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Gaming trend report

2022 has already been a great year for gaming, and gamers have already been enjoying titles such as Elden Ring, Dying Light 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West, with the likes of God of War Ragnarok still to come.
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But which are the most anticipated games for the rest of the year, and which are the ones that we’re loving the most so far?

If you’re an avid gamer, then you need to be sure that your internet connection will hold up, especially if you’re playing multiplayer.

To ensure the very best broadband for gaming, see if you could get a fibre broadband or ultrafast broadband deal in your home. Fibre broadband, especially the full fibre connections that supply ultrafast broadband, are much more reliable when gaming. And you just might be surprised how many cheap broadband deals are available that still give you great download speeds.

The most anticipated video games of 2022

2022 has already seen some huge games released, however, many publishers save their biggest titles for the second half of the year in the run-up to Christmas.

No matter which console you play on, there are loads of exciting new games on the horizon. To see which are the most anticipated video games of 2022, here are the upcoming titles that have received the most Google searches in the last twelve months.

Hogwarts legacy is the most anticipated video game of 2022, followed by God of War Ragnarök and Starfield.

1. Hogwarts Legacy - 14.5 million searches

The game that has been receiving the most interest overall is the long-awaited Hogwarts Legacy, with 14.5 million searches in the last year.

Harry Potter fans have been waiting for an open-world RPG game set in the Wizarding World for years, and the game’s trailer is the most viewed of all time on the official PlayStation YouTube channel.

2. God of War Ragnarök - 13.1 million searches

Second place goes to the sequel to one of the biggest games of 2018, God of War Ragnarök.

The original game is considered to be one of the best ever released on the PS4, so the sequel has a lot to live up to.

13.1 million people have searched for God of War Ragnarök in the past twelve months, showing just how excited gamers are for its release.

3. Starfield - 6.8 million searches

Bethesda Game Studios have built a name as one of the biggest and best developers of recent years, with franchises such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

However, 2022 will see them release their first game in an entirely new franchise for over 25 years, which has got gamers very excited.

6.8 million people have searched for info about Starfield in the last year, a sci-fi RPG set 300 years in the future.

RankGameSearch termAnnual search volume
1Hogwarts LegacyHogwarts Legacy14,522,000
2God of War RagnarökGod of War Ragnarok13,109,000
4Overwatch 2Overwatch 26,513,000
5Gotham KnightsGotham Knights4,701,000
6Marvel's Midnight SunsMidnight Suns4,206,000
7Diablo IVDiablo 43,669,000
8The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2Zelda Breath of the Wild 22,825,000
10S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of ChornobylSTALKER 22,566,000

2022’s most underrated video games

There are more great games to get your hands on than ever before, meaning it’s a truly great time to be a gamer. But aside from the big budget games of franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, there are others that don’t necessarily get the recognition they deserve.

Here are the games that were largely overlooked by gaming critics, but that were loved by the gaming community, making them the most underrated games of the year.

Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is the most underrated video game of 2022, followed by Touken Ranbu Warriors and MADiSON.

Critic reviews are often a good way of judging how good a game is, but it’s also important to consider what gamers think too. Here we’ve compared the average review scores of professional critics and users on Metacritic, with games that were higher rated by users being considered underrated, while those loved by critics but not by gamers being overrated.

1. Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires

Average critic score: 59.67
Average audience score: 89.67

The game where critics and users are furthest apart is Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires. Empires is a strategy-focused expansion of the original Dynasty Warriors 9 game and was criticiszed for its repetitive missions, lack of multiplayer and dull open world.

However, none of that seemed to bother gamers, who rated it 30 points higher than critics did (on average).

2. Touken Ranbu Warriors

Average critic score: 67.00
Average audience score: 92.00

Another Japanese game comes in second place, with Touken Ranbu Warriors, scoring 25 points higher with users than it did with critics.

Again, the reviews for this title weren’t great, but as a collaboration between the Touken Ranbu and Warriors franchises, it has a lot of loyal fans.


