Games of the Year 2022: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Pokémon Scarlet (and Violet by extension) was the rare Pokémon game that hooked me and kept me interested all the way through.

I'm not doing a full review, but I do feel the need to call out how much this game struggles on performance.  It chugs along, has tons of bugs, and the frame rate is just brutal.  Although, none of that really detracted from my overall enjoyment.  Your results may vary.

The two things that truly let this game get its hooks into me were the open world and the new quality of life feature auto battle feature.  The open world fairly quickly gave me three main story progression paths to go down and complete freedom in the order I wanted to pursue them.  The typical Gyms are here but so is a storyline about Team Star and a completely different storyline about Titan Pokémon.

Given the freedom of the open world and the ability to do almost instant auto-battles for experience, I quickly threw on some podcasts and audiobooks while just running around the world.  It was a ton of fun.

And, in the end, the story had me invested.  All three storylines come together and do some cool things towards the end.  Ultimately, I'm not sure how much (if any) endgame content I'll do now that I've rolled credits... but this game was great.

It doesn't quite make my top 5 but it easily slots in just underneath it at number 7.  This is easily above two other strong open world games, Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Horizon Forbidden West.  I went back and forth a bit on almost putting this at number 6 but The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe just kinda blew me away.  They're such different games that they're hard to compare, but it's my list and this felt right to me:

  1. Elden Ring
  2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  3. FFXIV Endwalker
  4. Citizen Sleeper
  5. Marvel Snap
  6. The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
  7. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
  8. Horizon Forbidden West
  9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
  10. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  11. Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition
  12. Cult of the Lamb
  13. Neon White
  14. Halo Infinite
  15. Vampire Survivors
  16. Gotham Knights
  17. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
  18. Playdate Season 1
  19. Immortality
  20. Cyberpunk 2077
  21. Forza Horizon 5 Hot Wheels DLC
  22. Triangle Strategy
  23. Mario Strikers: Battle League
  24. Multiversus Pre-Season
  25. Stray
  26. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  27. Nobody Saves the World
  28. Unpacking
  29. Kaichu
  30. Tinykin
  31. Splatoon 3
  32. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
  33. Shovel Knight Dig
  34. Total War: Warhammer 3
  35. Tunic
There's really not much of the year left so you're looking at an almost complete list at this point.  The last few games that I think have a real chance of shaking things up near the top of the list are God of War Ragnarok and Marvel's Midnight Suns.  God of War Ragnarok is one I started but I literally put it down to play Pokemon, so we'll see how it feels to return to it.  Midnight Suns is out later this week.

There's always a chance that one of the last minute indie games or Game Pass games that I'm catching up on over the holiday break crack the top 10 too, but those typically come out of left field.

I'm excited to see what the final list looks like in about a month!


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