Presenting the Steam Awards 2022

The Steam Awards 2022 come to a close. Source: Steam.

By Angelina Tang

On January 4th, 2023, the annual Steam Awards winners were announced, featuring the critically acclaimed Elden Ring for Game of the Year and also recognizing popular titles such as Stray, Cyberpunk 2077, and Raft.

The Steam Awards are a yearly event that all Steam community members can vote in. This year, eleven categories were present, with five nominations under each one. The results were announced on Steam on January 4th. Let’s take a look at the winners!

It’s no surprise that the Game Awards winner Elden Ring received Game of the Year. It’s a third-person action RPG released in 2022, developed by FromSoftware and published under Bandai Namco. The player character is on a mission to repair the Elden Ring and become the Elden Lord. The fantastical open world is free-roaming, meaning you aren’t stuck doing the story and can instead explore if you so desire. Several classes of weapons and magic exist in combat, and online multiplayer is an option. The game has been critically acclaimed, and over 17.5 million copies were sold by October 2022. It also won the Steam Awards for the Best Game You Suck At.

For VR Game of the Year, Hitman 3 won with its Steam VR access. It’s a stealth game released in 2021 under IO Interactive as the eighth installment in the Hitman series. You play as Agent 47, an assassin taking out the leaders of the secret organization Providence. Its non-VR version was the most commercially successful game in the series, but the VR version has had mixed reviews. Some people say it’s disappointing, and it has a 5/10 on Steam with 80 reviews; however, some also say it looks great. Its victory in the Steam Awards has positive implications for its future, though.

Next up, Cyberpunk 2077 won Labor of Love. It’s a third-person action RPG released in 2020 under CD Projekt. It takes place in Night City from the original 1988 Cyberpunk tabletop RPG, where you play as a mercenary named V who struggles with an implant placed in his body threatening to overwrite his person with the personality and memories of a dead celebrity. The game follows the two personalities working together to separate themselves. It has been anticipated since 2016. It has been praised for its visuals and story, but has received criticism for its themes, representation of transgender characters, and–most notably–its many bugs. It was removed from the Playstation Store for a while in early 2021 while these bugs were fixed. CD Projekt were also sued for the way they downplayed the severity of the bugs before release, and it was settled for $1.85 million. However, the game has since improved in performance and the developers have persevered in fixing it. An expansion is releasing in 2023, and a sequel is in the works.

Better with Friends was won by Raft, an open-world survival game released in 2022, developed by Redbeet Interactive and published under Axolot Games. It can be played in first or third-person, singleplayer or multiplayer. In it, the player navigates the ocean on a tiny raft and fights to survive by gathering resources, discovering various landmarks in the flooded world, and ultimately searching for the player character’s husband and daughter. The game was originally free on indie platform in 2016, before being released as early access on Steam in 2018. The developers are still regularly updating the game, and it has been immensely popular, being the third-most played title on Steam and selling over 400,000 copies sold within two weeks after launch.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales took the win on Outstanding Visual Style. It’s a third-person action-adventure game released in 2020, developed by Insomniac Games and published under Sony. It was inspired by the Miles Morales Marvel comics and 2018 film Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. The player controls Miles and can freely roam NYC to interact with characters, undertake missions, and progress in the main story, in which Harlem is threatened by a corporate war. Miles must juggle his role as a civilian and as Spider-Man while defending his home. The game was well-received; by July of 2021, it had sold 6.5 million copies, and it was the sixth best-selling game of 2021.

Most Innovative Gameplay was taken home by Stray, a third-person adventure game released in 2022, developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published under Annapurna Interactive. The game follows a stray cat who is trying to escape a walled-in city populated by robots in order to return home. The out-of-the-ordinary player character–a cat with the ability to leap up walls and traverse small spaces–offered unique design and gameplay opportunities. It was highly anticipated and critically acclaimed, winning accolades from the Golden Joystick Awards and The Game Awards.

The Best Soundtrack belongs to Final Fantasy VII Remake, an action RPG released in 2021 under Square Enix. It is the first in a series of remakes of the 1997 Final Fantasy VII trilogy. The player controls the mercenary Cloud Strife, who works with eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE in their mission to stop the mega-corporation Shinra from draining the planet’s life essence. Gameplay mostly includes real-time strategy-based combat, where you can control multiple characters fighting enemies. More than just its gorgeous soundtrack, it was also praised for its narrative, gameplay, and visuals, receiving two accolades at the 2019 Game Critics Awards and two at the 2020 Game Awards.

Outstanding Story-Rich Game was won by God of War, an action-adventure game released in 2018, developed by Santa Monica Studio and published under Sony Interactive Entertainment. It’s the eighth installment in the God of War series. It’s inspired by Norse mythology and takes place in the ancient Scandinavian realm of Midgard, in which you play as Kratos, the former Greek God of War. He embarks on a journey with his son, Atreus, to fulfill his late wife’s request that her ashes be spread from the highest peak of the nine realms. Along the way, they fight with monsters and gods of the Norse world. It has been highly critically acclaimed, with some even dubbing it one of the greatest video games ever made. By November of 2022, it has sold 23 million units and has won many awards worldwide.

The best game to Sit Back and Relax to is evidently Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. It’s a Lego-themed action-adventure game released in 2022 under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developed by Traveller’s Tales. The game adapts all nine Skywalker Saga films. Players can choose to start the game from any of the three Skywalker Saga trilogies and complete them in the order they want, featuring combat and exploration gameplay. Reviews have been generally positive, but considering how laid-back it is, critical acclaim is less important than the fun vibes and aesthetic.

Last but not least, the Best Game on the Go goes to Death Stranding Director’s Cut, an action game originally released in 2019 under Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by Kojima Productions. The game follows a dystopian world in which destructive creatures have begun roaming the land. Player character Sam Porter Bridges delivers supplies to isolated colonies and reconnects them with a wireless communication network. The open world gameplay allows players to explore and deliver cargo while avoiding monsters. Its original release in Japan was highly successful, being the best-selling game in its first week and selling 186,000 copies. It was the most successful debut of a new game in Japan for the eighth generation of consoles.

Overall, the lineup for this year’s Steam Awards is diverse and filled with great titles. If you’re ever bored during the long weekend on February break, then perhaps one of these games–or the many other great titles on Steam–can be a good fix for your boredom. Have fun!