Average critic score: 72.50
Average audience score: 92.50

Third place goes to an indie psychological horror game called MADiSON. While it was fairly well received by critics, with an average score of 72.5, that was far surpassed by its audience score of 92.5.

While critics felt like it didn’t really stand out amongst other horror games, it clearly struck a chord with players, who rate it as one of the scariest games for years.

RankGameAverage critic scoreAverage audience scoreDifference
1Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires59.6789.67-30
2Touken Ranbu Warriors6792-25
4POSTAL 4: No Regerts3047-17
5THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake5773-16
7GhostWire: Tokyo7691-15
8Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel7184-13
8The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story7184-13
8Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem7083-13

2022’s most overrated video games

On the other hand, video game critics can sometimes overestimate how well a game will be received by fans.

And when gamers don’t like a game, they’ll make their feelings known. Many of the games in this section suffered from what is known as ‘review bombing’, where users bombard sites with negative reviews.

Gran Turismo 7 is the most overrated video game of 2022, followed by Diablo Immortal and Grand Theft Auto V.

1. Gran Turismo 7

Average critic score: 87.00
Average audience score: 20.00

While Gran Turismo was a hit with critics, due to its graphics and gameplay, other aspects didn’t endear it to gamers.

The use of microtransactions in gaming is always a contentious topic, and this combined with excessive ‘grinding’ (having to perform lots of repetitive tasks to progress) led to the game being ‘review bombed’ on Metacritic.

2. Diablo Immortal

Average critic score: 59.00
Average audience score: 3.00

Diablo Immortal received mixed reviews at best from critics, but even that was too high praise according to gamers, who scored it just 3 out of 100.

Again, the use of microtransactions played a part here, with scores of unhappy gamers leaving negative reviews for the game.

3. Grand Theft Auto V (Expanded & Enhanced) 

Average critic score: 80.00
Average audience score: 30.00

Grand Theft Auto V first launched in 2013, but an ‘Expanded & Enhanced’ version was released this year for next-gen consoles.

While critics recognised that GTA 5 is still amongst the best games of all time, fans were left frustrated that they were essentially being resold the exact same game as nine years ago, with little focus on new features or projects.

RankGameAverage critic scoreAverage audience scoreDifference
1Gran Turismo 7872067
2Diablo Immortal59356
3Grand Theft Auto V803050
4F1 228131.3349.67
5Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 574.52747.5
6Galactic Civilizations IV672344
7SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash844242
7Chocobo GP632142
9Conan Chop Chop723339
9The Waylanders531439

The most iconic video game characters

Sometimes, video game characters can transcend gaming itself and have a huge impact on pop culture.

In fact, many people who have never picked up a joypad would instantly recognise mascots such as Mario, Sonic and Pikachu.

But which are the most iconic video game characters? Here are the most well-known, based on Google search volume and Instagram posts.

Pikachu is the most iconic video game character, followed by Pac-Man and Mario.

1. Pikachu - Popularity score 9.9 / 10

Annual search volume: 49,080,000
Instagram posts: 8,205,257

Not a great deal of characters who first appeared in video games are well-known by the wider public, but that’s definitely the case with Pikachu.

By far the most well-known species of Pokémon, Pikachu is now an icon of Japanese pop culture, having appeared in other media such as the 2019 film Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

2. Pac-Man - Popularity score 9.6 / 10

Annual search volume: 54,710,000
Instagram posts: 1,701,776

Two characters are tied in second place, the first of which is Pac-Man. While his heyday may have been back in the 80s, Pac-Man had a huge impact on popular culture and is considered the first video game mascot.

As well as appearing in over 30 games over the years, Pac-Man has spawned huge merchandise lines and also appeared in two TV shows and even a hit single.

2. Mario - Popularity score 9.6 / 10

Annual search volume: 22,780,000
Instagram posts: 5,814,806

Tied with Pac-Man is another icon of gaming, Mario. Serving as Nintendo’s mascot, the Italian plumber has appeared in over 200 games since 1981’s Donkey Kong.

Like Pikachu and Pac-Man, Mario is an instantly recognisable figure in pop culture, appearing in games across different genres such as Mario Kart, as well as other media such as an upcoming feature film.

