Every Game I Finished in 2022

For the last three years, I have committed myself to finishing a game a week. That might not be literally a game a week, but as long as I finish 52 by the end of the year, I’ve accomplished my goal. In 2022 I didn’t quite hit that number, falling shy by two games. However, I did finish 54 games in 2021, so technically I accomplished my goal across the three years.

Anyway, to change things up, I’m taking a different approach going into 2023. The 52 games goal didn’t set me on a quantity over quality approach, but it did cause me to avoid some very long games here and there. It also kept my focus squarely in more recent games when I did drift into something that could take dozens of hours to finish.

In 2023, my goal is to tackle my most shameful backlog entries and games I’ve been meaning to replay for years. Games like The Witcher 3, Disco Elysium, hell, possibly even Skyrim and Suikoden II are in the running for games I’ve never finished. I’m also looking to replay Half-Life 1 and 2, as well as Panzer Dragoon Saga. I’m leaving it open for now, so I can go where the mood strikes me. Currently I’m playing Xenoblade Chronicles, a game that isn’t nearly as shameful as some of the ones mentioned above, but it’s keeping my interest so far.

We will see how this pans out when my year-end/new year articles come along in 2024. Until then, here’s how my 2022 went.

Note: As usual, the list below should not be taken as definitively as my final top 10 list. These are just my unpolished thoughts I wrote down as the credits rolled, with a score I gave with my gut, rather than hours of thought. That said, enjoy!

F.E.A.R. (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 01/13
★★★☆☆
A surprisingly competent and fun shooter for the time, but it really doesn’t do much with the horror angle. It can be very creative with the creepy elements, but those moments are few and far between. This game desperately wants to be Half-Life. (Side note: the backwards compatibility upgrade is very impressive and does a lot to make the game enjoyable)

Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PS5) – Completed on 01/16
★★★☆☆
Kena is a beautiful game with a great soundtrack. It often feels like a PS2 game, with tutorial prompts for the basics, but no guidance when you get lost or stuck. The combat is really hard for what seems like a kids game, and knocking the game down to “story mode” made the experience much smoother. Kena simply isn’t refined enough to justify that difficulty level. While it eventually got more fun to play, the story never really did anything interesting. The voice acting was stiff and emotionless.

Death Loop (PS5) – Completed on 01/19
★★★☆☆
Deathloop feels like it got stuck between trying to be an Arcane game and a popular game. It is overwhelming and confusing while still being linear and holding you by the hand. It doesn’t feel as readable as their previous games, so the aggressive waypoints are needed, but they don’t feel good to use. The story doesn’t make sense until it finally does, and then it’s not that intriguing. It’s a big puzzle box with some good line delivery but little heart.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) – Completed on 01/29
★★★☆☆
BOTW is a game of highs and lows. It’s often a joy to play thanks to the sense of exploration. You feel like you’ll find something new around every corner. Yet the core of the game, defeating the 4 Divine Beasts and stopping Ganon, is atrociously boring. I’ve fallen asleep playing this game more times than I can count. It’s why it’s taken me this long to finally finish it.

Shadow Man Remastered (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 01/29
★★★★☆
I can’t deny that Shadow Man has aged quite a bit. Hell, a lot of its problems were obvious back then too. But Nightdive has done a masterful job of remastering the game in a way that maintains the look and feel of the old game while giving it a quality-of-life coat of paint. Shadow Man Remastered controls much better, runs at 4K/60fps, and features HD textures. The end result is an important release, showing off a game that feels unlike anything else. It’s probably the first 3D Metroidvania.

Hitman 2 (PS5) – Completed on 01/31
★★★★★
Hitman is unlike anything else on the market, and Hitman 2 builds on it all with incredible mission scenarios. You don’t expect to get invested in the story of Agent 47, but it’s hard to resist once it gets going. The game strikes an incredible balance of guidance and freedom, showing you how to create incredible kill scenarios, but letting you go your own way at any time. It’s just so much fun.

Hitman 3 (PS5) – Completed on 02/06
★★★★★
The best set of levels they’ve done for Hitman. It’s incredible that they managed to top themselves again, and marry cool scenarios with the overall plot better than ever. Hitman 3 had many of my all-time favorites moments in the series. That it’s also a platform for all 3 recent games makes it the perfect package. Playing all 3 games straight through is likely to be an incredible experience.

