You’ve found yourself at Esquire’s list of the year’s best video games so far. To be honest with you all? We really didn’t feel like putting it together this time around. Not because your friends at the Esquire Gamer Zone don’t love you. We do. Pinky promise. It’s because we’re playing Elden Ring, and we’d really rather not do anything that takes away from our pursuits in the Lands Between. Seriously. Look at these embarrassingly real messages between myself and (esteemed Esquire gamer) Cameron Sherrill this week.
Cameron Sherrill: Oh are you summoning spirits yet? With the bell thing!
Brady Langmann: I have zero clue how to do that
Cameron Sherrill: Did the witch give you the spirit calling bell? No it’s confusing
Brady Langmann: jesus
Cameron Sherrill: Listen man I totally missed it. I didn’t get the bell til later
Brady Langmann: sounds like it’ll be a good diversion for margit so I can just slash em
Does that look like a discussion about the best games of the year? I honestly think we’re about to get fired for spamming our work slack with heady Elden Ring discussion. In all seriousness, we have played titles other than Elden Ring this year, even if we didn’t always want to. So gather round, ye Tarnished. From Pokémon Legends: Arceus to Sifu,here are the best video games of 2022 so far.
My best guess? The game of the year came out in February, which sucks for every game coming out after Elden Ring. Sorry, I know we should hold out hope—there’s still Nintendo Switch Sports, a new Kirby adventure, Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, and Breath of the Wild 2, of course. Considering I’m standing by Elden Ring as my favorite game of the last decade, let alone this year, I don’t see this king being toppled.
Once you play Elden Ring, you won’t stop. Take it from Gamer-in-Chief Brady Langmann, who’s a Soulsborne virgin. He’s enthralled. (Ed note: I am, in fact, enthralled.). Play it now. Then? Read our review. Or vice versa.—Cameron Sherrill
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Pokémon is on a roll. With the release of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl last year, to Arceus, and now the newly-announced Scarlet and Violet coming later this year, there’s a colossal amount of pocket monsters to catch in the year of our lord, 2022. Arceus is some of, if not the most fun I’ve had catching Pokémon. Maybe even ever. It’s the first truly new-feeling Pokémon game in years, and I want—no, I need more. Read our review here.—C.S.
Horizon Forbidden West
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Horizon Forbidden West is the long-awaited sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, one of all-time standout PlayStation exclusives, alongside God of War, Uncharted, and Ghost of Tsushima. Forbidden West might just be the best-looking console game out there, with remarkable graphics, phenomenal boss fights, and a touching story. It’s a damn shame that the masochists at Sony released this game right before Elden Ring, years after they released Zero Dawn just behind Breath of the Wild. It’s a testament to how much of a splash these magnificent titles still make.—C.S.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC
I am convinced we never had a kung fu game before Sifu. I thought we did, then I played Sifu. It’s like you took the combat of Batman: Arkham, or Insomniac’s Spider Man, and expanded it so far that every move feels intentional and intense. Sifu is hard, but its gameplay feels unparalleled when you get the hang of the controls. Add a remarkably interesting progression system, along with some of the best art design we’ve seen, and you have an absolute masterpiece.—C.S
Dying Light 2
Platforms: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC
2022 is the year of perfecting systems. Truthfully, in my time writing about video games, there’s never been more bangers of titles this early in our best of the year roundup. Dying Light perfected several games mechanics, including an absolutely massive choice system, with so many routes and endings—along with a perfect parkour system mixed with addictive combat. Dying Light 2 is a total blast. You’re going to be playing a gaming backlog all year with all the brilliant offerings debuting in the coming months.—C.S
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
This is an expansion for sure, but it qualifies. Witch Queen adds so much new content, new story, and new mechanics to Destiny 2, which if you haven’t checked in on the halo veteran turned sony bad boy Bungie’s golden child in a few years it’s more then due time to make your way back. With a free ps5 upgrade, some of the best and most addictive fps combat out there, and a wild and immersive world it’s high time you come back and take on the witch queen guardian. —C.S.
Wordle (Pre-New York Times Acquisition)
Platforms: PC, Mobile
I’ve gotta be honest: I didn’t know what Wordle was for a while. I thought it was a weird cult thing, where everyone was communicating through colored boxes. It was the first time I truly felt old in the grand age of the Internet. I didn’t care to speak with this robot! Then, I found out it was a word puzzle game. And I love word puzzle games, even though I cannot spell nor read. I killed at Wordle. I didn’t share it, but I killed. It was for me. It was intimate. I loved it. Then the damn New York Times took over and it is no longer for people like me. It’s for people who read The New York Times, or just can read in general. I’ll miss you Wordle, but they can ever take away what we had.—C.S.
Gran Turismo 7
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
As the great Lightning McQueen once said, “Gotta go fast.” There may not be a game on this planet that goes faster than Gran Turismo 7, which delivers the blend of top-notch graphics, brilliant sound design, and racing excitement that made every one of its predecessors a must-play title. I’ll give a hearty kachow! to that. —Brady Langmann
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