A new year has begun, and with it comes excitement over what our favourite hobby will have in store for us during this freshly reset calendar. Will 2022 end up being the best year in gaming history? Just a good year? Or will it be a letdown? Only time will tell.

In advance of the first big release of this new year, I wanted to share a list of the ten games I’m most excited about. Games that I’m excited to play on day one, and would love to get my hands on as soon as possible, because they look so fun and inventive.

Of course, it’s always possible that this list will change or evolve over the next year, as more titles are confirmed.

Enough with the preamble! Let’s begin!

Honorable Mention – Stray

Although my life has been full of video games, one thing I love more is cats. If you were to ask me what the best part of life is, I would tell you it’s pets, and more specifically cats. This is one of the main reasons as to why the game Stray is something I’m looking forward to.

Not only do I find the premise and core ideas behind Stray interesting, but I’m looking forward to being able to play a detailed adventure game as a cat. My only worry is that it won’t end up delivering on its potential. Here’s hoping that the gameplay will be immersive, the controls will be tight and the puzzles won’t be obtuse for the sake of being difficult. Although I’ve always been a good student, and been considered relatively intelligent by others, puzzle games have never been my thing, and I’ve always disliked obtuse ones in certain games, like survival horror titles and Zelda.

Annapurna Interactive usually bets on winners, though, so their involvement has me excited.

#10 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

I’m going to be honest: It wasn’t until just now that I discovered this game is only in development for PC and Switch. I guess I’ll have to acquire one of the latter before it’s released, or hope that it comes to either Xbox or PlayStation in the future.

As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I was lucky to experience the heyday of beat ’em-ups, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. However, since I never owned an NES myself, my only chance to play said titles was at my cousins’. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with Turtles in Time, which I owned and played a lot of on SNES, not to mention at arcades.

They were some of my favourite games, and the genre itself was too. There were so many great ones at the time, including but not limited to the Simpsons Arcade Game, X-Men Arcade, Final Fight, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, Batman Returns, The Death and Return of Superman, Captain America and the Avengers and Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety. Turtles in Time stood atop most of its peers, though, and still remains one of the best and most addictive games I’ve ever played.

Needless to say, I was excited when they remade it for Xbox Live Arcade.

Getting back to Shredder’s Revenge, I must admit that this is a game I’m tentatively excited for. Why? Well, it’s coming from a smaller studio that doesn’t have a lot of great releases to its name. Plus, there have also been a good amount of mediocre-at-best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games since the days of the Super Nintendo.

Here’s hoping it’ll end up being great, though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

#9 – GRID Legends

Few things are more fun or immersive than a good racing game. It’s easy to get lost within the fast moving vehicles, the push for first place and everything else that comes with the genre’s best. Furthermore, I rarely get sick of them.

My love for the genre began with a very rudimentary Atari 2600 game, and has only grown since then. Being able to grow up with the medium, and enjoy some of the best games that interactive racing has ever had to offer, furthered my appreciation for everything involved. At the same time, racing games have become one of my absolute favourite genres.

I’m excited for GRID Legends because it’s part of a series I’ve really enjoyed, and is coming from a developer that is synonymous with racing; that being Codemasters. It’s their specialty and their focus, and they’ve released some incredible racers over the years, including DiRT, DiRT Rally (which is well made, but too punishing for my taste) and previous GRID games. In fact, I couldn’t get enough of 2019’s GRID reboot, which gives me high hopes for the amount of enjoyment I’ll get out of this one.

GRID Legends promises high speed racing over 130 different tracks, including real life circuits and city street tracks. Although it’s the latter type that excites me more, I know to expect fast-paced, well designed and adrenaline-fueled arcade racing through and through, and that’s my favourite type.

#8 – Gotham Knights

Few modern games have been as fun, as well made, or as immersive as Rocksteady’s Batman games. After years of (mostly) rushed and mediocre-at-best superhero games, the developer managed to absolutely nail the Caped Crusader in every way. Of course, having a good budget helped.

When Warner Bros. Montreal took the reigns, and developed Batman: Arkham Origins, my excitement remained. Although it honestly wasn’t as good as the first two titles, their take on the Rocksteady formula ended up being a very good one, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the game despite some caveats like a small map. WB Montreal may not have dethroned the kings, but they did a very good job mimicking them.

If this was another of those Batman-based games, it would probably be higher on my list. Alas, I still feel like I haven’t gotten a great read on Gotham Knights. Sure, it’s said to be similar, but it’s definitely different in its approach, not to mention having four playable characters. The tone of the game also seems somewhat lighter.

