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Kerrik52's Game of the Year 2022 Countdown


This was one hell of an awesome year of gaming for me. Not only did I manage to nab a PS5 and get myself my own place with an ostentatious TV, the gaming industry decided to wake the fuck up and tempt me into buying enough games to aaaaaalmost make a top ten list for game of the year. That's a fresh experience for me, so let's commence the snarky judging and exuberant adoration with the lowest of the low and move up through the excellence!

8. Bloodborne PSX

With Sony asleep on the wheel and From Software's technical debt being more frightening than anything their concept artists can devise, Bloodborne on PC or in any other form than its currently pathetic state remains a dead dream. It may be the only thing that motivates the crazies out there trying to get PS4 emulation rolling, but it shouldn't be this way.

Enter Bloodborne PSX, a fan project that reimagines Central Yharnam from the start of Bloodborne as a Nightmare Creatures-esque Playstation game with deliberate use of aged conventions to convey what it would have been like back in the day. It's awesome.

Not only does it offer a bunch of screen filters and framerate caps to really sell the experience, you can also disable all of that to make it run like a modern video game and pretend it's the real Bloodborne on PC.

Of course, the janky controls and menus makes it difficult to maintain the illusion, but as the dev explained in the documentary, this was an attempt at showcasing what we've lost as game design trends have coagulated into modern trends. But the best part of the game to me is the level design.

Being sold as a recreation of the original on weaker hardware, it could have easily been just that. But since it's an entire game set in the start of Bloodborne, steps were taken to expand Central Yharnam into something more interesting. Beyond the obligatory poison sewer maze, Bloodborne PSX features a lot of new indoor environments that just sparkle with Playstation goodness. Disregarding the visuals and loading screens, I think the PSX version is a lot more interesting to explore.

Comparing the two directly isn't fair to either party, but it does showcase a more sprawling Bloodborne than what we got. And given how boring I find Bloodborne's level design on replays, maybe they should have made something denser. As far as companion pieces go though, I can't think of anything better than Bloodborne PSX.

7. Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series

Klonoa came back! I could just leave it at that, but let's expand on the sentiment a little bit.

As a franchise, Klonoa is the posterboy for "Really good, but criminally underused". I have only played the two main games and I love them a lot thanks to some nostalgia for the demo of Klonoa 2.

This collection would be higher if it didn't come so late. I've already played these games and while I'm glad they escaped console hell, they don't hit as hard the second time around. Hopefully others got to enjoy the winged furball with a new coat of paint in my stead and helped convince Bamco to give Klonoa a proper third game.

6. Soul Hackers 2

Having found the strength to complete Persona 5 Royal in 2022, a mere 3 years or so after playing the original version, I was unsure if I'd be able to stomach Soul Hackers 2. Turns out, yes, it was completely fine and Persona 5 is just a horribly overwritten slog the second time through, despite all the fixes and additions.

Soul Hackers 2 has like half a foot in the Persona pie with its snazzy presentation and minor social mechanics, but it's a lot more focused on the pure SMT dungeoncrawling experience. Said dungeons are kinda shit due to the game's budget being something you could fit in a shoebox, but everything else captivated me, especially the main character.

Ringo walks a very thin line between being a robot cliché, a weirdo and just plain cool. She's an artifical construct born from super intelligence, but isn't super intelligent herself, merely serving as a human avatar of said intelligence with a mission to save the world. She's driven to complete that goal, but she also finds the time explore what it means to be human and do quirky shit. I'm so done with silent protags in SMT, this was so much better.

5. God of War Ragnarok

Unlike everyone else, I only got around to playing God of War (2018) a few months before Ragnarok came around, not knowing if I should jump into the sequel or not. I ended up liking them both quite a lot, as the change to the formula was quite welcome after the original formula was driven to the ground with excessive prequels and midquels.

Ragnarok, if anything, is an exercise in excess, but in a good way. Given 4 years of development and infinity dollars, you get both quality and quantity, which is pretty unheard of in this industry. Not only that, but since Ragnarok is actually 2 games smashed together, it's simply brimming with characters and setpieces. It gets ever so slightly exhausting, but the gameplay additions smoothes a lot of things over and I really liked the ending. Frankly, it makes 2018 look kinda limited, just because that game's scope is so tiny in comparison.

4. The Legend of Heroes: Trails From Zero

It's not cheating to include a port of a 10-year-old PSP game if I say it isn't, ok?

Now, being the Trails nut that I am, I obviously already played Zero with the fantranslation and had a great time, so this official version (derived from said fantranslation) was more of a victory lap where I skipped most of the story and just focused on having fun in hard mode and tracking down rare enemies.

