Editorials

Gaming Trend’s 2022 “Trendsetter” Awards

2022 is like many other years, home to a bunch of stand out video games. Whatever platform you choose to play on, there is a lot to love, and we’ve gathered our favorites together below. Sure, we’re going to have plenty of different opinions on what we deem “The Best” of the best, but I think largely we can all agree these are all fantastic nominees. If you think of any we’ve missed, feel free to talk about it with us in our Discord!

Game Of The Year

  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Elden Ring
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3

It would be impossible to overstate just how amazing God of War: Ragnarok is from start to finish. The previous game was amazing, and this sequel manages to exceed it in every way. Standout performances from the series regulars is expected, but Adam Harrington’s portrayal of Sindri was a shocking surprise. While Ragnarok represents closure for the Norse thread (though it’s looking like there could be opportunities for post-game DLC if we are lucky), it opens new doors for the series. Long-time series Director Cory Balrog left the series in the capable hands of Eric Williams, and we are all the beneficiaries. If you own a PlayStation 4 or 5, do not miss this game.

Our review | Buy it now!

God of War Ragnarök - State of Play Sep 2022 Story Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Best Narrative

  • The Quarry
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Pentiment
  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

Lead writer Rich Gaubery and his team did a magnificent job at keeping an incredible balance between narrative and gameplay, often blending the two seamlessly. Knowing that Ragnarök is the last in a two-part Norse series gave the team a beginning, middle, and end, but it also gave them an impossible task of knowing just where to cut to keep the worldbuilding tense while keeping the action frenetic. They did both. They did both very, very well. God of War: Ragnarök is a masterclass in character development, often in subtle ways, and it’s one we’ll be coming back to time and again to find all of the magnificent side quests that continue after the credits roll.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best Multiplayer

  • Overwatch 2
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
  • Gotham Knights
  • MultiVersus
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Change is difficult to accept and difficult to achieve, and one of the hardest things to do is pivot away from something that isn’t working in order to make it better. Overwatch struggled with too many heroes that didn’t work together and narrow composition options. Blizzard decided to make a huge change: making Overwatch 2’s multiplayer 5v5 and eliminating one tank. Combined with other choices like reworking hero classes and abilities, suddenly Overwatch felt fresh again. It’s a change that paid off. That doesn’t happen with bad design. Band-aids don’t heal. Blizzard attacked the root of the issue, which made Overwatch feel so familiar to the point it was criticized. Overwatch 2’s multiplayer is not a brand new experience, but the changes made could have been disastrous. The ability to make these changes, changes that ultimately revitalized the popular multiplayer shooter, is impressive. That’s why Overwatch 2 earns our Best Multiplayer award.

Our review | Buy it now!

Overwatch 2 Gameplay - PC [Gaming Trend]

Best Art Direction

  • Pentiment
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • As Dusk Falls
  • Tunic
  • Trek to Yomi

Horizon Forbidden West always seems to precede some of the best video games of our time. One thing it does better than everyone else is the environment Guerrilla has crafted. When you take a look at this game on a PS5 system, it truly leads the charge into what a next generation video game looks like. Intricately crafted animations and incredible attention to detail makes it impossible to give this award to anyone else, and that’s before viewing the grand scale of the Forbidden West. This is truly one special game.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best Soundtrack

  • Metal: Hellsinger
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Tunic

The God of War Ragnarok soundtrack is just amazing. Bear McCreary doesn’t miss. If you need proof, go listen to Blood Upon The Snow, where he teamed up with Hozier to absolutely nail this goosebump-inducing composition. And that’s just one example. Through and through, Ragnarok is a phenomenal game, and it shines even brighter because of the soundtrack.

Our review | Buy it now!

Hozier and Bear McCreary - Blood Upon the Snow (from God of War Ragnarök) - Lyric Video

Best Performance

  • Christopher Judge as Kratos – God of War Ragnarok
  • Adam Harrington as Sindri – God of War Ragnarok
  • Alain Mesa as Alejandro Vargas – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
  • Harry McEntire as Noah – Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Ashly Burch as Aloy/Beta – Horizon Forbidden West
  • Murtaugh as The Cat – Stray

It’d be impossible not to recognize Adam Harrington’s incredible performance as Sindri in God of War: Ragnarok. His character development, especially in the second and third acts of the game, combined with some truly phenomenal voice acting and excellent writing is one of the most memorable parts of the game. While I can’t fault any of the entries in this list – they were all incredible, Adam Harrington was truly legendary here.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best Indie

  • Tunic
  • Stray
  • Neon White
  • Sifu
  • Trek to Yomi
  • Return to Monkey Island

Kitty cat game go meow. This year was privy to a ton of incredible indies, but the one to warm our hearts the most featured this fantastic furry feline. Stray is an emotionally driven game which features an astounding world, and the more you learn of it the more you love it. Not only that, the gameplay is purrfect (sorry), capturing the movement and idiosyncrasies of a cat in a way we’ve not experienced. BlueTwelve should be incredibly proud of their first outing, it was as good as it gets.