Still, I have lots of faith in Warner Bros. Montreal and their ability to make something of quality, especially where the Batman license is concerned.

#7 – Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Few games have hooked me as much as the original Borderlands did. It could hardly have been better, and stands as one of the best new IPs in recent history. At least, that’s my opinion.

I’m one of those ‘weird’ folks who not only prefers Batman: Arkham Asylum to its very good successors, but has also always liked the original Borderlands more than the others. That said, Borderlands 2 was a great game, too, and it had some pretty creative DLC expansions. The most notable one may well be Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep.

Although Tina could be annoying, and her humour wasn’t always compatible with my own, I had a good time playing through her expansion. Thus, when they announced a new game starring Tiny Tina, I started to look forward to getting my grubby little hands on it.

There are things that worry me a bit, like the tabletop RPG elements and the amount of Tiny Tina that will surely be included, but it’s more Borderlands and I’m certainly up for that.

#6 – Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

It wasn’t until the Game Awards that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League became something I couldn’t wait to play. Prior to that night, it was something I hadn’t been able to get a handle on. On top of this, I wasn’t sure of what to think about Rocksteady — the kings of the superhero game, who have since been joined in royalty by Insomniac — taking on such a lighthearted and underwhelming property. Then I remembered which developer I was thinking of.

The Game Awards trailer wasn’t just well produced, it presented a game that looks insanely fun. Much more varied, chaotic and creative than any other superhero (or villain) game I’ve ever seen, too. In fact, this title looks like a superhero action/adventure game was combined with Saints Row, and I’m all for that.

Although I didn’t like the most recent movie very much, I cannot wait to get my hands on Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad! It looks like a blast, and the developer’s track record speaks for itself.

#5 – Horizon: Forbidden West

Although Nintendo has always been known for its colourful exclusives, which still continue to sell shelf-loads decades later, Sony is often given credit for having the best line-up of exclusives in the business. This is something that deserves credit, too, because those in charge of the PlayStation brand have put a lot of work into acquiring and developing great studios, which have gone on to make some of the best games in recent history. I’m talking about God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, although they’re not the only noteworthy exclusives in Sony’s stable.

Another fantastic ‘new’ IP, which came to digital life and fruition during the PlayStation 4 era, is Horizon. Zero Dawn didn’t come out of nowhere, but it delivered nonetheless, and was perhaps even better than expected. I, for one, was blown away by the game and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I never did end up playing its expansion, which I’m still mad at myself over and need to rectify.

After the success of the first game, not to mention its glowing reviews, it was a no-brainer that development would start on a sequel. After all, while Guerilla Games was originally known for Killzone, they arguably struck richer gold with this mix of rustic civilization, traditional hunting and mean-spirited robots. As such, we weren’t shocked when Horizon: Forbidden West was revealed. Just excited.

Everything I’ve seen from Horizon: Forbidden West has looked great, and although it’s coming out next month, it still feels like a ways off. Here’s hoping that this coveted sequel will end up being as good as its great predecessor, or even better. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, though!

You can consider me as someone who will be there day one.

Now…if only we could get a Days Gone sequel…

#4 – Dying Light 2

I’m honestly not sure if there’s a better type of video game villain than zombies. They’re malleable, they allow for creativity and they’re simply fun to kill. Unlike killing digital recreations of human beings, you don’t feel bad about it either.

I’ve been a big fan of horror since I was a kid — at least, after I got over a year’s worth of nightmares from watching A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors by myself at the ripe age of eight or nine — and have also always been fascinated with zombies. Not in the sense that I prepare for the zombie uprising, but in terms of games, movies and fiction. Great zombie movies have always been loved, as have decent to excellent games starring the undead, such as Dead Island, Dead Island: Riptide, Dead Rising 1 to 4 and Left 4 Dead. Well, those and Dying Light, which stands as one of the best.

Over the years, I’ve played and finished a good amount of Techland’s games. At least, when it comes to console releases. This started with Call of Juarez, which I rented on day one, and has extended through that series and into other IPs, like both Dead Island games and both Nail’d and Mad Riders. If you haven’t heard of the other two, that’s understandable, but they were (at least in my opinion) underrated ATV racing games that were both fun to play and complete.

Dying Light is easily Techland’s best (console) game to date, though, and its sequel is looking great. During a period where it’s been difficult to focus on or lose myself in anything, I look forward to doing just that as I deal with a city full of rotting undead.

Here’s hoping that Techland’s next opus will be as fun, immersive and replayable as its predecessor. I have a good feeling that it will be, though.

#3 – God of War: Ragnarok

Although I’ve been gaming for more than three decades, one of my best interactive memories is related to playing the original God of War for PlayStation 2. Although I can’t recall if I bought it or rented it first, I do know that I fell in love from the start. The game was incredible, felt very unique even within its genre, and was very, very fun. Not to mention a violent, visual showpiece for — at that time — modern gaming.

That particular weekend happened to correspond with family coming to town and friends coming over, and God of War definitely turned some heads. I also had a hard time pulling myself away from it. These things were a testament to just how great the game was, but also act as fodder when I look back and wonder why I never played the second one.

Yes, this God of War fan somehow skipped God of War II, and only played a bit of it on PS3. That’s a regret, which was likely borne not of disinterest but from the fact that I would rent and buy new games almost every week. There have always been so many different games, movies, books, and TV shows that interest me, that it can be hard to experience them all. Plus, I was a regular at multiple video stores, and probably rented too many games if we’re being honest.

God of War II simply went from being a must play that I will get to soon, to something I never did.

Over time, my interest in the series waned. What was once original, unique and great became formulaic. The first PSP game was a lot of fun, but I was already kind of burned out by the time I played God of War III. I personally blame God of War: Ascension for this, because I got sick of that game and forced myself to beat it, which burned me out on the series as a whole for a time. You’ll likely be wondering why this matters, and it’s this: while I bought God of War III at launch, I rented and bought so many other games that it got put away and never did get played. It, too, became part of that rainy day pile that I would get to when things slowed down. Thus, it wasn’t until God of War III: Remastered came out that I did finally end up playing it.

This is a long way of setting up the fact that God of War, the PlayStation 4 reboot, refreshed and renewed my interest in a once great series. Although I’d burned out on the original formula, this open world, action-RPG take on the franchise was right up my alley. I’d grown up loving these types of games, and had recently realized that Western RPGs have usurped first-person shooters as my favourite genre. Thus, God of War was a practically perfect fit.

Like Horizon: Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok is a no-brainer of a sequel. Once the first game released to such acclaim, we knew it was coming. Given how great the first reboot was, it’s also sure to be incredible, which is why it’s one of my most anticipated titles. I can’t wait to see where they’ll go from here.

#2 – Saints Row

You’re likely shocked that Saints Row is my second most anticipated game of 2022, but it is. The series has been a personal favourite since it began life as a more raunchy Grand Theft Auto clone, and has become even more beloved with the release of both Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV. Let’s just forget that Gat Out of Hell ever happened.

Although I’m aware that I’m in the minority here, I won’t apologize for the fact that Saints Row: The Third is my favourite of the games. Nor will I apologize for ranking them like this: 3 > 4 > 1 > 2 > Gat Out of Hell. I know that many fans of the franchise will consider this sacrilegious, but I stand by it. Maybe it’s because I played Saints Row 2 after I played the third game — since the second one was another purchase that got put away and forgotten about due to too many games being released, rented or purchased on my end — but that’s the case. When I went back to Saints Row 2 after playing The Third, it felt buggy, dated and mediocre, but it likely wouldn’t have if I’d played it when it came out.

My history with the Saints Row series began when I saw it featured in an Xbox Magazine issue. Hell, I still remember the magazine ad for the first game, which featured a city skyrise made out of guns. You can bet that I was there day one, buying a copy, before rushing home to play it. After that, I was lost in the city of Stilwater for quite some time.

Much has been said about how this Saints Row reboot will be more grounded than its predecessors, but given how extreme some of them were I’m honestly not sure of what to make of that. After all, the gameplay we’ve seen — including a fantastic Game Awards trailer — hasn’t looked all that safe or grounded to me.

The talk surrounding this reboot does have me a bit worried, but I’m eagerly anticipating its release nonetheless. Although I generally don’t like things that are overly stupid, or stupid for the sake of it (ie. Zoolander, Tropic Thunder, The Suicide Squad or a lot of really dumb comedies), I find myself enamored with Saints Row, and can’t wait to play this new entry.

#1 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (working title)

Despite growing up with The Legend of Zelda games, I didn’t find myself as excited for Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword or Breath of the Wild as some of my friends and peers (I’m looking at you, Johnnie and Chris). That said, perhaps their levels of excitement exceed my capabilities. They tend to go ‘crazy’ for anything Zelda related, and I get that, because it’s a fantastic series despite some of its annoying puzzles.

