Metacritic’s ‘Best Games of 2012′ Suggests Downgrade in Quality

Published 2 years ago by

Metacritic Best of 2012

By now gamers have already scanned many or most of the Game of the Year awards and Top 10 lists that have been created to celebrate 2012, and while many games can be considered runaway successes there was a general lack of “wow” titles. Metacritic for example, when posting their year-end wrap up, posted some metrics that highlight just how low the overall quality (as indicated by review scores) of this year’s releases was.

In their post, Metacritic awards The Walking Dead (the retail release) with their overall Game of the Year — which recognizes a specific year’s highest scoring game. Each individual episode of The Walking Dead, however, never reached a score higher than 89, but the retail release hit an average of 94. It’s important to mention that The Walking Dead collection only just released, and has only been reviewed by 9 sites, but Metacritic felt it deserving of the award.

When compared to past years, though, The Walking Dead‘s 94 is the lowest score for a Game of the Year since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City back in 2003. Last year, for example, the award went to Batman: Arkham City, which boasts an average of 96.

The post also features some interesting metrics like a list of every title that achieved an average over 90 (games like Far Cry 3, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Borderlands 2) as well as which console exclusives were the highest scoring (PS3 — Journey, Xbox 360 — Trials Evolution, Wii — Xenoblade Chronicles). They also highlight the best-reviewed games per console, including multiplatform titles, which features a lot of repeats. Nonetheless it’s quite an interesting read, but it also highlights where we are in terms of quality.

Metacritic Best Reviewed Games

Although 2012 was filled with a bevy of worth-playing games there was a surprising lack of quality, triple-A content when compared to year’s past. And of those games that would appropriately fit into that category — games like Assassin’s Creed 3, Mass Effect 3, and Black Ops 2 — most were looked at more so as disappointments or low points for gamers overall rather than outright successes.

Granted, there were still plenty of games to get excited about, but overall — and especially when taking Metacritic’s data into consideration — we have begun a downward trend, potentially a byproduct of the waning console generation.

On the other hand, 2013 has the potential of sending the current cycle out in style with games like BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and Grand Theft Auto 5 all releasing before the mid-point of the year. Whether or not the selection as a whole will live up to those high benchmarks is yet to be determined, but at-a-glance things are looking up for this year.

What do you think of Metacritic’s list for Game of the Year candidates? Do you agree that 2012 was a weak year by comparison?

Source: Metacritic

TAGS: Far Cry 3, Halo 4, Journey, Mass Effect 3, The Walking Dead, Trials Evolution, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Xenoblade Chronicles

  • Scrambles

    how does a rating of 90+ mean bad quality?

  • vain

    I think what he meant by that was that most of the games he mentioned directly (AC3, BKOP2, ME3) did get some negative feedback. Those three games were the most anticipated, and all of them felt like they were pushed out to fast. The only game on that list that blew my mind really was Mark of the Ninja. The rest felt like the same old concept from previous games, adjusted to make it feel new. AC3 I only played through once, and I didn’t even bother to play Black Ops 2.

    Developers have done all they can with the technology they have now, and these franchises are becoming watered down. Its time for a new console, and some new ideas from a story perspective.

    • jwalka

      how does tech effect story, new mechanics etc ? developers aren’t the ones ot blame (not entirely) it;s the a**hole publishers that force them to make garbage to begin with. i bet if tryarc wasn’t affiliated with activision, they’d be making great games 😉

      • dan

        I don’t always side with J, but when I do, it’s about the irrelevance between story and tech.

  • bleeples

    It just dawned on me that I don’t have a game from 2012, nor have I played one except for like 5 minutes of some stupid Call of Duty game at a friend’s house.

    What I’m trying to say is, yeah, I’ve confirmed this year is terrible. You can all thank me.

    • jwalka

      far cry 3 was amazing, hitman is decent if you look past its flaws, borderlands 2 is great with mates (garbage alone) and dishonored has been getting a lot of praise for a new IP so no this year hasn’t been entirely full of trash. just b/c you cant afford at least one of this years biggest games doesn’t mean they where all garbage 😛

    • ditto

      oh your one of those guys.

