Every year, GameSpot’s staff comes together to decide our list of the best games of the year. Debates are had, and eventually we arrive at a small handful of games–as in recent years, this year it’s a total of 10–that we feel broadly represents the group’s feelings about what’s best. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other games we’re passionate about.
Sometimes, it might just be that there isn’t room in the team’s top 10 even when a bunch of folks love it–hundreds of games release each year, so we have to make concessions somewhere. Other times, only a single person has played a game that they think is incredible and so putting it in the team’s top 10 wouldn’t be an accurate representation of GameSpot as a whole. But just because they can’t make our top 10 doesn’t mean we don’t want to still spotlight these beloved games. As always, even in this exercise, we can’t include everything we’ve enjoyed from the year, because even in a period full of delays and pandemic-impacted development, there are still countless great games deserving of time and attention.
With that in mind, here is a look–in no particular order–at a selection of games released in 2022 that at least one person on staff loved but that didn’t make our top 10 of 2022. For even more highlights from the year, check out our Best Of 2022 hub.
MLB The Show 22
Available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch
I love baseball. If I could spend the rest of my life doing nothing but playing and watching baseball, I’d die happy (especially if my Pittsburgh Pirates would stop losing). While many sports game franchises experience lots of peaks and valleys over the years, Sony’s MLB The Show is an exception. It’s an excellent baseball simulation every single year, and MLB The Show 22 is one of my absolute favorites. Making contact on that hanging curveball and knocking it over the fence feels as good as ever, as does getting a big swing and miss on a high-and-tight heater to end a game. I found myself in a trance for months, playing for nearly 400 hours, and long after the Pirates’ season had ended with laughable failure.
It’s not just the on-field action that MLB The Show 22 gets so right, however, but also everything that surrounds it. In particular, the Diamond Dynasty mode remains the fairest “no money spent” online card-collecting mode in its class. Unlike Madden and many other sports games, you get new players at a very generous pace, and I put together a formidable squad without ever spending a dime. Taking out the constant pressure to spend cash let me focus on what I actually wanted to do: play ball. — Gabe Gurwin
Available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
The sights and sounds of a ’90s arcade serve as the perfect backdrop for this stellar fusion of management sim and minigame collection. As the proprietor of a laundromat with some arcade machines stowed in the back, you start by doing the mundane work of managing dirty clothes while occasionally saving up enough to get a new arcade machine. Before long, you’re expanding your business as income from your arcade machines overtakes the laundry.
I couldn’t help but keep coming back to Arcade Paradise. The arcade machines themselves are all full-fledged games like you would actually find in an old arcade. And like an actual arcade, some are better than others, so you’ll gravitate towards your favorites. But pulling off feats in the arcade machines increases their popularity and earning potential, so you play the arcade games to earn more money to buy more arcade machines. It’s a satisfying cycle that makes Arcade Paradise hard to put down.
Wrapped in this gameplay loop is a beautifully told story that sneaks up on you. At first you get only hints and overtones of your relationship with your workaholic father who put you in charge of the laundromat to teach you some responsibility, and with your sister who had her own aspirations crushed by his overbearing expectations–all delivered through voicemails and chat messages left at your arcade’s office. As the story develops, it takes a serious turn, and in doing so, it illustrates important aspects of growing up, becoming your own person, and finding your own joy. It is my favorite video game story of the year, from a remarkably unexpected source. — Steve Watts
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
The original McPixel was a delight, offering a take on WarioWare-style microgames that was more like a point-and-click adventure/puzzle game but was ultimately most concerned with making you laugh with its absurdity. Its sequel, McPixel 3–the second game was skipped entirely, in a weird coincidence with Goat Simulator 3 launching just days after it–is exactly what I would want from such a game: the same formula, but made grander, with more in-depth levels, more content, and the same absurdist sense of humor.
As in the first game, you’re faced with a series of relatively short stages in which you have to somehow avert disaster. That might involve spoofs of Among Us or beat-em-ups, or interacting with an old-school operating system, but generally you want to avoid having an explosive go off. Stages are now grouped into themes, like a bunch that are TV show-inspired, and can be far more elaborate than what’s come before.
But the critical component–the humor–remains intact. I actively would not want to pass levels because so much of the fun stems from discovering the many gags within a given level that lead to McPixel being blown up. Who wants to succeed when you can seemingly attempt to place a fish into a fish bowl, only for McPixel himself to instead dive in head-first? Add in another incredible soundtrack and you have a must-play game for anyone who loves silliness. — Chris Pereira
Available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
My idea of what constitutes a good game is almost entirely vibes-based. Some of the best experiences I’ve ever had with video games can be boiled down into long stretches of walking slowly through eerie, poorly lit buildings and finding tiny scraps of lore through snips of dialogue or random collectibles I’ve made my character fish out of the trash. So it’s really no surprise that a game like Signalis would very easily make it to the top of my personal Best Of list for 2022.