Growing up, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a game I got to play in spurts, but never did finish. My cousins owned it, so I could play it there, but I never did myself. I may have rented or borrowed it once or twice, but it always seemed like I’d get to the same point before having to return it or stop playing. Still, it remains one of the best games I’ve ever played. I may even like it more than Ocarina of Time, which released at a seminal moment in my childhood, and has cemented itself as also being one of the best ever.

When that game came out, it was something special.

Although I looked forward to later Zelda games, none felt as special as Ocarina of A Link to the Past, until Breath of the Wild came out. Like before, my friends and peers were more eager than myself. However, once I finally played it — on a borrowed Wii U, because I’d traded mine in for a Switch that I had problems with — I couldn’t get enough. Sixty hours went by like nothing, and Link’s latest open world adventure became my game of the year. Did I expect it to? No. Not even when I played it at E3. Why? There were so many great games coming out, and on display at the event, that while Breath of the Wild was up there, it wasn’t at the very top of my list.

What an incredible game it ended up being, though. Despite not expecting to become as enthralled by it as everyone else, I did, hook, line and sinker. It consumed me and blew me away. Every aspect of it did, too! It was quite the experience.

My plan has been to buy another Nintendo Switch to replay Breath of the Wild and experience its exclusives, but I’ve found myself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of games on other consoles and simply haven’t done so. I also struggle to use handheld systems, because I always worry about dropping or damaging them, especially since what you’re holding IS the console and not just an easily replaceable controller. Add on all of the talk about the dock scratching screens, the screen being a fingerprint magnet, and the screen being exposed to dust while in the dock for TV use, and I just haven’t bit the bullet so to speak.

I’ll have to someday in the near future, though, if Breath of the Wild 2 releases during calendar year 2022. That’s one game I do not want to miss.

Honourable Mention #2: Fable (working title)

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that Western RPGs have become my favourite genre, usurping first-person shooters, which I do still love. Well, the series that really started all of that was Fable.

When the original Xbox was announced and then released, I was jealous of friends who owned one because I wanted to play Fable so badly. However, being a tween without a job, I couldn’t just go buy one, and already had a PlayStation 2 with tons of games, and then a GameCube to play certain titles on. I bought Fable on PC, but couldn’t run it, so it wasn’t until I bought my friend’s used Halo 2 edition Xbox that I actually got to play the game in full.

Needless to say, it blew me away. The same was true of the next two games, which I devoured when they were released for Xbox 360. Despite the negativity surrounding the series, thanks to Peter Molyneux’s penchant for over promising and over hyping his games and accessories (Kinect, I’m looking at you), I adored those games and couldn’t get enough. Even though it was nearly impossible to die in Fable III, I still had a blast with it, and it became another personal favourite.

Around a year and a half ago, rumours began to circulate that Playground Games — the masters of racing, who’ve brought us the five best racing games ever made, in Forza Horizon through Forza Horizon 5 — were charged with rebooting Fable for the next generation of Microsoft consoles. Then, it became official, thanks to a CG trailer and a website that remains up to this day. However, things have been pretty quiet on the Fable front since the summer of 2020, and this particular gamer is getting antsy. Then again, I’m honestly just glad that we’re getting a proper Fable RPG, instead of that weird, competitive multiplayer game, Fable Legends, which I did not like much when I demoed it at E3.

Although we aren’t sure when Fable will release, my hope is that it will do so this year. After all, we’ve got many months to go before both E3 and the holiday season, and don’t really know what to expect from Microsoft as of yet. That’s par for the course, though. All I’m saying is that I hope that Fable will end up being one of the surprises that Microsoft has up its proverbial sleeve, come E3 or thereabouts, and that they’ll excite us by announcing that it’s due to release before Christmas.

One can dream, right?

Plus, with Playground Games’ track record, I have very high hopes for the project, which I feel that they can deliver on. They just need to make sure not to over hype or over promise, like Lionhead did in years passed.

Unlike Stray, which became an honourable mention because of human error (I forgot a game and didn’t want to delete what I’d written about it), Fable is one because of its unknown release date. If I was writing this article in an alternate universe, wherein this reboot had been confirmed for 2022, it would have bumped Link from first place. However, we’re currently unsure of when to expect it, and simply hope that it will release soon. That’s why I included it.

Thanks for reading this article, and for checking out my opinionated list. Please feel free to comment below, and let me know your thoughts. I’m interested in hearing what your top 10 most anticipated games of 2022 are, or perhaps what your top 5 (or top 3) are.

Lastly: Yes. Elden Ring was omitted by choice. I couldn’t be less interested in it.

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