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13 games we've played during the summer gaming drought

Marvel’s Spider-Man screen shot
(Image credit: Sony)

The "summer gaming drought of 2022" is aptly named. If you check out the game release schedule this year, you may notice that ever since March, we've barely gotten any big-budget games from major developers. Titles such as Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Nintendo Switch Sports and Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have kept some gamers afloat, but hot new releases are few and far between.

Luckily, that's given us plenty of time to catch up on some other excellent games. We've polled the Tom's Guide staff about what they've been playing during the long summer drought, and the answers were spectacularly varied. Some of us have caught up on old classics; some of us dove headfirst into ongoing live-service games; some of us discovered that summer 2022 has, indeed, provided a handful of worthwhile new games.

Whatever the case, none of us has been bored. Read on to discover what we've played during the summer gaming drought of 2022, and let us know which titles you've been playing.

Destiny 2 

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen screen capture

(Image credit: Bungie)

Destiny 2 has been going on for so long that it's tough to remember what the game was even like at launch. After several expansions, most recently The Witch Queen, the solar system has been shaken up to the point where entire planets have literally disappeared.

Despite all these changes, the game still remains an enjoyable massively multiplayer online first-person shooter role-playing game (MMOFPSRPG). That's as ridiculous a descriptor now as it was when the original Destiny launched in 2014. But it does highlight how this game has something for everyone. You can play with your friends, explore gorgeous vistas by yourself, or invest hours into spreadsheets and companion apps to land on the perfect gear. The only thing you can’t do is go to Venus — unless Bungie brings the world back during its showcase on August 23. – Malcolm McMillan

Doom (2016) 

steam summer sale

(Image credit: Steam)

Despite being out for more than six years, the Doom reboot from 2016 has proven to be one of my top games in 2022. Doom (2016) is the first game I actively finished this year — at least in terms of games that I've never played or completed before.

I'm glad that I went back to finish Doom. The smooth gameplay, rip-and-tear soundtrack and general brutality proved cathartic during a stressful period for me. When life got a little too overwhelming, I’d boot up Doom and take out my frustrations on some demons. 

I look forward to Doom Eternal, but I have some other games in my library that I’d like to finish first. Still, I can’t wait to step into Doomguy’s shoes once again and kill some more demons. - Jordan Palmer

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda)

There’s never a bad time to replay The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and I’ve found myself returning to its snowy peaks and picturesque valleys over the past few months. For me, it’s the perfect game to play in short bursts when I’m not looking for anything mentally taxing. After hundreds of hours of play across multiple generations of hardware, I’m so familiar with Skyrim that half the time, I can quote quest dialogue back at an NPC. And yet I never seem to tire of this epic role-playing adventure. That’s a testament to how fundamentally compelling Skyrim’s expansive world feels. The game's RPG systems may be a little underwhelming, and the floaty combat felt dated, even in 2011. But Skyrim is a video game world that feels like home. - Rory Mellon

Final Fantasy XIV 

final fantasy xiv endwalker

(Image credit: Square Enix)

If you follow Internet memes, you've probably heard about the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, with an expanded free trial that includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award winning Heavensward expansion. The meme accurately captures the passion of the FFXIV fan base; what it doesn't communicate is just how much fun the game is to play. After playing through the base game and the first expansion, I decided to upgrade to the full version of FFXIV, and it's just about the only game I've played since then. FFXIV is a huge, ongoing adventure that lets you create your own avatar and team up with other players to fight challenging monsters. But it's also a fashion show, a collectible card game, a crafting simulator, a virtual chatroom and so much more. - Marshall Honorof 

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite screenshot

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo Infinite is a complicated game. On the one hand, if you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get a Halo game that you can play on your Xbox, PC and smartphone, which also has great gameplay mechanics, pretty good graphics and an intriguing open-world campaign. However, if you don’t have Xbox Game Pass, or an à la carte copy of the game, you are left with a free-to-play multiplayer FPS that feels lacking in deep content.

That’s OK, though, because Halo Infinite is best played in short bursts. The gameplay is still good, and enjoyable in sprints. Just hop on for 10 minutes to an hour, shoot some friends (or some Grunts, if you have access to the campaign) and have fun. There’s no need to sit down and play for an entire day. Despite its name, Infinite works best in small doses. – Malcolm McMillan

Last Call BBS 

last call bbs

(Image credit: Zachtronics)