Lake (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 02/08
★★★☆☆
Unfortunately, while its charms did manage to bleed through here and there, Lake mostly showed that game development is still very hard, expensive, and limited for most. I would love to see this game with the budget of a Rockstar or Naughty Dog game. I want to see an immersive world, great acting, and attention to detail for a game about mundane things. Maybe this is a stepping stone to that game, but for now, it felt pretty quaint.

The Eternal Cylinder (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 02/17
★★★★☆
A supremely weird game where every scene is cosmic, colorful, and unsettling. It is a game that’s beautiful, cute, disturbing, and gross. The eponymous eternal cylinder is truly imposing, but the game is also a fun little game of Monkey Ball trying to escape it with your little mutating Trebhums. What’s most surprising about The Eternal Cylinder is how smooth the experience is. It’s rare you get games this weird and different, that are also polished, well-paced, and visually impressive.

Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5) – Completed on 03/13
★★★★☆
The first Horizon was the best version of the Ubisoft-style open world checklist game of its time. Forbidden West feels a little bit lost in the pack by comparison. It isn’t as refined. It’s too big and too long. The combat on higher difficulties can be more frustrating than harrowing at times. But most of all, the story falters in a way the first game didn’t. If Zero Dawn was Mass Effect 2, then Forbidden West is Mass Effect 3. A great game, but compromised.

Song of Horror (PS5) – Completed on 03/20
★★☆☆☆
I’m not sure a game has ever ruined itself on a single mechanic as completely as Song of Horror does. Over the course of 5 episodes and 15-20 hours of gameplay, a single threat looms: die too many times and you have to start the episode over. This mechanic is so distracting and so punishing (alongside cheap, unintuitive, instant kill deaths) that it’s hard to really appreciate anything else about the game. I ended up turning off permadeath and playing the remainder of the game with a guide, just to ensure I’d never replay an episode. I wish the developers spent the time that went into the permadeath mechanic on just about anything else. The whole game feels like it is designed for streamers to get mad at, not for normal people to play.

Chorvs (PS5) – Completed on 03/30
★★★☆☆
Chorvs is for space combat what Halo 1 is for FPS. It is that 30 seconds of fun, golden triangle of combat design. The drifting system feels like you are a pilot in Battlestar Galactica. The powers and weapons you have mostly feel excellent to use. The problem is that you have to imagine everything Halo does well with combat, and then strip out the good story, the great environments, and even sometimes the encounter design. Chorvs really only has one good thing going for it, and it doesn’t capitalize on it either. The combat is SO good that it still carried me through a disappointing overall experience.

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (PS5) – Completed on 04/12
★★★☆☆
SoP is a perfect example of how far entertaining gameplay can carry a mess of a game. The visuals are horrible, the art design is questionable. The story has some interesting ideas but is presented in the most baffling way possible. It doesn’t work in so many ways. And yet, the gameplay is really solid and fun. If I didn’t already have Nioh and Nioh 2, similar games from the same dev team that are far more polished, I would have probably rated this higher.

Chernobylite  (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 05/01
★★★☆☆
Review on RRC

Tunic (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 05/06
★★★★★
One of the most uncompromising games I’ve ever played, Tunic has some of the greatest puzzles and puzzle revelations you’ll find in the medium. It absolutely shares space with Fez, The Witness, and Outer Wilds. There are layers to Tunic though, and in the end, it simply goes too far for a single average person to figure things out. But again, that’s the point, you’re meant to share your knowledge in the end. I managed to do so much of the game on my own though and it was an absolute delight despite all the struggle.

Ghostwire Tokyo  (PS5) – Completed on 05/28
★★★☆☆
A very solid 3, teetering on a 4. Ghostwire Tokyo is an excellent open world checklist game and if you are looking for that kind of thing it’s likely to hook you. That said, that’s certainly not the kind of game I was expecting. The collect-a-thon is fun, but the combat can get tiresome. If the combat and the story were more refined, this could have really been something special. As it is, it’s still fun, but the atmosphere of Tokyo and the urge to collect stuff is a huge part of the appeal here.