It’s not uncommon for spooky games to be compared to Silent Hill. For a while, literally anything that featured a dimly lit hallway was “just like PT!” But bear with me here. Signalis actually is a lot like Silent Hill. The combat system is, and I say this affectionately, best described as “clunky.” The camera angles are forced and disorienting. Most of the monsters just kind of shamble towards you, and the ones that are more aggressive move less like killing machines and more like wounded animals. But more than that, the lore itself is esoteric and doled out in in-universe riddles that are, by and large, left up to your interpretation. It’s moody and atmospheric, full of ominous dialogue and mysteries that slowly snowball from “I wonder what terrible thing happened here” to “I wonder if I’m going to survive the terrible thing that happened here” before escalting into “Is the terrible thing that happened here even real?” In other words: A nearly perfect survival-horror experience. — Mason Downey
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
The Call of Duty franchise is probably my favorite series in gaming, so even after 2021’s Call of Duty: Vanguard didn’t resonate with me, I was eagerly awaiting Modern Warfare II. Thankfully, it delivered in a big way. I’ve always enjoyed the way Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty games, and specifically the Modern Warfare series, have “felt” in my hands. There is something about the developer’s specific game engine that just feels good and consistent and rewarding.
Modern Warfare II is thankfully no exception, and I’ve been playing Modern Warfare II basically every day since it was released in late October. The campaign successfully delivers another high-octane, white-knuckle globetrotting adventure with incredible setpieces. But my favorite part of the Call of Duty series continues to be its multiplayer, and Modern Warfare II has a multitude of excellent multiplayer offerings–and this is to say nothing of Warzone 2.0 and DMZ! My favorite element of multiplayer has to be Invasion for Ground War.
I’ve always wanted a large-scale multiplayer experience similar to Battlefield but with Call of Duty’s gunplay, and Ground War packs a satisfying punch. I enjoy the mode mostly because of the massive maps and slower-paced gameplay, which means you aren’t dying every few seconds like you do in traditional multiplayer. It’s also a fantastic battleground to practice your sniping skills with many long sightlines and places to take cover, pop out, and take down enemies who never saw you coming.
Multiple Seasons of new content are in the works for Modern Warfare II multiplayer, so I plan to keep the party going throughout the holidays and into the new year. Long live Call of Duty. — Eddie Makuch
Available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC
When it comes to music, I’m not usually a metal fan. I love Deftones and System of a Down, but my interest in the genre ends there for the most part. I’m even less interested in the Hell aesthetic that so often accompanies the genre, with depictions of demons and infernos and other music video fare. Despite those preferences, Metal Hellsinger is one of the coolest experiences I had all year in video games.
The game plays like Doom meets Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, with a dash of Rock Band thrown in. As a rhythm-based FPS, you’ll shotgun-blast and sword-slash your way through the nine circles of Hell to the beat of some ferocious original music, achieving killer combos as you annihilate the many fiery minions standing in your way. The game quickly proves irresistible, as each original song, featuring vocalists from leading acts like Trivium and Refused, are made more fun when you’re shooting monsters to the tune of them, synchronizing each shot the same way one somehow manages to choreograph their own chaos in the pit in front of a concert stage.
In a creative twist that really amplifies the stakes, each song picks up with more and more sections as you climb the game’s score multiplier. Beginning with just the most basic instrumentation, layers are added with every success up to the ultimate x16 score, which is when vocals pour in and light the arena on fire–figuratively, but sort of literally too–like the encore to an incredible show. At a time when bands are touring less, or just now getting back on the road, Metal Hellsinger has been the fierce, frenetic, theatrical concert experience I’ve been missing, and it’s given me a renewed opinion on the musical genre it celebrates as a whole. And that final boss to the tune of what is essentially a new System of a Down song? It’s a real (head) banger. — Mark Delaney
Available on PC
I like making money and kissing cuties. Potionomics lets me do both, making it easily my favorite game of 2022. In a year surprisingly filled with games that featured potion-brewing or digital card collecting, Potionomics rises above its peers with its charmingly expressive characters, sharp writing, and gratifying gameplay loop built around haggling mechanics and a narratively rewarding deckbuilding system.
