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.
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?