Game of the Year 2022 – Overall Winner

Game of the Year 2022 - Overall Winner Header

As we get ready to wave goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023 in with open arms and explosions, we’ve got one final thing to do here on TheSixthAxis. It’s time to announce our overall winner for Game of the Year 2022!

The past fornight has seen us race through a whole host of categories, celebrating some of the best that this past year of gaming has to offer. From the breakout success of Vampire Survivors as an example of the creativity that independent gaming can offer, to the superb storytelling of Citizen Sleeper, and the gameplay of Marvel’s Midnight Suns seeing Firaxis flex their creative muscles to craft something distinct from their XCOM series.

It’s been a great year, but really it’s also one that turned into a two-horse race for the overall winner spot, and for good reason. God of War: Ragnarök and Elden Ring are a pair of simply exceptional games, and either one would be a worthy winner of Game of the Year. Still, there can only be one.

So, without further ado, our overall Game of the Year 2022 is…

Game of the Year 2022 - Overall Winner - Elden Ring

Despite all the excitement and hype reaching fever pitch even before its official announcement, Elden Ring somehow managed to live up to and even exceed expectations. While it’s still beholden to some of the key elements that make up FromSoftware’s homegrown Soulsbourne genre, Elden Ring as a whole is far more than just an open world Dark Souls.

In particular, FromSoftware’s vision for an open world is different to that of the vast majority of other games, almost refusing to lead you through the adventure and forcing you to find your own path. You can tackle the many boss fights that are sprinkled throughout the world in nearly any order, you peel back the layers of this world’s dark narrative by bumping into NPCs dotted around it, and the game trusts you to follow quests and narrative arcs off your own back – this approach was loosened with the addition of waypoints with an update in June.

Elden Ring is an unbridled success that takes FromSoftware and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s art to new heights. It’s undoubtedly a worthy winner of Game of the Year 2022.

God of War: Ragnarök – Runner Up

It feels strange, in this day and age, for Santa Monica Studio to wrap up Kratos’ Norse story arc after just two games, but what a way to go out! Continuing and concluding the story of Kratos and Atreus, it’s a sweeping adventure that opens up all of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology for you to visit and battle your way through, reimagining so many parts of Norse mythology as it does so.

While the 2018 sequel and reboot was already a marvellous adventure, Santa Monica Studio didn’t rest on their laurels, carefully refining and improving on pretty much every element in the game. The fundamental combat is more fluid and powerful feeling, the RPG levelling up streamlined and more extensive at the same time, and the storytelling treads the fine line between Kratos’ gruffness and light humour around the edges.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns – Runner Up

Midnight Suns could so easily have just been a Marvel-infused superhero XCOM, but it’s so much more than that. On the field of battle, Firaxis has crafted a fresh spin on turn-based tactical battles that really encourages you to throw your superheroes right into the thick of the action, using deck building and ability cards to mix up what you can do each turn. It works remarkably well.

But then there’s the other side of the game, with downtime in the Abbey where your custom character, The Hunter, gets to hang out with the other characters on your team, building friendships with Spidey or Wolverine that influence their gameplay and abilities. It’s a lashing of Persona that adds a great deal to the fantasy of this superhero team-up.

Vampire Survivors – Runner Up

It’s been another fantastic year for indie games, but one game really stood out from the crowd as exemplifying the kinds of creativity that are so often found in this corner of the games industry. Vampire Survivors sits in the middle of a very busy Venn Diagram of genres, taking from Roguelikes, bullet hell, twin-stick shooters, horde modes and more to create something that’s practically unique.

Despite the awkwardness in defining it and its rudimentary appearance, Vampire Survivors is a simple joy to play. Each run starts off small, but it’s not long before you’re at the centre of hellish cacophony of attacks and abilities that continually chip away at the oncoming hordes. Every time you reach that point is a delight, before you turn your focus to hunting out the next secret, the next unlock, the next milestone that will keep you coming back run after run.

Pokémon Legends Arceus – Runner Up

Pokémon Legends Arceus is something of a dream game for fans of the franchise, indulging so many parts of the fantasy that had until this point really only been realised within the anime series. Sending you back 1000 years into the past, you’ll be sneaking around in tall grass, observing Pokémon in their natural habits, and crafting Pokéballs to catch them and construct the world’s first Pokédex. It’s a completely different tone and feel to every Pokémon game that came before that promises a bold new era for the franchise.

To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list!

And don’t forget the Alternative Game of the Year Awards 2022!

And that’s a wrap. Do you agree with our many and varied awards and winners? What about the overall Game of the Year? 

Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!