With 2022 closing, it’s time for the Final Weapon staff’s Game of the Year picks! Each writer will be detailing their game of the year, with Final Weapon’s official GOTY listed at the bottom with the votes counted.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – BusterSwordBoy
Devilishly difficult and deceptively deep, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin boldly (canonically or not) reframes the story of the first FF in an action-RPG dungeon crawler featuring satisfying gameplay that sits somewhere between Sekiro and FFVII Remake.
Though it’s a fresh take on the franchise, fan service and series hallmarks (the job system, a beautiful soundtrack, gorgeous cutscenes) ensure SoP is unmistakably a Final Fantasy game. Those who wrote it off as a dopey edge-fest after its reveal trailer will be surprised to find how charming the cast ends up being, and how the game skillfully balances humor and sincerity as it tackles themes like sacrifice and oppression.
I loved it all the way through, but it’s the ending that cemented this as my favorite game of 2022. A somber but hopeful scene that sees an unsung hero welcome a familiar group of warriors into his lair, just as an inspired choice of licensed music begins to play. It’s fantastic.
Honorable Mentions: Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Bayonetta 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Soul Kiwami
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the comprehensive JRPG for fans of Monolith Soft’s work. The game’s story is a memorable ride from start to finish and the combat is top notch. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has a wealth of content that I enjoyed exploring and sinking time into. It’s an experience that stuck with me since this past July, and I can’t wait for what’s to come in the story DLC.
Honorable Mentions: The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative
Pokémon Legends: Arceus – Daniel Leal
Pokémon Legends: Arceus was a breath of fresh air as a Pokémon experience. The catching mechanic and huge open world took inspiration for Breath of the Wild, yet carved its own path as a Pokemon game.
While it was lacking certain monsters, it still had the excitement of meeting new creatures. Additionally, the battles with trainers were interesting and you could feel your team leveling up. Overall, Arceus was a great game I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t played Scarlet & Violet yet, but I am looking forward to experiencing those as well soon.
Honorable Mention: Blossom Tales 2
Sonic Frontiers – Itch
While it certainly is flawed and understandably won’t be GOTY material for many, I love Sonic Frontiers. As someone who has long been wishing for a new Sonic game with a greater focus on exploring 3D environments, I am beyond satisfied. The combination of speedy traversal, engaging exploration, a great sense of atmosphere, cool boss battles, and a simple but fun combat system hits a sweet spot for me. This makes for my most memorable gaming experience of 2022.
It’s become increasingly rare for me to boot up a game to simply mess around in it without a specific goal in mind. Sonic Frontiers has become an exception to that, as I still find myself using the game to blow off steam in its sandbox. It’s a great feeling that makes the game special to me. The addition of an outstanding soundtrack also helps as well.
Honorable Mentions: Signalis, Spark the Electric Jester 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Avrazael
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is absolutely my favorite game of 2022! Beautiful game, visually, narratively, and musically! The game had me gripped right from the very start. Xenoblade 3 has such an air of mystery surrounding its narrative, especially for returning fans. The combat is as fun and engaging as ever; it simultaneously builds upon ideas from Xenoblade 1 and 2 while also adding plenty of new mechanics into the mix.
The characters are easily some of the best-developed and most well-thought-out for a Xenoblade game. Dare I say JRPGs even? Characters feel fleshed out, with believable motivations and aspirations. All of their interactions and banter are a joy to experience, as well. Music is absolutely mind-blowing. Yasunori Mitsuda, Kenji Hiramatsu, Manami Kiyota, and the team at ACE really knocked it out of the park. A must-play for Switch owners!
Honorable Mentions: Live A Live, Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Elden Ring – Bolt9236
Out of every other title that I have played this year, Elden Ring has been living rent-free in my head since its release. From Software did such an excellent translating the Dark Souls format to an open world. So many bosses to beat and weapons to collect, which truly is an incentive to keep playing.
The sense of exploration is incredible and I always feel rewarded for engaging with the game’s world. I have over 100 hours in Elden Ring and I am still finding new things to see and enemies to fight. It showed the whole gaming industry that we want actual video games where the gameplay is king, not microtransactions. Elden Ring is exactly why I am in love with gaming.
Honorable Mention: Sifu, Sonic Frontiers
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – PayneFusion
There were some great games this year. I even played some great games that didn’t come out this year. However, despite coming out more than halfway through the year; Xenoblade Chronicles 3 has stuck with me. The story and world hooked me and still reel me back in. I love the other Xenoblade games as well, so the consistency and buildup of the franchise made this entry even better. I still retweet fanart of the game while patiently (not) waiting for the Expansion.
Even without DLC and previous entries, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a standout JRPG that stays with you. A strong contender for one of my favorite games, let alone my game of the year!
Honorable Mentions: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Live A Live
Sonic Frontiers – SSK
Out of all the games I played this year, nothing gave me quite the feeling Sonic Frontiers did. It’s been 10+ years since I’ve been satisfied with a mainline Sonic game, and Frontiers broke that. This game provided everything I’ve been wanting Sonic to go back to being good at. It had a great story with an outstanding open-world and level design. The soundtrack was filled with different types of genres from Lo-Fi Hip Hop to metal.
The characters actually show character development from their previous games, which satisfies Sonic fans that have been wanting continuity to come back to the franchise. Most importantly though, this game introduces the idea of platforming in an open-world environment. The feeling of a playground is the best way to describe the open-world Frontiers experience. For that, this game makes a great comeback for the series.
Honorable Mentions: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion, Pokémon Scarlet
Stray – CinderArts
I believe that Stray is the rightful Game of The Year. Sure, Elden Ring and God of War may deserve it more, but Stray should be the sole winner of the award. The game took more than four years to develop, started by two ambitious devs who wanted to develop an independent project. A lot of love, hard work, and dedication had been poured into this project, and the result is beyond excellent. They have also partnered with cat charities to raise funds and awareness while giving away free copies of the game, which is what stuck out for me the most.
Honorable Mentions: Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Aion
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is everything I love about the current gaming landscape. Dazzling characters combined with a compelling narrative, both of which blend beautifully to create an unforgettable experience. Aionios offered me over 300 hours of content, with dozens of quests to complete and plenty of heroes to unlock.
Besides Final Fantasy VII Remake (and now Rebirth), since 2017 my most anticipated title has been the next Xenoblade game. It is safe to say that Tetsuya Takahashi and the team at Monolith Soft met the extreme excitement that had built up over the years. I loved my time with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and cannot wait to see the adventure continue with next year’s DLC for the game.
Monolith Soft has once again created a title that will be looked back upon for years to come. I spent months crafting my review of the title, ensuring that I got all of my thoughts across. It might have taken a few months, but I couldn’t be happier to share the word about 2022’s Game of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion, Witch on the Holy Night
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 – Final Weapon 2022 Game of the Year
With a majority of four votes, Final Weapon’s 2022 Game of the Year is Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The world of Aionios and the nations of Keves and Agnus delivered a memorable experience that we will remember for years to come. With a spectacular combat system and a wonderful narrative, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 stands tall as our favorite game of 2022.
Thank you so much for your support of Final Weapon throughout 2022. We cannot thank you enough for a great year and look forward to shattering expectations in 2023. So many exciting things are planned, and we cannot wait to share what we have in store!