Ikai (PS5) – Completed on 05/30
★★☆☆☆
An arguably harmless experience that really doesn’t have much to offer. Ikai is trying for something unique, but stumbles and fails to get the pulse going in any substantial way. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it—if you are okay with rudimentary walking sim mechanics—but it fails to really be exciting, scary, thrilling, or particularly compelling in any way.

Cursed Mountain (Wii) – Completed on 05/31
★★☆☆☆
I couldn’t finish this one and ended up watching the back half on YouTube. I like some of the ideas and setting, but the game was comically repetitive and simple and it made no effort to mitigate that. I would have preferred a much shorter game with better pacing over the hours of poor camera angles, enemies cornering you while you struggle with motion controls, and other frustrations. The story doesn’t help matters, as it seems all too comfortable with painting all the native characters as simplistic victims, while the white men do all the main action.

F.E.A.R. – Extraction Point (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 06/03
★★★★☆
A better game than the original in just about every way, this expansion is better paced and more bombastic. Combat encounters are packed with enemies and exciting, and the game manages to have better horror elements as well. Certainly one of the better shooters of the era.

F.E.A.R – Perseus Mandate (Xbox Series X ) – Completed on 06/16
★★★☆☆
Extraction Point takes MVP here. Perseus Mandate is fine, but the pacing and excitement of the combat just isn’t as strong. I had fun, but at the same time I was happy to be done with it. I’ve had my fill of F.E.A.R 1.

Closing Shift (Steam Deck) – Completed on 06/26
★★★★☆
The simulation of making coffee and being a barista on its own is enough to recommend this game. It’s a lot of fun, and a game that built on it could be amazing. But Closing Shift also adds a layer of effective horror elements that totally worked for me. The lingering dread of being stalked combined with the everyday monotony of a service job was an effective cocktail.

Return of the Obra Dinn (PS5) – Completed on 06/30
★★★★★
A perfect puzzle game. I obsessed over this one the entire time, lost sleep playing it. It tells a twisty story completely out of order and it somehow all comes together. The visuals are spectacular and the style of it all is so perfect.

The Quarry (PS5) – Completed on 07/04
★★★★☆
With longer schlocky horror stories like Fear Street and Stranger Things becoming the norm, Supermassive’s interactive take on the genre fits in better than ever. Their formula is as great as ever here, with a great cast, clever twists, and gory fun. What keeps it from perfection is Supermassive’s unwillingness to let you peek behind the curtains and have fun with alternative paths. Replaying and changing your choices is a slog, forcing you to replay large, unchanged sections with unskippable cutscenes. Bottom line: a patch could make this game just about perfect.

NORCO (Steam Deck) – Completed on 07/04
★★★★★
NORCO is not a perfect game, nor is it always perfectly paced, but every time I took it on its own terms, and sat with it for a few hours, it felt like warming up to a great piece of literature. NORCO’s full meaning escapes me somewhat, but the vibes are not lost on me, and the emotions it’s trying to impart are strong, even if I don’t always understand the thesis. At the end of the day though, I love this game for being truly unlike anything I’ve ever played. Games just aren’t like this.

Bright Memory: Infinite (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 07/14
★★★☆☆
Review on RRC

Neon White (Steam Deck) – Completed on 07/28
★★★★☆
Almost everything about Neon White sucks. I hated the story, characters, and the aesthetic was mostly drab. Boss fights were not very fun, nor were some of the “gift” side quests along the way. So many elements are unappealing, and yet the 100-ish levels of speed running were so masterful none of that mattered much. Neon White is an incredibly well-designed action game with an endless trove of new ideas.

Salt and Sacrifice (PS5) – Completed on 08/07
★★★★☆
Review on RRC

South of the Circle (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 08/08
★★★★★
Review on RRC

Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel (PS5) – Completed on 08/18
★★★☆☆
Very close to an indie homage to Resident Evil 7/8 that’s worth playing, and considering it’s only the third survival horror game in this style, maybe it still is worth playing. That said, it’s much more focused on very hard puzzles and thanks to the inventory and save system it can be very frustrating. Despite the original Resident Evil having limited saves, ammo, and inventory space, forcing you to back track constantly, it never gets frustrating because it is impeccably designed. That’s just not the case here and it makes the entire experience a headache without some sort of guide.

