time strategy mech combat extravaganza, 13 Sentinels is a gripping sci-fi that deftly weaves together 13 intertwining stories. While that could easily become overwhelming in a lesser game, 13 Sentinels manages to stick the landing.
The bite-sized structure of both its combat and narrative arcs makes 13 Sentinels a perfect fit for the Switch.
Two Point Campus
Ever used to complain about how your uni was run? Two Point Campus lets you put your money (or, more accurately, Kudosh) where your mouth is. The successor to the ridiculous and addicting Two Point Hospital, Two Point Campus allows you to build and manage your own university campus, which offers such courses as Virtual Normality, Wizardry, Knight School and Money Wangling. As a big fan of Two Point Hospital, I had high hopes for its scholarly sequel. Thankfully, it's even better than expected, offering a fresh, new take on a fun formula.
Developed by Jump Over The Age, Citizen Sleeper is a narratively-charged role playing game where you play as a virtual person in a mechanical body. After fleeing your corporate overlords and finding sanctuary on a space station called Erlin’s Eye, you’ll have to find a way to make ends meet and build connections with the community around you.
With dice-based mechanics inspired by tabletop roleplaying and a setting brought to life through fantastic writing, stylish art and fresh twists on familiar tropes, Citizen Sleeper is the rare RPG that guides you into the same addictive mentality that’s often found with strategy games like Civilization. Come for the cyberpunk vibes. Stay for…just one more turn.
Kirby's Dream Buffet
A multiplayer-centric title that plays like a hybrid of Fall Guys, Katamari Damacy and Mario Party, Kirby Dream Buffet is the video game equivalent of picking up your favorite snack at the checkout counter. It’s not particularly fulfilling or complicated, but it is delightful to relish in the moment.
Played over a set of four rounds with varying objectives, Dream Buffet is a competitive 3D platformer that tasks you with completing various objectives and emerging with the most points overall. The more points you earn, the bigger your Kirby grows in size. You unlock new outfits, colors and icons as you play, but there’s not a microtransaction in sight and no in-game unlock can rival the pure sense of playful glee that comes with using the right power-up to steal victory at the last possible moment.
My colleague, one Fergus John Halliday, is trying to kill me. Or at least systematically eliminating the little free time I have. He’s screwed me twice this year: first when he introduced me to Dune: Spice Wars, and second with the App Store’s latest flavour of crack, Marvel Snap.
The App Store is littered with so many low-quality Marvel games that I didn’t give Marvel Snap a second thought at first. But upon hearing an old dealer of mine (ex-Hearthstone) was behind it, I decided to risk it.
I’m thankful that I did and disgusted at myself for the hours I’ve sunk in since launch. Snap is a free-to-play (F2P) game where you unlock new cards and variants through raw gameplay or purchasable currency. Like most F2P games, the high of unlocking these bonuses becomes harder to reach the longer you play. Credit where it’s due though, Second Dinner has created a reasonable balance between microtransactions and free play. The stream of rewards might slow, but my motivation to grind never faded.
Full disclosure: I did end up chucking $15 at it as a token of gratitude. I think I got a chibi Hawkeye or something dumb like that.
A digital adaptation of the bestselling board game, Gloomhaven plays like a cross between X-COM, Slay the Spire and Dungeons & Dragons.
You and up to three friends take control of a motley crew of unique adventurers with varying strengths, weaknesses and skills. Together, you’ll complete encounters, collect loot and customize a deck of cards that determines your character's actions from turn-to-turn.
Gloomhaven is both a deck builder and a dungeon crawler rolled into one, with hundreds of hours of gameplay and none of the physical hassle that comes with its tabletop equivalent.
How we pick the best games
While we rigorously test consumer technology products, like smartphones, wireless earbuds and headphones, there's no right answer when it comes to picking the best games available. Our list is simply made up of the games that have brought our writers joy over 2022; the games that have challenged us, wowed us, and commanded far too much of our free time. Games we think more people should know about. Games we think you'll enjoy too.