While December is traditionally a quiet month for the online game business, that was not the case in 2022. Delays triggered a number of AAA video games to launch within the last month of the yr, whereas some charming indie titles additionally tried to carve out a spot for themselves in what would change into a surprisingly busy month. While a few this month’s releases had been hit-and-miss, the December 2022 recreation lineup featured a various array of experiences that can please gamers of every kind throughout all platforms.
In specific, seven titles stood out to us most all through December. From an formidable Marvel RPG to a simulator 20 years within the making, these are the video games launched in December 2022 that you need to take a look at.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Superhero video games aren’t a rarity these days, however few are as formidable as Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Created by the previous XCOM staff at Firaxis Games, this can be a full-blown Marvel RPG the place gamers can spend quite a lot of time attending to know characters from the Avengers and past. On high of that, battles are enjoyable turn-based technique affairs the place playing cards are used to carry out particular skills, and gamers can discover a big open world round their Abbey house base in-between missions. At 40-plus hours, it’s an extended recreation that takes some time to get going, however any Marvel fan will recognize the stable worldbuilding and deep gameplay as soon as they get into its rhythm.
“Even at a time where Marvel is more popular than ever, Marvel’s Midnight Suns finds a way to stand out by going the extra mile,” I wrote in a four-star assessment of Marvel’s Midnight Suns. “The boring level design and issues with Abbey exploration can dampen an otherwise fantastic experience, but my appreciation for these characters and the well-thought-out nature of the card-based combat encouraged me to play until the final hours.”
By discovering a center floor between XCOM 2, Persona 5, and Slay the Spire, Firaxis created a recreation that has the entire hallmarks of a stable Marvel expertise, however in a method that also feels recent. It’s price testing in case you are a fan of Marvel, card video games, technique video games, or RPGs. Marvel’s Midnight Suns is obtainable now for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, and is in improvement for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Need for Speed Unbound
Need for Speed Unbound’s launch earlier this month may need been muted, however that has no bearing on the sport’s high quality. While its trying-way-to-hard-to-be-hip dialogue will get in your nerves after some time, this can be a enjoyable road racing recreation with a wide array of automobiles, numerous customization, and hard AI opponents. Those latter three parts all the time make for an entertaining racer, and Need for Speed Unbound stands out even additional because of its distinct cel-shaded artwork type.
“The racer eventually hits its limits due to sometimes cringe-inducing writing and repetitive objects, but the ride there packs in a lot of fun,” my three-and-a-half star Need for Speed Unbound assessment explains. “Need for Speed Unbound is surprisingly challenging, making each race important and engaging, and it has a lot of style. During this gap between Gran Turismo 7 and next spring’s Forza Motorsport, this open-world racer refuels a series that has been running on fumes.”
While you’ll get essentially the most out of Need for Speed Unbound in single-player, it additionally options an open-world multiplayer mode for many who wish to race round a metropolis based mostly on Chicago with their pals. There haven’t been any main racing recreation releases this fall, so this recreation fortunately fills that void fairly properly. Need for Speed Unbound is obtainable now for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.
High on Life
HIGH ON LIFE – Official Game Trailer – Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s recreation studio Squanch Games simply launched High on Life, a Metroid Prime-inspired sci-fi shooter the place each weapon can discuss (and spout quips). It’s a comedy recreation firstly, so your mileage will fluctuate relying in your humorousness. Thankfully, it’s additionally enjoyable to play.
“Like Rick and Morty’s Pickle Rick episode, High on Life doesn’t build to a grand punch line,” Giovanni Colantonio writes in his three-and-a-half star assessment of High on Life. “It’s more focused on those immediate hits of fun that’ll keep players entertained in the moment — you probably remember “I’m Pickle Rick!” clearer than any precise plot particulars of that episode. Satisfying fight, clean traversal, and a smattering of hilarious vignettes make for an admirable journey recreation whose particular person components are extra memorable than the total image.”
