(Pocket-lint) – This was a good year for games, with more than one classic title coming out and multiple games that might have swooped up awards in previous years having to make do without.
It was an extremely strong year for PlayStation thanks to exclusives continuing hit franchises including God of War and Horizon, and there were also some really impressive entries on Nintendo Switch.
From massive gameplay innovations to the most immersive stories ever told, we’ve seen it all this year, but only one game can come out on top in our judging in the EE Pocket-lint Awards.
Game of the year: God of War Ragnarök
The PS5 is finally here – these are the games you simply need to pick up for it.
Santa Monica Studio has cemented its place as one of the true jewels in PlayStation’s crown with this stellar follow-up to 2018’s revelatory God of War.
Kratos and Atreus continue to buck against the prophecies they’ve been lumbered with while the Norse pantheon readies itself for the coming Ragnarök, with Thor and Odin offering consistent menace and threat.
Mechanically this is a graceful evolution of the first game, with bigger open areas and more fluid, adaptable combat – if you crank up its difficulty you’ll start to see just how well-built its combat system really is.
The story is the real star, though, told with attention to detail, surprising narrative choices and a dedication to exploring the bond between father and son that leads it to a moving conclusion. It’s stirring stuff, and the definition of a must-play if you have a PS5 or PS4.
Highly commended: Elden Ring
Elden Ring only missed out by a sliver, thanks to its sometimes unforgiving approach to difficulty, but it too is a simply wondrous experience to play through.
Transplanting Dark Souls mechanics into an incredible, baffling, mysterious open world and allowing the player to truly explore it for themselves feels exactly the like the breakthrough it represents. Expect Elden Ring to influence a lot of games in the next half-decade.
The best of the rest
Our other nominees for Best Game are all separately worth seeking out to play if you have a system they released on – they’re all superb titles. Horizon Forbidden West continued Aloy’s story and offered a simply gorgeous slice of post-apocalyptic America to explore, and was many people’s favourite game this year. Forza Horizon 5 showed just how fun and relaxing a driving game can be, and demonstrated its developers’ mastery of the genre. Bayonetta 3 offered up some of the most unhinged and intricate character action we’ve ever experienced. Finally, Stray took the world by storm and told a beautiful little story in a stunningly-designed world.
What are the Pocket-lint Awards?
The EE Pocket-lint Awards take place annually to celebrate the best of tech from the previous 12 months. Products need to be fully reviewed by the Pocket-lint team to be considered for the Awards, with judging taking place towards the end of the year. Through a process of longlisting and shortlisting, the panel of expert judges scores the devices to result in the overall winner and a Highly Commended runner-up.
The Pocket-lint Awards was run for the 19th time in 2022.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Chris Hall.