Now that the end of the year is here, everyone is starting to declare their "game of the year" — and Metacritic has now thrown its hat into the ring.
Or, more accurately, 'everyone's' collective hat. Metacritic pools the scores of many different gaming publications, after all. And according to those pooled scores, the top game of 2014 is....Smash Bros. Well, technically. This is the actual list:
But taking off the games that are remakes or remasters — which is what GTA and TLOU are — Smash is the top game of the year, at least when it comes to many review scores. According to the Metacritic numbers, while Smash was the winner, it scored "significantly lower" than the top games in previous years. Edit: That's their words, not mine — see how it highlights the arbitrary nature of these things? It's not like there's a huge difference between these scores.
In 2013, GTA V won with a 97. In 2012, The Walking Dead came out on top with a 95. And in 2011, Batman: Arkham City won the gold with a 96. Smash Bros., by contrast, has a collective 92. Still great, but also in the lower end of the 90's.
Based on platform, the numbers look a little different. The PS4 had the most top rated games this year, followed by the Xbox One, followed by the Wii U:
Not that that stopped Nintendo from tweeting this the other day: http://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/546017145721999360/photo/1
But, they're also taking into consideration user scores/setting their own metrics for what constitutes 'great games'. Of course that metric is the one that gives the Wii U the most points.
Regardless, even though Metacritic isn't always the most accurate measure of how good a game is — numbers fall short when it comes to discussing the qualities of a game, which is why we don't use them — and even though Metacritic can be a negative force in the industry, it's interesting to look at this data, no? If nothing else, it's a good reminder of just how heavily this year leaned on remasters and remakes.