If you get pleasure from watching an excellent episode of Rick and Morty or taking part in Metroid Prime, High on Life is among the extra novel and refreshing releases this month. Comedy video games are inherently divisive, however it’s good to see Squanch push the boundaries of what humor in a online game can appear like. High on Life is obtainable now for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S by way of Xbox Game Pass.
The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto Protocol, Glen Schofield’s religious successor to Dead Space, lastly launched this month. While reception has been combined attributable to some tech points and divisive fight, it nonetheless gives numerous scares, gross gore, and top-notch visuals on current-gen platforms. It’s a reasonably quick expertise, so you need to see all the pieces the sport has to supply in underneath 10 hours. It additionally incorporates a star-studded forged that includes the likes of Josh Duhamel, Sam Witwer, and Karen Fukuhara.
“The Callisto Protocol does more than enough to scratch the Dead Space itch that’s been lingering for a decade,” Colantonio claims in his three-and-a-half-star assessment of The Callisto Protocol. “It’s familiar without feeling like a rehash, putting its own creative stamp on the horror genre. It’s not without its fleshy weak spots though, as overworked combat and performance instability leave room for the new IP to mutate into something more powerful down the line.”
For these on the lookout for another stable horror expertise earlier than the yr ends, The Callisto Protocol gives that in abundance. Although it doesn’t appear to be it should outright exchange Dead Space in horror avid gamers’ hearts anytime quickly, taking part in by means of the sport looks as if a pleasant strategy to whet your urge for food forward of the Dead Space remake’s launch in January 2023. The Callisto Protocol is obtainable now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Retro-inspired JRPGs aren’t a brand new idea, however the video games that get it proper may be simply as enjoyable because the classics. Thankfully, Chained Echoes is a pleasant throwback RPG. Solid pixel artwork backs up attention-grabbing worldbuilding that blends fantasy and sci-fi, and the battle system facilities round an Overdrive meter. Using assaults will fill the meter, and transferring right into a sure candy spot will buff your assaults; use too many although, and also you’ll overheat and get debuffed, forcing you to make use of assaults that transfer you again down the meter.
It’s a intelligent strategy to steadiness the risk-and-reward methods seen in RPGs like Bravely Default, however it additionally retains issues participating as gamers aren’t locked to only one assault or battle choice with Overdrive. Of course, numerous different gameplay parts, in addition to a hefty quantity of story and overworld exploration, hold this RPG expertise recent over time. For an RPG principally made by one individual, it’s fairly spectacular. Chained Echoes is out now for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The recreation can be obtainable by way of Xbox Game Pass.
Dwarf Fortress is a 20-year-old recreation that’s by no means seemed this good. It’s arduous to clarify in its entirety, however in essence, Dwarf Fortress is a fantasy simulation recreation the place gamers construct and handle a colony of dwarves. Its open-ended nature makes it a fantastic simulator for emergent fantasy storytelling. Previously, Dwarf Fortress was a freeware recreation with minimalist ASCII graphics that gained a cult following as developer Bay 12 Games slowly up to date it over the previous 20 years.
This month, a model of the sport with extra up to date graphics hit Steam and itch.io, making Dwarf Fortress extra accessible than ever. It’s a really daunting recreation to get into due to its advanced methods and overwhelming UI, however when you get the dangle of it, it’s actually arduous to place down. Dwarf Fortress is obtainable now for PC by way of Steam and itch.io.
Aka is one of the best chill and healthful recreation of this month. Players management a pink panda residing its life in a tropical archipelago after combating in a conflict. The recreation can get fairly somber in tone at occasions, however it usually has a optimistic, reflective outlook on life. It balances enjoyable exploration with crafting and gardening to create an expertise that may not be groundbreaking, however is all the time entertaining. This is a cute little indie recreation that’s not getting that a lot consideration, however it ought to be in your radar should you get pleasure from healthful video games, life and farming sims, or pink pandas. Aka is obtainable now for PC and Nintendo Switch.