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.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (69)

  • Josh  

    God of War 3 is still the best.

  • lucas  

    i just hope that mass effect 2 wins game of the year, that or littlebigplanet 2

  • John  

    360/PC games better on 360? Paying for online without dedicated servers sure is great!

  • Phil  

    Oh one more thing: How can you say the console with the most games released this year hasn't had a good year for exclusives? Did you read your own article before posting it? You can argue about the 'critical rating' of these exclusives, but that doesn't mean squat if someone enjoys the title. Look at Ninety Nine Nights 2 (which has reviews out that you guys haven't added to its Metascore yet). Reviews for it are terrible, but the user score is 9.8. So someone somewhere likes it.

  • Phil  

    Are you sure that's all Red Dead sold? I had hear 5 mill a couple weeks back. Also, I distinctly remember Kotaku saying BF:BC2 sold 3 million within about a month and a half. And lastly: NPD > Vgchartz for credibility and accuracy.

  • Josh  

    I was so excited for Red Dead I bought it the second day it was released and.... slightly dissapointing but much better then GTA IV. At least Rockstar is maturing and not resorting to countless sex jokes anymore.

  • Josh  

    I was so excited for Red Dead I bought it the second day it was released and.... slightly dissapointing but much better then GTA IV. At least Rockstar is maturing and not resorting to countless penis and sex jokes anymore.

  • David  

    Really? You're going to disclude ModNation Racers on the PS3 list because there was a completely changed, stripped down version released on the PSP with the same name? LittleBigPlanet also has a version on the PSP, but no one would ever say that the two were the same game.

    I think you should separate it by home console exclusives. Yes some games are released on the PS3 and PSP, but they're nowhere near the same game. Also, a lot of games are released on just the 360 and PC, but most people 360/PC exclusives as being an exclusive for 360 (they're better on the 360 anyway). I just don't think this portrays an accurate depiction of the console wars.

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