10 games that are well worth returning to in 2022

A player tends a busy farm in Ooblets
(Image credit: Glumberland)

We’ve all done it. Played hundreds of hours of a game on release and then just.. well… stopped. You didn’t know it would be the last time. That you’d never go back. But life happened. Something got in the way and those hundreds of hours were suddenly just a number somewhere and no longer your complete way of life. But the good news is that you can always go back and some games are all the better for returning to them after a few years away. 

And there’s no need to worry about muscle memory. You’ll get it back in no time and there will be plenty of new things to reward you for returning to the fold. Your IRL friends in game might not be as forgiving but they’ll come around after your first mission or two. Don’t worry, we’ve added a couple of single player experiences to this list so you don’t need to face the guilt. Here are the games worth returning to in 2022.   

Sea of Thieves

A chunky pirate with a goatee surrounded by friends in Sea of Thieves

(Image credit: Rare)

Available on: Xbox, PC 

Now embarking on a rum-drenched season 7, Sea of Thieves is the perfect game to go back to in 2022. Over the years since release this beautiful sail ‘em up has added ships pets, treasure hordes of customization options, cooking, and endless ways to feel even more like a true pirate. This year alone the game has added a full suite of swashbuckling upgrades, including letting us name our ship - complete with engraving which can be spied through spyglasses from afar - and added the ability to fully customize our captain’s quarters. Importantly, despite the constant drops of fresh DLC - downlootable content? - Sea of Thieves never feels like it’s too complex for new players. Thanks to aesthetic-only upgrades, these seas are equally welcoming for fresh recruits so you can always add to your crew without anyone feeling like you’re making them walk the plank. 


A giant praying mantis next to a human player character in Grounded

(Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Available on: Xbox Series X/S, PC 

Despite feeling like a full game already, Grounded has actually been in Game Preview mode across Xbox and PC with a full release coming September 27. And Obsidian’s ‘buggy but in a good way’ survival game isn’t just ticking over to version 1.0 without any upgrades. If you’ve been taking on the horrors of the back garden since the initial release you’ll be pleased to hear that a new Cookery building will replace the Oven and that a new shared worlds feature means you can create a fresh world that is stored in the cloud and can be played by friends when you’re not online. Add in a stack of new armor and weapon changes and, oh yes, a pet gnat, and Grounded’s surprisingly terrifying survival experience is going to feel better than ever at launch. Even if you do have to turn the spiders into glowing light orbs to be able to play...

No Man's Sky 

A range of alien species in No Man's Sky

(Image credit: Hello Games)

Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch

Let’s get this out of the way now. No Man’s Sky is not the same game that was released in 2016. In the six years since, developer Hello Games has revolutionized the entire experience with a fittingly seemingly infinite number of upgrades and patches. Want to ride on procedurally generated creatures? Feed them and harvest their faeces for craftables? How about build a freighter base from scratch all the way down to the decor? Or add cultivation chambers where you can farm crops all day? Maybe you want to travel via wormholes or meet organic frigates swimming across the galaxy like space squid? And that’s just the recent Endurance update. Multiplayer with friends is now seamless and No Man’s Sky feels incredible to play. To enter this endless universe in 2022 is to realize that you might actually not need to play anything else ever again.        



(Image credit: Glumberland)

Available on: Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch

The cute overload of Ooblets has been lurking in Early Access for a few years now but these adorable critters have finally had a full release across Xbox, PC, and Switch. This means true coziness as we arrive in a town of charming individuals and ludicrously squee-inducing creatures with names like Spuddle, Wigglewip, and Clickyclaws. While we’ve already had the pleasure of growing them from seeds and having them battle in dance-offs - a welcome change from traditional Pokemon-style brawls - the Ooblets experience hasn’t been complete until now. The full release has a conclusion to the main storyline, some final balancing, fresh customization options, and entirely new locations for us to explore while followed by a little troop of squishy-looking individuals. Given the scale of previous locations and the love that’s clearly gone into making them feel unique, this is the best excuse we need to dive back in. Come on, Fleeble has been missing you.          


A gloriously pink-tinged overworld city in TemTem

(Image credit: Crema)

Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Let’s stay on the cute train - look, even the steam from the engine has a happy face - and celebrate the full release of Temtem. Luckily, GameFreak’s lawyers don’t appear to have noticed this absolutely delightful multiplayer Pokemon-alike, and it’s now available across consoles as well as PC, where it’s been in Early Access since early 2020. Even in its original incarnation, jumping into the game with a friend was instantly compelling as we caught and trained up the many varieties of Temtem to become the ultimate trainer. Version 1.0 of the game has made some big upgrades across the board. The dev team has been sharing its secrets in a so-called Golden Week of changes before launch but there’s been an overhaul of the campaign mode, with big changes regarding NPC numbers to make it a slicker experience. Add in economy changes, balancing, and location upgrades and this looks truly worthy of its 1.0 tag. We choose you, Temtem….        

