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Elden Ring has consumed much of our attention lately, trapping us in the Lands Between for so long that other games just don’t get a look in. And even now that we’re almost halfway through the year, its hold on us remains firm.
But 2022 has been a pretty cracking year for new releases so far—they’ve just had a trickier time lodging themselves in our brain while we’ve been trying to follow enigmatic quests or figure out the perfect strategy to topple the next cruel boss on the list. So here are all the great games that Elden Ring overshadowed: go show them some love.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: Games like Sifu and Elden Ring occupy similar parts of my brain, dedicated to bastard-hard games that people are able to do immensely impressive things inside. Sifu snuck out before Elden Ring, but by the time I’d psyched myself up to start playing, FromSoftware’s behemoth had arrived, and the FOMO was too strong.
In his opening paragraph to his Sifu review, Tyler makes it very clear what this game is and who it’s for: “Sifu’s protagonist wagers that revenge against the kung fu masters who murdered their father is worth their entire adult life, and as I fought one of those masters for the 20th time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was becoming the butt of a joke. Was mastering the ability to dodge bullshit spinning trip kicks really worth this portion of my lifespan?”
You’ll get your arse kicked, but eventually you’ll be glad of the bruises. Mastery is the reward. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But it’s a tad unfair to present Sifu as just another tough game in a long line of tough games. Where most soulslikes will take you weeks or months to finish, Sifu is a five-level journey, with each stage capped by a boss fight where there are no tricks, just raw combat ability.
It’s got its own quirks, too, like the way you age every time you’re resurrected, giving you 10 chances to complete your run before you’re too old and have to start again. But regardless of your age, you’re going to be firing off some impressive moves with all the style and grace you’d expect from a character who’s dedicated their life to beating up goons. And now that I’m done with Elden Ring, I can finally enjoy it.
Andy Chalk, NA News Lead: I loved Far: Lone Sails—just an absolutely magical game—so Far: Changing Tides was on my radar from the moment it was announced. It’s a brilliant evolution of the Lone Sails formula: The ship is larger and more complex, and the flooded game world isn’t just a dramatic visual shift from the arid desert of Lone Sails, it affords more varied opportunities for exploration. It’s everything I wanted.
But it came out just as I was on the cusp of giving Elden Ring, which I hated, one final try, urged on by tales of powerful magic spun by our online editor, Fraser. And holy cow, with a staff in my hand and some mana in my belly, Elden Ring clicked, very suddenly and very powerfully. Since then, it’s all I’ve played—poor Changing Tides sits, half-finished and ignored. It’s earned critical and player acclaim alike, including our 86% review and I hope that the two games are different enough that Elden Ring hasn’t impacted Changing Tides’ sales too much. But personally, I’m afraid I’ve made my choice: I will play Far: Changing Tides, and I will love it and sing its praises all day long—but first, the Lands Between beckon, and I must answer.
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Risk of Rain 2 was my personal pick for our GOTY awards in 2020, but I was too busy playing Elden Ring (and writing a whole lot about the Steam Deck to catch its first major expansion, Survivors of the Void, when it came out on March 1. I’ve been making up for that over the last few weeks, and damn is this expansion fantastic. It stars a couple great new character classes that are a lot of fun to play, including a sniper who gets guaranteed crits if you manage to hit enemy weak spots.
The best thing about the expansion is how much it fills out these roguelike runs with new variability. Instead of merely piling on more items, the expansion will randomly add “void zones” to some levels, which are dangerous bubbles that constantly sap your health and spawn particularly nasty enemies. Kill those enemies to dissipate the void zone, though, and you can access a new class of item that “corrupts” some of the ones you’ve already gathered. My favorite is the needletick, which turns your items that cause bleed into ones that “collapse” enemies instead. Pump up your attack speed and you’re basically detonating a dozen mini black holes on an enemy every second. Survivors of the Void is a $15 add-on to an already killer game. Hard recommend.
Chris Livingston, Features Producer: While most of the PC Gamer staff was sunk deep into Elden Ring, I was delving into Core Keeper, the early access crafting sandbox that’s a bit like Minecraft mixed with Stardew Valley with a healthy dose of Valheim thrown in. It’s got fishing, farming, and base-building, giving it a warm and cozy feel, but it’s also filled with horrifying monsters, powerful bosses, and tons of secrets to discover in a massive underground world. I’ve played over 40 hours solo and absolutely love it, and you can play co-op with up to 8 people, too.
