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Desirable Games of 2022

2022 may already be three months old, but videolamer just relaunched and we have calendar based feelings to express. Here are some of the staffs’ least undesirable games coming out this year. [Because of the enormous lead time of this site’s print version, some of these games may already be available.]

Cunzy

In the (n)ever year that was 2020-202X with most of the normal markers of the year suspended, canceled, or otherwise prevented by the pandemic, it really was only the next game release on the horizon that helped to stay shotgun from mouth. 

Top of my list, and pleasingly scheduled for the end of January (which is now the past) is (was) Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Part of the appeal of this game at the moment is it’s hard to work out the shape of the game from the handful of teasers and trailers that we’ve got. Best case scenario is that it’s the best of Monster Hunter with Pokémon trappings. Worst case it’s less doing something different and more of the 25 year old formula with a nice art style and some deceptively cut trailers. 

Stray Looks like an interesting one, exploring a robot populated post-human(?) world from the point of view of a cat. They really need to nail the cat physics to make this one land on all four feet. 

Any educated robot knows how to read binary.

Lastly, I might jump into stupidly titled Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp as I loved those games on the GBA and DS. The charming pixelated depiction of the horrors of war was very much a part of the charm, however, so I’m undecided if the new art style will detract from the overall experience.

Jay

A bunch of stuff looks interesting but based on not having played earlier stuff I don’t feel comfortable putting it in a list (there are very strict laws governing enthusiasm). So Plague Tale 2: Judgment Plague, for example, gets left off my list.

Triangle Strategy: This game is something I should really like. So much so that I’m ignoring how I felt about the demo. Pretend I didn’t draw battles out for dozens of turns while chipping away at enemies to minimize risk, look at all the JRPG strategy goodness! The plot elements like plot decisions look like a wrinkle on the strategy/tactical RPG formula that don’t focus on Persona fan pandering. The fewer tea parties the better. Oh yeah, obligatory comment about how fucking stupid the title of the game is.

You can tell who is evil by their face, just like in real life.

Far Changing Tides: I played the prior game recently and enjoyed it. It’s a bit of an art game so a follow up is mildly unexpected. A retread of the first game will be redundant (as redundant as calling a retread redundant) so they will need a new thesis. I’m curious to see what it is, if it will leave a similar impact, and if it will also be pleasantly brief.

Elden Ring: This probably already came out but I don’t have a PS5 and nothing matters more than cutting edge graphics. That’s a joke, but I will wait to play this one to avoid 11 FPS swamps. Maybe I will use my gaming PC for something I can’t play on a TI-86 for once. The first entries in each of the Miyazaki series are the best and I hope this keeps the trend going. I’ve honestly not been following the game because I was either going to decide it sucks because I have no access to it or go in blind because I want to love it. Either way, my opinion will be objectively correct.

Christian

This one is tough for me. Long ago I came to the conclusion that gamers react to new game releases like the townsfolk react to the Royal Nonesuch in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They let themselves get drawn in by hype, only to discover that the product itself is less than stellar. But rather than risk the embarrassment of admitting they got suckered, they all go about lauding the game for all its “great” qualities.

Then, about 6-8 months later, all those same people can be found going on about how terrible it was, and how only idiots bought it at launch. As a result, I have little interest in playing most games until the hype dies down and the critical consensus normalizes.

This is fairly blatant.

That in turn means that I rarely pay attention to release dates anymore. They tend to sneak up on me – of the three or so new games I played in 2021, I was only aware that one of them was coming out ahead of time. The other two completely took me by surprise – I only knew they were out because I stumbled upon reviews.

Still, I need to have at least one item on this list, so I went and looked at some lists of upcoming games. Suffice to say that it didn’t help all that much. I saw things that might be interesting to play some time in 2023, provided the word on the street is still positive. There’s only one game that, as of now, I can see myself playing within this calendar year. And that would be:

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk: It’s a Jet Grind Radio sequel in all but name. How could I not want to play it?

