The Division Reviews Hint At GotY 2016?
While there are plenty of major sources that still have to weigh in, I think it's interesting that as of right now, Tom Clancy's The Division is averaging a very impressive 91 at Metacritic. This includes perfect scores from Digital Spy and Examiner.
You might not think that's crazy high, but bear in mind that 2015's biggest award-winners didn't fare much better; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt earned a 92 average rating, Fallout 4 was only in the mid-to-high 80s and only the revered Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain managed to be close to the mid-90s.
Of course, one has to wonder if later scores for The Division will fall or rise. The more a critic plays, is he or she more likely to give the game a lower score? Will they come across more flaws? Or will the experience only get better the longer it runs? But what's even more intriguing is the kind of game we're talking about; this is a multiplayer-centric title that really doesn't earn the same kind of praise when discussing the single-player appeal. Historically, games that essentially border on MMOs - or have distinct elements of the genre - aren't necessarily in the running for overall Game of the Year. Look at the three games above; they were arguably the three most acclaimed titles of 2015 and the other well-received games include Undertale, Bloodborne, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Her Story, Bastion and Ori and the Blind Forest.
For the most part, all thrive exclusively on the single-player experience.
Sure, Call of Duty, Halo and Rocket League all did very well, too, but they're not really the same kind of game as The Division. Perhaps with Ubisoft's latest success, we're seeing a true-blue evolution of the industry; a mix of features and aspects that can be found in multiple genres, but one that still thrives on the multiplayer element. Many are saying that nothing else really plays like The Division and considering the review scores, it could end up being a very important game. Obviously, we've got a long way to go in 2016 and games like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will probably have something to say when we start talking about the best of the best. But I'm willing to bet that come the end of the year, lots of gamers will say The Division was their favorite new experience of 2016. And that is very significant.
3/11/2016 Ben Dutka