The Best Videogames of 2012

  • Publish Date: December 31, 2012
  • Comments: ↓ 22 user comments

PC games

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2012)
2012 Avg. Metascore 70.3
PC Games
vs. 2011 Avg. 70.0

A total of 114 computer games received positive reviews from critics last year, the highest figure for any gaming platform in 2012, an an increase by 13 compared to the total of green-scoring PC games released in 2011.

That improvement was at the lower end of the green score scale, however, as only four PC games achieved a 90 or higher in 2012 (or three, if you include only those games with at least seven reviews), matching the lowest yearly total of "great" PC games in the last six years. Just one of those great titles this year was exclusive to computer gaming: the MMORPG sequel Guild Wars 2, which emerged from a five-year development process to win over both critics and Metacritic users.

PCBest PC Exclusives, 2012
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
90 89 88 88 86
Guild Wars 2
Thirty Flights of Loving
Torchlight II
Diablo III
Football Manager 2013
PCBest-Reviewed Computer Games, 2012
  Game Publisher Metascore
1 Dishonored
PC Game of the Year
Bethesda Softworks 91
2Mark of the Ninja Microsoft Game Studios91
3Guild Wars 2 NCSOFT90
4The Walking Dead: Episode 5 - No Time Left Telltale Games89
5Borderlands 2 2K Games89
6Thirty Flights of Loving Blendo Games89
7XCOM: Enemy Unknown 2K Games89
8Mass Effect 3 Electronic Arts89
9Far Cry 3 Ubisoft 88
10Torchlight II Runic Games88
11Diablo III Blizzard Entertainment88
12Max Payne 3 Rockstar Games87
13Battlefield 3: Armored Kill Electronic Arts87
14Football Manager 2013 Sega86
15Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai Sega86
16Black Mesa Black Mesa Modification Team86
17Tribes: Ascend Hi-Rez Studios86
18Rayman Origins Ubisoft86
19 Out of the Park Baseball 13 Out Of The Park Developments 85
20 Hotline Miami Dennaton 85
21 Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Namco Bandai 85
22 The Walking Dead: Episode 3 - Long Road Ahead Telltale Games 85
23 The Walking Dead: Episode 2 - Starved for Help Telltale Games 84
24 PlanetSide 2 Sony Online Entertainment 84
25 FTL: Faster Than Light Subset Games 84
26 Orcs Must Die! 2 Robot Entertainment 83
27 Alan Wake Remedy Entertainment 83
28 Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Superbrothers 83
29 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Valve Software 83
30 Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Stardock 82
... and the worst:
177Deep Black: Reloaded Just A Game39
178Realms of Ancient War Focus Home Interactive39
179Legends of Pegasus Kalypso35
180 Hoodwink E-One Studio29
181Fray Brain Candy27

Games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding. Only games with 7 or more reviews are included in this and other rankings on this page.

Nintendo 3DS/DS

3DS Avg. Metascore 66.2
DS Avg. Metascore 67.6
Nintendo 3DS / DS

The past year wasn't especially memorable for 3DS gaming. While Nintendo's newest handheld platform seemed to get the better of its rival Sony device (then, the PSP) in 2011, this year brought tougher competition in the form of the Vita. And 3DS owners found no new "great" games awaiting them in 2012, while the device's highest-scoring title, Colors! 3D, wasn't even a game. Still, the average Metascore for 3DS releases in 2012 was up nearly 3 points, and there were 10 more positively reviewed 3DS games released this year (24 total) than the year before.

The fading DS platform also contributed a few more well-reviewed titles, though the number of scored releases for the DS fell from 61 in 2011 to just 14 in 2012. (Half of the latter received fewer than 7 reviews and thus are not included in the list below.)

