While the video game industry will always measure success primarily in terms of sales, it's also fair to say that publishers put a ton of stock in reviews, and particularly that all-important aggregated Metacritic score.
It's been well-documented that some publishers even pay out bonuses for high Metacritic performance, because it's such a strong barometer of quality and has a significant effect on sales more often than not.
With games costing as much as they do, this is certainly more true than in the film industry, where movies can end up "critic-proof" to Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer. Just look at how well the critically-panned Venom is performing at the box office.
And though 2018 saw a ton of expectedly brilliant games scoring predictably high Metacritic scores - was anyone surprised by Red Dead Redemption 2 or God of War crossing the 90+ mark? - a number of games turned in decidedly more surprising results.
Whether disappointingly panned by critics, falling just a tad short of immense hype or perhaps even surpassing low expectations, these 12 games represent the most shocking and surprising Metacritic scores from the last 12 month.
And above all else, they serve up an ever-necessary reminder of how smart it is to wait for reviews rather than blindly pre-order games.
Note: the listed Metacritic scores are taken from the version of the game with the most reviews...
Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes).
General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.