It's that time of year again. The time to look back at the last twelve months of gaming and reminisce about the good times. The hard times. The times a beautiful story brought you to tears or a multiplayer shooter had you throw a controller through your window.
Here at Gfinity, we've had a fantastic year of gaming. From spooky to sporty, sequel to state-of-the-art, all of us here have been treating ourselves throughout the year, and are delighted to announce that we've come to a (sort-of) agreement.
Why don't we take a little look? It was a tricky one, and we've had to omit some real bangers, but the end result shows just how much 2022 had something for everyone. So then, here are Gfinity's games of the year for 2022.
10 - The Callisto Protocol
I'm a sucker for survival horror. It's a genre that never seems to get stale, but it's been yearning for a new competitor for years. After all, there's only so much heavy lifting that Resident Evil and Silent Hill can do, which is why The Callisto Protocol came at the perfect time.
It's a taut and nerve-shredding interstellar horror game that had me completely gripped for the duration. In no small part, it's thanks to the stunning visuals and abhorrent enemy design, easily marking the scariest horror creatures since the Molded in Resident Evil 7. The plot is windy and laden with conspiracies, and while slowly paced, all worth it for when the scares ramp up.
As the opening of a new franchise and a relatively fresh face in the horror genre, The Callisto Protocol is a triumph. Yes, it wears its influences on its sleeve - looking at you, Dead Space and Alien - but it's bloody terrifying. I already can't wait to replay it again.
By Luke Hinton
9 - Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Quickly jumping from one game to another for work means lengthy RPGs can be the hardest to properly enjoy - yet Xenoblade Chronicles 3 had me by the heart this year. Though the battle system takes a few dozen hours to really shine, the countless beautifully written character stories strewn throughout the purposefully war-torn lands of Aionios are frequently philosophical.
Heartbreaking tales of loss are par for the course, but its true talent is uniting feuding characters for a common cause. Early on, its primary cast can be rightfully insufferable as they remain sceptical and at each other's throats. Stick with the potential best buds, though, and you experience some of the most convincing and emotional arcs in the whole series.
The overall plot can be tricky to follow and generally unwilling to fully ride out some of its most hard-hitting moments, but it all comes together with a satisfying conclusion that does well to tie into the games that came before.
There's just terrific character acting throughout that I’m still struggling to shake months after launch. Go off the beaten track at any moment and you'll undoubtedly come across a heartfelt story with wholly unique personalities. It's a lengthy game with more to come that's entirely worth the asking price and time commitment, and it only gets better the more you put into it.
By Josh Brown
8 - Stray
Stray is a game with an interesting enough gimmick to get by on that alone. That being said, Stray is more than just a few words can describe. Playing a cat in a world that has lost all its humans is heartfelt, genuine, and surprisingly real.
In its rawest sense, Stray is a puzzle game, having you traverse through alleys and complexes to get to the other side. The thing is, as you start to play, it becomes so much more than that.
You can talk to robots, do tiny little side quests, or just snuggle up beside some music and listen to your cat purr through the speaker of your Dualsense controller. It manages to nail an atmosphere and engross you in it so heavily that you'll never want it to let go.
I lost my own cat just weeks before playing Stray and, for just a few hours at a time, this allowed me to relive some of my favourite moments with him.
By James Bentley
7 - PowerWash Simulator
Have you ever wanted to become a professional power washer? No? Well, your mind is about to be changed. PowerWash Simulator is the most satisfying game I have ever played. You can take it slow, and pick off every inch of dirt at your own pace, or you can go wild and blast a patio at lightspeed to get the job done as soon as possible.
The premise of the game is that you’ve set up a power washing business - your first job is to clean your own work van - and to clean up the town. There’s actually a robust and interesting story that unfolds as you wash various houses and other filthy locations, which made the game all the more engrossing. What's more, the developers listen to their community and actively ask for and use their opinions to improve the game.
The constant sound of rushing water is enough to relax even the most stressed of souls, and there are plenty of levels to dip in and out of. I’ve spent over 50 hours as a PowerWasher already, and will definitely be going in for more as new levels get added further down the line.
By Holly Alice Carter
6 - Football Manager 23
It's April 2026. FC Halifax Town has shot to the dizzying heights of Sky Bet League One and currently sits in the playoff spots. Having previously gone for a recruitment approach that favoured experience, with Daryl Murphy and Radamel Falcao helping the squad on their meteoric rise, it's time for a new approach. The long-term route we'll be taking to reach Premier League glory.
I'll be playing Football Manager 23 for hundreds of hours this year, as I do every year. The additions are enough to bring me back for the next iteration - being able to speak to the agents of players and judge the supporters' confidence in your performance is nice, as is having the official license for the UEFA Champions League. I'll be there soon enough if the Halifax board just give me a little bit more transfer budget.
