By Steve Baltimore / January 9th, 2023
2022 was a pretty decent year in gaming. I played a number of games that released this year, but some of my favorites were older titles I finally got around to playing. I’ve decided to make a list and share which of these were my favorites. Let’s dig right in and see what I thought was the best of the best for my 2022 in Review.
Tales of Arise
I was very skeptical when I first decided to play Tales of Arise earlier this year. I didn’t think it looked much like a Tales series game, and feared it would lack the charm of previous franchise entries. I was very wrong in this assessment, and in fact this turned out to be one my favorite games in the series. Alphen and Shionne play off each other fantastically and the story progresses at just about the perfect pace. The combat was a ton of fun even when using Rinwell. This is the first time I’ve ever had fun using a magic-based character in one of these games. I can see why this game won RPG of the Year in 2021 and if you haven’t played you should do so; you won’t be disappointed.
Gore Screaming Show
I fully expected Gore Screaming Show to be just one Guro filled mess, but it turns out that wasn’t the case at all. The character work here was top notch and the story had plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested until you finished every route. I had a blast watching Kyouji uncover his memories with his friends Kazuyagi Akane, Namiki Aoi, and Misono Kiika while trying to discover just who exactly this mysterious girl named Yuka is, and who – or what – was the giant monster named Gore that always follows her. I see why they say this is one of Black Cyc’s best works, and while the bad endings are certainly rough, there is a gore filter for those too squeamish, so this one shouldn’t be missed by any fans of horror visual novels.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC and SC
Several members of the oprainfall crew have been on me for years to start The Legend of Heroes series of games. This year I finally took the plunge playing both Trails in the Sky FC and SC. I’m sorry I waited so long to check out this amazing series. The writing is just fantastic, and I see why everyone falls in love with Estelle instantly. The rest of the cast is amazing as well, and I had a great time learning about the lore of this world. I hope get a couple more games in the franchise in this year as well, but I got a lot of catching up to do still.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
I had been putting off playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses for a long time after the bitter taste left in my mouth from Fire Emblem: Fates, but I’m glad I decided to dive in this year. I love all of the characters in Three Houses; all of them are very unique and you really feel like you get to know them as the game progresses. The strategy combat was top tier like always, and I loved how the three branching story paths told one amazing story. I’m looking forward to Fire Emblem: Engage in a couple of weeks, but I’m hearing they have cut back on a lot of the social aspects, which will be sort of a letdown if true.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream
I’ve always been a big fan of the Atelier series, so I had high expectations for Atelier Sophie 2 when it was announced. I was not disappointed when it released in February of last year. This direct sequel took Sophie and Plachta into a dream world, but when Sophie awakens, Plachta is nowhere to be found. Sophie must search for her mentor in this strange world, while making some new friends along the way. The story does a great job letting you get to know each member of this amazing cast. Throw in one of the best synthesis systems and some amazing combat and you have not only one of the best games of 2022, but one of the games in the franchise.
That will do it for my favorite games of last year. I’m looking forward to several titles releasing this year, and I hope to dig into my backlog some more as well!
2022 in ReviewAtelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious DreamFire Emblem: Three HousesGore Screaming ShowTales of AriseThe Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky