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The Loadout Awards 2022

Welcome to The Loadout Awards 2022, where we'll be commending our favourite competitive and console games - oh, and we'll crown our Game of the Year

The Loadout Game of the Year: A montage of Kratos from God of War Ragnarok, Dr Strange from Marvels Midnight Suns, and the cat from Stray

Welcome one and all to The Loadout Awards 2022, our annual extravaganza where we dish out ridiculous awards no one really asked for, spark some console wars discourse, and ultimately name our Game of the Year!

As you know, here on The Loadout we’re all about console and competitive gaming, and our categories reflect that. We’ll be crowning everything from the best console exclusives to the best new multiplayer offerings, and at the end we’ll rattle through some more light-hearted awards that celebrate some of the outliers of 2022.

While we can’t guarantee bizarre stage invasions or enthusiastic flute playing like Keighley and Co.’s glitzy awards shows, we can celebrate some of the team’s favourite games of the last 12 months. Last year, it was Deathloop that scooped our prestigious Game of the Year prize, and this year the competition is even fiercer.

All eight members of The Loadout have put forth nominations for their GOTY, which include the likes of Elden Ring, God of War Ragnarok, and Marvel’s Midnight Suns, so believe us when we say the overall winner had a lot of competition to beat.

So without further ado, let’s dive into The Loadout Awards 2022. Let us know what you think about our winners, and more importantly, have a very merry Christmas. Allez!

The Loadout Awards 2022

Midnight Suns New Game Plus: Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch can be seen

Surprise of the Year: Marvel’s Midnight Suns

For this award, we want to commend a game that completely surpassed our pre-release expectations, and no game deserves that commendation more than Marvel’s Midnight Suns.

While we also mulled over the likes of Need For Speed Unbound and Evil Dead The Game, Midnight Suns has managed to win the hearts and minds of both strategy game novices and veterans alike. With Firaxis’ exquisite gameplay starring alongside some great storytelling using some of Marvel’s best characters, it’s hard not to enjoy this game. If you want to see us gush some more about this game, check out our glowing Midnight Suns review.

2022 Valorant Champions teams: FPX's Ange1 raises his arms and shouts in victory at a Valorant LAN event

Esport of the Year: Valorant

For Esport of the Year, we weigh up the events, production value, viewership, storylines, in-game action, and more of each esport scene over the course of 2022. With all of those metrics in mind, we’ve voted Valorant as our winner – for the second year running, too.

While it was a close-run thing with Riot Games’ other major esports title, League of Legends, we felt that Valorant had the edge for its amazing broadcast talent and aesthetic, memorable plays, and wildly-supported tournaments. Its inclusivity efforts with the Game Changers series were also more than worthy of commendation.

MultiVersus Taz Combos: an image of Taz looking confused infront of a blurred waterfall

New Competitive Multiplayer of the Year: MultiVersus

While we’ve been treated to new offerings in franchises like Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Splatoon this year, it’s 2022’s big addition to the fighting game genre that got us excited the most. Huge congratulations to Player First Games and MultiVersus for scooping this award!

We loved not only its frantic, Smash-esque gameplay, but also its great roster of heroes from different IPs and some excellent community management and transparency. While its big launch spike in players may have dwindled somewhat, this is still one of the best fighting games out there and, in our opinion, the top new competitive game for 2022.

Genshin Impact Game Awards 2022: Zhongli

Best Ongoing/ Live Service game: Genshin Impact

While resident Genshin lover Aaron has enjoyed some supreme gacha luck this year, we promise that’s not swayed this award. Genshin Impact won in a closely-fought contest with the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends, but for its massive amounts of new content, great new characters, and even a whole Genshin Impact TCG within it, it has to take the award this year.

Just this year alone, Genshin Impact has seen the addition of several huge story quests, 17 unique characters, four new map expansions of various biomes bolstered by catchy new music, and more events than you can count, all for the low, low price of free. HoYoverse has wowed fans with its clear dedication to providing high quality content on a regular basis, with no signs of slowing down.

