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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.