Stray (PS5) – Completed on 08/22
★★★★☆
An imperfect game that nevertheless is far more impressive than I ever expected. It’s a straightforward adventure that goes down very smoothly. It’s also a graphical showcase, and a touchpoint for how far indie games have come. Yet, there’s something off about the premise of Stray that never quite worked for me. Had it done more to establish the cat as a chaotic animal, or made the cat more anthropomorphic and magical, I think I would have bought the story more.

Oxide: Room 104 (PS5) – Completed on 08/28
★★☆☆☆
A fascinating game with fatal flaws, Oxide has a unique structure that should be really cool but ends up being exhausting. The setup, where each death turns the game from room escape to survival horror, is so cool, but the need to replay the entire game every time you die ruins it.

Saints Row (2022) (PS5) – Completed on 09/05
★★★☆☆
A disappointing game not because it’s bad, but because it just misses the mark in so many ways and it could have been so good. Nearly every element, from the combat design, to the driving, the humor, and the mission structure is a few degrees off from what was needed. The end result is a very average game that fails to hit the highs of most of the older Saints games. It’s a game that makes you wonder what the developers have learned after all these years.

F.E.A.R. 2 (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 09/11
★★☆☆☆
Has aged like dirt. F.E.A.R. 2 is the poster child of late 2000s extreme pandering to the Call of Duty-playing man. It streamlines the original game, isn’t scary, does the thing where it aggressively congratulates the player, and it’s built with misogyny in its bones. Jen Taylor voices the main NPC, which just reinforced that era’s “Cortana is your girlfriend” bullshit. Then, in the end, the sexualized, naked Alma rides the main character and has his baby. It’s just truly a mess and I don’t know what I saw in it originally.

Steelrising (PS5) – Completed on 10/02
★★★★☆
I didn’t think a Spiders game would be one of my favorite games of the year. Yes it still has a lot of issues (dialogue doesn’t play often—keep subtitles on!), but the Dark Souls-inspired action is solid and the exploration is satisfying. This is a surprisingly fully-featured game that took me about 25 hours to complete in the end, doing all of the side quests. I love the idea of dialogue trees and Mass Effect-esque choices added to a Souls-like. It’s messy in so many ways, but the good parts always kept me excited to stick with it.

The Fridge is Red (Steam Deck) – Completed on 10/09
★★★☆☆
Review on RRC

Scorn (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 10/15
★★★☆☆
Review on RRC

The Looker (Steam Deck) – Completed on 10/15
★★★☆☆
I love the idea of a spoof of The Witness, an amazing puzzle game that had its head entirely up its ass and totally earns the ridicule. The Looker is exactly that, but while it made me laugh often, it tried a little too hard to be a genuine puzzle game. None of the hard puzzles hit the difficulty level of The Witness, but you may end up stuck on a puzzle long enough that  the joke is no longer funny.

The Last Hero of Nostalgaia  (Steam Deck) – Completed on 10/23
★★★☆☆
Review on RRC

Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo (PS5) – Completed on 10/27
★★☆☆☆
I only finished this because some Steam reviews said it started slow but got good. It certainly got more ridiculous and piled on a ton of soap opera tropes, but it never got good by any stretch. The whole thing feels like a stiff, awkward, glacially-paced puppet show that’s impossible to take seriously. That cat was pretty cool though.

Saturnalia (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 11/03
★★★★☆
Review on RRC

Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch) – Completed on 11/07
★★★★☆
Some lulls and grindy elements keep this one from perfection, but overall it’s an excellent game. The secrets are so fun to find, and the game gets genuinely challenging in the back half (especially after rolling credits the first time). And in true Kirby fashion, it goes ridiculous Dragon Ball Z mode more than a few times.

Sonic Frontiers (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 11/17
★★★★☆
A beautiful mess of ideas, many of which absolutely work. At once it is cheesy, somber, emo, anime, and saccharine. It feels like the realization of what Sonic Adventure set out to do over 20 years ago, and yet it also makes many of the same mistakes. Most importantly though, it is engaging. I didn’t want to put it down, even having clearly better games in front of me. A true B game worth playing.

Metal: Hellsinger (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 11/27
★★★☆☆
A great concept and foundation is ruined by touchy calibration settings, overly long levels, and repetitive encounters. I could never get the beat timing to feel “locked in” in a way where the misses felt like my fault and I could maintain a steak if I was really dialed into a song. Those shield enemies should have been cut from the game.

Immortality (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 12/04
★★★★★
An imperfect perfect game that frankly blew me away. I’ll be thinking about it for years most likely and while I wouldn’t recommend it to most people, I’ll definitely push it on the film buffs in my life for years to come. It feels like an impossible task to create this game and act in it, and it’s a miracle it came together so well. My only issue is that I wish it were a little friendlier about discovering the last handful of clips.

Vampire Survivors (Steam Deck) – Completed on 12/05
★★★★☆
It feels dangerously simple and almost unhealthy, in the same way that clicker games did a few years ago. Yet the small amount of interaction and thoughtful upgrade system keeps this from feeling like a brainless affair. You can still lose, and decisions make a difference. My biggest issue is that this game should progress smoothly, and I ran into a few times where I was stuck in a loop of dying that was boring enough that I almost quit. Still, there are many more highs than lows here.

Atari 50 (Switch) – Completed on 12/10
★★★★☆
Arguably the most important release of the year for how it completely reframes what a collection of old games can be. Operates more like a museum exhibit than a bunch of Atari roms, with scans of documents, magazine ads, articles, comic books, video interviews, and more, all hi-res and lovingly presented. This is what I want every game collection to be like, and frankly, the industry should be funding these kinds of projects. My only complaint is that it still left me wanting more. There are large chunks of it that are just game after game.

A Plague Tale: Requiem (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 12/19
★★★★★
Requiem brings this series into the AAA realm with the good and bad that comes with that. Amazing spectacle is mixed with some odd storytelling moments early on. But in time the game finds its footing and becomes something truly special. At the end of the day I think both Innocence and Requiem are incredible games. This one sticks the landing and I’ll probably be thinking about that ending for a long time to come.

The Case of the Golden Idol (Steam Deck) – Completed on 12/23
★★★★★
Wears its Return of the Obra Dinn influences on its sleeve and somehow manages to pull that off spectacularly. Amazing that I got to play both in the same year. This one is certainly doing its own thing though. It’s tighter, friendlier, and has its own amazingly unique art style. Personally I think I connected with Obra Dinn a little more, but they’re on par with each other, making this a triumph.

Signalis (Xbox Series X) – Completed on 12/30
★★★★★
Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell. Signalis is born from the nostalgia of those games and animes, proud of it, and incredible for it. One of the best old school survival horror games to come along in years, with an incredible amount of style.

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen & Seasons (PS5) – Completed on 12/31
★★★★☆
For a few days this year, Destiny 2 was a thrilling, challenging, linear shooter in the style of Halo. The Witch Queen legendary campaign was an awesome triumph. However, the subsequent seasons didn’t take advantage of new additions like the legendary style of challenge or the Hive Guardians. The Witch Queen missions and areas were forgotten in order to tell new stories that were not quite as good as last year’s. Not a miss by any stretch, but this year’s Destiny offering didn’t have quite the same energy as last year’s seasons.

3 comments

  1. I wonder if playing a game a week as a sort of commitment can change your experience of them. There’s a few games on here I consider absolute classics, like FEAR or Breath Of The Wild, and they fair averagely in your rating. Obviously it’s subjective, but it’s just interesting.

    Some games fit the format of playing in one week better than others. Sonic Frontiers for instance is the first game I’ve played almost without stopping in years. But Breath Of The Wild was really an experience I got a bit bored of and took breaks from. But overall I loved. I wonder if I had to power on through, if I would have found the puzzles and guardian layers way more tedious.

    I also respect games that don’t waste my time too much.

    Interesting list.

    1. To be clear, finishing 52 games in a year doesn’t mean I’m gorging myself on BOTW for 60 hours in one week. I started that game in 2017 and played it off and on since then.

      1. Ah, I see. Well, good luck with the backlog. I haven’t got around to finishing the Witcher 3 either.

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