    • Vain

      It doesn’t. The writers for these games and the entire industry need to come up with something original instead of just staying with what they think works. I’m hoping Respawn will change it up with their shooter.

      • jwalka

        play far cry 3.

        • Ken J

          Yah, be original and play a 2nd sequel… 😛

  • ditto

    metacritic is garbage.

  • Paradigm_Shift

    There is always going to be that over-arching need for cash grabs because publishers won’t function without it. Sequels are falling into a pit belonging to misplaced potential and wasted opportunities, unless handled carefully handled by companies lead by avid gamers. It seems the best games are ones that even the developers would want to play, and after a while technological limitations start becoming an excuse rather than a reason.

    The platforms are fine, story is still regarded as high [if not the highest] priority, and in certain IPs, it shows. Metacritic never swayed my resolve to play a game before, and just because I agree with them about 2012 doesn’t mean anything.

    I’ll play the games I want, and give them my own numbers.

  • Alex


  • Alex

    lol seriously though.. this year was very good (although not quite as strong as last year). With next year having BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, and GTA V, i’m sure the meta score will increase significantly.

  • Alan Wink

    Seriously, new gaming systems aren’t the problem.Yes it was a slow year for gaming and maybe a bit disappointing. But it has nothing to do with new systems. Look at the ranks at the top. Walking Dead is the game of the year. Walking Dead was also an amazing game. The graphics were also good. They weren’t spectacular though. They are what you would expect from an HD game today. The game is a point and click game. Its not some amazing mulitplayer interactive game. What made it the game of the year? Obviously something had to do it. It was the story. Walking Deads story was incredible. the developers need to stop complaining about the current gen systems and start making better stories for there games. That is the problem.Stories make good games. Multiplayer is important but its being overdone. People have spoken walking dead was about an amazing story and thats the game of the year. Make better stories.

  • Ken J

    What do you expect when console gaming takes over? When the consumer accepts mediocrity, the game developers will happily deliver it…

    • Tim Keyes

      There are plenty of great games on consoles, and whether it’s console or PC is largely irrelevant to the quality of a game which extends far beyond pure hardware capabilities. The Walking Dead is an excellent example of a game that isn’t the most hardware demanding, but is widely praised and rightly so. A game’s quality is far more than good graphics but involves story, gameplay, audio, design, etc. There are some great games coming out this year to look forward to, and yes, they’ll be on console, as well as PC, and undoubtedly other platforms as well.

      Hopefully The Walking Dead will help serve as an example to publishers to put greater emphasis on story and characters, particularly in a franchise like Call of Duty or Battlefield where they often fall short. A game like Battlefield 3 but with a longer single player campaign, compelling characters and a gripping story would be excellent. Though most likely they’ll stay focused on being multiplayer games with single player components, and given their success so far, it seems it’s what consumers want.

      • Ken J


        I should have elaborated. It’s not purely just the hardware limitations I speak of, although that is part of it. It’s the “console gaming” culture. Even before the current generation of consoles, there have always been an invisible line separating the TYPICAL kinds of games you find on consoles versus PC. Generally speaking, console games are more arcadey, built for the more casual gamer that just wants to pick up a controller and run around randomly killing things to kill some time. While PC games had those, but also included deeper games that required more planning and more time investment. Things like making mods, custom levels, or just spending more time planning an attack than the actual attack itself like in the original Rainbow Six games made by Redstorm. Not to be confused with the crap Ubisoft made…

        Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some Goldeneye 64, almost all of the Mario games, Metroid, etc. But I feel that separation just gets bigger every year. Now you see the general public willing to accept a lower standard in EVERYTHING. Look at our tv shows. Sure there are still a lot of smart shows out there, but what have been exploding lately? REALITY SHOWS… Seriously. So instead of a smartly written drama, you’d rather watch a bunch of 1d10ts act like 1d10ts???

