The most innovative video games of 2022 |  Digital trends

The most innovative video games of 2022 | Digital trends

A video game character standing in front of text indicating the most innovative games of 2022.

What makes the video game industry so exciting is that it is still relatively young. Developers still regularly discover new ways to flip the medium, redefining the idea of ​​what a game is by bucking trends. Although big productions like God of War Ragnarok are undoubtedly impressive, the most groundbreaking titles are often the least obvious.

Such was the case in 2022, which saw developers entirely deconstruct some fundamentals of games. In some cases, this was expressed through new approaches to gameplay, creating experiences unlike anything I’ve ever seen in this medium. Others were even more high profile, challenging us to think about who certain projects are for. From a massive remake project to the smallest action game, these are some of the most innovative games of 2022.

The Last of Us Part I

Ellie strokes a giraffe in The Last of Us Part I.

At first glance, The Last of Us Part IThe inclusion here may seem odd. Sony’s pricey remake was at the center of controversy when it launched earlier this year, with fans saying its existence was unnecessary. However, this PlayStation 5 exclusive is incredibly important for a reason that might not be immediately obvious: accessibility. The remake brought a host of accessibility features and settings to allow more players to try out the game – some potentially for the first time. In this direction, The Last of Us Part I is a critical game preservation work that rethinks what a remake should do and who it should be for. It focuses on fixing errors in gaming history by making its most important titles more inclusive experiences.

vampire survivors

A character fights bats in Vampire Survivors.

To build something completely unique, vampire survivors first had to deconstruct. Its graphics are outdated, its controls simplistic. It’s an action game that looks quite primitive next to something flashy like Bayonet 3. That’s exactly what makes it special. As the wider gaming industry moves toward greater experiences, vampire survivors takes a step back and focuses on what actually makes a game fun. It emphasizes hard-hitting decisions, like weapon upgrade choices and basic moves, complicated attack combos, and intricate RPG systems. A stick is all it takes to create something that looks both classic and unlike anything you’ve ever seen.


A woman stands outside in a city of Immortality.

Director Sam Barlow’s work has consistently thrown gaming conventions out the window. His beginnings, His historysimply asked players to flip through video clips as they mentally pieced together a murder mystery. Immortality don’t just rely on that idea; he reinvents it. As His history, players skim through filmed clips to try to decipher the story of missing movie actress Marissa Marcel. To find these clips, players can click on characters or objects in one video clip and navigate to another clip that features what they selected. The match-cut system feels like a magic trick, making static video clips feel alive. It may not impact the gaming space, but it could revolutionize interactive media on a broader level.


Andreas chooses his experience in Pentiment.

At this point, we’re no strangers to games that rely on the idea of ​​choice. Series like Mass Effect invite players to choose their path, usually leaving them to make black-and-white decisions that shape their character’s morality. Repentance, a narrative RPG set in the 16th century, opposes this idea in one important way: it completely does away with the concept of good and evil. Instead, he’s nonjudgmental about the choices you make while trying to solve his murder mysteries. Each action is simply a natural part of the story, shaping the future of his fictional town of Tassing. With a history spanning decades, Repentance allows players to feel the true weight of every choice they’ve made rather than flooding them with a torrent of decisions that solely determine whether you’re good or bad.

As dusk falls and we’re OFK

A character from As Dusk Falls looks worried in the restaurant at night.

Many modern games try to imitate television and movies, but few dare to imitate their structures. After all, God of War Ragnarok wouldn’t sell as many copies if it was a tight three-hour epic. Two games this year took a new formal approach to even the episodic games that came before them: As dusk fallsand We are OFK. Both play as interactive television episodes, split into five 30-60 minute episodes. We are OFK even went the extra mile by releasing a new episode every week to generate conversation among fans. This approach had a noticeable impact on everyone’s pacing, allowing their respective developers to tell more contained stories in an digestible arc, rather than overwhelming players with information.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Braviary Hisuian in Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

I hesitate to include Pokemon Legends: Arceus on this list because what’s innovative for the Pokémon series is often years behind the rest of the game. However, the spinoff title should be highlighted for its willingness to transform an established series that doesn’t need to change. to be profitable upside down. Arceus is filled with small gameplay innovations that completely refresh the monster catching experience. From its mobile game-like progression goals to the ability to simply throw a ball to catch Pokemon, the RPG is packed with small but impactful quality-of-life improvements that I imagine will set a new standard for a genre. that he inspired. Even the recent pokemon scarlet and Purple Feels like old news when placed next to it.

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