Pat

I do a pretty shit job of monitoring calendars of upcoming releases so I never have a great sense for what is coming out in the next twelve months. Rather, I tend to seek out the releases of a small handful of teams and series for what to get excited about ahead of time, and then monitor reviews and perceptions of other releases to determine what to play.  I backed Eiyuden Chronicles on Kickstarter and am excited for that, but despite the team’s listing of October 2022 as the initial delivery date estimate I would be shocked if we see that game this year; I am not much interested in the companion game that I do think will come out in 2022.  I am a big fan of The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, but Red Thread’s Dustborn does not have a release date (and Draugen wasn’t very good).  So what is coming out this year that I have heard of?

God of War: Ragnarok: Jay already covered Elden Ring, so I’ll add another major release to the list.  After playing through God of War III I sort of swore off this series because I had gotten to the age where the violence was a turn off and I wasn’t sure what I was meant to be enjoying about the games.  The 2018 reboot looked very different and attracted my attention, but I held off on playing it until the weight of recommendations overcame my skepticism last year.  I ended up really enjoying the story, setting, world, gameplay, and even characters. I understand the argument that Kratos does not deserve to be rehabilitated, but taken on its own terms, I very much enjoyed God of War and immediately started anticipating its sequel.  Will this come out in 2022?  Who knows, but my recently arrived Playstation 5 stands at the ready.

This game is taking so long on account of the bugs.

Hollow Knight: Silksong: Team Cherry delivered something special with the original Hollow Knight, which I played upon its 2018 Switch release. To be honest, I would prefer to see the team create something completely new after they demonstrated such creativity and detailed worldbuilding with Hallownest, but I’ll settle for a follow up to one of my favorite games from the past few years. As far as I know, this one also has not received a firm release date, but the rumors of a 2022 release are enough for me. a great game.

Mars After Midnight: Return of the Obra Dinn is one of my favorite games from the past few years and I preordered a Playdate a little while ago. This is Lucas Pope’s next game and I like the model of the Playdate where, in theory at least, most owners should be playing the same games around the same time.  Will this come out in 2022?  Will Playdate come out in 2022?  Will my Playdate arrive in 2022? Who knows, Who knows, And almost certainly not. 

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chris
Admin
2 months ago

I didn’t write an entry for this one in part because I’m trying to avoid hype and part of that is waiting a bit to get games. I am excited for Eiyuden Chronicles, but have consciously avoided prerelease news about other titles.
I’ll probably eventually get Elden Ring, if performance issues get ironed out since I only have a PS4 or a PC with a 7-years-old graphics card (officially not supported) to play it on. I suspect it will get easier as I hear less about it; I still haven’t finished Dark Souls 3, so I also have that to tide me over.
Part of me wants to be excited about Triangle Strategy, but FF Tactics came out during the height of my available free time and I’m a bit concerned TS will not respect my time. I’ve been burned plenty by tactical RPGs and attempts to replay FF Tactics have been some of them.
I may get the new Kirby game, since those are typically great co-op experiences and it looks like a good one to play with my daughter.

TrueTallus
TrueTallus
2 months ago

Glad to have you chiming in as well, Chris! I have this dream that the things 16 year old me was enthralled with by FFT on its release can somehow be carried over into a game that 40(!) year old me can feel good about spending my limited time on. I honestly don’t know how to make that happen from a design perspective, but FF7 came remarkably close along similar lines for me in the remake, so I hope it’s possible and that whatever game succeeds is a game I actually know to play.

I’m also interested to try out Elden Ring, though my appetite for viscera, creepiness and gloom just isn’t what it was at this point. That, and a similar time related hesitancy about wading into another vast open world without knowing if I’ll exhaust all goodwill before I get to where I want to go :P

I’m glad you’re stoked about the Playdate, Pat (whenever it actually materializes). I’ve turned into a software engineer in the intervening decade, so I’m hoping to putter around with the SDK and make some kind of simple little game on it. The ‘every unit is a dev unit’ philosophy is great, and as a Mac developer I’ve got lots of respect for Panic and their ability to design great software tools. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to play any game I develop on actual physical playdate consoles before we can file for social security benefits!

