Midyear Report: The Best Games of 2010 So Far

  • Publish Date: July 2, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 69 user comments

Sales down, quality up

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) 98
Best Reviewed Games, 2010 So Far
Mass Effect 2 (360) 96
Red Dead Redemption (360) 95
Red Dead Redemption (PS3) 95

Now that we are at the midway point of 2010, what do we know? For starters, you haven't been buying as many games as you used to; through May, game sales are down 6% in 2010 vs. the first five months of 2009, according to NPD Group.

But the decline in sales doesn't mean that there has been a corresponding drop in game quality in 2010. On the contrary, for every platform we track, the average game Metascore has been higher in 2010 than during the first six months of 2009 -- meaning the games have been earning somewhat better reviews this year.

So far in 2010, seven individual titles (some on multiple platforms) have achieved stellar Metascores of 90 or higher, a number comparable to the first half of 2009. Three separate titles -- the ones listed in the box at the right -- all scored higher than 2009's best-reviewed first-half release, Street Fighter IV (PS3: 94). And, at the other end of the quality spectrum, 25 separate titles received terrible reviews (49 or lower) in the first half of 2009; that number is down to 16 this year.

That could be a very good sign for 2010, as many of the year's best releases typically don't surface until autumn. Of course, the news wasn't equally good for every platform over the past six months, as our comparison chart indicates below.

Platform Comparison, 2010 (through June 30)
      Metascore Distribution Median Metascores
Platform # Games * # Great % Good % Mixed % Bad All Releases Platform Exclusives
Nintendo DS 30 0 60% 40% 0% 75.5 75.0
PlayStation 3 77 4 56% 38% 6% 75.0 75.0
PC 58 1 57% 40% 3% 75.0 71.0
Wii 44 1 45% 48% 7% 73.5 74.0
Xbox 360 97 4 46% 44% 9% 73.0 72.0
PlayStation Portable 26 0 31% 62% 8% 72.0 74.0

* Includes games released in the U.S. between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010 with at least seven reviews.
The # Great indicates the number of games released during the year with a Metascore of 90 or higher. The % Good reflects the percentage of games receiving a Metascore of 75 or higher (indicating positive reviews). % Mixed shows the percentage receiving a Metascore of 50-74 (indicating mixed or middling reviews), while % Bad includes games receiving a Metascore of 49 or lower (indicating negative reviews).

Before we get into the platform-by-platform lists, here are the top performing games across all platforms, in terms of reviews and units sold:

Best-Reviewed Cross-Platform Games, 2010 (through June 30)
1 1 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Mass Effect 2 Red Dead
Super Street
Fighter IV
Bayonetta BioShock 2
Average: 95 Average: 95 Average: 92 Average: 89 Average: 88
360: 96 PC: 94 360, PS3: 95 360: 92 PS3: 91 360: 90 PS3: 87 360, PS3, PC: 88
Top-Selling New Games, 2010 (through June 30)
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
God of War III (PS3) Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) Red Dead Redemption (360) Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (360) Red Dead
Metascore: 92 Metascore: 98 Metascore: 95 Metascore: 88 Metascore: 95
Units Sold: 2.68m Units Sold: 2.65m Units Sold: 2.43m Units Sold: 2.29m Units Sold: 1.86m

Sales figures are worldwide. Includes games released in 2010 only. Final Fantasy XIII is not included because it was released in 2009 in Japan. Source for sales data: VGChartz.com

The year has had its share of disappointments, too. One game you won't find on either list above is the much-hyped Dante's Inferno, which failed to wow critics (PS3: 75; 360: 73) and has sold fewer than 600,000 units for each platform. Other major titles like THQ's Darksiders (PS3: 82; 360: 83) posted similarly disappointing sales figures despite somewhat stronger reviews, while Capcom's Lost Planet 2 (PS3: 68; 360: 68) disappointed all around. And who can forget Dark Void (well, perhaps everybody), an ambitious title released back in January to some of the worst reviews for a major cross-platform release this year (PS3: 59; 360: 59; PC: 57). That game managed to get only a quarter of the way to Capcom's goal of two million units sold.

Releases by platform

On the next pages, we examine the best and worst games released for each platform in the first half of 2010, including the top titles exclusive to each platform.

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Comments (69)

  • myself  

    for me this has prbably been one of the worst years everwhen it comes to games. yeah there was the god of war trilology but god of war is realy nothing new. black ops wasnt out when this was posted but it wouldnt have deserved to be on here i nearly have platinum in under 20 hours and the multyplayer got boring fast(mw2 is still better) red dead was the only truly GREAT game i played this year just becuase ive always liked old western movies and because it was original. but hopefully agent will come out soon and hopefully it wont suck

  • VG247 » Blog A  

    [...] MetaCritic has released its half-yearly report, showing an increase in review scores for the period, despite NPD reporting sales are down when compared to the same six months last year. [...]

  • UK_John  

    This site will become less and less important as gamers realise how it gets easier every year for the giant publishers with their highly hyped games to get 90's in the media, and harder and harder for the smaller companies to get 90's. There is an inherent bias toward the Blizzard's and the Valve's and the Bethesda's of this world as the media becomes ever 'fawning to the 'big' games. This is the main reason we have seen lower sales in 2010 despite higher average review scores. Metacritic says the quality must be better in 2010, I would say it''s more about ever more biased media that feel they dare not give any highly hyped title less than 90 and equally they can give a less hyped title an 80 when it's just as good, in order to show how 'fair' they are!

    Quite simply because of the media, I doubt we will have a Metacritic in 2-3 years time, as the numbers just won;t mean anything and everyone will know it!

  • forlan  

    God of war 3 is most likely gonna be game of the year SMG2 is highly overrated

  • rym  

    hi ilove this games soo much iam 15 years old iam Algerian and good luck

  • Daniel  

    PS3, PC and most Wii games suck dick

  • Freddy  

    God of War III is the best game of this year (until now and my fovourite game), but i really expected more. Red Dead Redemption is god but not as good as the critics say. However we have to wait for new games spacially "Assassins Creed Brotherhood". I wait too much of this game and i hope it won't dissapoint me...

  • ANONIM  


  • RandomGuyOnUtube  

    My pick for the best game is Super Mario Galaxy 2. You NEVER mess with Mario.

  • THQ and the Death of  

    [...] the idea that anything less than the best is simply not worth developing. Review aggregation site Metacritic notes that average review scores in the first half of 2010 are up from the same period last year, even [...]

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