Splash Damage’s Game Of The Year – 2022
December 20, 2022
Over the past twelve months, we announced that we’re working on an original sci-fi IP built using UE5, welcomed tons of new Splashers, made our partnership with Bulkhead official and revealed Transformers: Reactivate to the world.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that we were all far too busy to play any video games. You’d be wrong!
Just like last year, we asked our Splashers to pick their game of the year for 2022. We had so many submissions across a huge variety of titles and genres, so without further ado…
Egas, Lead UI Programmer – Hardspace: Shipbreaker
I forgot that Hardspace: Shipbreaker was released this year!
It’s incredible that, after a day at work, I want to go home and pretend to do more work. Just in space. And badly paid.
But, the challenge of deconstructing a ship within a “shift” (and with a considerable debt to pay!) meant I’ve been doing it longer than should be acceptable!
Mato, Senior UI Programmer – God of War: Ragnarok.
Ragnarok expands on every aspect of its predecessor. It adds new combat mechanics, build options and enemy types, and unique levels with excellent side quests.
The story feels much bigger in scope but still personal, significantly helped by the incredible voice acting and dialogue.
And I’ve not even touched on the visual design, animations, accessibility options, or level of polish; everything in this game feels so well crafted.
Tom Oatley-Noons, Environment Artist – Chorus
Although Chorus came out in December 2021, I spent a lot of time with it this year.
I went in with no expectations, and was rewarded with a really fun space flight shooter with added psychic powers.
It took a while to get into, but I really enjoyed 90% of my time with the game. If you like space-drifting and teleporting psychopathic murder-ships, this might be up your street!
Luna, Technical Animator – Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Being a spin-off from the Borderlands series, I didn’t expect much. But Tiny Tina’s was a lot of fun, especially when playing with my girlfriend.
We really liked the character creation, since we weren’t constrained to pre-written characters with set classes. And, it let us play as… us! We loved the inclusion of a trans character too!
Jorge, Associate Graphics Programmer – Roadwarden
My game of the year is Roadwarden: a beautiful narrative game.
The somber, gritty medieval fantasy contrasts with characters full of humanity. Their intentions are steeped in the locations they inhabit and the religion and culture they’re a part of.
The process of discovery and exploration is brilliant, and culminates in a “bossfight” which tests everything you’ve learnt and acquired.
Jon, Lead Technical Artist – Power Wash Simulator
It’s such a simple premise, wrapped in a compelling gameplay loop. Throw in collaborative co-op and you get a game that dominated summer playtime.
Meanwhile, the challenges provide a framework to tackle each job differently. Plus, it almost turns into a platform puzzler getting those last bits of dirt.
Plus, that ding as you complete a section and the replay of your cleaning job is so satisfying!
Alex, Assistant Programmer – Citizen Sleeper
I saw this on Game Pass and gave it a try one Friday night.
I don’t usually enjoy narrative-based games as much nowadays, but the combination of the soundtrack and setting really grabbed me.
The result was that I only slept once over the whole weekend!
Galen, Assistant Programmer – Lost Ark
With the Western release finally happening this year, Lost Ark has taken the slot of my go-to MMO. It’s eaten up an absurd amount of my time!
Visually, the game is incredible and has some outstanding story set pieces. The combat is fluid with a fantastic take on end-game raids, from a top-down perspective.
It did have a rough launch which is why it probably won’t be on many game of the year lists. But the core game is so good that I’m looking forward to what’s still to come.
Jack, Gameplay Programmer – Persona 5 Royal
P5R isn’t technically a 2022 game, but it did finally release on something other than PlayStation.
It’s better than Persona 5 in every way and I love the new characters that were added. Plus it has the best original soundtrack of any game in the last decade at least!
I’m not even halfway through yet, despite putting in over 50 hours, but I’m already planning a NG+ playthrough!
Georgia, Facilities Manager – Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Forbidden West carries on from the original game’s story brilliantly. It gives you a beautiful world to explore, with plenty of fun side quests.
The main storyline is fascinating and all of the characters feel fully realised. I was so invested in them and their stories!
Phil, Senior Talent Partner – Norco
This game sold me on the magical realism genre, which I usually don’t gel with! There’s also dystopian sci-fi undertones masterfully blended in, which I loved.
The environmental puzzles were solid, and I thought the narrative was incredible with good, honest, down-to-earth writing.
Tom, Associate Producer – World of Warcraft: Dragonflight
The latest expansion for World of Warcraft is genuinely a breath of fresh air.
A total revamp of Talents and Professions is very welcome, alongside all of the brand-new features. In particular, Dragonriding makes exploring the Dragon Isles (which in the lore haven’t been seen in over 10,000 years!) such a thrill.
As a long-time fan of the series, I couldn’t be happier at the moment!
Mart, Associate Technical Designer – Tunic
“Zelda but with souls-like combat” might seem like an accurate way to describe Tunic at first. But it couldn’t be further from the truth!
Tunic is a callback to games which had to be deciphered using a physical book but, instead, it’s lovingly crafted in-game and you uncover its secrets layer-by-layer… like a delicious mystery onion!
I had so many “Wait, what?!” moments during my playthrough; each filling me with more glee and my notebook with more mad scribbles. It was absolutely wonderful!
Speaking of Souls-like combat, it’s not a surprise that we had multiple submissions for this next one!
Justin and Pauline – Elden Ring
Justin, Lead Narrative Designer
For years, the mantra of Soulsborne players was “Git Gud”. With Elden Ring, there’s another option: “Git Around”.
A gigantic open world, a spiritual steed and jumping let you ditch any boss or dungeon that’s casting Death on your patience. Then you can come back to it later, hopefully when you’re OP.
And of course, the lore, customization, secrets and spectacle of Elden Ring are all vintage From Software.
Pauline, Game Designer
The move to open world is as well-realised and terrifying as you’d expect.
From being chased by angry crows to running away from bosses, haunted snowy castles to complex underground cities; the ability to spot something at a distance and run for it has never felt so good.
You might just die in the process, though! You also cannot pet the dog (please don’t try).
We also had two honourable mentions. One was for Stray from Kai in IT, and one for Trombone Champ from Mirren, Senior Audio Programmer.
But there was one game which got more submissions than anything else…
Many, many people – Vampire Survivors
William, Tools Engineer
Of all the games that came out this year, I probably had the most fun with Vampire Survivors.
Sure, Elden Ring was an incredible experience and some people liked God Of War: Ragnarök. But I just kept coming back to this!
It’s been a long time since I’ve found a game as fun as VS, and the developers have constantly kept it updated. Plus, the fact there are now so many clones coming out shows the massive impact it’s had.
Sarah, Community Manager
I can’t quite explain why this game is so good, but I can tell you that I can’t stop playing it.
So much so, in fact, that even after having put 30+ hours into the PC version and unlocked almost everything, I downloaded the iOS version the second it was announced at The Game Awards.
And I started the whole game over from scratch.
Ryan, Head of Creative Services
My Steam Deck became my Vampire Survivors machine this year. In fact, at this point I’m not even sure if my partner knows that it plays other games…
Meanwhile, Jon told us that he’s played so much that “I have a permanent life-bar on my OLED monitor!”
There you have it; our picks for the best games of 2022!
And that’s us finished for 2022; we’ll see you in 2023!