An article on Metacritic lamenting that the game releases in 2012 did not do very well for video games is generating some degree on controversy, partly because it is Metacritic, whose scores of games from big publishers always seems to be higher than they deserved, and also partly because some feel that indie games were not well represented.
More importantly, it is controversial because it is true, at least in this author’s opinion.
2012 had a lot of big titles, but what happened?
By no means was there a lack of titles for 2012. On the contrary, 2012 saw a large number of huge titles being released, but the majority of them either missed the mark, or hype surrounding it died soon after its release, along with the players actually playing it. Mass Effect 3′s ending disappointed. The long anticipated Diablo 3 proved fun for about 2, maybe 3, weekends, and then everyone got bored of the grind. Likewise for Guild Wars 2, which despite a successful launch and overloaded servers in the initial week, had most people reached level cap soon enough and then disappeared. Max Payne 3 departed too much from its previous installments in the franchise, and became Just Another Shooter™. Warfighter bombed, and sunk the entire Medal of Honor franchise along with it. Hitman Absolution, to quote PCMag’s review, is ‘bland and uninteresting’, despite having a trailer that offended quite a number of people.
The real losers? Subscription based MMOs.
The most expensive game produced (not just counting MMOs), Star Wars: The Old Republic, went free-to-play in slightly under a year after its launch. This was then followed a month later by The Secret World, a game only a few months old, dropping the subscription model and going with only the box cost. While I’m not ready to herald that that the free-to-play model will be the future of MMOs, and I still have my doubts about such a model being sustainable AND still producing quality games, the MMO bubble that has been growing ever since every company tried to jump on the bandwagon after World of Warcraft’s success had finally burst. WoW and EVE still have their stable populations, but the barrage of titles coming out in rapid succession year after year has halted. In fact, I can’t think of any title off hand from a Western publisher that’s coming up in 2013. A quick look up just reminded me of The Elder Scrolls Online, but the reason I didn’t think of it in the first place is that I have doubts about the game being able to capture the spirit of The Elder Scrolls series in an MMO setting.
So, what was good?
Some might argue that the best game for 2012 technically isn’t a 2012 game at all. Persona 4: The Golden, an improved port of an older game for the PS2, has been the largest time sink for me. I’ve clocked 89 hours on my saved game thus far, and I’m still not done with my first playthrough, and with plenty of ideas for the next. I don’t think I’ve sunk that many hours into a handheld game since Pokémon. For a single player game, I think it’s probably around the 3rd with the most number of hours clocked, behind Morrowind and Skyrim.
Dishonored was also a great title, which I covered in a previous article. I’m led to believe that Borderlands 2 and XCOM were also excellent titles, which I couldn’t quite get into. You apparently had to be a fan of the 1994 XCOM to appreciate the current title, which I wasn’t, having never played it then.
Sleeping Dogs is apparently a sleeper hit, but I can’t give my opinion on it yet since I’ve yet to play the copy I picked up during Steam Winter Sales. That is what I suspect I’ll be doing over the next few days.