Upon first impression, 2022 looked to be an all-time great year for video games! Following the stagnated release schedules of 2020 and 2021, 2022 could’ve possessed an abundance of sublime titles, taking advantage of current generation hardware.
Now, this is not to say 2022 was a poor year for gaming. If anything, it’s been pretty remarkable thanks to the near-flawless God of War: Ragnarök, Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West, on top of indie titles such as OlliOlli World, Sifu and Stray. Furthermore, Nintendo Switch exclusives, including Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Bayonetta 3 also contributed to a sizable 2022 catalogue. Conversely, I’m reflecting on the titles that swiftly dwindled 2022’s potential.
Performance issues, together with bugs, have crept up for too many 2022 games to count. FIFA 23, WWE 2K22, Saints Row and Pokemon Scarlet/Violet all released more or less incomplete. Needless to say, it can take time to realise bugs in games that need patching. Nonetheless, time constraints were obvious with all of the above games.
Regardless of polish, many of the big releases of 2022 have lacked the spark to contend with God of War: Ragnarök and Sifu among others, although this is a tall task. Just to name a few: Saints Row, Gotham Knights, The Callisto Protocol, Rainbow Six: Extraction and Pokémon Legends: Arceus have failed to meet the expectations of many fans, myself included. Are most of these titles decent? Yes, although they had the potentials and budgets to be so much more than merely footnotes for 2022.
Saints Row, Gotham Knights and Pokémon Legends: Arceus are marked down for their barren, uninspired open worlds. Of course, all three come equipped with their own individual issues. I personally reviewed the latter of these titles, noting how “A lack of vegetation, for example, is odd considering the game has an emphasis on nature and the wild, so the grassy lands should not feel so flat.” Continuing my tangent, battling in Pokémon Legends: Arceus was extremely clunky, with the strong and agile styles contributing significantly to this opinion.
I could continue to bash some of 2022’s biggest releases, but the point is many of these titles – while not terrible – lack the features to be elevated to the next level, which is especially disappointing when considering anticipation, budget, expectation and hardware.
It would be harsh to point all of the blame on some underwhelming releases. Delays share equal responsibility for damaging 2022’s potential as one of gaming’s best years. Sons of the Forest, Hogwarts Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom are now set for 2023 release. Coronavirus is evidently continuing to impact the industry; studios have lost valuable time over the past three years. Consequently, the pandemic will still have an effect on the industry – and releases – for two or three more years.
Losing Tears of the Kingdom to 2023 is a significant blow, with prequel The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild winning 2017’s Game of the Year award. Both Harry Potter and The Legend of Zelda have sizable, loyal fanbases, so it’s almost certain the duo will sell superbly well upon release. This list of delayed titles to the highly-anticipated Forspoken, Alan Wake 2 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor creates a catalogue of titles with the highest of potentials.
While there are few guarantees in the gaming industry, 2023 is a guaranteed great year for gamers everywhere. Whether it’s meaningful remasters or reboots, ambitious sequels or intriguing indie titles, 2023 possesses a diverse list of releases. Hopefully, delays will be few and far between as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic. Either way, the catalogue of titles set to release is highly promising.
Which games are you most looking forward to trying in 2023?