Core Keeper definitely didn’t get ignored, selling half a million copies in its first two weeks on Steam, but I do think it would have gotten a bit more attention if Elden Ring mania wasn’t still in full swing when it launched. On the plus side, it’s still got plenty of time to find new players while it’s in early access. Dedicated servers have been added and a new ocean biome is in the works.
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: We’ve all had our eye on Tunic since 2016 when it was called Secret Legend and had aspirations to launch within a year. After years of little teasers and rare demos, it finally launched… right into Elden Ring’s shadow. If you’re worn out on the Lands Between, the little fox ARPG full of exploration, quick and sometimes tricky combat, and a mysterious little guide booklet should be your next stop.
Tunic is a fantastic study on classic action adventure and does its Zelda inspirations proud with puzzles, secrets, and gear collection. Its enemies can be intimidating at first, until you get the hang of circling them with your shield and swiping away with your sword at the right moment or tossing a little dynamite stick. Every area has treasures tucked away in hidden hallways and outcroppings you’ll have to be paying attention to find. Tunic earned every bit of the impressive 86% review we gave it.
Imogen Mellor, Features Producer: Calling Ghostwire: Tokyo great is maybe an exaggeration, but I still really liked Tango Gameworks’ latest adventure. Set in Tokyo after almost all its residents had been transformed into spirits, you play Akito, a man haunted by ghost-hunter KK in their mission to save the city.
In my review of Ghostwire: Tokyo, I basically called it the best PlayStation 3 game we’ve had in years, and I mean that as a compliment. While we were all stomping around the Lands Between, glorious as it was, it could get a little exhausting. There are so many decisions, so much lore, so many NPCs to try and save or help. Though Elden Ring is a stroke of genius, Ghostwire: Tokyo provided me some light relief. Combat that was fairly shallow but flashy and fun. Short little side missions that didn’t take you too far off the beaten track. A mainline story that could be finished in under ten hours. Ghostwire: Tokyo provided a really solid and fun diversion.
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: Weird West calls itself “an immersive sim from the co-creators of Dishonored and Prey” and that’s all I needed to hear. A supernatural western sandbox with zombies and pigmen that encourages quicksaving and creative problem-solving? I’m already in, no need to keep selling me.
It’s a stealth game seen from above, like Commandos or Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun, but you move with WASD rather than the mouse and have a bunch of hotkey abilities to keep track of—two sets at any time, one based on the character you’re playing this chapter, the other on which of your weapons is drawn. I guess it’s closer to isometric thief-em-up Seven: The Days Long Gone(, but who else even played that?
I feel like Weird West was overshadowed both because people still wouldn’t shut up about Elden Ring even as March died, but because it’s the kind of game that needs full focus. I didn’t end up finishing it at launch, and trying to return now is tough as old leather. There are a lot of systems to track, and once sneaking fails and shooting starts, things get chaotic. I hope more people give it a chance, because even though I’m struggling to get back into it I think there’s something fascinating in Weird West—if only I could chew through the leathery thing.
Nat Clayton, Features Producer: This is cheating, sort of. Teardown entered early access over a year and a half ago almost fully formed. I adore it, and yet in my absolute Elden Ring fugue state (plus a FromSoftware craving that saw me immediately dive head-first into Bloodborne, I’d completely slipped on it entering 1.0 until Robin assigned it to me for review.
Elden Ring isn’t solely to blame, of course. Teardown has been the thing that it launched as (read: a wonderfully chaotic voxel sandbox wrapped in a surprisingly compelling heist sim) for some time, and 1.0 was less a defining moment for the game than it was one final, welcome update. That’s just how early access goes. But Teardown was one of my favourite games of last year, and I should have spent the run-up to release reminding people how bloody good it feels to tear stuff down in its simulated voxel backlots. Instead, I was mired in conversations about what Godrick’s whole deal is, or banging my head against a Magma Wyrm at level 15, or taking a wee trip to Yharnam to keep my FromSoftware kick running as long as possible.
Teardown’s full release kind of came and went without fanfare, and that’s a shame. It’s a smashing great game, pun intended.
Original Post Great games that Elden Ring overshadowed