We may only have just started 2023, but while there’s plenty of games to look forward to this year, sometimes it’s nice to take some time to look back: As such, here’s a list of Frontline Gaming Japan’s ten favorite 2022 Japanese games.
This is not a ranking, and the list is in alphabetical order. Rather than trying to take an objective look at what the top ten best games of the year were, this is instead a completely subjective list of ten games that we enjoyed.
AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – nirvanA Initiative
This unexpected sequel to 2019’s AI was a fantastic follow-up, with an enjoyable stuff filled with great twists. The addition of Zero Escape-style puzzles was also a fun addition.
Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream
This long awaited sequel to the Atelier series’ Mysterious sub-series sees the return of the first Mysterious protagonist, Sophie, as she explores a dream world looking for her missing partner Prachta.
Though Bayonetta 3’s story and ending have been very divisive, it’s undeniable that the gameplay is fantastic, with the Demon Slave gimmick being great fun.
There’s not much left to be said about Elden Ring. It’s a great Souls game both for series fans and new people looking to get into it.
Heaven Burns Red
The only service-type game to make it onto our list, Heaven Burns Red, released in Japan in February 2022, is the first completely new game written by Key’s Maeda Jun in 15 years (Angel Beats! -1st beat- having been part of a media mix), with music composed by him as well, and both the story and music are of unparalleled quality even when compared to Maeda’s other works.
The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki II -CRIMSON SiN-
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling into Darkness
2022 had a lot of big titles, but for us, the Made in Abyss game was a real dark horse. It may be buggy at times, and is certainly very strange in many ways, but there’s just something really special about this game.
2022 had a surprisingly large number of tactical RPGs, and Relayer was one of the first. Though it may not look like much at first glance, Relayer has a pretty unique battle system that can get pretty fun, and also has a setting and story that plays with mecha tropes in a satisfying way.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
The legendary tactical RPG Tactics Ogre returned in 2022 with full voice acting and an almost complete overhaul of gameplay, changing the balance to focus more on tactical aspects than RPG ones.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (Switch)
Technically just a port, but still worth a mention because it’s that good: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim has one of the most ambitious narratives in video games, and keeps the player interested all the way.