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Article Wizard's 2022 Game Awards!

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by Wizard, Dec 4, 2022.

  1. Wizard

    Wizard Do you feel it? The moon's power!

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    Welcome one, welcome all! Wizard's 2nd annual Game Awards are now underway! If you know me, you know that I just love talking about video games. I impulsively just rank things all the time, and video games are ripe for the ranking! 2022 was simply a marvelous year for video games, and almost everything that released this year that I played turned out to be fantastic. The way I do my awards deviates a little from conventional methods done by other reviewers or organizations. Mine are centered mostly on my personal experience with video games and less of an attempt to figure out the "best" games. Here are the rules for my Game Awards:

    1. I create categories specifically for games. For example, I don't come into the game awards having a best action game category, but I might create a best action game category if there is a particular action game I liked.

    2. Please know that these opinions are purely subjective. If you disagree, that's okay! I encourage anyone interested to make their own Game Awards.

    3. When I say "best," I mean "favorite."

    4. I haven't played every major game this year. I'm sorry.

    5. Every game that released in 2022 that I’ve played this year is on this list. Older games can only qualify for a couple of awards.

    And without further ado, here are my Game Awards 2022!

    Local Multiplayer Game of the Year: Kirby and the Forgotten Land

    The art of couch co-op has been lost on a lot of developers in the modern age. This art has not been lost on HAL Laboratory, however! Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a stunning achievement for both the Kirby franchise and HAL. It takes the best of Kirby, adds in new elements, and excels at everything it attempts to do. In the modern era of gaming, a lot of games release feeling incomplete, but this title feels thoroughly finished and polished. There is a hefty regular game, criteria for completion in every level, and a great postgame. I played through this entire game with my roommate/friend, and we had a blast. This is a huge recommend to anybody looking for a phenomenal, inventive, and creative 3D platformer that can almost entirely be played with a friend.

    Online Multiplayer Game of the Year: Splatoon 3

    Splatoon 3 continues on the legacy of Splatoon 2 by still pretending that the Dual Squelcher doesn’t exist. Bring back the Dual Squelcher, Nintendo.

    Splatoon 3 doesn’t deviate enough from Splatoon 2 in enough meaningful ways, but it is still a good game. The early Splatfests have been very fun, Salmon Run is no longer bogged down by arbitrary availability restrictions, and the clothing options are pretty fun. This game isn’t a must-buy in my eyes, but it’s a solid time if you’re willing to shell out the dough for it. Splatoon continues to be one of Nintendo's most promising franchises, even if I think the series doesn't control nearly as well on the Switch as it did on the Wii U.

    Most Disappointing Game of the Year: Horizon Forbidden West

    Horizon is certainly not a bad game, but it's one that I just couldn't bring myself to get very far in. The new grappling hook does almost nothing to enhance the gameplay, and overall, this game does too little to improve on the previous entry in the series for me to care all that much. The story is lost on me, the side characters almost all suck, and the gameplay isn't doing it for me right now. I hope to change my mind on this someday, but in the meantime, Horizon Forbidden West just isn't my game.

    Best Hype Soundtrack of the Year: Sonic Frontiers

    Sonic Frontiers caught my eye after some of my favorite YouTube reviewers, particularly Jirard the Completionist, recommended it. The game itself is pretty cool - definitely my favorite Sonic game. However, this game's soundtrack goes insanely hard. The boss themes are all incredible, adrenaline-pumping pieces of audio gold that make me want to get up off my bed and throw a truck or something. Even if you don't play this game, give this soundtrack a listen. I'd recommend Undefeatable and Sky Sanctuary 1-2 to get warmed up into it.

    Best Relaxing Soundtrack of the Year: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

    Pokémon Legends: Arceus's soundtrack is just serene at times. Jubilife Village in particular is an absolutely nostalgia-filled track. I love how the composers went with the Rosalina's Observatory path for this track and built it up as the game went along. This game came out this year, and I'm somehow feeling nostalgic for this soundtrack. The Midnight Theme is another one of my favorites. Give this soundtrack a listen if you want those relaxing vibes.

