Gamer Escape's Top 5 Reviewed Games of 2022

31 Dec 2022

As the sun rises on the final day of 2022 (at least, at the time we’re writing this), it’s now the time to keep a Gamer Escape tradition alive. You know it, and you love it. It’s what you’ve been waiting for, the only end of the year list on the internet that matters: Gamer Escape’s top five games of the year!

I’ve spent the last month forcing the members of GE’s staff through a series of wicked and dastardly competitions, all in the name of flushing out what each of them believes are the best games reviewed here this year. Such harrowing trials as…well, voting for the games each member thinks deserve the spot.

Ok, I kind of oversold that. But it was a tough one this year, and after some deliberation and a few thrown chairs, our list was made. The five we believe everyone in our community should experience at least once.

As in the past, we have brought back the original reviewer of each game to give their final thoughts of the year. We here at Gamer Escape continue to thank everyone for being a part of this community, and we’re already looking ahead to the exciting things 2023 may bring!

And so, without any further ado, we present to you, dear Gamer Escape readers…

Gamer Escape’s Top 5 Games of 2022!

5: Nightmare Reaper

Reviewed by: Eliot Lefebvre
Release Date: March 28th, 2022
Systems: PC
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 8/10

This game is one of the few times that I feel like I’ve gotten a review score on a title wrong. When I reviewed this game I gave it an 8, and looking back on it I would bump that up to a 9 because this game just plain rocks. It’s a testament to any game if I finish playing it and reviewing it, and then go back in and keep playing it and just keep cycling through, because the fundamental shooting and gameplay is so much fun that I just don’t want to stop.

And that is Nightmare Reaper at its core – a ceaselessly playable and intensely fun retro shooter that not only possesses clear knowledge and understanding about what made older FPS titles work but how to improve them while still staying recognizably itself. It’s violent, high-paced, gory fun that only stops providing fun new enemies and challenges once it has a full roster to remix in a seemingly endless cavalcade.

But on top of all of those elements? Like, those would be enough, but on top of that? The game has a story, it has its retro game sidelines, it has a roaring soundtrack, and it just oozes care and preparation from every single bullet hole it leaves behind. I went to bat for this game, because it impressed me far more than I expected, and my esteem for it has only grown throughout the year. An absolutely amazing experience.

4: Potionomics

Reviewed by: Eliot Lefebvre
Release Date: October 18th, 2022
Systems: PC
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

The moment I saw early previews of the art for Potionomics, I was hooked. I wanted to play this game and I wanted it to be good, because I love shop simulators (as I’ve mentioned many times) and I love games with solid art direction. And to be fair, if Potionomics had both of those things but not an outright charming cast with fun direction or solid mechanics, it still would have earned some points from me.

But it wouldn’t be a contender for game of the year, and this deserves its spot here. The game isn’t just charming to look at, it features a solid deckbuilding game for haggling, investing and engaging brewing mechanics, and a whole lot of neat and diverse characters to befriend and even potentially romance. The biggest thing that the game is lacking right now is just a New Game Plus mode to let you go back at the height of your power, and the game is so much fun that I know people (including me) who have done so even without it.

Potionomics is that rare title that both looks gripping and then in play turns out to be every bit as engaging as it looks. I want more from this game not because it’s lacking but because I adored it and want to see this team make more and improve and have more to say. All of that anticipation paid off in one of my favorite games of 2022, and if you have the faintest interest, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.

3: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

Reviewed by: Andrew Copeland
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Systems: PS4, PS5, XB1, XBX|S, PC
Reviewed Version: XBX
Gamer Escape Score: 9/10

Since its release back in February, Bungie has released several updates for Destiny 2. Several new Seasons have continued the engrossing story of the initial Witch Queen campaign, and the game has gotten revamps to both the Solar and Arc subclasses – much like was done to the Void subclass at the launch of The Witch Queen. The updates to the subclasses have been one of the most important updates to Destiny 2 this past year, giving players even more ways to customize their toolkits.

Experimenting with all of the new subclass changes has made me fall even deeper into the Destiny 2 rabbit hole. Specifically, the changes to the Solar subclass allowed me to create a build that allowed my Titan to be much more “tanky”, which then in turn motivated me to tackle harder content that I previously wouldn’t have even considered.

The weapon crafting that was first introduced with The Witch Queen continues to be a worthwhile addition to the game. Each new Season over the past year has introduced more weapons that can, after a bit of work, be crafted and customized. While there are certainly “preferred” perks for these weapons, players can still choose to craft a weapon that suits their individual playstyles. Unlocking the ability to craft these seasonal weapons has been a nice new item on the “to-do” list that comes around with each new Season.

With The Witch Queen, and its subsequent updates, the bar continues to be raised for Destiny 2 expansions. The Witch Queen is currently in its last Season before the next expansion, Lightfall, drops on February 28 next year.

2: Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Reviewed by: Grant Dotter
Release Date: June 30th, 2022
Systems: PC, Switch
Reviewed Version: PC, Switch
Gamer Escape Score: 10/10

As an avid Monster Hunter fan, the Sunbreak expansion really delivered for me, improving on almost everything in the base game. Though I’m a little sad that the Rampage was basically set aside, the expansion did a lot to make the game even more fun, particularly for solo players with the Follower system. And the best part is the title updates.

Capcom has really delivered on this one and the updates made since my original review have kept me playing all year long. Capcom can take their time with the next generation of Monster Hunter – I’ve got all I need to keep busy for a while!

1: Cult of the Lamb

Reviewed by: Timothy Hyldahl
Release Date: August 11th, 2022
Systems: PC, PS4, PS5, XB1, XSX|S, Switch
Reviewed Version: PC
Gamer Escape Score: 8/10

Every so often a game comes along that feels like it was made for me. Combining the two disparate genres of town builders and roguelike dungeon crawlers, it mirrors the similarly contrasting aesthetic choices of cute saccharine critters engaged in acts of violence and ritual sacrifice that feels just a touch taboo and subversive. I knew right off the bat that I would enjoy Cult of the Lamb but, of course, game of the year means a lot more than how well it appealed to me as an individual. It’s about the broad, deeper elements that speak to everyone.

Beneath the surface level appeal is an interconnected system where both aspects of the game feed into each other positively. Taking care of your cult grants you power, and using that power against your foes earns you the resources you need to take care of them more. Usually in games that combine genres like this, one aspect or the other falls by the wayside or feels like an afterthought. Here, every time I finished upgrading my base or returned from a crusade, I felt excited to see what new things I could do in the other mode. It’s an addictive combination that kept turning “just one more run” into hours.

Sadly, I did eventually have no more upgrades to build, no more foes to slay. I put the game down for a while…and then just a few days ago it was announced that a major patch is coming in the new year, adding new features and depth. I’m now eager to return to my cult once that drops and see what new challenges await.