Metacritic sees fewer great games in 2012

Aggregator reports drop in 90+ review averages as downloadable games prove to be the best-received exclusives

Conventional wisdom says 2012 was a dud commercially, but it wasn't great critically, either. Review aggregator Metacritic this week released its annual recap, finding that 2012 produced a paucity of games with a 90+ review average.

In 2012, 18 console, PC, or handheld games received a 90+ review average,14 of those being console games. In 2011, 32 games surpassed the 90 mark, 23 of them console titles. Metacritic has been compiling year-end reports since 2009, and in that stretch, no year saw fewer top-tier titles released.

The report also provided some perspective on the strength of digitally distributed games. The best-reviewed game of the year was The Walking Dead, a retail compilation of Telltale Games' downloadable episodic adventure series. Digital titles also fared well in the platform-exclusive categories. The top four PlayStation 3 games--Journey, Dyad, The Unfinished Swan, and Retro/Grade--were all downloadable exclusives. On the Xbox 360, digital exclusives Trials Evolution and Fez took the first and second spots, respectively. The 3DS and PlayStation Vita also saw downloadable-only titles rate highly, accounting for two of the top five best-reviewed exclusives on each system.

Latest comments (5)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
And I guess Wii U games didn't really help. But that should change next year once they roll out more of their marque titles.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Maybe it wasn't fewer great games, maybe it was more realistic reviews.
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University5 years ago
I'm agreed with Bruce on this one. The huge number of "universal acclaim" reviews have bothered me a little in recent years. Yes, there have been some absolute gems, but surely as an industry expanding, there should be a more diverse array of critical reaction to software? Hopefully this is a sign that's the direction we're going in.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters5 years ago
I disagree. I simply can't think of many great games last year. I can think of plenty from past years.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
I think it's a byproduct of the games that released and a general weariness with this generation of consoles. If it's not higher in 2013 with the games that are planned, I'll be shocked.
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