3DSBest 3DS Exclusives, 2012
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
89 85 83 82 82
Colors! 3D
Collecting Smiles
Crashmo [Fallblox]
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Resident Evil: Revelations
3DSBest-Reviewed 3DS Games, 2012
  Game Publisher Metascore
1 Colors! 3D
3DS Game of the Year
Collecting Smiles 89
2Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward Aksys Games87
3Crashmo Nintendo85
4Kid Icarus: Uprising Nintendo83
5Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Nintendo82
6Resident Evil: Revelations Capcom82
7Art of Balance Touch! Shin'en82
8Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone Nintendo81
9Mutant Mudds Renegade Kid80
10The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave Genius Sonority Inc.79
11ZEN Pinball 3D Zen Studios79
12Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Square Enix78
13Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Konami78
14New Super Mario Bros. 2 Nintendo78
153D Classics: Kid Icarus Nintendo77
16Ketzal's Corridors Nintendo76
17Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Sega76
18Crimson Shroud Level 576
19Tales of the Abyss Namco Bandai75
20Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Square Enix75
... and the worst:
51One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP 2 Namco Bandai49
52One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP Namco Bandai46
53Johnny Kung Fu UFO Interactive44
54Block Factory Enjoy Gaming42
55RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D Atari39
DS Best-Reviewed DS Games, 2012
  Game Publisher Metascore
1 Pokemon Black Version 2
DS Game of the Year
Nintendo 81
2Pokemon White Version 2 Nintendo80
3Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Atlus Co.80
4Pokemon Conquest Nintendo80
5Inazuma Eleven 2: Firestorm Nintendo74
6Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard Nintendo74
7Thundercats Namco Bandai28

PlayStation Vita and PSP


Vita Avg. Metascore 69.7
PSP Avg. Metascore 71.2
PlayStation Vita / PSP

Three out of 2012's four highest-scoring handheld games (not including iOS) were found on the PlayStation Vita, and the first-year platform also edged out both Nintendo handhelds in average Metascore for 2012 releases. The Vita also managed one 90+ release: Persona 4 Golden, a port of the PS2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.

The number of scored 2012 releases for Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's Vita were virtually identical (77 vs. 76), but nearly 45% of the Vita's games received positive reviews compared to just 31% of the 3DS titles. Nintendo, of course, still has the edge where it counts: in hardware and software sales.

PSPPS VitaBest PlayStation Vita or PlayStation Portable Exclusives, 2012
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
88 87 83 83 82
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
Lumines: Electronic Symphony
Gravity Rush
Super Stardust Delta
PS VitaBest-Reviewed PS Vita Games, 2012
  Game Publisher Metascore
1 Persona 4 Golden
PS Vita Game of the Year
Atlus Co. 94
2Rayman Origins Ubisoft88
3LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Sony88
4Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack DrinkBox Studios86
5Sine Mora Digital Reality85
6Mortal Kombat Warner Bros. Interactive85
7Sound Shapes Sony84
8Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward Aksys Games83
9Lumines: Electronic Symphony Ubisoft83
10Gravity Rush Sony83
11BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend Aksys Games83
12Super Stardust Delta Sony82
13Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Konami81
14Uncharted: Golden Abyss Sony80
15Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Capcom80
16FIFA Soccer EA Sports79
17Need for Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game Electronic Arts79
18Street Fighter X Tekken Capcom79
19WipEout 2048 Sony79
20Retro City Rampage Vblank Entertainment Inc.78
... and the worst:
61Spy Hunter Warner Bros. Interactive50
62Dungeon Hunter: Alliance Ubisoft49
63Asphalt: Injection Ubisoft49
64Ridge Racer Namco Bandai44
65Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified Activision33
PSPBest-Reviewed PSP Games, 2012
  Game Publisher Metascore
1 Velocity
PSP Game of the Year
2Wizorb Beatshapers79
3Gungnir Atlus Co.68
4Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time Atlus Co.67
5Unchained Blades Xseed Games61

What do you think?

What are your favorite games of the past year? Let us know in the discussion section below, or cast your vote for your favorites in our Best of 2012 Users Poll.