But now the game is out for realsies and people can just buy it and enjoy exploring Crossbell and the kick-ass music. There have been many lost gems over the years that have eventually escaped Japan, but this is one of the bigger ones in my opinion. It's just so lovingly put together with a story that excels at the series' mission of starting small and ending up somewhere absolutely crazy.

3. Horizon Forbidden West

I was fucking gaslit about Forbidden West. I was told it was a lackluster follow-up that's just the same open-world garbage again, best left ignored. But then I begrudgingly picked it up on Black Friday to test my new TV and was blown away. This game is better than the original IN EVERY SINGLE WAY! And I loved said original despite its flaws.

I have a lot of respect for devs with complete understanding of the experience they're crafting and the flaws they need to address. Guerilla took in all the criticism and just...fixed shit? Animations? All custom. Wonky Corruption status effect? Replaced. Small weapon wheel? Made bigger. Afterthought melée system? Given depth. Boring bandit camps? Can be completed much faster. Linear traversal? Made more free-form. Flat character writing? There is now an emotional core to the story that lasts throughout.

And they touched up their strengths too. The setting introduces more absurd sci-fi elements, the tribes are more interesting, enemy variety is higher, there are more weapons and IT LOOKS SO GOOD.

Suffice to say, I'm down to finish up this trilogy whenever the time comes. This is my reward for not burning myself out on open-world games before getting into this series.

2. Sifu

It finally happened. After teasing me with Absolver (my GotY 2017), Sloclap fulfilled the implied social contract and made a proper God Hand-adjacent video game. Sifu may not have the moveset building of God Hand or Absolver, but makes up for it by being a tight and difficult experience that rewards mastery all the way. Given limited development resources, creating a mere 5 levels and applying them to a pseudo-roguelike setup was so smart. Well befitting a team smart enough to encroach on the divine realm of God Hand.

Giving the player a limited amount of revives that carry over to the next level creates such a powerful gameplay loop. First time through, you will eventually hit your limit, which is where the game implicitly asks you to go back and master what came before on a new attempt, with your moveset slowly growing alongside your skill. By the time I got my platinum, I really felt like a master, which is the exact feeling the team wanted to invoke.

1. Elden Ring

I have my misgivings with Dark Souls 3. It's kinda short (sans DLC), it's very linear and the build variety stinks. Little did I know that From Software deigned to apologize for that by creating a 160-hour epic that consumed 337 hours of my life.

What can I even say about Elden Ring at this point? It's such a marvel of a video game, just bursting at the seams with things to see and get killed by for hours on end. That's one achievement and a big one no doubt, but with the new mechanics, they patched over so many problems with Dark Souls 3's combat that it remained fun for all that time I put into it.

Now obviously, the cracks have begun to show as I've put so much time into it, but the sheer sense of adventure it stirred within me cannot be ignored. You can go almost everywhere, use almost any weapon or spell and still have a great time just roaming the land and getting into trouble. That feeling is why it's so special, as games with this amount of freedom usually don't have the money to keep things interesting.

But I have to wonder, is this the limit of what should be acceptable? It's just such a long game and I'm not sure if either devs or players can deal with games more ambitious than this. And there's still murmurs of DLC on the horizon and I'm not sure if I can summon back all that excitement knowing they're going to make the game at least 40 hours longer. Whatever my limit is, this wasn't it, so Elden Ring gets to stand tall as my game of the year for 2022.

- Welcome to my world, Enjoy your stay, But always remember, There is no return.

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About Kerrik52one of us since 3:12 AM on 02.28.2016

Greetings, one and all. I'm known as Kerrik52 around these parts and I'm Swedish dude working as an app developer.

I play a lot of games, even the bad ones if they have something interesting to offer. I then write about them on this site for you all to read. I've written about a ton of stuff, but nowadays I mostly write reviews of games with the odd disscussion blog making its way out of my brain every month. My pride and joy is my From Software retrospective, which I highly recommend as a substitute to actually struggling through their first-person games on your own.

When it come to games, I'm mostly an action, platformer, horror, Immersive Sim and JRPG fanatic, but I try to keep my gaming diet varied from time to time. Here are some games/series I love:

Souls Games
God Hand
Immersive Sims
Resident Evil 4
Tales of
Ratchet & Clank
Devil May Cry
Legacy of Kain
Spyro the Dragon
Shin Megami Tensei
Anything by Falcom

I have a very low standard for movies, but I still have some distinct favorites. These include:

The Secret Life of Walter Witty
Pooh's Grand Adventure

Anime is a bite of a side-gig for me, but I'm a proud member of the Symphogear Choir.

Go ahead and share a piece of your world with me and I'll pay back in kind. Don't be deterred if I answer you with a wall of text though. I just can't help it sometimes.