        Same thing with games. Games like Gears of War are considered “amazing” games, when the game literally holds your hands through the entire game, never for a moment letting you use that gray matter inside your head to figure things out on your own. And the level designs are already so linear, so it’s already dummy proof… God of War, I have beaten all of them, and they are button mashers, sorry to say, but as “cool” as the effects are, you can practically beat the entire game by mashing one or two buttons the entire time… Not really much of a challenge. And again, super linear to make sure you never get lost… And then people say Halo is such a great shooter. Seriously? I’ve played several Halo games, and ALL of them BORE me to death. So much repetition and weapons that don’t make sense (how is the handgun more powerful than the assault rifle???) among other things make it such a bland experience for me… The only innovative shooter that have come out semi-recently is the first Bioshock.

        But honestly, when it comes to shooters, my true loves are still the OLD Rainbow Six by Redstorm (again, NOT the garbage Ubisoft made), its sequel Rogue Spear, the ORIGINAL Operation Flashpoint (made by Bohemia Interactive, not that crap sequel made by Codemasters), and Half Life 2 and its episodic sequels. And I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not, but those games were all made back when PC gaming was considered the top of the food chain. After that changed, we got nothing but games that hold your hands through the entire game, treating the gamer as if they are stupid and cannot figure out how to get past the simplest obstacles. Yet instead of being insulted, gamers seem to accept it as standard, and now gamers are so blinded that they don’t realize just how mediocre the games are. So many times a console gamer will SWEAR to me that they can’t see a difference in graphics between the PC version and console version of games where there is a HUGE difference. Again, I know graphics are not everything, but this is just an example of how so many people are just blinded to believe that what they are playing is the best of the best when it’s not.

        Like for example, Batman Arkham City for the PC versus for the consoles. I played it all the way through on the PC. I was at a friend’s house and they were playing it on his PS3. Seriously, it looked so bad it was hurting my eyes. Jaggies EVERYWHERE, every texture was blurry, it looks downright terrible… Yet they were like “what do you mean? I think it looks great! The graphics are awesome!” I mean, seriously, some people need a wake-up call… And as much as I wanted to believe that the controls are better on consoles, because I actually thought that was true for most games except for shooters, but honestly, I would have perfect combos in every fight while playing on the PC and aced every flight challenge on the first or second try on the PC while on the console the flight challenges took me FOREVER, and even my friend who plays only console games it took him FOREVER to beat them too, and the fights were much harder to get good combos, much less perfect combos… So it turns out that the control scheme was better on the PC as well. I still think that racing games are best on consoles because of the joystick, unless you factor in racing wheels for the PC, but in terms of keyboard and mouse, the joystick is better for driving than the wsad keys for sure. But as far as a 3rd person action game like Batman or Hitman, the keyboard and mouse are superior. And for first-person shooters, there’s no question the keyboard and mouse are superior. Anyone who argues with that one is living in la-la land…

        So no it’s not all about the graphics, but about everything. Just the general lower standards that console gamers seem to be willing to accept in gameplay, and the control scheme. Not only is the mouse more precise and faster both at the same time, but the fact that there are more keys on a keyboard allows for games to be more involved. Instead of making every action binded to one key like on a console game, where no matter what you’re supposed to do, whether you’re pulling a lever, hacking a computer, lifting a object, turning a key, etc. etc. it’s ALL “press A.” On the PC, you can make a game where you have several keys that do different things and instead of having a hand-holding message pop up to where you need to be and what button you need to press, you can survey the area and see what needs to be done, go to the object, press the appropriate action button to do what you think needs to be done. If you’re right, it’ll work, if you’re not right, it won’t work. THAT’s how it should be…

        That’s what I meant by the consoles taking over. I meant the whole console gaming culture taking over… And seriously, if you guys are willing to pay $20+ more for the same games with worse graphics, there’s definitely some level of acceptance of mediocrity going on there, no question… *waits for the typical “you need to upgrade your PC ever year” myth to be brought up as usual…*

        And don’t talk about the exclusives. The only exclusives that are worth a crap are the Nintendo exclusives and Forza Motorsports… (why I have a Wii and my friend’s old Xbox 360, lol) Yah, I bought my friend’s Xbox for $60 just so I can play Forza 4, lol. 😀

        • dan

          Yeah, but, you need to upgrade your PC every year. lol

          • Ken J

            YES!! lol *throws arms up in V*