In spite of the fact that 2022 was a relatively slower year for gaming by and large, the PS5 has had a solid 12 months, and during that period, has added a number of great games to its already impressive library. With all attention now on what next year will bring, here, we’re going to pause and take a look back at what we felt were the best games that we played on the PS5, before finally picking one of them as the greatest of the lot.
NOTE: The nominees and winner were decided by an internal vote held among the entire GamingBolt staff.
Fans of brawlers and beat ’em ups have had their pick of great games in recent years, and this year, another game was added to the very top tier of that list with Sifu. Sloclap’s kung fu brawler is an exquisite game, combining satisfying combat and thrilling challenge with immense replayability, thanks to some truly unique mechanics and systems mixed in that elevate the experience to another level. As most people who’ve played it will tell you, it easily ranks as one of the best games of the year.
Tunic may not have the mainstream bombast that many other games on this list do, but when it comes to pure game design ingenuity, it can proudly stand up to any of them. Stepping in to fill the void left behind by classic Zelda games, it concocts a perfect blend of clever puzzles, satisfying dungeon crawling, and most of all, an incredibly unique gameplay hook at its core that reveals more and more of the game to you the more you play it.
FromSoftware has mastery over one very particular type of game the way very few other developers can manage, but even by those lofty standards, Elden Ring is an astonishing game. The challenging combat, and captivating world-building you’d expect from Souls games are all here, but Elden Ring kicks things up a notch with an open world setting that may very well be one of the best we’ve ever seen in a game.
Stray is a prime example of a short and sweet adventure. In its brief runtime, it truly packs a punch, and in more ways than one, leaves a lasting impression. The game breathes immense life into dystopian cyberpunk setting, dedicates itself wholly to the idea of playing as a cat, goes above and beyond in terms of impressive with its visuals, and delivers a straightforward but enjoyable semi-platforming adventure experience. Its biggest accomplishment, however, is wrapping that all together coherently.
GOD OF WAR RAGNAROK
God of War games have always had immense expectations to live up to, but that was never truer than it was with Ragnarok, so to see it somehow surpassing even those expectations is, in a word, surprising. But if any developer can do that, it’s Sony Santa Monica. Working off of the excellent foundations laid down by its predecessor, God of War Ragnarok makes countless smaller improvements in nearly every area that collectively make for a significant improvement. And if a game is improving on something as accomplish as God of War (2018), you know it’s good.
HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST
Horizon Forbidden West lost some of its thunder to the launch of Elden Ring, but that takes nothing away from what an incredible achievement this game is. Going out into its beautiful, overgrown wilds and taking on deadly machines in thrilling battles never, ever loses its luster, in large part thanks to the bevy of meaningful gameplay improvements Forbidden West makes to the series’ formula, while its story keeps finding ways to reel you further in and sink its claws into you. It is, of course, also a gorgeous one- one of the best-looking ones we’ve ever played, in fact.
GRAN TURISMO 7
Closing out the trifecta of Sony’s big AAA releases of 2022 is Gran Turismo 7, a game that was marred with controversy surrounding its progression and monetization upon launch (and rightly so), but one that is an undeniably spectacular racing sim- which is even clearer now, without most of those issues to get in the way. Gran Turismo’s return to a traditional structure has turned out to be an unsurprisingly smart decision, and with its bevy of content, staggering attention to detail, and unparalleled dedication to authenticity, it creates an experience that fans of the genre simply cannot miss out on.
DYING LIGHT 2 STAY HUMAN
Dying Light 2 Stay Human is what you’d call a diamond in the rough, just like the original game was. It’s a little unpolished, and in the writing and storytelling department, it has plenty of room for improvement- but it’s also an absolute blast. It gives you a massive post-apocalyptic open world to explore, fills it to the brim with deadly zombies, then tells you to parkour your way through everything. The excellent parkour mechanics are, of course, propped up by excellent design that constantly encourages those mechanics. This is a massive game, but the fact that you can play it for dozens of hours without getting bored should tell you something about how inherently fun most of its core systems are.
Even though it doesn’t happen with the kind of frequency as we’d want, we all know exactly how good Sonic can be at its best. Sonic Frontiers hasn’t quite hit those same heights, but undoubtedly, it’s the best 3D Sonic has been in a long, long time. The switch to open world design doesn’t always work out for games, but Sonic’s high speed platforming and open world maps are something of a match made in heaven. Future Sonic titles will hopefully continue to build on this foundation, because Frontiers has a great deal going for it.
THE LAST OF US PART 1
Naughty Dog’s seminal 2013 masterpiece wasn’t exactly in terrible need of a glow-up for modern hardware, but it did get one- and one thing that’s undeniable is that this is the best version of The Last of Us. Its gameplay changes are minor compared to what many were expecting, but the game looks absolutely stunning now, and that visual and technical fidelity allows its masterful story and storytelling to flourish even more.
A PLAGUE TALE: REQUIEM
Amicia and Hugo’s second adventure together trumps their original outing in every way possible- which, of course, is exactly what you want to see in a sequel to an acclaimed title. A Plague Tale: Requiem boasts improvements in a number of areas, from stealth to level design, from visuals to its scripted set piece moments, and more. On the storytelling front, meanwhile, it tells a captivating, heart-wrenching tale that once again strikes a wonderful balance between intimate moments and high-octane developments.
Ghostwire: Tokyo saw Tango Gameworks dropping survival horror for open world action-adventure, and while the studio’s latest release is perhaps its weakest yet, it’s still a pretty good time. Its creepy recreation of an eerily empty Tokyo is easily among the game’s biggest highlights, while its magic-based combat it also a joy to behold, at least in visual terms, even if it does feel a bit shallow at times. It’s not earth-shattering, no, but Ghostwire: Tokyo is not without its merits.
NEED FOR SPEED UNBOUND
At long last, it feels like Need for Speed is back to its best again (or close to it, at least), and it’s fitting that Criterion is the developer responsible for that long-overdue comeback. NFS Unbound captures the essence of the franchise perfectly- it’s fast, it’s stylish, and it’s constantly fun. Zipping through the open world is always a blast, and of course, we have to mention the incredible visuals and semi-cartoonish aesthetic, because boy does that give the game a wholly unique identity.
The interactive horror adventure subgenre owes a lot to Supermassive- and more specifically, to Until Dawn. Its spiritual successor, The Quarry, doesn’t ever scale the same heights, but it does serve as an excellent reminder of why Supermassive has found so much success in this space. It’s a rollercoaster of pulpy horror in the best way possible, while its riotously fun multiplayer and inherent replayability also serve as bonuses.
LEGO STAR WARS: THE SKYWALKER SAGA
For years, LEGO games have been comfortable with being cozy, comfortable experiences that no one ever really talks or even thinks about other than when they’re playing them. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga isn’t content with that. While it retains the simplicity, charm, and humour that makes this series what it is, it also applies a level of polish and general quality that we haven’t always associated with the series. It may very well be the definitive LEGO game.
GOD OF WAR RAGNAROK
In every way that God of War Ragnarok was expected to excel, it hits the ball out of the park, and beyond. It’s rare for games to exhibit absolute mastery over as many things at once as Ragnarok does. The excellent writing, the enthralling combat, the engaging exploration, the drop-dead gorgeous visuals- and that’s just scratching the surface, because this is a game that keeps finding ways to blow you away in truly spectacular ways. It has instantly gone down as one of the greatest games in PlayStation history.
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