RankCharacterKnown from...Search termAnnual search volumeInstagram postsPopularity score /10
2Pac-ManPac-ManPac Man54,710,0001,701,7769.6
4Sonic the HedgehogSonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog28,420,0001,714,9849.5
5Lara CroftTomb RaiderLara Croft8,008,000768,1499.1
6KratosGod of WarKratos7,165,000717,9078.9
7RatchetRatchet & ClankRatchet2,862,0002,304,4798.8
8Crash BandicootCrash BandicootCrash Bandicoot6,123,000555,3918.6
8Chun-LiStreet FighterChun Li5,841,000585,7498.6
10Master ChiefHaloMaster Chief3,575,000553,7418.2

Social media is a pretty good way of judging how much something is being spoken about in the world, and the same goes for games. These are the 2022 games that have been shared the most on TikTok, Instagram, and Reddit.

Elden Ring is the most popular video game of 2022 on social media, followed by Dying Light 2 and Overwatch 2.

1. Elden Ring - Social media score 9.86 / 10

TikTok views: 6 billion

Instagram posts: 356,977
Reddit posts: 7.38 million

Elden Ring is probably the biggest gaming release of 2022 so far, taking gameplay from the Souls franchise and combining it with a story by George R. R. Martin.

The game was hugely popular, with more than 13.4 million copies downloaded in its first five weeks and hitting huge numbers on social media too.

2. Dying Light 2 - Social media score 8.84 / 10

TikTok views: 719.7 million

Instagram posts: 49,342
Reddit posts: 8.1 million

Another of the year’s biggest games is the sequel to 2015’s Dying Light. Dying Light 2 sold five million units in the first month of its release and has racked up huge numbers on social media, especially on Reddit.

It’s a survival horror game set in a zombie apocalypse and has proved popular due to its combat and parkour systems as well as the immersive open world.

3. Overwatch 2 - Social media score 8.71 / 10

TikTok views: 262.1 million
Instagram posts: 119,565
Reddit posts: 3.77 million

Third place goes to another sequel, Overwatch 2. Overwatch 2 is also the highest ranking game that hasn’t been fully released yet although some players have been given early beta access.

The first-person shooter game is the sequel to the 2016 original and focuses on player-versus-player combat.

RankGameKeywordTikTok viewsInstagram postsReddit postsSocial media score /10
1Elden RingElden Ring6,000,000,000356,9777,380,0009.86
2Dying Light 2Dying Light 2719,700,00049,3428,100,0008.84
3Overwatch 2Overwatch 2262,100,000119,5653,770,0008.71
4S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of ChornobylSTALKER 2272,800,00061,9291,320,0008.23
5Pokemon Legends ArceusPokemon Legends Arceus671,700,000236,098110,0007.69
6Horizon Forbidden WestHorizon Forbidden West143,200,000174,471187,0007.35
7Splatoon 3Splatoon 3118,700,00070,536347,0007.28
7God of War RagnarökGod of War Ragnarok393,400,00053,908219,0007.28
9WWE 2K22WWE 2K22465,100,000120,67476,8007.07
10The QuarryThe Quarry138,700,00038,550317,0006.73

Gaming sequels with the biggest improvement

When it comes to movies, it’s very rare that a sequel will surpass the original. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to games.

Gaming sequels often build on the best features of the original and make use of new and improved hardware.

Here are the video game sequels that were better received than the previous game in their franchises, according to critics.

The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, is the video game sequel that has seen the biggest improvement according to critics, followed by Dino Crisis 2 and Red Steel 2.
Sequel critic score: 95
Previous game critic score: 73

Looking at how video game sequels compare to the game that they followed, the game with the greatest improvement is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

While its predecessor was considered a critical success, A Link to the Past far surpassed it and is considered one of the best video games of all time.

2. Dino Crisis 2

Sequel critic score: 86
Previous game critic score: 66.5

In second place is Dino Crisis 2, which improved upon its original game by a score of 19.5.

The 2000 action-adventure game received an average score of 86 out of 100 with reviewers, compared to just 66.5 for the original.