Our review | Buy it now!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgPRPi–F5E

Best Remake/Remaster

  • The Last Of Us: Part I
  • Sam & Max Save The World Remastered
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
  • Tactics Ogre: Reborn
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion proves its excellence by building on everything the original 2007 game offered while also providing elements any modern JRPG or Final Fantasy fan would enjoy. Couple this with the excellent story and impressive visuals, and you have yet another impeccable release in the Final Fantasy catalog and one of the best remasters to date.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best VR

  • Moss Book II
  • Resident Evil 4 VR
  • Bonelab
  • Red Matter 2
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR

It may be a re-release from when it launched on PlayStation VR, but Iron Man VR on the Meta Quest 2 is a whole different beast completely. Full freedom of movement, instantaneous load times, better visual fidelity, and tighter controls all around are just a few of the massive improvements to an already-fantastic game. If you own a Quest 2, this is a must-have and by a very wide margin.

Our review | Buy it now!

Marvel's Iron Man VR on Meta Quest 2 - First 30 minutes [Gaming Trend]

Best Live Service

  • Overwatch 2
  • Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
  • Multiversus
  • Grounded
  • Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV remains one of the best online experiences in gaming. With a rich amount of both solo and group content, there’s always something to do in the world of Hydaelyn. The story arc that began with the original release may have ended last year with the release of the Endwalker expansion, but the game continues to deliver new chunks of story, raids, dungeons, and more every few months. Thanks to a steady stream of updates, clear communication from the developers, and a (mostly) kind and welcoming community, Final Fantasy XIV is our pick for best live service game.

Most Accessible

  • God of War Ragnarok
  • The Last of Us: Part I
  • Steelrising
  • The Quarry
  • Horizon Forbidden West

Sony set the bar for accessibility, and then they wound up and kicked it higher and higher and finally into the stratosphere. Put simply, nobody out there does accessibility better than Sony’s internal studios, and with every game they improve it just a little bit more. Sony rightly believes that gaming is for everyone, and they’ve put down real money into backing that promise. These accessibility options have allowed folks to experience games that they’d have otherwise struggled with playing at all. God of War Ragnarok may have won this category, but frankly every one of these titles should be commended for going above and beyond.

Our review | Buy it now!

God of War Ragnarök - Accessibility Explored | PS5 & PS4 Games

Best Action/Adventure

  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Sifu
  • Tunic
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Truthfully you could almost list every game Sony released this year for this category – they’ve had an amazingly strong year. As such, it was a tough fight between Horizon Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok. Frankly you can’t go wrong with either, but the emotional connection of Ragnarok, as well as the tight writing and incredible combat and scale pushed it over the top. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fantastic action adventure titles this year, and it’s looking like 2023 will bring new adventures as well as expansions to some of the ones on this list.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best RPG

  • Elden Ring
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
  • Pokemon Legends: Arceus
  • Triangle Strategy

Elden Ring may not be the most traditional RPG on this list, but it offers a wealth of freedom to choose how you want to play through its brutal open world. The souls formula has arguably been perfected here, with tons of places to go, bosses to fight, weapons and spells to use, and jolly cooperation to engage in. Even if you’re getting tired of the hard as nails games From Software has been honing to a razor’s edge for the past decade, Elden Ring is a fresh and engaging experience.

Our review | Buy it now!

Elden Ring First 15 Minutes - PC [Gaming Trend]

Best Fighting/Sports/Racing

  • MultiVersus
  • Madden NFL 23
  • Gran Turismo 7
  • OlliOlli World
  • DNF Duel

MultiVersus did something no other fighting game in its class has been able to do: Impress Super Smash Bros. players and put pressure on the monolithic mascot fighter. MultiVersus outclasses Smash with its rollback online, it keeps the distinct frantic poke-style fighting first introduced in Smash Bros. Brawl, while introducing its own combo system. MultiVersus simplifies Smash’s already simple control scheme even further and still maintains a ludicrous amount of competitive nuance that was on full display during Evo 2022. Most importantly though, Player First Games used the iconic Warner Bros. characters and made their styles familiar and suitable for fighting, while making each one unique. Other mascot fighters haven’t quite pulled that off. Even Smash struggled with making unique fighters, fully embracing echo fighters and three different Link’s. MultiVersus is enormously easy to pick up, easy to match with friends, and extremely deep in a way even the Smash community appreciates. In many ways MultiVersus feels like the game Smash should have always been, and yet it’s carved out its own identity and stands, at the very least, just beneath Smash as the greatest mascot fighter. That’s shameless high-praise and that’s why Gaming Trend chose MultiVersus as the best fighting game of 2022.

Best Family

  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land
  • Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
  • Pokemon Legends: Arceus
  • Multiversus

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is our best family game for multiple reasons, but the biggest one is that there’s something for everyone. Puzzles, combat, puzzles with combat, flying ships, collecting bricks, oh, and some double flips. With over 1000 Kyber bricks and 20+ planets, it’ll take a while to get it all, and that’s part of the fun!

Our review | Buy it now!