While I hope it’s not truly the last game we see from developer Zack Barth, Last Call BBS is a great game to go out on, blending challenging puzzle design with an earnest love for the glory days of the bulletin board system. I’ve this game for hours, patiently waiting a few minutes each time I had to “dial in” to the game's fake BBS and download one of its made-up puzzle games. The selections run the gamut from cute to horrifying. The eight “games” I’ve downloaded and played so far include everything from a fantasy take on Minesweeper, to an assembly-line puzzler, in which you design complex chains of machines. While you need an appreciation for the retro ‘90s aesthetic to really vibe with Last Call BBS, it's a good time for those who love puzzles and the early days of the Internet. - Alex Wawro 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 

breath of the wild

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The fact that I spent the first half of the year playing Breath of the Wild owes less to the 2022 gaming drought, and more to my purchase of a Nintendo Switch OLED at Christmas. After all, I’ve been waiting five years to play BOTW. Even if 2022 had been packed with great games, they’d have been behind it in the queue. Somehow, this game has been worth the wait. I knew I’d love BOTW’s open-world RPG format, but I wasn’t prepared for how liberating it would be to climb every peak, swim every river and explore every cave. BOTW encourages and rewards exploration like no other game I’ve played, and I can’t think of a better world than Hyrule in which to have spent six months. — Marc McLaren 

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered 

Marvel's Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

While my colleagues have been eagerly anticipating the launch of Marvel's Spider-Man on PC, I’ve been web-deep in the remastered version on PS5. I blasted through the PS4 version of the game right after launch, then left it to gather dust on a shelf while I did other things. Now seems like the perfect time to load up the enhanced PS5 version and reach 100% completion. The PS5 version may not have modding potential, but everyone can agree that web-swinging through New York is a heck of a lot of fun. The best part: Spider-Man is a game you can easily pick up after a long absence, meaning you can play as much or as little as you like. - Tom Pritchard 

Resident Evil 7 

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard image

(Image credit: Capcom)

I loved Resident Evil 7: Biohazard when it first launched back in 2017, but never found the time to revisit it. However, the recent drought of new releases, coupled with the game’s launch on PS5, felt like a clear sign that it was time to walk the halls of the Baker Mansion once again.

Resident Evil 7 takes the best parts of the classic RE formula, while also moving the series forward with a new protagonist and a first-person perspective. Meeting the twisted Baker family is a highlight, but the locations you'll explore are the most memorable parts of the game. I even tried the game in VR earlier this month, and I’ve had to sleep with the light on ever since. - Rory Mellon 

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition 

the secret of monkey island special edition

(Image credit: LucasArts)

There's a new Monkey Island game on the way, which means that now is the perfect time to catch up on the series. If you've never played one of these rollicking pirate yarns before, the best place to start is with The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. This remaster of the original 1990 point-and-click adventure game includes revamped graphics, voice acting for every line and a helpful hint mode that can point you in the right direction. You play as Guybrush Threepwood, mighty pirate, who travels around the Caribbean in his quest to confront the ghostly Captain LeChuck. With clever puzzles, a sharp script and a brilliant insult-swordfighting system, The Secret of Monkey Island is still one of the best pirate games you can play. - Marshall Honorof 

Sonic Origins

Sonic Origins

(Image credit: Sega)

I’ve been playing the games that comprise the Sonic Origins collection for decades. Why? Because they’re the best 2D Sonic games, and arguably the best titles in the entire franchise. This specific collection isn't identical to previous compilations, for better or worse. Sonic 3, in particular, features different music on certain levels. New animated intros and outros tie each game together, and form a somewhat cohesive narrative. There is also a great deal of bonus unlockable content, such as concept art, remixed themes, a boss rush mode, challenge stages and more. Sonic Origins may not be the best Sonic the Hedgehog compilation ever, but it’s still pretty great overall. - Tony Polanco 

Stardew Valley  

best ios games: stardew valley

(Image credit: Chucklefish)

I never played Harvest Moon as a kid, so I was surprised to find out just how much fun running a virtual farm can be. In Stardew Valley, your late Grandpa saves you from your soulless corporate cubicle by bequeathing you a farm in a sleepy coastal town. From there, you have the freedom to do whatever you like, whenever you like. Farm, fish, dungeon-crawl or romance the townspeople, if you feel like it. It’s a refreshing change of pace compared to most games. The easygoing gameplay, coupled with adorable pixel-art graphics, make the game seriously addictive. The choice of how to play the game is yours and yours alone. — Tom Pritchard 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge 

TMNT: Shredder's Revenge

(Image credit: Dotemu)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the spiritual successor to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time that fans have wanted for years. It truly feels like a long-lost game from the early '90s,complete with era-appropriate graphics and a soundtrack to match. Aside from its presentation, Shredder’s Revenge is simply a blast to play, thanks to its responsive controls and whimsical animations. Laying a beatdown on robots, ninjas, aliens and mutants feels great. The game is at its best when you play it with a group of friends, especially if you can get a full party of six players. This is one of the best games released in 2022. - Tony Polanco 

Next: Here is the gaming Fall preview for 2022 and it looks exciting, with new entries in plenty of fan-favorite series. Plus, you can check out the 11 games to play while we wait for Breath of the Wild 2.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.