Splatoon 3 split-screen: an image of three inklings

Best Nintendo Switch Exclusive: Splatoon 3

It had some fierce opposition from RPG royalty in Xenoblade, two massive Pokemon releases, and loads more great Switch games, but for us, Splatoon 3 comes out on top as our favourite Nintendo Switch exclusive of this year.

Not only does it scratch our competitive itch here at The Loadout, but it refined the Splatoon formula into probably its greatest iteration yet. It’s bright, vibrant fun that’s hard to put down. Big props for winning what might be one of this year’s most stacked categories and triumphing over the new additions in our best Switch games list this year.

Best Xbox Exclusive: As Dusk Falls

Let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? This year was a bit sparse for Xbox exclusives, wasn’t it? While the offerings were limited, there were still some epic games in there, and As Dusk Falls emerges as our favourite.

Our As Dusk Falls review details what we loved the most about this game, but it should be commended alone for its distinct art style and ambition to push the boundaries of narratives in games for mature audiences. With 1,200 pages of scripts, dozens of different narrative branches, and consequential storytelling like no other, As Dusk Falls was undoubtedly this year’s Xbox hidden gem.

While next year’s offering of upcoming Xbox Series X games and exclusives will be far more stacked, that shouldn’t take away from the excellence of As Dusk Falls in 2022.

Best PS5 games: God of War Ragnarok screenshot where Kratos speaks to Atreus

Best PlayStation Exclusive: God of War Ragnarok

Time to act shocked, everybody. While it did have to fend off the likes of the endearing Stray, the exquisitely-crafted Gran Turismo 7, and the stunning Horizon Forbidden West, Ragnarok stands a god’s head above the rest in our best PS5 games list. It didn’t quite do enough for us to get that prestigious 10/10 in our God of War Ragnarok review, but there’s no denying that it is extremely close to perfection.

Great visuals, breathtaking locations, engaging combat, and of course some amazing storytelling, Ragnarok has all the ingredients of a Game of the Year contender. Speaking of…

The Loadout Game of the Year: A montage of Kratos from God of War Ragnarok, Dr Strange from Marvels Midnight Suns, and the cat from Stray

The Loadout’s Game of the Year 2022

Here we go then, folks. Last year, it was the incredible Deathloop that scooped our GOTY prize, but which game gets it this year? All eight (yes, there are really eight of us now) members of The Loadout team have said their piece on their personal picks for Game of the Year. You can read about all eight nominations below:

But, there can only be one winner. To eliminate bias, no one was allowed to vote for their own nomination, but once the ballots were counted, a clear winner emerged. Congratulations to…

Elden Ring!

While we’re not the first nor the last outlet to crown Elden Ring as 2022’s Game of the Year, it was the only totally new game of the last 12 months to get a perfect 10/10 score from us (check out our Elden Ring review for the proof) and has consistently wowed us, even after it’s enormous launch. Speedruns and ridiculous challenges have kept us entertained, while FromSoftware has continued to support the game with patches, balance changes, and recently the new PvP arenas too.

Best PS5 RPG games: A tarnished wielding a weapon stands in front of a mountain in Elden Ring

Elden Ring will go down as not just 2022’s greatest game, but one of the best all time. It’s a masterpiece, and while FromSoftware is probably running out of shelf space, it’s got another award coming its way in the mail. Congratulations to FromSoftware and Bandai Namco!

Right, loosen your bow ties and swap those heels for some flats, because that’s the serious stuff out the way. Now it’s time for the more lighthearted awards…

The Loadout’s Alternative Awards for 2022

Babylon's Fall crossplay: characters from babylon's fall

Flop of the Year: Babylon’s Fall

Proof that simply ‘being live service’ does not guarantee any kind of credibility, engagement, or enjoyment, Babylon’s Fall was mainly know for being ‘the game with one concurrent user who turned out to be one of gaming journalisms most renowned shitposters’ (we main that in a loving way, Dash).

Hammered by reviewers, developer Platinum Games will shut the game’s servers down in February 2023, which will be just under 12 months after the game fully released. Babylon’s Fall was rubbish, but it’ll go down in gaming folklore because of it.

Rainbow Six Extraction Operators: Ela can be seen looking around a corner alongside two other Operators.

