God of War, Wordle had a rocky year in video games

It’s been a bumpy year for video games, thanks in part to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. A few major releases were delayed (2023 could be a sucker), but enough crossed the finish line to keep gamers happy. Indie developers persevered, delivering innovative challenges and intriguing stories. Here are the games we liked the most in 2022:

1. God of War: Ragnarok: The latest chapter in the saga of the dour Spartan warrior Kratos delivers everything you could want from a AAA Sony PlayStation blockbuster. There are bone-crushing battles against formidable mythical monsters. There are clever environmental puzzles to solve when you need a break from the chaos. It’s a surprisingly moving story about fatherhood, regret and the struggle between fate and free will. And there’s the best voiceover performance of the year from Richard Schiff (Toby from The West Wing!) as the whimsical, manipulative Odin. Epic in every way.

2. Wordl: On the other end of the spectrum is this simple yet enticing word and logic game that you can play in minutes while you’re eating breakfast. Created by software developer Josh Wardle to entertain his partner, Wordle became a phenomenon when he added the ability for players to share their successes (and failures) on social media. Some fans complained when Wardle sold his creation to the New York Times for a reported seven-figure payday, but it remains a tasty daily snack for language lovers.

3. Horizon: Forbidden West: Back to the epic. Sony’s other big release of 2022 is this sprawling post-apocalyptic adventure. In 2017’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, fearless heroine Aloy discovered why civilization was collapsing; Now she must stop a mysterious enemy from wiping out humanity for good. The result is a spirited journey through an often stunning American West, where the robotic buffalo roam while our descendants patiently attempt to rebuild the culture from the chaos we created.

4. Buses: It’s not often that one sees a video game in which a major plot point revolves around Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. But such is life in 16th-century Germany, the setting of this thought-provoking crime thriller. It begins with a murder in an abbey, and your decisions while investigating the crime will have irreversible effects on the people of the surrounding village over the decades. It is a provocative exploration of faith, history and unforeseen consequences, told with beautiful graphics reminiscent of medieval manuscripts and woodcuts.

5. Norco: A young woman named Kay returns to her hometown of Louisiana after the death of her mother in this gripping mystery. Norco – a real-life city built around a massive oil refinery – is a desolate place, damaged by flooding and decades of pollution, but takes on a strange beauty thanks to vibrant pixel art reminiscent of classic 1990s LucasArts games. And as Kay searches for her missing brother, there are lively characters and moments of rueful comedy that offset the sense of melancholy. It’s one of the most thoughtfully written games in years.

6. Return to Monkey Island: Speaking of LucasArts, one of the mad geniuses of its golden age, Ron Gilbert, returned this year with a raucous iteration of his most famous creation. Stumbling wannabe swashbuckler Guybrush Threepwood is determined to finally learn the secret of Monkey Island that was promised in the 1990 original. (Spoilers: It’s very silly.) The puzzles are as wacky as ever – one involves fixing a washing machine so you can flatten a talking skull – and each encounter is full of jokes. Even if you’re new to the franchise, it’s a cruise worth taking.

7. elden ring: Since 2011’s Dark Souls, Japan’s From Software has garnered a dedicated following for its notoriously difficult – some would say sadistic – adventures. Elden Ring is a bit more welcoming, at least giving newcomers time to get their bearings and build their strength before taking on the most fearsome of beasts. It’s still a challenge, but the studio’s move from gloomy, claustrophobic castles to a more colourful, welcoming open world gives at least less masochistic players a chance to explore its unique approach to sword and sorcery.

8th. The case of the golden idol: Small studio Color Gray Games (essentially two Latvian brothers) made a splash with this ingenious puzzle that links 12 gruesome crimes into one grand conspiracy. Each case gives you a series of mostly static screenshots, and your job is to figure out not only who the entity is, but what the heck happened in the first place. You’ll feel like Columbo – albeit in the 18th century – as you piece together pieces of evidence to piece together a coherent narrative. Golden Idol has more aha moments than most big-budget games, and I hope the brothers have more cases up their sleeves.

9. Marvel snap: There are tons of trading card games out there, and just as many superhero games, but somehow the studio Second Dinner (founded by a veteran of the card battle classic Hearthstone) has combined the two in a totally unique way. Each player has a handful of Marvel characters played in three locations that have different effects; The aim is to take two of the three places. One game only lasts a few minutes, but it’s easy to lose hours playing just one more while trying to put together a killer deck.

10 Kirby and the forgotten land: Nintendo’s best Switch game this year finally transports Kirby into a 3D world, opening up some new abilities and challenges for the adorable pink blob. Kirby’s talent – he can breathe in enemies and take on their powers – has always provided plenty of variety, but who expected him to suck out an entire car? Forgotten Land is simple but fun to play cooperatively with younger kids, and there are enough hidden secrets that you’ll want to repeat each level after the kids have gone to bed.

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See more AP coverage of the year in entertainment: https://apnews.com/hub/year-in-review-entertainment

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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2022/12/14/god-of-war-wordle-lead-a-bumpy-year-in-video-games/ God of War, Wordle had a rocky year in video games

Sarah Y. Kim

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