FM23 is the best value-for-money game on this list, or any GOTY list. It's the only series that lets you create your very own story no one else in the world has experienced and provides the emotional turmoil any good simulation of football has to have. It might look like a spreadsheet simulator, but it's my favourite game this year.
By James Law
5 - Pokemon Legends Arceus
2022 has been the year for Pokémon and Game Freak; for better or for worse. Pokémon Legends: Arceus was the first game they released this year back in January, and it massively shook up the franchise's age-old formula.
Taking place in an ancient region, Arceus introduced a ton of different mechanics, including - finally - the ability to just throw a ball at a Pokémon and catch it. Genius. The world was open, there were Voltorbs and Stantlers wandering around, and it was glorious. The story made the historical setting and odd goings on in Hisui make sense and helped to streamline the adjustment to new play styles like the mass outbreaks, free world exploration, and of course catching Pokémon on the overworld.
The transition to a 3D world was a little rough, and could definitely have been implemented better (or fixed post-launch), but the gameplay was so different and so engrossing that, unlike Scarlet and Violet, it didn’t make a huge difference. Arceus is definitely a favourite Pokémon game of mine now, and I'm hoping it gets its own sequel in years to come.
By Holly Alice Carter
4 - Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
I adore Star Wars, but many of the games have failed to completely gel with me. The original Battlefront games were childhood favourites, and the first Lego games stole hundreds of hours of my earliest gaming years, but not until The Skywalker Saga was released was I hooked back in again.
It all boils down to the simple pleasure of seeing my favourite characters, locations, and stories converted into a ceaselessly charming form, with dense open worlds, stunning visuals, and more minifigures than you can even imagine. There's nowhere else that I could pair Jar-Jar Binks with FN-2187, and Travelers' Tales yet again nailed the Lego formula after a few years of iffy releases.
It's nostalgic and oh so moreish, as I constantly found myself grinding to get the next stud multiplier, or collecting enough Kyber Bricks to unlock a new special ability. Sometimes there's nothing better than switching off with simple brick-smashing fun, and there's no setting I'd rather do it in than a galaxy far, far away.
By Luke Hinton
3 - God of War: Ragnarok
It’s not very often that a sequel improves in every single way but Sony Santa Monica has managed just that with God of War Ragnarok. Surprising you throughout, the combat, enemy variety, level design, and visuals have been improved dramatically.
Not only does that make for an action-adventure that’s incredibly fun to play, but it’s all wrapped up in a story that’s more emotional than that of 2018’s game. Atreus plays more of a starring role in the sequel, really driving the story forward, and it’s all the better for it. The writing and performances are also top-class, creating well-rounded and believable characters, some of which we’ve never seen in such ways before.
With so many new ideas thrown into the game, I’m not sure where Santa Monica will take the series next, but I’m excited to find out. For now, though, God of War Ragnarok is the perfect sequel and a new high bar for PlayStation blockbuster exclusives.
By Tom Hopkins
2 - Elden Ring
From Software is a developer with a knack for intelligent world design, brutal combat, and extensive lore. With Elden Ring, it managed to bring many of the things that fans love about the games, alongside a brilliant open world and unique approach to meta progression.
Taking place in The Lands Between, the titular Elden Ring is a powerful tool, allowing the immortal Queen Marika to rule over the land. When it is shattered, her many offspring battle each other for control. Working as a nobody, it is your job to see some resolution between the gods and see to the future of the land.
Elden Ring has a genuinely novel approach to the open world, encouraging exploration no matter what path you take. You can find a million tiny little stories in every cave and it will take you hundreds of hours to fully understand. It is both the most complex and the most approachable From Software game to date and a sign of how fantastic the next generation of RPGs can be.
By James Bentley
1 - Pentiment
Pentiment might not have the gargantuan mass-market appeal of Elden Ring or Ragnarok, but if you’re in any way a fan of immersive, masterfully-crafted RPGs, it offers an experience you can’t afford to miss.
Using the choice and consequence and intricate world-building that define the genre as its tools, Pentiment presents the story of a community evolving over generations with aplomb, weaving the kind of personal strife explored in games like Disco Elysium into a commentary on the enduring nature of society itself. Every character you meet has a part to play in this journey and is affected in some way by the string of unfortunate events that structure the game’s plot.
As someone who in recent years has found an unhealthy amount of cynicism begin to drip into their view of the games industry, Pentiment proved to me that our dearly beloved, often perplexing and increasingly corporate medium can still produce some things the likes of film and TV could never hope to fully replicate.
By Mark Warren
Phew. What a year. Disagree with our choices? That's cool - be sure to actually play Pentiment, though. It's an absolute revelation. Make sure you've clicked through to some of the articles referenced in here, too - we have plenty of great pieces about each of them!