Comments (22)

  • JRath  

    Far Cry 3 was the Game of the Year by a mile. Not sure why its Metascore is low because in all honesty it is an instant classic. The Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, and Max Payne 3 are all my following favorite games of this year (in no particular order). All in all it really was a slow year for phenomenal games and PS3 exclusives especially. Here's hoping 2013 is more like 2011. Now excuse me while I go back to playing Far Cry 3

  • Sainto  

    So was I seriously the only I one who didn't enjoy Far Cry 3 that much? It was nice for the first ten hours but after that I just got bored. The Walking Dead definitely deserves GOTY.

  • TitaniumDragon  

    One thing that is very noticable in these roundups is that the console reviewers appear to overrate their games relative to the PC versions; the PC versions are regularly cited as the superior version of these multiplatform games, and yet they receive lower average metacritic scores on the PC than on the consoles.

    This suggests some sort of scoring imbalance between them. Maybe they should be averaged across platforms for analysis like this?

  • DutchFortune  

    I think these figures are even a bit flattering on 2012 (at least for PC Games). If you look at the userscores there were a couple of hyped releases that simply couldn't live up to the fuss. Most notably Mass Effect 3 and Diablo III. The same goes for FIFA13 and Football Manager which are (as ever) reworks of their predecessors for the full price. Adding that to the equation, that really does make 2012 look like a meagre year for PC gaming.

  • Alienware  

    The Walking Dead is amazing and is deserving of the prize of best game of the year but is laughable how after having been underrated for most of his run throughout the five episodes, most reviewers suddenly started to screaming masterpiece after it won the goty handed by gametrailers.

  • GreenHawk99  

    The Walking Dead was incredible, deserved the award no doubt

  • partyintheback  

    2011 was the best year in years. You had fantastic, memorable games like Dishonored, The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, Sleeping Dogs, Binary Domain, The Walking Dead, and many, many more. Previous years were just big named sequels. *Yawn* Yes, some were good, and some were really good, but they're still sequels, which have become trite in the industry. Quite frankly, The Walking Dead was more ambitious than any other previous "Game of the Year" winner, as it's story and character truly mattered, giving consequence to every action. And the other games I mentioned, all new and fresh. Dishonored, a new IP from people who worked on Thief, Deus Ex, and Half-Life, certainly had inspiration from their prior work, but created a whole new, awesomely detailed Steampunk universe. Great art, slick and intuitive controls, etc. made it one heck of a game.

    The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles are quite frankly the two most important JRPGs in years, as they both brought great things to the table. The Last Story brought memorable characters and fresh combat to the JRPG, while Xenoblade Chronicles was a bit more traditional, but did it so well that it doesn't matter that it's traditional.

    Sleeping Dogs brought better movement, hand-to-hand combat system, and more things that GTA IV failed at. As it is, GTA IV is highly overrated and Sleeping Dogs is better than the 2008 "Game of the Year".

    Then you have the last one I listed, Binary Domain, which totally flew under the radar, but brought a neat science fiction universe, great combat, stellar boss battles, and compelling characters to the table. Sega's Yakuza team did a phenomenal job on this game. So yup, 2012 was the best year in years. Honestly, review aggregates aren't that important when you use Quarter to Three, Destructoid, etc. as credible.

  • Expectoner  

    Just to say that Diablo III is the game's most unloved of users and is in the top 5 pc games ... Big mistake?

  • FabioSooner  

    Thanks, Metacritic, for clearly showing what I've been noticing and saying for months: the idea that the 3DS has more or better games than the Vita is a big, lazy misconception, just a byproduct of succumbing to shallow first impressions and to Nintendo fanboyism.

    The Vita came after, received as many games as the 3DS last year, and they're generally better. That's not even considering it's a more powerful machine that receives multiplatform titles that are actually closer to the home console counterparts, something you won't see on the 3DS ever. That's why I finally decided to get a Vita this month. 3DS? Only when Shin Megami Tensei V is released, if ever.

  • 89iajo  

    Fabio, what games are you going to get for your Vita? Because it looks like most of them are crap, the other 15 are remakes of 2011 games and, lets face it, it has almost no third party support. Mean while in Japan the 3DS has outsold the PS3's LIFETIME SALES. Just sayin' The statistics point to the 3DS.

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