game, set & match | 

It was far from a bumper year for gamers but there were still some gems...

Shoot ‘em ups, sporting legends, kids’ fun and combat games make our expert’s list of top games from 2022

Evan FinlaySunday World

2022 probably won’t go down as a classic year for gaming, though there have been some gems that have kept us ticking over. Here’s a list of what we found to be the most enjoyable this year.

Best shooter – Modern Warfare 2

There aren’t many games out there that can top Call of Duty for hype annually, especially when it’s a Modern Warfare game. In days gone by, fans would queue around the block to get their hands on a copy. Now, most of the transactions are done online, and if the reports are to be believed, this is the most popular Call of Duty yet.

There’s nothing wholly different in what the developers have done with MW 2 as compared with previous Modern Warfare games, but it reasserts itself as the king of close quarters combat, with perfectly balanced weapons, skill-based matchmaking that works and a progression system that feels genuinely rewarding.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare revolutionized the way we look at online first-person shooters, and if we’re being totally honest, there’s been lots of mediocre attempts since then. Modern Warfare II might just be the game to bring the genre back from relative purgatory.

Best combat game – God of War: Ragnarok

God of War is a legendary series at this point, and the latest release – God of War Ragnarök – has added to that legacy being the first cross-gen release in the series. The game has been highly anticipated, winning awards for ‘Most Wanted Game’ and ‘Most Anticipated Game’ in 2020’s Golden Joystick Awards and PlayStation Blog awards. The wait was a little longer than expected due to delays relating to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Gameplay is straightforward – Kratos has a variety of weapons to use including the Leviathan Axe (a magical battle-axe), and the Blades of Chaos (double-chained blades), and traditional hand-to-hand combat. Atreus, the other playable character, relies heavily on his bow to take out enemies from a distance. Combat is incredibly satisfying, something that the franchise has become known for.

Visually, this is right up there as one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen. Some of the cutscenes are out of this world, fitting for a game based on the gods.

This is the best that the series has ever been, and what better way to end a storyline than that.

NBA 2K23 was the stuff of (hoop) dreams

Best sports game – NBA 2K23

Basketball fans will be delighted to hear the court came back to the small screen this year with the release of NBA 2K23. Sure, there have been a few different basketballs series’ down through the years, but this game is in a totally different league. There are several different ways to play, and even when you settle on one, it’ll be a while before you’ve completed everything – making it great bang for your buck. If you’re a basketball fan, or even a fan of the 2K range of games, this is right up there. With plenty of variety in the way you can play, there’s something for almost every sports fan.

Best racer – Gran Turismo 7

This year marks the 25th anniversary of PlayStation’s best-selling series, Gran Turismo. While gaming has come on leaps and bounds in some respects during that time, the core values have remained largely the same. This is undoubtedly true for the new Grand Turismo 7. For all of its tweaks, it still boasts shiny graphics, fine-tuned handling and sharp aesthetics – all of the qualities we’ve become accustomed to.

As always, this is a game that advertises the capabilities of the PS as much as anything. Sure, it plays reasonably well on the PS4, but when you load it up on the PS5, you’ll be greeted with jaw-dropping visuals. Each track has an astounding amount of detail, and every vehicle has been obsessively designed, right down to the side mirrors on the car.

What I love the most about Gran Turismo 7 is the fact that it keeps all of the charm of the original, despite the 25 years that have gone by, in an era of 4K gaming, it manages to keep a homely feel.

Best kids' game – Splatoon 3

When you look back at Nintendo’s catalogue of exclusive games over the past ten years, the eye is easily drawn to the likes of Zelda and Mario Kart. One that flies under the radar slightly is Splatoon, probably due to the fact it was a WiiU game originally. Its follow-up, Splatoon 2, was too much of the same and never really hit the heights it should have

What I love most about Splatoon is that it feels like a breath of fresh air amongst a world of gritty shooter games. It feels slightly goofy, but charming, nevertheless. Better yet, it’s suitable for all age groups which means you can sit down with the family and play to your heart’s content.

Splatoon 3 is adrenaline-filled, laced with colour and fun for all ages. It’s as good a player v player shooter on the market at the moment, without all of the gritty bits in between. If they keep updating the maps, I’m sure we’ll be talking about Splatoon 3 for a very long time.

And the winner is...Eldin Ring

Best overall game – Elden Ring

It’s fair to say that George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones, is one of the most renowned fantasy writers of all time. So, when I first heard that he was teaming up with fantasy video game legends FromSoftware to bring us a brand-new franchise, it was difficult to contain my excitement.

Elden Ring is an epic fable based upon wizards, knights, and all other sorts of ghouls and monsters. Your character is tasked with exploring the massive open world, using all of the skills available to them so to find the Elden Ring and become the Elden Lord once and for all

This is one of the few games I’ve played on the PS5 that feels truly next-gen. There’s a real vibrancy to the animations, and the audio is fittingly ominous throughout.

Battle, kill, be killed and repeat until you beat a monster. Then it’s on to the next fight, and while this seems fairly simplistic, the lore keeps it entertaining. There will be times where you want to give up, but it’s all part of the charm, a trait that Elden Ring has in abundance.

Today's Headlines

More Tech

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos