Best Xbox Games of 2022
Microsoft has a really good year in 2021, with the Xbox Game Studios putting out a number of great titles (including Forza Horizon 5, which was our Game of the Year last year). The expectation was that the company would keep its momentum going in 2022- but though this year didn’t quite live up to expectations for Xbox (thanks in large part to the delays of Redfall and Starfield), there were still plenty of excellent games to play on the platform throughout the year. Here, we’re going to talk about the ones that stood out to us the most, before crowning one of them as the best of the best.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
Every year, there are some games that don’t get nearly the kind of attention they deserve, and Citizen Sleeper is one such game in that group for 2022. But though it flew under the radar for many, those who played it will gladly tell you that it’s easily one of the most unique (and perhaps even among the best) games of the year. Set in a ruined space station against the backdrop of interstellar corporate dystopia, Citizen Sleeper expertly combines rich and evocative storytelling with compelling game design. It’s the sort of game that’ll burrow its way deep down into your head and refuse to leave, even long after you’re done with it.
Weird West may not have the budget and sheen of immersive sim giants like Dishonored and Prey, but this is a genre that’s first and foremost on the strength of its mechanics- and on that front, WolfEye Studios’ debut game deserves unreserved praise. It constantly encourages players to experiment and get creative with its web of systems, and the amount of freedom and player agency that leads to never fails to delight. There are a lot of games out there that claim to let players make their own fun, but very rarely is that as satisfying and enjoyable as it is in Weird West.
SNIPER ELITE 5
Karl Fairburne’s stealthy World War 2 adventures haven’t ever really been at the forefront of the industry, being textbook examples of small but solid AA games as they are, but with Sniper Elite 5, it feels like the series is knocking on that door- and quite persistently, at that. Each of the game’s vast maps is an absolute dream for fans of stealth games, allowing you to get past obstacles and challenges however you see fit. That emergent nature of the gameplay and the possibilities that leads to never ceases to entertain. No, it’s not Metal Gear Solid 5 levels of emergent stealth by any means, but especially for a genre that’s as starved as stealth games have been, Sniper Elite 5 feels like an essential game.
A PLAGUE TALE: REQUIEM
Asobo Studio turned many heads with A Plague Tale: Innocence in 2019, and the French studio has done that once again this year with its sequel. A Plague Tale: Requiem exhibits an expert understanding of its predecessor strengths, because in nearly every possible, it feels like a step-up over it. Its stealth mechanics, level design, progression, and more still stick to a very focused and straightforward structure, but everything still manages to feel markedly more fleshed out and compelling. Add to that a captivating story and absolutely stunning visuals, and it’s hard not to come away thoroughly impressed with A Plague Tale: Requiem.
You may not have heard of Beacon Pines – it’s certainly the most low profile game we’ve included in this group – but to most who’ve played it, there’s no doubting its quality. The unique adventure title takes players into the pages of a mysterious book and has you playing as both, the reader and the narrator, and the way it uses that unique premise to spin its compelling yarn is hard not to be floored by. Charming characters, wonderful writing, an intriguing setting, and a very unique sense of style come together in Beacon Pines in what turns out to be a brief but incredible story. It also looks and sounds amazing, which only adds to its charm. The game is 5-6 hours long at most, but it makes a very strong impression in that short runtime.
Ah, Elden Ring- perhaps the most obvious inclusion in this list, and for good reason. FromSoftware has perfected the art of developing stellar Souls games over the course of many years, and in 2022, the famed Japanese developer took it to a whole another level. The grueling challenge, engaging combat, stellar boss fights, and rewarding progression that FromSoft games have become synonymous with are on full display in Elden Ring, but the true star of the show is its open world- a staggeringly enormous map that’s just as varied, and one that never fails to take your breath away with new discoveries even when you’re several dozen hours into the game. It’s the sort of game that puts you in awe of what FromSoftware is capable of all over again- even though this is already a developer that’s been known to leave our jaws hanging time and again.
LEGO STAR WARS: THE SKYWALKER SAGA
LEGO games and Star Wars share a special relationship, not just because there’s been half a dozen LEGO Star Wars games, but also because the original LEGO Star Wars was what kickstarted this whole franchise under developer Traveller’s Tales. It’s only fitting, then, that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga turned out to be the game that would refresh, reinvent, and reinvigorate the series. The “fun for all ages” mantra that guides these games is still at The Skywalker Saga’s core, but everything feels more refined and polished, which means you’re very rarely not having fun while engaging with the game’s plethora of content. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan, a LEGO fan, or just someone who’s looking for a enjoyable and straightforward game to dive into, The Skywalker Saga is likely to have you covered.
ROGUE LEGACY 2
Even though the roguelike genre has seen a barrage of releases in recent years, the original Rogue Legacy hasn’t lost any of its luster close to a decade on from its launch. For its sequel to come along and top its accomplishment was no easy task, and yet Rogue Legacy 2 does that with confident ease. The core gameplay loop of Rogue Legacy remains intact, from the combat to the platform to the boss fights and more, which means as does its sheer addictiveness. But the sequel adds to it in a number of significant ways to make it even better. Unique traits, classes, environments, and more mix together in Rogue Legacy 2’s ingenious swirls of randomness to make each run feel different and exciting, delivering a frankly staggering level of depth and variety. For roguelike enthusiasts, Rogue Legacy 2 is pretty much required reading.
Billed as a spiritual successor to Until Dawn, The Quarry may not have been able to capture lightning in a bottle the way Supermassive Games’ 2014 PS4 title did, but it still firmly stands on its own two legs as a great horror adventure game. Supermassive has got the genre’s formula down to almost an exact sciene by now, and that’s on full display on The Quarry, which consistently keeps on delivering thanks to its star-studded cast of characters, gleefully corny story, gorgeous visuals, and weighty choice and consequence mechanics. Whether you’re going through the story with a friend or braving it solo, The Quarry is an absolute blast from start to finish- even if you play it multiple times (which you probably will).
In the end, it was hard to look past Elden Ring as our pick for the best Xbox game of 2022- and honestly, we don’t think the situation would have been any different even if the platform had had a significantly better year in terms of major new releases. Elden Ring is just that good. FromSoftware is one of few developers that can consistently keep raising the bar for itself with each of its new releases, but even so, it’s hard not to be taken aback by just how comprehensively the studio’s latest outing has done that yet again. Open world design is an expansion to the Souls formula that genre fans have been hoping to see for years, but we can confidently say that even in our wildest dreams, we wouldn’t have been able to imagine something this good.
* This article was originally published here