Prima Games has gone through a lot of changes in just the handful of years I’ve been here. In that time we’ve given four games the Game of the Year badge, and even then it was only four because we split AAA and Indie into separate stables. Considering there were only three of us at the time, that seemed like the best way to give everything we liked proper shoutouts. This year, since once again Prima Games looks very different, we decided to step back from the AAA/Indie split and see what happened with a multi-step voting process. We didn’t have the hours-long podcast arguments or closed-door ironic shouting matches other sites are known for, but we still took GOTY 2022 seriously within our means. We posted the nominees last week, and now it’s time to reveal the winner. And winners. Hell, let’s throw in past winners too.
There’s never a great way, I feel, to really nail down a Game of the Year as a whole outlet. You can’t have everyone play everything; it’s impossible. So while we do have a winner based on votes, we also wanted to include as many Prima Teama voices in this process, and reinforce that any of these games could’ve easily been on top with a one or two vote difference. So each game got equal treatment with brief musings on what made them special from someone on our roster. Both the full-timers and freelancers got to weigh in, explaining why they feel their chosen games deserve the recognition. I’ll shut up now. GOTY 2022, baby!
5th Place: Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West continues the tale of PlayStation’s beloved heroine, Aloy, as she journeys through outlawed lands in search of a way to save the world once again. Armed with her trusty bow, the red-headed warrior takes on new machines, explores forgotten depths, and confronts deadly dangers to uncover the secrets hidden in the giant open world of the post-apocalyptic United States.
It is one of 2022’s most underrated games, probably because it was released a week before FromSoftware’s Elden Ring and the hype for that was real. If you’ve yet to play it, you’re missing out – it’s on our Game of the Year list for a reason. – Meg K
4th Place: Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Kicking Generation 9 off with a bang, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet takes players to the Paldea region with a new set of Pokémon. You play as a student of either Naranja or Uva Academy (depending on your game version) as you embark on a Treasure Hunt and take three paths: Victory Road, Starfall Street, and Path of Legends.
The best part? You can decide what route to take – no linearity here, baby (if your team is strong enough, anyway). Paldea is the most significant region yet, and its open-world design is a true delight to navigate; graphical glitches, bizarre bugs, and all. Game Freak has a lot to live up to for Gen 10. – Meg K
3rd Place: Elden Ring
Elden Ring is From Software’s magnum opus – combining the tight and responsive controls the developers are known for, in-depth character customization we’ve come to expect, and a perfectly designed, gorgeous world to explore. The Lands Between are meticulously sculpted and packed with thoughtful design, using natural vistas and landmarks to lead players towards organic discovery – and rewarding them the farther they choose to go. While every Tarnished has a different journey, what they all share is an unforgettable experience that’s bound to last for years. – Matt V
2nd Place: Neon White
Neon White is Prima’s runner-up this year, and for good reason. Blending high-octane movement with tactical use of your abilities creates the perfect “one more run” game. Every level is a uniquely crafted puzzle. Finishing a level is one thing, but mastering it, and learning how to manipulate the deliberately placed weapons is the real challenge. Between the Hot Topic AMV aesthetic, the Machine Girl soundtrack, and a stellar voice cast, Neon White is one of the best experiences of the year 2022. – Jesse V
Honorable Mention Intermission
Before we reveal the Big One, the following games didn’t crack the top five, but did make the top ten. But just based on the overall voting pool and our energy levels (we are so tired), we opted for a ranked top five and an unranked Honorable Mentions category. Again, any of these could’ve been Game of the Year, even if only one degenerate freak cast a vote for a title but put it in their top spot, giving it enough weight to crack the list while literally nobody else mentioned it. It’s my fault Stranger of Paradise is here, is what I’m saying.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin
This game has a power few games have, a swirling vortex of bemusement, irony, confusion and fascination that guaranteed it a spot in the pantheon of memes. Even Square Enix has its tongue in its cheek with our favorite edgelord Jack Garland. But also, I genuinely found myself captivated by this game as a longtime Final Fantasy enthusiast and weird game advocate. The way Stranger of Paradise took a tiny Famicom game and expanded it into some over the top cosmic batshittery is mad genius on a level few games have achieved. I’m so thankful Kazushige Nojima gets to be so loudly unhinged as a writer for multimillion dollar blockbusters. – Lucas W
Cult of the Lamb
Combining elements of base management and rogue-lite dungeon crawling, Cult of the Lamb exudes undeniable charm with an addictive gameplay loop that’s almost impossible to put down. Its shorter, room-to-room stages are reminiscent of The Binding of Isaac, while its survival aspects and art style sort of remind us of Don’t Starve. You’ll easily sink hours at a time into this game; between River Boy’s exceptional soundtrack, the fluid and satisfying combat, and more skills and perks to unlock than you can shake an effigy at. Sacrificing your friends has never been so fun. – Matt V
Pokémon Legends Arceus
Pokémon Legends Arceus started 2022 off strong with its early January release, bringing players to the wilds of the Hisui Region. Legends Arceus gave trainers a chance to take an active role in combat, experience the start of the indomitable bond between Pokémon and trainers, and the challenge of filling out the world’s first Pokédex (which felt like it actually mattered!).
The Pokémon franchise has often been criticized for beating an old, if not successful, formula to death. But Legends Arceus was a refreshing change of pace that deserves an honorable mention. If not for its great story and gameplay loop, then for the fact that it fulfilled all my emo-teen dreams with Hisuian Zoroark. – Daphne F
Somehow I earned myself a reputation for being Prima’s resident Sonic the Hedgehog apologist. I’m not even that big of a Sonic fan to be honest; I just don’t like the performative dunking the series gets. That said, Sonic Frontiers is one of the few games in 2022 that had me hooked enough to keep playing until the credits rolled. Usually I bounce around and rarely see endings, but the sheer joy in blasting around the Open Zones was a sensation I seldom experience in games. And that soundtrack is hot fire. – Lucas W
Immortality is one of the most interesting experiences that was released this year. Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid pushed the FMV genre forward again. We got lost in the mystery of what happened to Marissa Marcel and her three unreleased movies. Whatever you think this game is, you’re wrong. It continues to push the boundaries of storytelling while creating real in-game friction with the player and the controls. Sifting meticulously through footage as you dive deeper into the lives of everyone involved. Immortality’s text is rich and deep and will leave you with far more questions than answers. – Jesse V
Okay, it’s Game of the Year time for real now. Have you guessed which game ended up on top? Hopefully you got a feel for our tastes as you read through our other contenders, and perhaps are regular enough readers that you kinda know us by now. For me, I wasn’t shocked at all how things went down. Well, I was a little surprised Horizon made the top five, but otherwise everything else tracks. Especially the top of the mountain.
Prima Games’ 2022 GOTY: Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors is an immersive mixture of old-school gaming spirit and the modern gaming technology era, which allows this type of game to be much more complex and ambitious compared to the “good ol’ days.” It is easy to get hooked on Vampire Survivors, especially when you are just starting and discovering all the stuff packed in, like stages, characters, weapons, passives, evolutions, unions, etc. The game simply draws you into 100% it, especially when you can see the chart of what you have unlocked so far shown to players as both Collection and Achievements. I haven’t felt this obsessive over a videogame in half a decade, at least. – Nikola L
Yep, Poncle made us all Survivors Sickos. See y’all in 2023.