2022 was one of the best years to be a gamer. Whether you’re a fan of massive AAA titles or you enjoy discovering smaller indie games, this was definitely a twelve-month period that kept you busy, if not overwhelmed.
This year and its games left us with defining moments that left us gasping at our screens. Or, perhaps, we experienced that moment where we realized that what we had before us and our controllers was a masterpiece. In this humble writer’s opinion, here are ten of the best gaming segments to grace us throughout 2022, in no particular order.
The main character is now a part of you
Imagine a game where you’re watching two main characters squabble over whose opinion about the human race is the correct one. They would test their theories by taking on multiple human hosts to see which one works best. Imagine that they eventually push the boundaries of their hosts to the point of death to prove said theories. After, they move on to their next host…which is you. All of that takes place in the span of this wicked Xbox interactive film, that breathes new life into a genre that hasn’t seen a lot of love in the past few years.
9. The Callisto Protocol
The origins of The Callisto Protocol are finally explained
You’ve been on a spaceship taking down the most horrific creatures in the most brutal way imaginable, not knowing why. Then this person, Dr. Mahler, comes along to put all the pieces of the puzzle together for you. What you’re not expecting to hear, however, is that you were a part of a wicked scientific-meets-religious experiment that was created in the hope of “advancing the human race”. Cults, man. Nothing ever goes well when you get caught up with them!
8. Sonic Frontiers
The truth about the Chaos Emeralds
I have to admit it was brilliant of the Sonic Team to build the foundation of their narrative behind the Chaos Emeralds, a well-known entity throughout the long history of the brand whose origins had yet to be revealed. Well played! So, after all this time, we find out that it was an alien civilization that brought them to earth (or wherever Sonic lives). This civilization were drawn to the Master Emerald that Knuckles and his ancestors have always protected. Who would’ve thunk...
7. Pokémon Arceus
Finding Arceus, the Alpha Pokémon and Creator God
It’s not that this scene is majestic — which it kind of is, considering you’re facing the almighty god and creator of all Pokémon, Satoshi Taji... I mean, Arceus. This moment serves as the ultimate reward of all your previous labours. In order to even meet with the entity, you need to first complete the Pokédex. That means catching every Pokémon within the game and registered on your device. Believe me when I say that is NOT an effortless task! Some show up at night, others require special types of stones to evolve, some need to use a certain attack a specific number of times, others must follow a strict diet of grain and dairy, followed by a workout regime, etc...
6. Elden Ring
Melina burns Erdtree
This was one of the more impressive scenes of the year, both for its visual greatness and emotional impact. As the giant tree stands in the way of the Tarnished, accomplishing his quest and piecing together the Elden Ring, Melina, the spirit who has followed you around offering you guidance through her wisdom, sets her soul ablaze to open the path for you. Yet what you find awaiting you as you bid your farewells to your companion is not an easy road ahead, but even more challenges.
5. Horizon Forbidden West
Discovering and waking up Las Vegas
After running across the desert searching for yet another one of the GAIA stations, Aloy does what she knows best, taking down several oversized dinosaur robots (only this time underwater). As she lays them to rest and puts the station under control, she unwillingly flips a switch to something that had been hibernating for quite some time. Our hero emerges back towards the desert to see pretty neon lights occupying the skies, turning night into day. To the player’s great shock, we discover that this wasn’t just any desert. We were in Nevada all along. This really was a flex moment by Guerrilla as they showed us what the PS5 is graphically capable of.
A tiny cat and his robot friend could truly capture out hearts in Annapurna Interactive’s — sorry, InterACTive — indie title Stray. Near the end, you discover that the city you’ve been exploring in search of a way out had been created in order to protect humanity in case of an emergency, yet things didn’t go as planned, a virus killing everyone. The tiny robot, with a human consciousness, sacrifices itself to open the doors and shut down the city. All so that the tiny cat can emerge from the walls and find its way back into the world. A small yet heartfelt journey.
3. Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII – Reunion
Yes, Zack’s death has been a known fact since 1997. Yes, we know that Square Enix originally released this game back in 2007. The chief argument here is this: If someone was born a little later and never got the chance to play either of those games, starting their journey in the FFVII series with 2020’s Remake, then they should remember seeing Zack at the end. He appeared for a few scenes, fought a few soldiers, then carried Cloud back towards Midgar and that was it. Well, this game shows an entirely different outcome: Zack didn’t make it. He died. That should be weird for those players, not to mention emotionally impactful. We can make the argument that Zack is a far more likeable character than Cloud and all those who played these games felt his loss.
2. God of War: Ragnarök
In a game such as this, it’s difficult to choose a single moment that stands out from the rest. I could’ve easily chosen Atreus’ climb to Asgard or when Atreus and Angrboda fought Gryla. Yet the betrayal of Tyr and the revelation that it was actually Odin in disguise hit players the hardest. It was the last nudge that Kratos needed to bring war to Asgard. The added brutal murder of Brok drove a real wedge in the already tried relationships of these characters, yet it forced them to put their differences aside and work together to bring down Odin. The spotlight, of course, was on Kratos and Atreus, with the God of War putting his faith in Loki, finally believing that his son’s way might be the better alternative compared to his own usual methods.
1. A Plague Tale: Requiem
Amicia kills Hugo
Oh God, why... Why does this scene exist? Who is the sick mind who created it? Why would they force us to do such a horrible, twisted thing? These are the thoughts and emotional turmoil that we as players go through when we know we have experienced a truly great game, having made us commit an unspeakable act. In this instance, it was the main character, Amicia, who was forced to end the life of her beloved little brother Hugo, at his own behest. Here he finally realised he could no longer control the illness that had a hold over him, leading to the death of hundreds or even thousands of people and the destruction of countless cities. Amicia — and all of us alongside her — fights with this decision, knowing in her mind it is the right thing to do but with her heart wishing to save her little brother. This scene is given extra emotional weight by the incredible acting by Amicia's actor, Charlotte McBurney.
That about wraps it up for this year. See a moment I left out? Something forgotten? Something you think deserves to be on this list, but wasn’t? Voice off in the comments below!
Wishing everyone a happy New Year with plenty of memorable gaming moments for everyone!
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