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)

  • Dickwolves  

    I'm a little upset with this site, the walking dead reviews weren't updated for a long time which it becomes obvious to the average user with a functioning brain that they did so to give it the Metacritic goty award as they didn't want a PSVita taking the spot. One week later and the aggregate is down from 95 to 94.

  • IToldYouDog  

    Lets take a look at some of the user scores.
    As of the date when I typed this comment (Jan 12 2013) the average critic scores for Mass effect 3 were 93 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version and Xbox 360 version.
    The average user score, however, was 4.5 out of 10 for the PlayStation 3 version and 5.4 out of 10 for the Xbox 360 version.
    In other words: the users of this website are a very different audience then the "professional" critics reviewing the game. I remember getting The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword because all of the big game critics were all putting out immensely positive reviews, but I didn't enjoy the game as much as the critics said that I would.

  • kreegan64  

    At the time of this posting, the 90+ group and their user review differences:

    Walking Dead-8.4 (-1.1)
    Mass Effect 3-4.6/5.4 (ps3/360) (-4.7/-3.9)
    Mark of the Ninja-7.8/7.4(PC/360)(-1.3/-1.6)
    Borderlands 2-8.2(-0.9)
    Farcry3-8.6/8.7 (ps3/360)(-0.5/-0.3)
    Trials Evo.-7.9(-1.1)
    Okami HD-9.2(+0.2)
    FIFA Soccer-5.9(-3.1)
    Guild Wars-8.0(-1.0)
    NBA 2K13-7.9(-1.1)
    XCOM: EU-8.6(-0.4)

    Only Okami HD has a positive difference between user and reviewer scores, the rest have the user scores lower than the reviewer scores. They should put user 90+ groups in these lists (with a quota for the of user scores of course)

  • kreegan64  

    from 09-12 here are the big 3's Average game score----Number of games----% of Good games. They're in the order of PS3/360/Wii(U)

    (09 has a median score instead of an average score)

    2012: 70.3/69.5/68.3----204/243/53----41/42/45
    2011: 69.5/68.9/62.2----253/261/69----38/43/20
    2010: 70/67.8/64.6----231/260/156----44/39/29
    2009: 72/70/67----228/279/362----43/35/28

    The average score for the Wii(U) has rose in over 6% but this may be due to the U being released in 12, the 360 has varied little, and the PS3 remained around 70. The Wii is drastically dropping in amount of games, the 360 is continuing a steady decrease, and the PS3 has dropped after a slow growth span. The percentage of good games for the Wii has greatly increased from a dropping 20% to over double (due again to the U most likely) the 360 has been rising, and the PS3 is rising slightly from a slightly lowering streak.

  • watithink123  

    Haven't tried the walking dead game yet but out of all the games this year, far cry 3 is my goty.

  • quitingBacon  

    Hey there's an error on that list!

    The Xbox 360 version of Walking Dead has 9.2, not 9.5. The PS3 version has 9.5, though out of 4 reviews. Also all three versions should appear on the list since they are all above 9.0. 4 reviews is a really low number and all three versions are functionally identical. While Walking Dead still holds the top rated spot it does demonstrably out of noise.

  • KevHart  

    Well i hope the year 2013 will be better in game ways, i hope we see some awesome games for computers way!

    Url Shortener

  • NotTodayThanks  

    The opening statements in this article assume, erroneously, that the reviewing marketplace is the same from year to year. Which they're not. Not even close. Over time reviewers have become much harsher, especially toward the end of a console cycle. A game that would have been a 95 in 2005 is not a 95 today...

  • africanboy  

    i love this site

  • WestLil0  

    Don't know how any PC game that receives very low scores from users can even make it on this list. For example, Mass Effect 3 has a metacritic user score of 4.7! You have it at 89! Perhaps an annual review of the most popular games by USER score would be more accurate?

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