Our individual Game of the Year articles allow our lovely team of writers to share their own personal PS5 and PS4 picks for 2022. Today, it's the turn of associate editor Stephen Tailby.
I played the original of this on a creaking old laptop back in 2013, and it was wonderful. The Ultra Deluxe version is even better. The ways this game plays with the concept of interactive storytelling, all the pointed jokes about the industry, and how often it genuinely made me laugh — it is a rare and unique experience. With all the new content this version offers, The Stanley Parable arrived on consoles in the best way possible, and I loved every second of it. Certainly not for everyone, but it's definitely for me.
Historically, I've always been disinterested in Gran Turismo, and so I did not expect to enjoy, or even play, the newest iteration. Against all odds, I did in fact play it. While I've not reached the end of the single player portion yet, I can say that I've been loving Gran Turismo 7. The handling feels wonderful, realistic but not punishingly so, and the presentation is among the best in the business. Why has it clicked this time? I think its slow-and-steady progression eases newcomers in wonderfully, plus it's hard to deny its very particular charm. I get it now. Gran Turismo is great.
There have been many great indie games this year, but I think the one I enjoyed the most was Cult of the Lamb. It's just such a well-executed concept. The loop is insanely compelling — going out on rogue-lite dungeon runs to gather resources and find new followers, then returning home, where it becomes an addictive base-building game, in turn buffing you for your next crusade. The gameplay is simple but so satisfying, and it's just the right length. A jovially grim good time from start to finish.
Horizon Zero Dawn was such an incredible first attempt at an open world RPG from Guerrilla Games, and its sequel improves basically everything. The combat is seriously good fun, with multiple ways to tackle all the hulking metal creatures. I think the map is rich and diverse, offering so much to see and do as Aloy travels west. Even the characters are far better realised this time, and the same goes for the tribal politics side of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey Horizon Forbidden West provides, and even though the narrative can't offer the same sense of mystery as the original, it still manages to surprise with numerous twists and turns. I'm excited to jump back in when the Burning Shores DLC arrives.
This one is hardly a surprise, but, well, I don't know what to tell you. For me, it's the best game of 2022. The sweeping adventure it takes you on, the chunky combat, the glorious art direction, the excellent ensemble cast — I love it all. It's a big, glossy blockbuster, and it's a very, very good one that builds on its predecessor in every way. I even like the slower bits that people hate — in fact, those sections are some of my favourite parts. When I reached the credits and saw all there is to see, I didn't want to stop playing. I would've happily kept going for another 10 hours. Just top drawer stuff.
What do you think of Stephen's personal Game of the Year picks? Feel free to agree wholeheartedly, or berate relentlessly in the comments section below.