The Best Xbox Games Of 2022 According To Metacritic
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Xbox admittedly hasn't had a noteworthy 2022 when it comes to first-party releases, but Microsoft's gaming hardware more than made up for its minimal selection of Xbox-published exclusives by being one of the best platforms for third-party games. Combined with its main event Game Pass subscription program and day one releases through it, Xbox had plenty of gaming muscle to flex throughout 2022.
On the exclusives side, Xbox's big releases this year comprised of an excellent expansion for Forza Horizon 5, the full release of Grounded, and captivating Pentiment. Focused more on quality over quantity ahead of 2023's big releases in the form of Redfall and Starfield, Xbox gamers filled the gap between console-exclusive releases with a selection of excellent third-party games.
Game Pass provided excellent material such as Persona 5 Royal, Deathloop, and A Plague Tale: Requiem, while the current-gen side of the equation saw Gotham Knights and Marvel's Midnight Suns arrive on Microsoft's pair of powerful consoles.
So which games earned critical acclaim this year through that platform? We've crunched the numbers from Metacritic, GameSpot's sister site, to see which titles were earning rave reviews, high numbers, and plenty of praise, with the list below being a combination of both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S titles.
A winner on every platform that it graced, Elden Ring has been one of the biggest success stories of the year. It's not hard to see why, as From Software's trademark combination of rich lore and challenging gameplay made this game beautiful to behold and riveting to play. A mass slice of elegant open-world design, Elden Ring is the Souls-like formula perfected.
Persona 5 Royal
Finally making its way to Xbox this year, the best version of the critically acclaimed JRPG from Atlus was firing on all action-packed cylinders when it landed on that system. Featuring subtle quality-of-life updates, clever tweaks to keep the story flowing, and dozens of hours of content, Persona 5 Royal is a stylish fusion of anime, jazz, and high school drama that's hard to beat.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
One of the sharpest and most insightful games of recent memory got a gigantic upgrade this year, with this long-in-development expansion to the beloved cult-classic adding hours of new content. Sure, the game has a smug attitude and it doesn't hesitate to poke fun at you whenever the opportunity presents itself, but those moments feel earned thanks to the razor-ship wit and writing on display here.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
How do you improve on one of the best and most visually striking platforming games of all time? By doubling down on what made the original game unique, adding new elements which enhances the gameplay meaningfully, and going all in on the artisanal appeal of the source material. This DLC does all that and so much more, transforming Cuphead into a buffet of delectable fun.
Rogue Legacy 2
Arriving almost a decade after the first Rogue Legacy game helped introduce a paradigm shift to roguelike games, Rogue Legacy 2 had some big boots to fill. Fortunately, this lovingly crafted masterpiece was more than up to the task, sticking to the elements that made the first game so great and amplifying those ideas for modern audiences. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but when the first game was that good, more of the same content with a deeper emphasis on rewarding gameplay feels like an enjoyable step forward.
It may have taken a year for it to find its way to Xbox, but Deathloop arrived fashionably late and in style for its debut on Microsoft hardware. Packing more heat than ever before thanks to the Golden Loop update, Arkane's ballistic ballet of time-loop action and deep storytelling felt better than ever, allowing for veterans to hit the reset on their adventure and for newcomers to experience a well-constructed mystery.
FMV games may have gone the way of the dodo and dubstep, but their spirit lives on with superb nods to the past such as Immortality. An exquisite mystery shot with style and elegance, Immortality is anchored by incredible performances, high production values, and twists that'll leave you reeling when they find their mark.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
2022 has been a magnificent year for fans of retro gaming, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge leading the turtle power charge. A love letter to afternoons spent in an arcade, Shredder's Revenge is the perfect mix of classic beat-em-up action with modern touches that help enhance and retain the core magic of Konami's TMNT game legacy. The pixel art is effortlessly charming, the gameplay feels sharper than Shredder's forearms, and the nostalgic attention to detail makes for a brilliant game to raise some shell in.
OlliOlli World grabs you from the very first frame with its slick presentation, but it keeps your attention on the screen with its layered mechanics, gnarly story, and pure "just one more turn" gameplay that makes it hard to put down. Accessible to any skill level and deep enough to be challenging to any halfpipe grandmaster, OlliOlli World's refinements and evolution of its own formula helps it stick the landing with style.
What happens when you put life on autopilot? You get Citizen Sleeper, a strange but captivating game about living your best life possible according to the random whim of dice. At the same time, it approaches weighty topics with a gentle hand as you navigate a thoughtfully constructed tale, leading to multiple endings with ramifications that'll stick around in your head, long after the end credits have rolled.
A lush, medieval murder-mystery game designed to look like an illustrated manuscript might sound incredibly niche, but Obsidian took full advantage of that elevator pitch to deliver an incredible whodunnit. What elevates this title is that it's a brilliant examination of stories, their power, influence, and how they're passed down throughout the ages. You'll rock up ready to solve a murder, but the real charm is the exploration of history and what our ancestors leave behind for us.