    Best Non-2022 Game That I Played for the First Time: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations

    I can't believe it took me this long to get around to this game. The final case of Trials and Tribulations is the most sublime writing I've ever experienced in a video game. Even months later, I'm still blown away by the thoughtful, wild, and mind-shattering conclusion to this fantastic trilogy. The Ace Attorney series, to me, is peak video game writing and among my must-play games. Please, I urge you to play the Ace Attorney Trilogy (and Apollo Justice!) This is so well worth your time.

    Best Narrative: Xenoblade Chronicles 3

    Back when I was a teenager, Xenoblade Chronicles blew me away with its twists and turns. It was a narrative that changed how I perceive not only video game storylines but all storytelling. It taught me to challenge my preconceived notions of the world I live in and to hear people out and understand their perspectives.

    Now Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has taught me, in my advanced age, the importance of not only hearing people out, but finding ways to come together in a world that is increasingly at odds with itself. There is no shortage of conflict in the world today, but what matters most is the people I know and love – the people closest to me. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 tells a narrative that somehow, some way, shocked me more than the original game. Xenoblade 3’s subversion, like with the original, doesn’t subvert for the sake of the shock factor. It thrives in its discipline, subtlety, and patience. Not everything is completely unpredictable here, but it doesn’t have to be. This is Monolith Soft’s magnum opus, and I’m not sure how they could top the series from here.

    You've got to play this game. You just have to. Insane. Incredible. Wowowowow. I can't say anything else here. Go. Play. It. Now.

    Square Enix Needs to Learn How to Name Games Award: Triangle Strategy

    Triangle Strategy is a great game that I'm about two hours away from finishing. The name sucks though. Stop naming games like this, SquEnix.

    Best Video Game World: Elden Ring

    It feels almost illegal to not have Elden Ring as my GotY or the runner up. This is the most well-made game that released this year, in my opinion. This game will hopefully win Game of the Year at the Game Awards next week. Sentiments aside, Elden Ring is a marvelous masterpiece that takes full advantage of the open world genre to create something extraordinarily interesting, fun, difficult, and time-consuming. The way the world is set up works immensely well too. The game gives players a difficult obstacle. Extremely skilled players can tackle that obstacle until they win. Most players will alternatively use the open world to enhance their character with new gear, levels, and fighting experience. This is a surprisingly accessible game, given how it likes bashing players’ teeth in.

    Most Played Game of 2022: Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)

    The king returns! My play time on Star Wars Battlefront II is creeping closer and closer towards 1000 hours. This would be my first 1000-hour game ever. A lot of things in this game are second nature to me now, and its difficulty is kind of waning overall. However, I still thoroughly enjoy popping this game on for a little bit while watching YouTube. There is something pretty therapeutic about it. Anyways, this award belongs to this game until further notice. Come play with me on PS4/PS5 sometime!

    Old Franchise Revival of the Year/Why Did I Complete This Game Award: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

    LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga released a fairly long time ago by video game standards. The wait for The Skywalker Saga took a very long time, but I'm so glad the game is here. The gameplay loop is definitely repetitive, and the Platinum Trophy is a bit of a long road, but this game was honestly really fun to complete. There is so much content here, and I really felt like I got the bang for my buck here. The ways this game acknowledges the original while also introducing its own ideas is balanced very well. This is also a great co-op game if you're interested. The Platinum Trophy is pretty time consuming though.

    Best Indie Game: Stray

    Okay, Stray did win here by default; I haven’t played any other indie games this year. There are some great elements in this game. Playing as a cat is a novelty. The meowing and cat sounds are adorable. Aside from that, playing this game was just fine for me. The gameplay isn't anything special, and I couldn't bring myself to care about this game's world. I'd recommend this game for free (as I played it). Don't shell out too much money for this one. Personally, I’d say Stray is worth about $10-15 if I’m being generous. It's a nice, relaxing distraction if you need one though, and a lot of people are super into it.