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga on Xbox Series X - 17 minutes on Mustafar - [Gaming Trend]

Best Strategy/Simulation

  • Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
  • Triangle Strategy
  • Two Point Campus
  • Marvel’s Midnight Suns
  • Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope mastered and moved the strategy genre in a game full of character and fun. Ubisoft Milan and Paris took what they did well in Kingdom Battle and went bigger, adding a grid-less combat system, more freedom in movement, and multiple sparks to add to your combat abilities. This game wanted you to have many tactical possibilities and they hit the nail on the head. You can play Sparks of Hope how you want, with the characters you want, and it CAN work (even though sometimes you just make a bad choice). Sparks of Hope sparked my interest in playing more strategy / Sim style games, and now, the bar is HIGH for me in this genre.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best PlayStation Game

  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • God of War Ragnarok
  • Stray
  • The Last of Us Part 1 Remaster

It’s a very good time to own a PlayStation 5. As the Unreal Engine 5 rollout continues, PlayStation games look better and better, and there’s no stopping any time soon. The DualSense continues to be a real differentiator as well. While it’s looking like we will eventually see Ragnarok on PC, if any of the recent announcements are indicators, you can play it and the other titles on this list on PlayStation 5 right now. You should – and then come talk about it in our Discord!

Our review | Buy it now!

God of War Ragnarök - Building a Realm | PS5 & PS4 Games

Best Xbox Game

  • Pentiment
  • Grounded
  • Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
  • Warhammer 40K: Darktide

Pentiment is a very welcome surprise. It’s unique, engaging, and of greater depth than you’d expect. Josh Sawyer and the small crew at Obsidian came through with something that deserves a pedestal to be seen. It’s on Game Pass, and you have no reason not to check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best Nintendo Game

  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  • Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope
  • Pokemon Legends: Arceus

The bar was set very high for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 by the previous two games, and yet it cleared that bar by a country mile. The innovative combat gives you a massive amount of customization and options, with tons of character classes to use and combine. The story is bold and well written, with deep characters who go through relatable arcs. Nintendo has had an incredible year, but Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the cherry on top.

Our review | Buy it now!

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 First 2 Hours - No Commentary - Switch [Gaming Trend]

Best Gear

  • Roccat Vulcan II Max gaming keyboard
  • Kone XP Air gaming mouse
  • Steelseries Apex 9 TKL keyboard
  • Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro headset
  • JBL Quantum 810 headset
  • Victrix Pro BFG PS5 controller
  • Valve Steam Deck

This year really started my foray into more gear, and there have been some magnificent items come across my desk. It’s tough not to pick any of these for Best Gear, heck, there’s plenty of others we could nominate, but the Steelseries Arctis Nova Pros are in a league of their own. The winning combination of comfort, audio, and battery life makes for the best headset you can possibly own. Backed by the amazing Sonar software on PC, the best only gets better. If you’re looking for a headset to up your game, the Arctis Nova Pro can.

Our review | Buy it now!

Best Furniture

  • Mavix M5 Gaming Chair with Elemax
  • DxRacer Craft Series Koi Fish Chair
  • AndaSeat Kaiser 3 Gaming Chair
  • E-WIN Championship Series chair
  • Flexispot E7 Pro Standing Desk
  • Couchmaster Cycon 2

I’m going to do something a little different and award two different pieces of furniture – the best chair, and the best desk we reviewed this year. The AndaSeat Kaiser 3 Gaming Chair is the best seat I’ve ever reviewed, and it’s my daily driver – I’m literally sitting in it right now. It’s comfortable, durable, and surprisingly good looking. The six year warranty stomps everyone else out there as well. The Flexispot E7 Pro Standing Desk is the stalwart companion to this chair, and it receives similar praise. It’s incredibly durable, absolutely silent, and powerful enough where I did a quick demonstration raising it to full height while sitting on it. Dumb, yes, but it proves just how powerful the motors in the E7 Pro are. Put simply, these may be the last desk and chair you need for the foreseeable future – they’re that good.

Buy it now!

Flexispot E7 Pro Standing Desk Unboxing and Review [Gaming Trend]

Best VR Hardware

  • Pimax Vision 8K Plus
  • Pimax Vision 5K Super
  • Meta Quest 2 Pro
  • VelocityOne Rudder Pedals
  • VelocityOne Flight Yoke

This is a short list and the reason is simple – nobody could hold a candle to what Pimax delivered with their 5K Super headset. (though the VelocityOne Rudder Pedals and Flight Yoke are both must haves for Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR!) A perfect balance of power, performance, fidelity, and comfort, the 5K Super managed to deliver unheard-of refresh rates, the widest FOV, and very reasonable requirements allowing even moderate hardware to experience the best VR has to offer. Better still, Pimax has a number of awesome headsets on the horizon including the Crystal and their 12K HMDs, and you’ll be able to trade in your previous headset towards one of those. You literally cannot lose in that scenario!

Our review | Buy it now!

And that wraps the Gaming Trend 2022 “Trendsetter” Awards! We’d put a lot of thanks here, but we’d probably go on for longer than Christopher Judge. We’ll just say, it’s been an awesome year, and we can’t wait to spend 2023 with you playing even more great video games. Happy Holidays, and to everyone a Happy New Year!

Gaming Trend’s 2022 “Trendsetter” Awards

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