3. Red Steel 2

Sequel critic score: 80
Previous game critic score: 63

Another game that saw a considerable improvement upon the original was Red Steel 2, for the Nintendo Wii.

The original game was one of the Wii’s launch titles but received mixed reviews, while the sequel is considered one of the console’s best titles so far.

RankSequelCritic scorePrevious gameCritic scoreDifference
1The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past95Zelda II: The Adventure of Link7322
2Dino Crisis 286Dino Crisis66.519.5
3Red Steel 280Red Steel6317
4Knack II69Knack5415
5Super Smash Bros. Melee92Super Smash Bros.7913
6Assassin's Creed II89Assassin's Creed80.338.67
7Uncharted 2: Among Thieves96Uncharted: Drake's Fortune888
8Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty96Metal Gear Solid88.57.5
9Tekken 396Tekken 2897
10Mass Effect 294.67Mass Effect88.336.33

Gaming remakes with the biggest improvement

Video game remakes are becoming increasingly common, with developers looking to play on our nostalgia or reintroduce classic games to new audiences.

However, getting a remake wrong can tarnish the legacy of the original. These are the ones that managed to strike that balance the best, according to critics.

Metroid: Zero Mission is the video game remake that has seen the biggest improvement, according to critics, followed by Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil.

1. Metroid: Zero Mission

Remake critic score: 89
Original critic score: 62.5

There was almost 20 years between the release of 1986’s Metroid and its Game Boy Advance remake, but the remake is considered one of the best of all time.

Aside from just replicating the original, Metroid: Zero Mission added new content and refined the gameplay for a modern audience.

2. Resident Evil 2

Remake critic score: 91
Original critic score: 78.5

Capcom is in the process of remaking its classic Resident Evil series, with the second game in the series proving the biggest improvement upon its original.

2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake was very faithful to the 1998 original, but easily outsold it and was a success with the critics too.

3. Resident Evil

Remake critic score: 91
Original critic score: 81

The remake of the original Resident Evil is also amongst the most highly regarded gaming remakes, averaging a score of 91 with critics (a slightly smaller improvement than the sequel).

Director Shinji Mikami felt that the original game hadn’t aged well and that the modern-day capabilities of the GameCube would better serve his original vision.

RankRemakeCritic scoreOriginalCritic scoreDifference
1Metroid: Zero Mission89Metroid62.526.5
2Resident Evil 2 (2019)91Resident Evil 2 (1998)78.512.5
3Resident Evil (2002)91Resident Evil (1996)8110
4Counter-Strike: Source88Counter-Strike817
5The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition87The Secret of Monkey Island816
6Yakuza Kiwami80.33Yakuza755.33
7Mafia: Definitive Edition78Mafia735
8Tomb Raider: Anniversary77.75Tomb Raider734.75
9Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX68Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team64.53.5
10Demon's Souls (2020)92Demon's Souls (2009)893

Which games have stood the test of time?

Games today have a much longer life cycle, whether that’s due to regular updates with new content or a thriving online multiplayer community.

Rather than losing players over time, many games continue to grow and peak in popularity long after their initial release.

Here’s a look at some of the most played games on Steam (an online gaming platform), how many people played them when they first launched, and how that number compares five years later.

Counter Strike, Global Offensive, is the number one video game to stand the test of time, followed by Stardew Valley and Euro Truck Simulator 2.

1. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - 2,319% growth

August 2012 players: 15,475
August 2017 players: 374,426

Counter-Strike comes top once again, and actually saw its popularity increase even further over its first five years.

The game’s popularity has endured in part due to a thriving esports scene with regular competitive leagues and tournaments across the world.

2. Stardew Valley - 2,302%

February 2016 players: 1,595
February 2021 players: 38,305

Only just behind Counter-Strike in terms of five-year growth is Stardew Valley at 2,302%. Stardew Valley has been something of a slow burn, seeing its player base grow by over 2,000% between 2016 and 2021.

This was helped by the addition of a multiplayer mode in 2018, as well as an active modding community that works to create new features and content.