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels
A dream made in matchbox car heaven, Forza Horizon 5's big Hot Wheels DLC this year was pure childhood nostalgia powered by a V8 engine. Translating the beloved diecast cars into life-size models and giving players ludicrous tracks to race them on, this Forza Horizon 5 expansion is wonderfully silly stunt-racing that'll bring out your inner child.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
If there's a running theme in A Plague Tale: Requiem, it's escalation. More danger, more mystery, and enough rats to push the processing power of an Xbox Series X to its breaking point. The follow-up to one of the biggest surprise hits of 2019, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Requiem doubles down on the somber tone of its predecessor, sharpens its gameplay, and delivers an unforgettable adventure set in a version of 14th century France that pulls no punches.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Ever since Destiny 2 first launched in 2017, Bungie had been slowly planting seeds for an expansion that would rock the world of its sci-fi sandbox to its very core. With the arrival of the titular Witch Queen, narrative bombshells were dropped, the status quo was rocked, and dangerous secrets were dragged out of the shadows. More than just Destiny's storytelling at its best, The Witch Queen expansion is also a terrific showcase of fresh ideas, polished gameplay, and co-op fun that feels unique to this constantly evolving universe.
Games inspired by The Legend of Zelda are a dime a dozen these days, but Tunic rises above them to bring out the best in its primary inspiration. Featuring a familiar setup of a hero clad in green working to save the day, Tunic stands out from the pack with its vibrant design, challenging combat, and clever level design. It's a game that feels undeniably inspired by Nintendo's heavyweight franchise, but it uses that affection for the series to lovingly put a new spin on the Zelda-like formula.
Two Point Campus
A game about tertiary education bureaucracy might sound about as appealing as having plaque removed from your teeth, but Two Point Campus manages to make paperwork exciting with its spin on academia. Similar to Two Point Hospital, this follow-up is a delightfully goofy business management sim with a quirky art style and family-friendly comedy that graduates with flying colors.
Marvel's Midnight Suns
Featuring an all-star cast of Marvel heroes, Midnight Suns strikes a fine balance between clever superhero action, engaging tactical options, and building friendships with Earth's mightiest mortals. With Firaxis at the helm, the end result is an intriguing blend of ideas that makes the game both fun and flexible, while the team-building aspects inject tons of charm and heart into the mix.
Crusader Kings 3
Finally making its way to current-gen consoles this year, Crusader Kings 3 arrived with all of its decadent political maneuvering and royal intrigue intact. A complex tale of diplomacy, betrayal and hard choices, Crusader Kings 3 might have a learning curve steeper than a San Francisco street, but learning all of those systems and using them in conjunction with a surprisingly deep number of controls mapped to a single controller makes for a surprisingly fascinating experience. If you can survive being stabbed in the back, that is.
After a period of early access development, Obsidian's Grounded has grown into a delightful take on the survival-sim genre. Shrunk down to a size that makes ants look like kaiju-sized threats, Grounded's final form is that of a polished adventure with RPG elements and a ton of content. With a few handy quality-of-life extras making the overall package more enjoyable, this adventure in a deadly backyard has evolved into something special.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
A Lego video game is usually a great distraction involving everyone's favorite building blocks, but Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga takes that formula and evolves it for the better. Adding a Death Star's worth of ideas to the mix and a staggering amount of content that takes all nine films of the Skywalker saga and creates a highlight reel of fun, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is delightfully silly slapstick fun for the whole family.
Capcom Fighting Collection
Carrying on with 2022's running theme of doing retro video games right, the Capcom Fighting Collection is a treasure trove of fighting game brilliance. Street Fighter II makes the obligatory cut here with its Hyper edition, but its the inclusion of the Street Fighter Alpha series, several Darkstalkers titles, and a few Japanese-exclusive fighting games that makes this collection shine. Like Capcom's other Arcade compilations, the chance to play these game with modern visual touches, nostalgic filters, and in an arcade of your own design, gives the collection a personal touch that's heartwarming.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
Not to be outdone, Konami's blast from the past starring everyone's favorite quartet of ninja turtles was another sensational time capsule. With 13 iconic TMNT games, quality-of-life updates to ensure that you wouldn't throw your controller through the wall when you started that water level, and even a number of strategy guides available to help players out, the Cowabunga Collection is a loving tribute to the past enhanced by a digital museum's worth of archived content.
In a high noon showdown for best western game with supernatural gameplay elements, Weird West proved to be have a quicker trigger-finger when it faced off against Evil West in a very specific category this year. Packing iron in one hand and a beautiful art style in the other, Weird West feels like an old-school cowboy fantasy brought to vivid life as you drift on through towns that require a lone gunslinger to help save the day.
MotoGP 22 leaned harder than ever into its authentic take on high-speed motorcycle racing in 2022, scraping the simulated asphalt with its protected kneecap to appeal to veterans of the sport. At the same time, this year's entry in the official series took a massive leap forward to draw in newcomers, crafting a precision machine that felt better than ever on the track.
Like its source material, F1 22 was an iterative game this year that shaved more fat off of its already lean and mean body to deliver high-speed thrills. Its refinement over revolution, but when the end product looks, feels, and plays as good as it does, then the core experience remains an enjoyable one. If Netflix's Drive to Survive series has you hungry for more action on the track, then F1 22 is the perfect vehicle with which to satiate that hunger.