Sylvia’s negotiations with customers play out as a card game, with Sylvia’s available haggling techniques for each turn randomly drawn from a deck. New cards can be obtained by talking to the town’s citizens or your fellow shopkeepers, with each card tied to a conversational skill used by whichever character gave you that card. This cleverly reflects how, in real life, folks tend to adopt the mannerisms and vocabulary of their closest friends. So as you discover who you like spending time with, you’ll naturally spend more time with them and unlock more of their cards, shifting Sylvia’s way of speaking to reflect how her friends talk and informing who Sylvia is as a person and what type of shopkeeper she becomes by the story’s end.
Of course, my favorite part of getting to know the diverse cast of characters is learning the backstories for all the cute ones–of which, dear reader, there are so many–so that I can smooch as many as possible and romance the best ones over numerous playthroughs. I found Potionomics’ characters to be endlessly endearing, bringing delightful charm to the role-playing side of this superb game. If you haven’t played Potionomics yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. — Jordan Ramée
Available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
Tinykin made me feel like a kid again. Maybe it was the ’90s family home I was exploring, or the way that movement and exploration were both frictionless and fun. In fact, I’d find myself often abandoning what I was meant to be doing just to zip around its levels, either by climbing to its highest peaks and gently floating down, or speeding around the floor on a bar of soap. But overall, I think it was because Tinykin encouraged me to take a childlike approach to what it was showing me.
It gave me a world where bugs could talk, tiny creatures would become my friends and help me out of trouble, and one where I was an astronaut who needed to fix his ship using household items which obviously had more uses than advertised. Playing Tinykin reminded me of being a kid who had dreamt up an elaborate play scenario, but who also didn’t necessarily have the toys to act it out properly, so I’d have to improvise with whatever I could find. In the game, those scenarios could be as simple as baking a cake or setting up a pool party, but using my Tinykin and my imagination, it meant that those tasks felt a lot bigger, more involved, and crucially, way more satisfying to complete. Tinykin isn’t a particularly long game–I finished it in two sittings–but it stuck with me ever since. In a time where everything is very serious, it felt good to feel like a kid again, even if it was just for a little bit. — Lucy James
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is a campaign triumph for a post-Activision expansion drop in the Destiny universe. Compared to The Taken King or Forsaken, expansions like Shadowkeep or Beyond Light just felt…smaller. They lacked the sheer volume of content I had come to expect from a “comet” expansion, and I was initially hesitant with The Witch Queen.
That all changed the moment I tried the new campaign. The Witch Queen pulls back the veil and gives fans several revelations about enemies and factions we’ve fought with (or alongside) for years now. There are also plenty of jaw-dropping moments when the significant story moments are revealed, particularly involving Savathun, the Witch Queen herself.
Despite the fact that The Witch Queen is really just a setup for the climactic Lightfall expansion coming in 2023, it still felt like its own complete arc of consequential events and admissions for the characters of the world: Tensions rise, questions about future threats linger, and the face of the darkness, our greatest enemy, has finally been revealed.
I would be remiss to not mention the new Legendary difficulty in the campaign, which is an absolute game-changer. The level cap, limited respawn, and increased enemy difficulty gives the campaign another dimension and is without a doubt a highlight of the experience, and a dramatic change from past expansions. Of course, the live-service content, the endgame, and the new Throne World location are all excellent, but it’s a testament to just how exceptional the world and story of Destiny is that the highlight of the expansion this time isn’t just the raid, but the campaign.
My relationship with Destiny 2 has been tenuous at times. The evolution of this game has been surreal to witness and play alongside over the last several years, but it’s the world and story of Destiny that keeps me coming back, even if I start feeling the seasonal fatigue. Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is easily the strongest Destiny expansion in the entire franchise to me, and the stakes for Lightfall couldn’t be higher. — David Ahmadi
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Available on Nintendo Switch
The first time I played Pokemon was a magical experience. I picked a Cyndaquil as my starter in Pokemon Gold and I grew absurdly attached to the little guy. I remember playing on the school bus, the other kids crowding around my Game Boy Color, and the memories of that innocent era brings a level of nostalgia that I love and am constantly in search of. I’ve played every mainline Pokemon game since, which is why it stuns me to say, without exaggeration, that Pokemon Legends: Arceus was the first Pokemon game in a very long time to capture that original nostalgia.
The gameplay and (semi-) open-world design of Arceus is a giant risk that paid off for Game Freak. Exploring the world, seeing Pokemon stumble around grassy fields or rolling hills–it all feels almost too good to be true. The gameplay loop is so strong that I ended up yearning to play Arceus again after playing Pokemon Scarlet and noticing a lot of Arceus’ Pokemon-catching elements are absent in the newer game.