3. Euro Truck Simulator 2 - 1,517%

January 2013 players: 1,235
January 2018 players: 19,979

Euro Truck Simulator 2 takes third place again, with its number of players on Steam growing by around 1,500% in the five years since its release.

While it might not seem the most obvious topic for an engaging video game, Truck Simulator has clearly built up quite a loyal following over the years.

RankGameMonthAverage playersMonthAverage playersDifference
1Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveAugust 201215,475August 2017374,4262319%
2Stardew ValleyFebruary 20161,595February 202138,3052302%
3Euro Truck Simulator 2January 20131,235January 201819,9791517%
47 Days to DieDecember 20131,378December 201813,770900%
5Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six SiegeDecember 20157,941December 202070,722791%
6World of Tanks BlitzNovember 20162,813November 202119,400590%
7Dead by DaylightJune 201611,248June 202148,769334%
8WarframeApril 201312,330April 201850,342308%
9The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special EditionOctober 20165,678October 202117,618210%
10War ThunderAugust 20134,119August 201811,969191%

2022’s biggest downloads

Downloading a game to your console rather than purchasing a disc means you get to enjoy it as soon as it launches and have instant access to all your games without swapping discs. Some consoles now even have cheaper ‘disc-free’ versions.

But with games ever expanding in scale and performance, the file sizes can be pretty huge. So, how long would it take you to download some of the year’s biggest games based on an average internet speed of 50.4 Mbit/s?

These times can vary quite a bit depending on your connection and it’s also important to know that many games launch with a ‘day one patch’ update too which could mean they take longer.

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5) has the biggest file size and download time, of 2022 video games, followed by Horizon Forbidden West (PS4) and Gran Turismo 7.

1. Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)

File size: 98GB
Estimated time to download: 259.3 minutes

Horizon Forbidden West isn’t just one of the biggest games of 2022 in terms of hype, but also in its file size too.

The PS5 version of the action RPG comes in at 98GB (interestingly, 11GB more than in the US) which means it will take around 259 minutes (over four hours) to download.

2. Horizon Forbidden West (PS4)

File size: 90GB
Estimated time to download: 238.1 minutes

If you’re playing on PS4, then Horizon Forbidden West will take less time to download, but only just.

The PS4 version of the game has a file size of 90GB, meaning that on an average connection it will take around four hours to download.

3. Gran Turismo 7 (PS5)

File size: 89.45GB
Estimated time to download: 236.6 minutes

With a download size that’s just a fraction behind Horizon Forbidden West is Gran Turismo 7, the latest instalment in the hugely popular Sim racing franchise.

The game has an initial download size of 89.45GB which would take just under four hours to download, but it’s expected that there will be additional content in future too.

RankGameConsoleFile size (GB)Estimated time to download (mins)
1Horizon Forbidden WestPS598259.3
2Horizon Forbidden WestPS490238.1
3Gran Turismo 7PS589.45236.6
4Grand Theft Auto VXbox Series X/S87.81232.3
5Grand Theft Auto VPS586.84229.7
6Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six ExtractionPC85224.9
6Sniper Elite 5PC85224.9
8Sniper Elite 5Xbox80211.6
9Tiny Tina's WonderlandsPC75198.4
10MLB The Show 22PS572190.5

Uswitch broadband expert, Max Beckett comments:

With big titles such as Hogwarts Legacy and God of War Ragnarök launching later this year, gamers are set for an exciting season of video game releases. But with so many highly-anticipated games launching throughout 2022, it can be hard to wade through all the options when deciding what to buy.

As is often the case, 2022’s biggest releases so far have been met with both praise and disappointment. So a good way to make sure you find a game that you’ll enjoy is to read reviews from the fans themselves, and see if the positive feedback matches up to what you like. Just be aware of any ‘review bombing’, where many people will give a dishonest negative rating of a game they haven’t played.

If you spot some games that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into, it might be worth checking your internet speed too. Games are so large nowadays that you could spend hours, or even days, waiting to download them if your connection is on the slow side. Plus, an ultrafast broadband connection could help your chances against opponents when playing online.

Methodology and sources

Creative Commons
Creative Commons