I almost wasn't going to write this.
After so many of the games I played in 2021 ended up being disappointments, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to feel excited about things in 2022. And with the state of the industry as it is, I don't know if half of these games will even show up this year. That's also why this list is playing it so safe - half of what you'll see has a confirmed release date, or is scoped in such a way that I don't think it'll get delayed. So yeah, there's no Final Fantasy XVI or Silksong here.
But I'm choosing to be optimistic as a whole. Call it one of my New Year's Resolutions. With all that being said, here's a list of games in 2022 that I'm excited for.
Absolver was a game with great combat but a significant lack of focus. The developers seem to agree, as Sifu looks to be their former title's antithesis. A tightly-wound John Wick-ithon with some light roguelike elements, every piece of footage made me go yooooo in a way I normally reserve for martial arts movies, a genre I absolutely adore. That's a good sign.
Another game that had an incredibly ugly trailer ruin first impressions, Rumbleverse is one that I think is worth keeping an eye on going into 2022. It's a Battle Royale, yes, but one focused on melee combat that seems to hold a lot of depth. I watched Sajam play the closed beta and it looked like a blast. I look forward to dropkicking fools when it's ready for official release.
Look, I'm just gonna say it - set your expectations with this one folks. This game is not the next Final Fantasy Tactics. Mechanically it might be, in fact it might even play better in some aspects, but what made the OG such a big deal was Matsuno's writing, which isn't present here. Who knows how it'll be narratively.
That said, Triangle Strategy has the benefit of a demo, so we know it plays well, which is enough for me - the isometric strategy-jrpg doesn't have much in the way of new additions, I'll take pretty much anything.
Also I don't really have any other place to say this so I'll say it here: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced was good, y'all are just mean.
Kirby and The Forgotten Land
It's more Kirby. Don't think I need to explain this much.
Sea of Stars
There are so many games that claim to be "Chrono Trigger" inspired that make a million dollars on kickstarter and then never release. Sea of Stars has something going for it that makes it stand out: a proven track-record. It's the same team that created The Messanger (and even serves as a prequel), so I know that they make good games and are, you know, capable of releasing games on time.
The game looks gorgeous, and seems to truly understand what made those SNES JRPGs such a magical, formative experience for people. I look forward to seeing it come together.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
I am not, I would say, one of Those Pokémon fans, who seem to do nothing but whine about Pokémon games instead of playing stuff they actually like. That said, I do think the formula has gotten stale. That's what makes Arceus so interesting to me. It's a different take on Pokémon, akin to Monster Hunter, and adds some interesting wrinkles to a series that's been pretty much the same for nearly 25 years. I don't think it's going to be amazing - in fact, it'll probably very rough around the edges, given GameFreak's track record. But at least it'll be different, and as far as Pokémon is concerned, that's enough for me.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Oh hell yeah, something I can be unequivocally hype about. Nioh 2 is one of the greatest games I've ever played. If Team Ninja can capture even a fraction of what made that game so special - and if the demos are any indication, they have - then Stranger of Paradise is going to be one of the best games I play in 2022.
But Mint, the plot looks weird! Hell yeah baby, that might be the best part.
Rune Factory 5
I think I wrote about this game on Atlas' site last year, so I don't have to elaborate much. I just want to add they added gay marriage into the Western localization, so the one problem I had going in with the game is already fixed. If it can nail everything else, this game is going to take over my life.
It took, what, 4 years of no Mario Kart in sight, but the mad lads at Square Enix did it. They brought back a series I thought was dead and buried. I love Final Fantasy. I love Chocobos. I love Kart Racers. Chocobo GP has all three, and a bunch of representation for my favorite Final Fantasy, with Steiner, Vivi, and an Alexandria stage revealed so far. Inject it directly into my veins.
Windjammers is a fantastic competitive game, easy to learn but hard to master. The sequel is a miracle in the making - look up the story, it's incredible. That fact alone makes the game something to anticipate, but on top of that, Windjammers 2 seems to add just enough in the way of interesting new gameplay elements to spice it up over its predecessor. Oh, and it's got rollback netcode. Take notes, Atlus.
It's here for real this time. Did you know I cried in voice chat during the reveal? Sure did, LOL.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Team Reptile said "fine, I'll do it myself." Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is probably going to be better than anything Sega would have given us in a Jet Set Radio reboot. I can say that pretty confidently. The shmoovement looks out of this world, the beats are bangin, the art is poppin. It's a day 1 buy, is what I'm saying.
This is probably my second most tentative choice. as far as stuff I'm excited for this year. As you may know, I have Goopy Goblin Gamer Brain syndrome, so anything that involves sick movement options will get my attention. It's also cool to play a protagonist that's effectively a full mage character, which doesn't happen often.
All that said, Forspoken's writing and marketing have me extremely anxious. It feels like it's trying so hard to be hip, and that pretty much always backfires. Games are not movies, and when they get written like them it can be...unpleasant, to say the least. So, yeah, looking forward to the mechanics, but let's hope it has the plot to match.
My MOST tentative choice, simply because we know next to nothing about this game's development, and one of its key members left quite early into its creation. That sometimes doesn't bode well, but the upside is that Tango Gameworks' Evil Within 2 was surprisingly fantastic, and my hope is that this game will follow suit. I love me some Yokai, and a mixture of combat and horror sounds very Resident Evil-esque, so I'm going to try and keep my hopes up.