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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Search term||Annual search volume|
|1||Hogwarts Legacy||Hogwarts Legacy||14,522,000|
|2||God of War Ragnarök||God of War Ragnarok||13,109,000|
|4||Overwatch 2||Overwatch 2||6,513,000|
|5||Gotham Knights||Gotham Knights||4,701,000|
|6||Marvel's Midnight Suns||Midnight Suns||4,206,000|
|7||Diablo IV||Diablo 4||3,669,000|
|8||The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2||Zelda Breath of the Wild 2||2,825,000|
|10||S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl||STALKER 2||2,566,000|
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Average critic score||Average audience score||Difference|
|1||Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires||59.67||89.67||-30|
|2||Touken Ranbu Warriors||67||92||-25|
|4||POSTAL 4: No Regerts||30||47||-17|
|5||THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake||57||73||-16|
|8||Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel||71||84||-13|
|8||The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story||71||84||-13|
|8||Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem||70||83||-13|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Average critic score||Average audience score||Difference|
|1||Gran Turismo 7||87||20||67|
|3||Grand Theft Auto V||80||30||50|
|5||Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 5||74.5||27||47.5|
|6||Galactic Civilizations IV||67||23||44|
|7||SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash||84||42||42|
|9||Conan Chop Chop||72||33||39|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Character||Known from...||Search term||Annual search volume||Instagram posts||Popularity score /10|
|4||Sonic the Hedgehog||Sonic the Hedgehog||Sonic the Hedgehog||28,420,000||1,714,984||9.5|
|5||Lara Croft||Tomb Raider||Lara Croft||8,008,000||768,149||9.1|
|6||Kratos||God of War||Kratos||7,165,000||717,907||8.9|
|7||Ratchet||Ratchet & Clank||Ratchet||2,862,000||2,304,479||8.8|
|8||Crash Bandicoot||Crash Bandicoot||Crash Bandicoot||6,123,000||555,391||8.6|
|8||Chun-Li||Street Fighter||Chun Li||5,841,000||585,749||8.6|
|10||Master Chief||Halo||Master Chief||3,575,000||553,741||8.2|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Keyword||TikTok views||Instagram posts||Reddit posts||Social media score /10|
|1||Elden Ring||Elden Ring||6,000,000,000||356,977||7,380,000||9.86|
|2||Dying Light 2||Dying Light 2||719,700,000||49,342||8,100,000||8.84|
|3||Overwatch 2||Overwatch 2||262,100,000||119,565||3,770,000||8.71|
|4||S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl||STALKER 2||272,800,000||61,929||1,320,000||8.23|
|5||Pokemon Legends Arceus||Pokemon Legends Arceus||671,700,000||236,098||110,000||7.69|
|6||Horizon Forbidden West||Horizon Forbidden West||143,200,000||174,471||187,000||7.35|
|7||Splatoon 3||Splatoon 3||118,700,000||70,536||347,000||7.28|
|7||God of War Ragnarök||God of War Ragnarok||393,400,000||53,908||219,000||7.28|
|9||WWE 2K22||WWE 2K22||465,100,000||120,674||76,800||7.07|
|10||The Quarry||The Quarry||138,700,000||38,550||317,000||6.73|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Sequel||Critic score||Previous game||Critic score||Difference|
|1||The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past||95||Zelda II: The Adventure of Link||73||22|
|2||Dino Crisis 2||86||Dino Crisis||66.5||19.5|
|3||Red Steel 2||80||Red Steel||63||17|
|5||Super Smash Bros. Melee||92||Super Smash Bros.||79||13|
|6||Assassin's Creed II||89||Assassin's Creed||80.33||8.67|
|7||Uncharted 2: Among Thieves||96||Uncharted: Drake's Fortune||88||8|
|8||Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty||96||Metal Gear Solid||88.5||7.5|
|9||Tekken 3||96||Tekken 2||89||7|
|10||Mass Effect 2||94.67||Mass Effect||88.33||6.33|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Remake||Critic score||Original||Critic score||Difference|
|1||Metroid: Zero Mission||89||Metroid||62.5||26.5|
|2||Resident Evil 2 (2019)||91||Resident Evil 2 (1998)||78.5||12.5|
|3||Resident Evil (2002)||91||Resident Evil (1996)||81||10|
|5||The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition||87||The Secret of Monkey Island||81||6|
|7||Mafia: Definitive Edition||78||Mafia||73||5|
|8||Tomb Raider: Anniversary||77.75||Tomb Raider||73||4.75|
|9||Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX||68||Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team & Red Rescue Team||64.5||3.5|
|10||Demon's Souls (2020)||92||Demon's Souls (2009)||89||3|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Month||Average players||Month||Average players||Difference|
|1||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||August 2012||15,475||August 2017||374,426||2319%|
|2||Stardew Valley||February 2016||1,595||February 2021||38,305||2302%|
|3||Euro Truck Simulator 2||January 2013||1,235||January 2018||19,979||1517%|
|4||7 Days to Die||December 2013||1,378||December 2018||13,770||900%|
|5||Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege||December 2015||7,941||December 2020||70,722||791%|
|6||World of Tanks Blitz||November 2016||2,813||November 2021||19,400||590%|
|7||Dead by Daylight||June 2016||11,248||June 2021||48,769||334%|
|8||Warframe||April 2013||12,330||April 2018||50,342||308%|
|9||The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition||October 2016||5,678||October 2021||17,618||210%|
|10||War Thunder||August 2013||4,119||August 2018||11,969||191%|
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 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.
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.
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.
|Rank||Game||Console||File size (GB)||Estimated time to download (mins)|
|1||Horizon Forbidden West||PS5||98||259.3|
|2||Horizon Forbidden West||PS4||90||238.1|
|3||Gran Turismo 7||PS5||89.45||236.6|
|4||Grand Theft Auto V||Xbox Series X/S||87.81||232.3|
|5||Grand Theft Auto V||PS5||86.84||229.7|
|6||Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction||PC||85||224.9|
|6||Sniper Elite 5||PC||85||224.9|
|8||Sniper Elite 5||Xbox||80||211.6|
|9||Tiny Tina's Wonderlands||PC||75||198.4|
|10||MLB The Show 22||PS5||72||190.5|
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.