The Best Videogames of 2010

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

PC games

Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
2010 Releases
Avg. Metascore 71.3
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.

Best PC Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
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
Critics: 93 Critics: 90 Critics: 90 Critics: 85 Critics: 85
Best-Reviewed PC Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Mass Effect 2 PC Game of the YearElectronic Arts948.9
2Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Blizzard938.2
3World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Blizzard905.9
4Sid Meier's Civilization V2K Games907.0
5BioShock 22K Games887.9
6Battlefield: Bad Company 2EA Games878.6
7Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's RevengeLucasArts879.1
8Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VietnamEA Games878.1
9Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx2K Games868.2
10Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow BrokerElectronic Arts869.1
11Need for Speed: Hot PursuitElectronic Arts865.9
12Assassin's Creed IIUbisoft863.2
13Football Manager 2011Sega858.8
14Amnesia: The Dark DescentFrictional Games859.2
15Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos RisingTHQ859.1
16Fallout: New VegasBethesda Softworks858.0
17Just Cause 2Square Enix846.6
18FIFA Soccer 11Electronic Arts848.2
19F1 2010Codemasters846.7
20ShatterSidhe Interactive847.8
21Recettear: An Item Shop's TaleCarpe Fulgur838.4
22Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Episode 2:
The Tomb of Sammun-Mak
Telltale Games837.9
24Age of Conan: Rise of the GodslayerEidos Interactive837.5
25Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: ConvictionUbisoft833.4
26Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningElectronic Arts827.2
27Lara Croft and the Guardian of LightSquare Enix827.9
28Bejeweled 3PopCap827.9
29Divinity II: The Dragon Knight SagaFocus Home Interactive828.6
30Metro 2033THQ818.1
... and the worst:
132Blade KittenAtari527.0
133Ship Simulator ExtremesParadox Interactive51n/a
134Final Fantasy XIV OnlineSquare Enix493.8
135Twin Sector Got Game Ent.497.8
136Prison Break: The ConspiracyDeep Silver475.5

Note that games are ranked prior to rounding. Only games with 7 or more reviews are included.

PC Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
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

* Minimum 25 user votes.

Nintendo DS

Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
2010 Releases
Avg. Metascore 69.4
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.

Best DS Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Shantae: Risky's Revenge Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies Pokemon SoulSilver Version Pokemon HeartGold Version Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Critics: 92 Critics: 87 Critics: 87 Critics: 87 Critics: 86
Best-Reviewed DS Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Shantae: Risky's Revenge DS Game of the YearWayForward928.2
2Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry SkiesSquare Enix879.1
3Pokemon SoulSilver VersionNintendo879.3
4Pokemon HeartGold VersionNintendo878.8
5Professor Layton and the Unwound FutureNintendo869.1
6Dark Void ZeroCapcom849.5
7Picross 3DNintendo838.3
8WarioWare D.I.Y.Nintendo828.9
9Starship DefenseNintendo829.5
10KORG DS-10 PLUSXseed Games819.3
11Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine DoorsAksys Games818.5
12Shin Megami Tensei: Strange JourneyAtlus Co.819.8
13Super Scribblenauts Warner Bros. Interactive 817.8
14Lufia: Curse of the SinistralsNatsume799.0
15Golden Sun: Dark DawnNintendo798.5
16Sonic ColorsSega797.4
17Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land MayhemNintendo797.8
18AlphaBounceMotion Twin78n/a
19Sonic & Sega All-Stars RacingSega787.8
20Rock Band 3MTV Games78n/a
... and the worst:
65Despicable Me: Minion MayhemD354n/a
66Ragnarok DSXseed Games535.0
68Hospital HavocHands-On Mobile51n/a
69Spectral Force GenesisIgnition Entertainment46n/a
DS Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
1 Pokemon SoulSilver Version 9.3
2 Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies 9.1
  Infinite Space 9.1

* Minimum 25 user votes.

PlayStation Portable

Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
2010 Releases
Avg. Metascore 70.4
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.