Of course, I wish that the game didn’t have as many cosmetic blemishes or texture pop-ins, but the essence of the game is very much intact. Exploring Pokemon Legends: Arceus is everything my younger self would have wanted and to have the chance to relive that original fantasy for real was enough to make a grown man start to tear up. — David Ahmadi
Cursed to Golf
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, and Xbox One
My obsession with golf–both in real life and in video games–leads me to play every golf game I can get my hands on. In 2022, I played a golf game that was unlike any other before it: Cursed to Golf. In a year that marked the return of Tiger Woods to virtual golf via PGA Tour 2K23, the game that took hold of me and wouldn’t let go was a side-scrolling roguelike with ingenious level design and inventive golf mechanics.
In Cursed to Golf, you’re struck by lightning while on the verge of winning the biggest tournament of your professional career. Sadly, you die, and it’s game over. Just kidding, golf is inevitable. Confined to Golf Purgatory, a diabolical underworld controlled by the mysterious Greenskeeper, you must work your way through an 18-hole course to prove your worth and come back to life.
Cursed to Golf’s twist on side-scrolling golf mechanics comes in the form of Ace Cards. These power-ups are incredibly varied, from altering ball physics and the environment to top-level perks like mulligans and bonus shots. Since you only start with five shots on each hole, making use of Ace Cards is critical to making it through each hole, especially as the layouts become increasingly elaborate. With branching paths, plenty of risky shortcuts, and valuable idols to smash scattered throughout that add much-needed strokes to your par count, Cursed to Golf compels you to plan ahead. At the same time, you can also be rewarded for experimentation. There’s a seemingly endless number of ways to approach each level.
I also love how Cursed to Golf handles its roguelike systems. If you fail, you go back to the beginning of the course. But you learn crucial lessons along the way, and when you defeat each of the unique bosses, you earn useful perks that propel you to keep going. Though it doesn’t have randomized levels, there are more than 70 possible holes, so each run does offer a ton of variety. Cursed to Golf is never unfair, and it always feels like you’re making progress, which I think is one of the most important features of any good roguelike. — Steven Petite
Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC
The reason I’ve selected Potion Permit as my game to spotlight is simple: While the charming life sim is far from perfect, more people playing it means there’s a greater chance it will get the sequel it desperately deserves. I believe that Potion Permit has the capability to become a beloved franchise similar to Harvest Moon or Story of Seasons. While bugs and some half-baked elements kept it from fully reaching its potential, the parts that work do so extremely well.
For starters, Potion Permit’s gameplay loop of diagnosing patients, foraging for herbs, slaying beasts, and brewing potions is simple yet satisfying. Its overarching story, which sees you, a state chemist, righting the wrongs the state has done to a small community and its ecosystem, is tender and a joy to watch unfold. Finding new biomes, unlocking new friendships and intimate relationships, and all the other ways the world of Potion Permit opens up to you are enticing, and made me sink an ungodly amount of hours into the game in an embarrassingly short period of time.
In short, I think Potion Permit is perfect in concept. It provided me with an experience I didn’t even know I wanted, but now that I’ve played it, I have higher expectations for life sims than I previously did. It corrects many of the perceived downfalls with other “cozy games”–which can at times feel a bit aimless or similar to one another–by having a very forward-moving story and this deeper sense of purpose baked into your character. Though the final product might be slightly off, there are so many elements that make Potion Permit an intoxicating elixir. — Jessica Howard
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
Available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC
As DLC, Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course didn’t get as much attention as it would have if it were a brand-new title. However, don’t let the DLC tag deceive: The Delicious Last Course is a fantastic entree and Cuphead experience, and well worth playing if you’re a fan of 2D action games. Like its predecessor, the gameplay is tight, well-designed, and filled with fantastically engaging bosses who each contain three phases to their fights, all with interesting dynamics and bullet-hell surprises.
Just like the original game, the animation for The Delicious Last Course is absolutely stunning and filled with fun and hilarious imagery throughout, with plenty of small details you’ll likely miss in the frenetic gameplay. The DLC contains some of my now favorite bosses in the entire game, and a couple of secrets to boot.
Asides from the standard fair we’ve seen in Cuphead before, one of the biggest additions in The Delicious Last Course is new playable character Ms. Chalice. Ms. Chalice gives players a double jump, and an invincibility-frame roll. These additions, as well as some other minor gameplay tweeks to her, make her a fantastic new addition that will make you rethink your strategy on every boss–especially since you can now use her to face any boss from the original game. It adds an entire new optional mechanic, and one I found myself highly impressed by after using her.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is one of those games you can tell the developers absolutely filled with passion, from the art to the well-thought-through design of each boss and each individual phase. It’s an absolute blast, and it got me to replay the entirety of the original game through virtue of how much fun it was to play as Ms. Chalice. — Dave Klein