Destiny 2 

Destiny 2 Lightfall

(Image credit: Bungie)

Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Fallen off the Destiny 2 horse, Guardian? Not to worry, there are plenty of Light-filled reasons to reunite with your Ghost. To say Destiny 2 has been through some changes since its original release in 2017 is a colossal understatement. While the central gameplay remains the satisfying same whether you’re a Hunter, Warlock, or Titan, Bungie’s sprawling shooter is now free to play. Destiny 2: New Light gives you access to all of the original Destiny 2 campaigns and locations prior to the Forsaken and Shadowkeep add ons. This means that even if you don’t want to spend a penny - or save your Silver for spending in Tess’ Eververse shop - there’s hours of free content. Obviously the new season passes will deliver new campaign missions if you do want to invest - and let’s face it, you probably will - but you can at least spend as much time as you want dancing in the tower between free missions.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 

Eivor fights alongside another viking in Assassin's Creed Valhalla

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

 Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC 

We’re still years away from the hooded stealth as a live service model apparently on the way in Assassin’s Creed Infinity but Assassin's Creed Valhalla’s post-launch content is a good indicator of what might be on the cards. If you were swigging mead with Eivor on release back in 2020, you’d have been forgiven for stopping after the, oh, hundred or so hours of open world viking-ing, but two years of consistent updates mean that you should definitely consider picking up your axe again. On top of the paid campaigns of Wrath of the Druids, the rat-filled Siege of Paris, and this year’s more fantastical Dawn of Ragnarok, there’s been a slew of free add-ons. The recent roguelike addition is fun but Creed fans shouldn’t miss the Crossover Stories miniature campaign that takes Eivor to the Isle of Skye. Here they meet none other than AC: Odyssey’s Kassandra for some Apple of Eden-related hijinks. There’s even a bonus mission to play first in Odyssey to fully set up the narrative. Yes, sweet Assassin’s Creed dreams are truly made of this.     

Stardew Valley 

A farm during fall in Stardew Valley

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android 

ConcernedApe or Eric Barone has mostly moved onto his new project, The Haunted Chocolatier, but that’s only after years of free huge additions to Stardew Valley. We say mostly because he’s still tweaking the farming masterpiece in 2022.  And it’s not just been the odd quality of life update to make your planting adventures easier; depending on when you put down your pixelated hoe, you could have missed multiplayer, adding fish to your farm, and even a whole new island of tick off-ables. Despite the fact that keen Stardew players would have happily paid for new additions, everything has been entirely free and that means that over the six years since release, the game has transformed dramatically in size and scope. There’s even a hidden room on Ginger Island with some serious end-game content. We’ll even give you a helping hand to get there. You’ll need iridium, battery packs, and hardwood to fix the boat at the back of Willy’s hut…     

Microsoft Flight Simulator 

Landing at sunset in Microsoft Flight Simulator

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Available on: Xbox, PC 

On release in 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator felt like a true wonder. With the genuine possibility of ‘I can see my house from here’ moments, and a literal world of sightseeing, the game appealed equally to both seasoned fliers and wet behind the ears pilots who immediately turned on every single assist. And somehow, the dev team at Asobo Studios has managed to keep both camps happy with constant new additions over the last two years. To, quite literally keep the game real, locations have been fully overhauled with fresh photogrammetry and there has been a steady drip of new locations like the Las Vegas Strip and a variety of airports. Plus, in somewhat less realistic news this year, Asobo added the Halo Infinite Pelican ship for us to fully embrace our inner Master Chief. It also revealed a special 40th anniversary edition of the game with vintage aircraft and helicopters that will be released in November 2022 and, most importantly, will be free for existing players


Watching with a torch and watching a security cam feed in Phasmophobia

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

Available on: PC 

The brilliant thing about games being in Early Access for extended periods of time means that even a year or two away from a game can make a huge difference. On release, Phasmophobia was terrifying enough with its instantly understandable ghost hunting with friends formula but the scares are more intense than ever in 2022. Custom difficulty is on the way in the near future but there have been big changes in ghost behaviours and quality of life improvements as well as all new spectres and spooks to identify. These randomised monstrosities will now follow you around corners, and, terrifyingly, now open lockers and closets to look for you unless you hold them shut. Read that sentence again and wonder how it could possibly be an “improvement.” Add in truck revamps and ghost hunting equipment upgrades and Phasmophobia is scarier than ever. Check the update roadmap if you dare.     

Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.