TrueTallus
TrueTallus
11 days ago

Chris or Pat, have either of you tried Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising now that it’s available?
I know we still have to wait till 2023 for the main game, but I’m still excited to get my feet wet in the same world and see how ‘Suikodeny’ it feels.

Last edited 11 days ago by TrueTallus
jay
Admin
jay
11 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

I’m not Chris nor Pat, but have played more Rising than both combined (anything is bigger than 0+0). So far the combat is mediocre and it’s less town buildy than I hoped. But I am very early in and having enough fun to keep going. I really liked My Life as King, the Wiiware Final Fantasy spinoff thing, and was hoping there would be some more of that type of town simulation stuff in this. Again, though, maybe they unveil more as the game goes on.

As I said to Chris, I played a lot of Recettear despite it having mediocre combat. If there’s enough other interesting stuff I am fine overlooking weak segments. Really, a lot of my favorite games have weak stuff in them.

Regardless of this game’s ultimate quality, it does make me wish more Japanese companies would put out smaller games like these. Ys III-likes should be a genre, or Faxanadu-like if you prefer.

Chris and Pat should weigh in when they can, as I’ve only played Suikoden 1 and 2, Pat recently played 3 and won’t stop talking about it, and Chris likely has multiple Suikoden tattoos.

chris
Admin
11 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

Haven’t tried it yet. Limited game time and trying to focus on Strange Journey. Definitely interested. I don’t have a Suikoden tattoo yet, but I did help translate one of the Suikogaidens back in the day and may have a suikoden figurine on my work desk.

pat
pat
10 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

i have downloaded and installed it but havent played it yet. i hope to have some time this weekend, but it is competing with elden ring (and more materially my kids) for time. i’ll update here when i get a chance to spend some time with it.

TrueTallus
TrueTallus
10 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

Alright, thanks for the update all, keep me posted! Yeah, Pat, I juuuust reached the point in Elden Ring where I feel like I need to take a breather for a bit to avoid the inevitable open world related exhaustion of the all-you-can-eat content approach in the overworld. That, and to cleanse my mental/spiritual palate after so long in a grotesque, serious, (rotten) puppy kicking world. I’m enjoying some more time in gaming adventures before our own next little person is scheduled to arrive in October ;)

Jay, yes, I’m in total agreement that more smaller games from Japanese companies would be a great thing (as long as that excludes things like what happened to Fear Effect). And there definitely is something to be said for a game being really enjoyable even if some parts of it are ho-hum, though I’ve never been able to successfully put my finger on what makes some games with a lot of unremarkable (or even bad) gameplay still feel delightful or worth playing. I’m in the same boat that a some of my favorite or most treasured games have fit that bill.

And Chris, nicely done on the Suikogaiden translation, that’s awesome! Did any of those games ever get officially released in English?

chris
Admin
9 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

Definitely love some games with unremarkable/possibly bad gameplay (Opoona is a great example).

Suikogaidens never were officially released, I just helped out with a fan translation that got released.

…although I never actually played Suikogaiden for more than an hour. Another one for the backlog.

pat
pat
6 days ago
Reply to  TrueTallus

OK, i spent about an hour and a half with Rising over the weekend, mostly as a palate cleanser from Elden Ring. it serves that role well since it is lighter, simpler, and easier than ER, though what wouldn’t be.

overall, the game is a simple, enjoyable side scrolling action adventure game. the character designs are clearly suikoden-influenced or suikoden adjacent. you are building a town, which has echoes of base building in the suikoden games (though here you do it by gathering and providing materials rather than recruiting). some of the chapters/missions are set up as fetch quests, but they play more like macguffins – you need to fetch an item or material and its located behind a boss or past a challenge in a cave or whatever. maybe the quest design gets old, but it is fine for now.

obviously still early, and maybe i’ll do a more complete writeup once i am done with it, but those are my initial impressions. so far i am finding it charming and fun, simple and basic (though not in a bad way, its just a straightforward game).

TrueTallus
TrueTallus
3 days ago
Reply to  pat

That’s sounds like a perfect change of pace, thanks for the update :D