Tunic, Elden Ring, Horizon: Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, Stray

2022 was the year for action-adventure games. If you like deep, sprawling stories peppered with breath-taking fight scenes then the last 12 months has served up some of the very best. God of War Ragnarok built on the foundations of its 2018 predecessor in almost every way, delivering a twist-filled story and fine-tuning the combat to make it better than ever. Likewise, Aloy’s journey through uncharted lands in Horizon: Forbidden West took everything that was great about Zero Dawn and cranked it up a notch.

It’s no surprise Elden Ring also makes the cut – it’s FromSoftware’s most ambitious game yet, and its masterful world building and challenging-yet-rewarding combat combine to make it a masterpiece. But definitely don’t overlook two games whose heroes are a little different from the norm. Tunic may look like a gentle Zelda-style adventure with a sword-wielding fox as its lead, but beneath its cute art style lies a quest that is challenging and charming in equal measure. And any game that casts you as a cat roaming a cyberpunk world gets our vote, with Stray’s mix of simple platforming and puzzles making it one to remember.

So without further ado, these are there Best Action-Adventure Games of 2022. And remember, the winners are announced next week so be sure to come back then!

Elden Ring

Few games this year have offered the genuine sense of adventure that Elden Ring does. There’s creepy catacombs to search, hidden cities to unearth, imposing landmarks to investigate, and – of course – towering monsters to cut down. On every step of that journey you’ll constantly stumble across fun discoveries, be that an enchanted sword that will change your playstyle forever, or a tortoise clergyman who will teach you dazzling magic spells. But while adventure is its soul, Elden Ring’s beating heart is its combat. The action may still be rooted in the systems first established all the way back in Demon’s Souls, but developer FromSoftware has evolved its tried-and-tested combat formula into something that remains exciting fight after fight. With a huge library of different weapons, abilities, spells, and armors, there’s opportunity to hone your character build into something that fits like a glove. Whether that’s a skilled swordsman, a sorcerer that fires a magic beam the width of a car, or anything in between is up to you, and each option feels just as majestically accomplished as the last.

God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarok is as glorious a blend of action and adventure as you could dare to dream of. Its ferocious and varied combat never feels less than fantastic no matter what weapon you choose to wield — whether that be the hard-hitting axe, whipping blades, or any other tools you happen to find along your journey. That journey is the definition of adventure — a voyage through realms old and new laced with fearsome foes, pleasing puzzles, and surprising side stories. It’s all in service of a sprawling narrative that somehow weaves its vast cast of characters elegantly in and out of an ever-growing Norse tapestry. Ragnarok challenges and thrills in every aspect of its design; its dodge, parry, and strike action drenched in blood as its sense of adventure drips in the tears of the tale it tells.

Horizon Forbidden West

An expansive and beautifully varied open world full of mechanical beasts to tear apart, Horizon Forbidden West took the already thrilling action of its predecessor and heaped a whole new level of adventure into the mix. Aloy’s trusty bow is always a thrill to unleash, but it’s when the expanded selection of elemental ammunition and variety of other explosive tools in her arsenal join the party that Horizon really sings. Taking down massive, intricately designed robotic dinosaurs was always fun, but Forbidden West gives the act of a new sense of adventurous purpose — not only in its race-against-time main plotline but in its often superior side stories. Its gorgeous reimagining of America’s west coast is a feast for the eyes, but even more satiating for those who hunger for both action and adventure in large helpings.

Stray

Stray is a game split between two halves: Linear action sequences as your adorable cat-robot partnership head through this lovely cyberpunk city, and more open exploration sections where speed takes a backseat to the interesting story being told there. Stray is exciting in both moments, with a variety of platforming challenges being matched by its wide host of secrets to sniff out, android personalities to meet, and quirky quests to complete. It may not have the epic, complex combat of other games in this category, but it does have the beating heart of a traditional point-and-click adventure game in the furry chest of a platformer worth taking the leap for.

Tunic

A clear throwback to the seminal 16-bit classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Tunic might look like a similarly all-ages-appropriate romp through both an overworld and an underworld, but playing it reveals a game that will happily swat away anyone who does not bring their A-game to meet the challenge it offers. It’s downright Souls-ian in that regard, in the very best of ways. The entire game world – its story, gameplay mechanics, and more – are deciphered through the scattered pages of a video game instruction manual that looks straight out of the Super NES era. Ultimately, Tunic asks a lot of its players, but gives even more in return.

All IGN Best of Games 2022 Categories

  • Best Game of 2022
  • Best Action Game of 2022
  • Best Action-Adventure Game of 2022
  • Best Video Game Music of 2022
  • Best Video Game Art of 2022
  • Best Console Exclusive of 2022
  • Best Ongoing Game of 2022
  • Best Performance in a Game in 2022
  • Best Puzzle Game of 2022
  • Best Racing Game of 2022
  • Best RPG Game of 2022
  • Best Shooter Game of 2022
  • Best Game Story of 2022
  • Best Strategy Game of 2022
  • Noteworthy Advancement in Game Accessibility in 2022
  • Best Gaming Hardware of 2022

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