The Best Videogames of 2010

  • Comments: ↓ 34 user comments
  • Publish Date: January 26, 2011

It's still Mario's galaxy

Image
2010
Super Mario Galaxy 2
(Wii)
97
2009
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) 96
2008
Grand Theft Auto IV
(PS3)
98
2007
Super Mario Galaxy
(Wii)
97
2006
The Legend of Zelda:
Twilight Princess

(Wii)
95
Metacritic's Game of the Year
(Highest-Scoring Title, min. 7 rev.)

When Mario heads into outer space, great things happen. Topping our list of the best-reviewed videogames of 2010 is Wii title Super Mario Galaxy 2 97, the sequel to our 2007 game of the year, Super Mario Galaxy. The new Mario title edged out the Xbox 360 sequel Mass Effect 2 96 and two versions of western adventure Red Dead Redemption 95 (for PS3 and 360) to take home this year's title.

Was 2010 a good year for games in general? Not if you go by sales: preliminary reports by NPD reveal that consumer spending on game content was down about 1% last year when compared to 2009. And maybe not if you are looking at quality. While 2009 saw the release of 29 "great" games (with Metascores of 90 or higher), that number dropped to 24 in 2010. More tellingly, the average Metascore for all releases for each console was down last year vs. the averages for 2009.

That doesn't mean there weren't bright spots, with PC gaming shining the brightest. Not only were PC game sales up last year by about 3% vs. 2009, but the average Metascore for a 2010 PC title was up by over a point compared to the prior year. Metascore averages also increased for each of the handheld platforms.

In the following pages, we take a look at the best-reviewed games for each gaming platform. First, however, let's take a look at how each platform fared during the past year. In the console department, though there were slightly fewer "great" games for the 360, the PlayStation 3 had the better metrics in most categories, including the most "good" games (i.e., games with green Metascores), highest percentage of good games, and highest average Metascore.

Platform Comparison, 2010
Platform Scored
Games*
# Great** # Good
Exclusives**
Avg. Metascores Metascore Distribution
      All       Exclusives % Good
% Mixed % Bad
Consoles:
PlayStation 3 231 7 12 70.0 66.2 44% 46% 10%
Xbox 360 260 9 13 67.8 64.0 39% 48% 13%
Wii 156 2 19 64.6 64.8 29% 54% 17%
Other:
PC 182 4 18 71.3 68.6 42% 54% 4%
Nintendo DS 127 1 24 69.4 71.1 35% 61% 4%
PSP 73 1 9 70.4 70.6 33% 62% 5%

* Games with 4 or more reviews in Metacritic's database released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
** Excludes games with fewer than 7 reviews; also excludes expansions, collections, and reissues.
All Metascore data is from January 24, 2011. The # Great indicates the number of games released during the year with a Metascore of 90 or higher, while # Good Exclusives indicates each platform's exclusive titles with a Metascore of 75 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 below (indicating negative reviews). Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Here's another look at the number of good games (titles with a Metascore of 75 or higher) released by platform last year:

Good Games by Platform (Platform Exclusives vs. Others), 2010

And here are the year's best-reviewed titles available on multiple platforms:

Best-Reviewed Cross-Platform Games, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Mass Effect 2 Red Dead
Redemption
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Super Street
Fighter IV
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Average: 95 Average: 95 Average: 93 Average: 92 Average: 90
360: 96 PC: 94 360, PS3: 95 360: 93 PS3: 92 PS3: 92 360: 91 PS3: 90 360: 89

Releases by platform

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

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Comments (34)

  • Davidoff  

    @Vervarie
    Ocarina of Time (n64) had the greatest metascore of all time, 99, so it's even beyond Galaxy 1&2.

  • Player  

    To all that say Wii games are good compared to their 360 and PS3 counterparts: Lets compare Super Mario Galaxy 2 to Uncharted 2

    Which game has better graphics? Uncharted
    Which game has better sound and voice acting? Uncharted
    Which game has a better plot (or better yet, has a plot)? Uncharted
    Which game has Multiplayer? Uncharted
    Which game has replay Value? Uncharted
    Which game has any kind of character development? Uncharted

    Wii is a system with fun leisurely games for all ages, but it no way shape or form can it compare to triple A titles like Mass Effect, Halo, God of war ...

  • how far my guys  

    How far my guys indeed, Daramola.

  • Daramola sesan  

    How far my guys

  • Sairon  

    Any reason for why Nimbus was excluded? As it was released in 2010 and is in the top 30 on PC, while also being PC exclusive.

  • MattC  

    Oh and on the subject of Wii reviews, unless it has the word Mario or Zelda in the title it's probably more accurate to ADD about 20% given the mainstream media's love-to-hate relationship with the Wii. Their laughably nitpicky reviews and their faux compliments like 'it's good...for a Wii game harharhar' show just how illegitimate most Wii scores are.

    When it comes to Zelda and Mario, yeah, they get a boost due to brand name but that's nothing new nor is it something exclusive to Mario and Zelda. The media has love affairs with lots of different franchises and publishers and many from Rockstar and BioWare to Halo and Metal Gear receive advantages they wouldn't get if you put the same game in a new box with an unknown title and an unknown studio. The bottom line is that mainstream gaming reviews are a farce and serve little more purpose than being extensions of the marketing departments for major publishers and franchises.

    There's a reason every year's best reviewed games are also the ones with the biggest budgets and/or the biggest marketing budgets. Think about that for a minute; think about what movie reviews/awards would look like if Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen swept top honors in 2009. I'll tell you. It would look like the gaming reviews/awards.

  • MattC  

    @SplicedSausage

    A system itself is for nobody, it's a systems games that matter and the Wii is like every other relevant system ever when it comes to providing gaming experiences for everyone. It's you yourself and mainstream homers like you that are missing out by ignoring what the Wii offers by generalizing it's library. What was fun in 1985 is fun now the only difference now is some people like yourself are too ignorant and/or insecure to enjoy something that doesn't elevate their status in some imaginary universal fraternity of 'cool' 'hardcore' 'gamers'.

    You remind me of the typical 'hardcore gamer' who gets mad when someone trolls the 360 with comments like "It only has shooters" or the PS3 with "It has no games" and refute their comments with the long list of great games that run counter to such ignorant generalizations. Yet turn around and make the VERY SAME ignorant generalization about the Wii except rewording it as "Only for kids and casuals" meanwhile plugging your ears to the people reciting the long list of exceptional Wii games that exist contrary to such absurdly stupid statements.

    Go ahead and keep sticking your head in the sand, judging the Wii based on the obviously small sampling of it's library a biased observer like yourself is aware of. I and others with an open mind will enjoy it's exceptional games of countless kinds just like we enjoy the same great quality and variety offered by PC, PS3, 360, PSP and DS.

  • johannes  

    xbox games are still overhyped by us gamers and us magazines. you could put xbox 360 between nds and psp if us reviews wouldnt count. thats the reality in europe, asia and the rest of the world.

  • Splicedsausage  

    Like a few here,I have all gaming systems.The missus has the Wii and I deny all knowledge of its existence in my home.Whenever I notice a review score for it,I just halve it for accuracy.No mario game can compete with ME2,Red Dead,GOW3,Starcraft2 etc.The Wii is for kids and entry level gamers, and it does have a deserved place in gaming.Game of the Year?It's no longer 1985 and 'fond memories' shouldn't count towards the score...

  • Jake  

    PC>Consoles.

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