Best PSP Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
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
Critics: 89 Critics: 86 Critics: 83 Critics: 83 Critics: 82
Best-Reviewed PSP Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable PSP Game of the YearAtlus Co.918.6
2Metal Gear Solid: Peace WalkerKonami899.2
3God of War: Ghost of SpartaSCEA866.7
4Valkyria Chronicles IISega839.2
5A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!Frima Studio83n/a
6Kingdom Hearts: Birth by SleepSquare Enix828.8
7BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger PortableAksys Games828.5
8Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath EvilmanNIS America816.9
9Ys: The Oath in FelghanaXseed Games818.0
10Cladun: This is an RPGNIS America806.1
11Hot Shots Tennis: Get a GripSCEA808.3
12Lunar: Silver Star HarmonyXseed Games807.6
13MLB 10: The ShowSCEA797.5
14Ys SevenXseed Games798.1
15Age of ZombiesHalfbrick Studios797.4
... and the worst:
51Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon PredatorUbisoft54n/a
52Army of Two: The 40th DayElectronic Arts496.1
53Iron Man 2Sega49n/a
54Dead or Alive ParadiseTecmo384.6
PSP Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
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
  Dante's Inferno 8.6

* Minimum 25 user votes.

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.

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

Comments (34)

  • Davidoff  

    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  


    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  


New in Metacritic Reports

  1. New and Upcoming
    Notable Video Game Releases: New and Upcoming Image
    Published: March 20, 2018
  2. Metacritic's 8th Annual Game Publisher Rankings Image
    Published: February 26, 2018
  3. PC Games
    2018 Videogame Preview: PC Games Image
    Published: January 22, 2018
  4. PlayStation 4 Games
    2018 Videogame Preview: PlayStation 4 Games Image
    Published: January 19, 2018
  5. Xbox One
    2018 Videogame Preview: Xbox One Image
    Published: January 18, 2018
  6. Nintendo Switch
    2018 Videogame Preview: Nintendo Switch Image
    Published: January 16, 2018
  7. Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2017 Image
    Published: January 5, 2018
  8. The Best Videogames of 2017 Image
    Published: January 2, 2018

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/spring-2018-music-preview Image
    Spring Music Preview: 45 Notable Upcoming Albums
    March 14, 2018 - 3 comments
    1. andy_faz : Looking forward to the new Daniel Avery album. Slow Fade sounded great. Read »
    2. Numptynuts : Looking forward to new albums from Gaz Coombes and Palace Winter Read »
    3. hawkeye766 : I absolutely cannot wait for Jack White's new album. It seems like he is pushing into a new direction and breaking... Read »
  2. /feature/2018-oscars-reviews-and-winners Image
    2018 Oscars: Full Winners List + Reviews of the Show
    March 4, 2018 - 4 comments
    1. xCREEDx : I have to agree with vgmkyle. But on top of his comments I would add the following observations about the Oscar's... Read »
    2. vgmkyle : Shape of Water was obviously going to win, but I've been done with the Oscars for years. Why did I stop watching the... Read »
    3. flobi : Jimmy Kimmel was okay as a host but the win of Shape Of Water is a bloody joke !! Three Billboards or Call Me By Your... Read »
    4. LamontRaymond : Zzzzz.... Boring show. Miss the Billy Crystal days.... Read »
  3. /feature/best-movies-of-2017 Image
    The Best Movies of 2017
    January 4, 2018 - 1 comment
    1. duanewilliams : In light of the increasing popularity of services like MoviePass, it would be interesting to know how many movies... Read »
  4. /feature/tv-renewal-scorecard-2017-2018-season Image
    2017-18 TV Season Scorecard
    June 1, 2017 - 12 comments
    1. wclayhall : How is Master of None not on this list? Read »
  5. /feature/tv-premiere-dates Image
    2018 Spring TV Premiere Calendar
    February 26, 2018 - 164 comments
    1. PD001 : Wicked Tuna NatGeo 3/11 Read »