Good / So-So / Bad:
|vs. 2009 Avg.||70.1|
When we last reported on 2010's lineup of PC games at the midway point of last year, it was looking like an uneventful year for computer gaming, with few noteworthy titles. That certainly changed in the second half of 2010, when several major releases exclusive to computer gaming arrived in stores and wowed critics (or, in the case of Cataclysm, WoWed critics). The most notable of those, aside from that World of Warcraft expansion, was Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 93, a long-in-the-works sequel to the 1998 game StarCraft that proved to be worth the wait. Another major sequel, Sid Meier's Civilization V 90, also scored stellar reviews from critics, though it earned a decidedly less enthusiastic response from longtime fans of the series.
Among all 2010 game releases major enough to get reviewed in at least four publications and thus earn a Metascore, it was the PC games that collectively had the highest average Metascore out of titles released for any gaming platform. Approximately 42% of all such PC games earned positive reviews last year, close to the previous year's figure of 43%, and just 4% of PC releases earned mostly negative reviews.
We'll repeat a disclaimer we posted last year: If you notice a few unusually low user scores in the second table below, blame unwieldy DRM: fans weren't happy with Ubisoft's decision to require a constant connection to their servers for several of their 2010 releases, and punished the games accordingly.
|Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty||World of Warcraft: Cataclysm||Sid Meier's Civilization V||Amnesia: The Dark Descent||Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising|
|1||Amnesia: The Dark Descent||9.2|
|2||Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge||9.1|
|Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising||9.1|
|4||Heroes of Newerth||9.0|
|5||Mass Effect 2||8.9|
|S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat||8.9|
Good / So-So / Bad:
|vs. 2009 Avg.||66.3|
Out of the DS and PSP, which portable gaming platform had the edge in 2010? Our vote probably goes to Nintendo's DS, which certainly gets the edge for quantity of releases, at least, though many of those titles were middling at best, and many more still were so inconsequential as to receive only a tiny handful of reviews, if they were reviewed at all.
That said, 2010 saw the platform's games improving in several metrics vs. 2009 (including average Metascore and percentage of releases with good reviews), and things did pick up for the DS in the second half of the year, when several quality new releases came out to match or exceed the first half's twin Pokemon titles. The platform's best-reviewed game of the year was also its highest-scoring exclusive title: Shantae: Risky's Revenge 92, WayForward's sequel to the 2002 Game Boy title Shantae. Alas, that platformer was the only great release for the DS in 2010, though perhaps things will pick up in 2011 with the arrival of 3D gaming on the new 3DS, arriving in a few months.
|Shantae: Risky's Revenge||Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies||Pokemon SoulSilver Version||Pokemon HeartGold Version||Professor Layton and the Unwound Future|
|1||Pokemon SoulSilver Version||9.3|
|2||Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies||9.1|
Good / So-So / Bad:
|vs. 2009 Avg.||67.8|
Yes, PlayStation Portable games, on average, had a higher Metascore than those of that other portable system, the DS. The problem is that, once again, there weren't very many new PSP games to choose from.
The PSP had far fewer releases than any other platform, and since only about one-third of them received good reviews, PSP gamers had just 24 good games (with green Metascores of 75 or higher) to choose from last year -- slightly more than half the number available on the DS. And just one of those good games merited "great" status: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable 91, a remake of the old PlayStation 2 RPG. The best "new" game of 2010 for the PSP was Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker 89, the acclaimed but poor-selling fifth PSP installment in the Metal Gear series.
|Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker||God of War: Ghost of Sparta||Valkyria Chronicles II||A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!||Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep|
|1||Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable PSP Game of the Year||Atlus Co.||91||8.6|
|2||Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker||Konami||89||9.2|
|3||God of War: Ghost of Sparta||SCEA||86||6.7|
|4||Valkyria Chronicles II||Sega||83||9.2|
|5||A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!||Frima Studio||83||n/a|
|6||Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep||Square Enix||82||8.8|
|7||BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable||Aksys Games||82||8.5|
|8||Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman||NIS America||81||6.9|
|9||Ys: The Oath in Felghana||Xseed Games||81||8.0|
|10||Cladun: This is an RPG||NIS America||80||6.1|
|11||Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip||SCEA||80||8.3|
|12||Lunar: Silver Star Harmony||Xseed Games||80||7.6|
|13||MLB 10: The Show||SCEA||79||7.5|
|14||Ys Seven||Xseed Games||79||8.1|
|15||Age of Zombies||Halfbrick Studios||79||7.4|
|... and the worst:|
|51||Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Predator||Ubisoft||54||n/a|
|52||Army of Two: The 40th Day||Electronic Arts||49||6.1|
|53||Iron Man 2||Sega||49||n/a|
|54||Dead or Alive Paradise||Tecmo||38||4.6|
|1||Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker||9.2|
|2||Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep||8.8|
|3||Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable||8.6|
What do you think?
What are your favorite games of 2010? Let us know in the discussion section below, or see how your fellow Metacritic users voted in our Best of 2010 Users Poll.