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The Inverse Awards 2022

The 10 best action games of 2022

With plenty of punches, kicks, and sword slashes.

Badai Namco

There are few things more thrilling than an action game. The genre thrived this year, with countless excellent entries across the board, each with a distinct style and premise. Some were more combat-heavy, while others leaned into puzzles or RPG mechanics. These are our picks for the 10 best action games of 2022.

10. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is wildly different from its predecessors, focusing on action instead of traditional RPG systems.Nintendo

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a wildly different entry in the long-running franchise, straying from the traditional Pokémon RPG mechanics we’ve grown to love. Instead, Arceus leans into real-time action, and this paid off in a major way. It’s a wonderful change of pace that still feels like Pokémon while throwing a fresh spin on the formula.

9. Bayonetta 3

Bayonetta 3 is easily the best of the trilogy, offering large-scale battles and explosive segments to the very end.Nintendo

The Umbra Witch is back in Bayonetta 3. This is the most over-the-top entry on this list, featuring massive demon battles and ridiculous encounters that you won’t soon forget. With combat that will surely keep you on your toes, this game isn’t one to skip.

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is an effective blend of new and old.Dotemu

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge simultaneously is a tasteful callback to arcade classics, while adding its own touches that give it an edge. Visually, this game is astounding, with vibrant pixel art that looks far better than any NES or arcade game from the past. Throw in some simple, yet compelling beat-em-up gameplay and you get one of the year’s best action experiences to date.

7. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the definitive LEGO Star Wars game.Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Serving as a complete package featuring all nine mainline films, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a blast from start to finish. This game not only looks the part but has refined gameplay that offers so much variety it’s hard to put down. The voice acting, writing, puzzle-solving, and attention to detail are stunning in The Skywalker Saga.

6. Neon White

Neon White is wonderfully creative and chaotic.Annapurna Interactive

There really isn’t anything like Neon White, a game developed by Donut County creator Ben Esposito. Neon White is a fast-paced first-person shooter with puzzle-platforming elements. It also features a deck-building mechanic: you pick from a selection of cards to enhance your character as you play. It’s one of the most unique and refreshing genre mashups we’ve seen in years.

5. Ghostwire: Tokyo

Ghostwire: Tokyo is one of 2022’s most underrated games.Bethesda Softworks

Tango Gameworks, the team behind The Evil Within, wanted to do something different with Ghostwire: Tokyo and they definitely succeeded. Sure, it still featured light horror elements, but Ghostwire is a first-person action game first and foremost with an emphasis on the paranormal. It also just feels great to play, which is essential for an action title.

4. Vampire Survivors

If you’re like us, you’ll have a hard time putting down Vampire Survivors thanks to its compelling gameplay.Luca Galante

One of 2022’s sleeper hits, Vampire Survivors is a 2D roguelike action game created by Luca Galante. This game is the embodiment of “one more run,” as it quickly sinks its hooks into you thanks to satisfying gameplay and an addicting progression system.

3. Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West is everything we could have asked for in a sequel — with enough changes to keep things fresh.Sony

Sony and Guerrilla Games knocked it out of the park with Horizon Forbidden West. Following one of the company’s best PS4 games was no easy task, but thanks to the sheer number of improvements, Forbidden West is just as good as its predecessor, if not better.

2. God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarok lives up to its predecessor thanks, in part, to its tremendously fun combat.Sony

Speaking of well-received sequels, God of War Ragnarok is one of the best-reviewed games of 2022, featuring a diverse cast of characters, refined gameplay, and a compelling story that hits hard. Some of the battles in this game are absolutely stunning, somehow matching the quality of its 2018 predecessor.

1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring is not only one of the year’s best action games, but one of the best games of all time, period.Bandai Namco Entertainment

Elden Ring will likely be talked about for many years to come thanks to its epic presentation and complex combat that encourages experimentation. Its difficulty is an asset, requiring patience and persistence before delivering an immense reward at the end. Given Elden Ring’s vastness, there’s likely a slew of things that have yet to be discovered.

Inverse celebrates the best of the best in entertainment, gaming, science, and technology of 2022. Go to the Inverse Awards hub.

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