    Biggest Surprise Award: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

    I always get excited for new Pokémon games. It’s inevitable at this point. I couldn’t help myself from getting excited for Scarlet and Violet, yet these games still exceeded my excitement and expectations. Yes, these games are riddled with bugs and glitches. Yes, there are a ton of performance issues. Despite the issues, this game is incredibly fun, fresh, and surprisingly heartfelt. These games introduce a ton of fabulous new Pokémon and character designs too, keeping up the series’ tradition of excellent designs. The music is great too, and I find myself listening to the soundtrack quite a bit.

    This year was obviously huge for the growth of the Pokémon series, and I’d say it is my favorite year in the history of the series by a long shot. I feel like I’m really back into the franchise. I’ve completed two different Pokedexes this year. I finished zero before this year. The Pokémon franchise is giving me hope of things to come and things that have already happened. I wasn’t expecting such a strong year, so I sure am thankful to be here for the ride we’re all on.

    Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Award: Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

    Yo, Claude's kinda hot though?

    Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of my favorite games, but I’ve had a lot of mixed thoughts and feelings about it for a few years now. The narrative in particular did some confusing things in each route, and the pacing was generally quite poor. Three Hopes fixes a ton of the issues from Three Houses and introduces some new ones to replace them instead! Three Hopes is a great game though, and I’m thoroughly glad to have played it. I usually have a hard time getting into Warriors games, but this one was great for me. The strategy elements made the gameplay super interesting, and the new characters were welcome additions too. This is a game I can only recommend to Three Houses fans – but it is really good.

    Runner-up for Game of the Year: Pokémon Legends: Arceus

    Leading up to this game's release, I had what I then called cautious optimism. Now that I've played this game, I’ve been thoroughly blown away by the steps PLA took in moving the series forward. Just as with Scarlet and Violet, this game is far from perfect. There are some issues with story’s pacing and the low visual fidelity at times. This game’s greatest strengths lie in the pacing of the combat, the side content, the quests, and the new Pokémon. This is one of those games that had me hooked from start to finish. Perhaps its greatest accomplishment was its ability to convince me to complete the Pokédex. I’ve never been much of a Pokédex completer, but PLA made it feel like an integral part of the Pokémon experience. Pokémon Legends: Arceus was just special, and I’m not sure I’ll ever love a Pokémon game as much as I loved this one. PLA would have won Game of the Year in almost every recent year, but it just happens to share its release year with another special game.

    Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3

    If you talk to me on Discord, you knew this was coming. I was actually strongly considering replacing Xenoblade Chronicles 3 here just a couple of weeks ago with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. After all, I'm far more likely to replay and revisit Legends: Arceus over and over again.

    However, I truly and completely value emotional experiences in video games. I love getting emotionally invested in a story and characters, and this game got me harder than almost any game ever has before. Noah, Mio, Taion, Eunie, Lanz, and Sena constitute an unbelievably strong central cast for the game, and I believe this group as a whole eclipses the previous two casts in the series. Everyone here has worthwhile development and likability – which is super subjective, yet important for me. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d say Taion really surprised me with his depth and likability. He has a lot to offer both intellectually and emotionally, and his presence was a welcome change from other characters in the genre who are stone-cold calculators.

    It’s hard for me to get into JRPGs on the gameplay front. Don’t get me wrong – a ton of my favorite games are in the genre. The gameplay in the genre can be a bit of a hard sell for me at first, especially the combat. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 never has this issue. Including all six party members, as well as a guest, removes any need to swap out core party members. Having the entire group is sooooo welcome. It was fun experimenting with all of the different classes, finding optimal ways to battle, and setting up my team. The combat was great, though maybe a bit too easy on Normal mode.

    If I had to levy one criticism against the game, I think the soundtrack is just good, not fantastic. The overall presentation is peak Xenoblade though. The locales, voice acting, and writing are all off the charts. I love how this game honored the series without going overboard with the fanservice.
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    In all, 2022 was probably my favorite year ever for video games; it’s going to be hard for another year to surpass two great Pokémon games, a Fire Emblem spinoff, the best Xenoblade game, Elden Ring, and a number of other fantastic experiences. I’m poorer for it, but also a lot happier.

    I would love to see other people post their game awards too (in your own thread is fine if you do)! Here’s to 2023 being a great year for games too!
     
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