The ‘Wait, this actually came out in 2022?!’ Award: Rainbow Six Extraction

For this category, you either want a title that released so early in the year that it’s hard to believe it is technically a 2022 game, or one that faded into relative obscurity – you know, that kind that makes you say ‘oh yeah, that’ when you stumble across it. This year, we think there’s a game that’s done both, and that’s Rainbow Six Extraction.

As you can see from our Rainbow Six Extraction review, we actually really liked this game when it dropped way back on January 20 of this year, as it provided some great tactical co-op gameplay and was great at creating tense moments. However, we bet the majority of readers will do the aforementioned ‘oh yeah, that’ on reading this entry, proving how it has, sadly, not stood the test of time all that well.

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Gamer of the Year: MissMikkaa

There have been plenty of amazing gaming achievements in 2022, but our Gamer of the Year award has to go to a streamer that took one of this year’s toughest games and danced on its grave.

Congratulations to ‘MissMikkaa’, who has consistently wowed the gaming community with her dance mat playthroughs of Elden Ring, and many other tough games too. Any alternative controller challenge is tough, but one this physically exhausting deserves extra plaudits. It’s ridiculousness like this, as well as other gauntlets such as one-handed runs of Elden Ring, that has earned her this prestigious award.

Sniper Elite 5 WW2 setting: A soldier crouches behind cover with a gun drawn as an enemy soldier approaches

The Most 7/10 Game of the Year: Sniper Elite 5

Sometimes, even within a few minutes, you can just tell if a game is going to be a somewhat enjoyable but safe 7/10. A truly great 7/10 game sticks to its lane, while also cutting a few corners, and offers a satisfying but low-effort playthrough. And, in this case, it lets you shoot Hitler’s testicles.

This award goes to Sniper Elite 5, the latest entry in a series that hasn’t changed that much over the years, but still offers a jolly good time with its slow-mo, organ-bursting killcams. Its storyline is, like its predecessors’, pretty mid, and we’re still running around World War 2 battlefields with Karl Fairburne, but it nails all of the criteria set out above almost too expertly. It is a true 7/10 masterpiece.

God of War Ragnarok: Atreus hugging the neck of pet wolf Fenrir

Good Boi of the Year: Fenrir from God of War Ragnarok

From the cats of Stray, to the Tunic fox, we’ve been blessed with some adorable furry friends on our adventures this year. We were going to call this category ‘Videogame Animal of the Year’, but we loved the overall winner so much we decided to rename it. Our Good Boi of the Year is none other than God of War Ragnarok’s Fenrir.

A somewhat sickly pup at the start of Santa Monica Studio’s epic, we were truly heartbroken to have Fenrir ripped away from us so soon after his introduction at the start of the game. The deeply emotional interaction between Atreus and the dying wolf is without a doubt one of the saddest moments in the game.

However, his triumphant return in Helheim – with giant tail wagging and fluffy ears flopping – is too adorable to ignore. Not only this, but without his intervention with Angrboda in Odin’s study, Kratos and the rest of God of War Ragnarok’s main cast of characters would surely be no more. Fenrir isn’t just our Good Boi of the Year, he’s a hero of the Nine Realms – and what deserves recognition more than that?

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Most Ridiculous Bug of the Year: Everything in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Last year, we struggled to pick a single bug to give this award to – so we gave it to everything in the buggy mess that was eFootball.

This year, we were gifted an equally bountiful bonanza of bugs, so a big congratulations to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet! While slightly iffy graphics were to be expected, what wasn’t predicted was the horrific performance and the barrage of ridiculous bugs. T-posing, trainers walking in the middle of battles, and Pokémon launching themselves off of cliffs like lemmings – it’s been a true sight to behold.

Things are smoother now, and Scarlet and Violet are being discussed as some of the best Pokémon games ever. However, there’s no escaping their launch day ropiness.

That’s a wrap, folks – the curtain has come down on 2022. Let us know what you think about our award winners, and we’ll see you in 12 months time to see how some of the most anticipated games of 2023 like Starfield, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Street Fighter 6, and more fare. Merry Christmas!