The Best Videogames of 2011

  • Publish Date: December 23, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 43 user comments

Xbox 360

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 68.5
Xbox 360
vs. 2010 Avg. 67.8

True, the PS3 finished with more great games in 2011 than the Xbox 360. But 2011 was still a very good year for Microsoft's console. Not only did the average Metascore for all Xbox releases tick up this year when compared to the year before, but the 360 had a higher percentage of "good" releases than any console this year: 43% of all Xbox releases in 2011 had a green Metascore of 75 or higher indicating positive reviews from professional critics. That's an improvement over the previous year's 39% (and 2009's 35%). In all, there were 101 Xbox 360 games released in 2011 receiving generally positive reviews, tops for any console.

Once again, however, most of the 360's best games were multi-platform releases. Just two Xbox exclusives cracked the top 15 high scores for the platform in 2011: the third installment in the Gears of War franchise, and the latest racer in the Forza Motorsport series. Forza Motorsport 4 was also the highest-scoring game of the year to utilize Microsoft's Kinect controller.

Xbox 360Best Xbox 360 Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
91 91 86 83 83
Gears of War 3
Forza Motorsport 4
Dance Central 2
Iron Brigade
Double Fine
Ms. 'Splosion Man
Twisted Pixel
Xbox 360Best-Reviewed Xbox 360 Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Xbox 360 Game of the Year
Bethesda Softworks968.5
2Portal 2 Valve Software958.1
3Batman: Arkham City Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.948.4
4Gears of War 3 Microsoft Game Studios917.5
5Forza Motorsport 4 Microsoft Game Studios917.9
6Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Konami918.3
7FIFA Soccer 12 Electronic Arts906.7
8Dead Space 2 Electronic Arts908.5
9NBA 2K12 2K Sports/Take-Two Interactive908.1
10Dark Souls Namco Bandai898.2
11Deus Ex: Human Revolution Square Enix/Eidos Interactive898.2
12L.A. Noire Rockstar Games897.5
13Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision883.2
14Joe Danger: Special Edition Microsoft Game Studios888.2
15Rayman Origins Ubisoft888.6
16DiRT 3 Codemasters877.7
17Dance Central 2 Microsoft Game Studios868.6
18Mortal Kombat Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.868.5
19Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition Capcom866.6
20Radiant Silvergun Microsoft Game Studios868.1
21Bastion Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.868.6
22Fight Night Champion EA Sports867.2
23NHL 12 Electronic Arts867.6
24Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Capcom857.0
25NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Electronic Arts857.5
26Crysis 2 EA Games847.5
27Beyond Good & Evil HD Ubisoft848.2
28Top Spin 4 2K Sports848.1
29Outland Ubisoft847.5
30F1 2011 Codemasters847.5
... and the worst:
236Thor: God of Thunder Sega384.7
237Lucha Fury Punchers Impact/Mindscape 375.6
238NCIS Ubisoft36n/a
239Star Raiders Atari356.0
240Blackwater 505 Games324.0

Note that games are ranked prior to rounding. Only games with 7 or more reviews are included in this and other rankings on this page.

Xbox 360Xbox 360 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Bastion 8.6
  Dance Central 2 8.6
  Orcs Must Die! 8.6
  Rayman Origins 8.6
5 Dead Space 2 8.5
  Mortal Kombat 8.5
  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 8.5

* Minimum 25 user votes.

PlayStation 3

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 69.5
vs. 2010 Avg. 70.0
PlayStation 3

There were more "great" games—12 individual releases with scores of 90 or higher—for the PS3 than for any other platform in 2011. That's actually the highest number of 90+ titles ever released in a single year for any of the current generation platforms.

However, for the first time in three years, the PlayStation 3 did not have the highest percentage of positively-reviewed games (that title went to the 360 this year). While 38% of all PS3 releases in 2011 earned positive reviews, that number marks a drop from the prior year's figure of 44%. The PS3 did finish the year as the console with the smallest percentage of negatively reviewed games, however; just 8% of the year's PS3 releases received scores of 49 or lower.

Out of the PlayStation's 30 highest scoring games this year, just 3 were exclusive to the platform: the latest installment in the Uncharted adventure series, a sequel to LittleBigPlanet, and Killzone 3. But it's a testament to the kind of year 2011 was that the hugely popular and extremely well reviewed Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception didn't even finish among the year's ten highest-scoring games overall (and was only the fourth highest-scoring game for the PS3 this year).

PS3Best PS3 Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
92 91 84 83 83
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
LittleBigPlanet 2
Killzone 3
Resistance 3
inFamous 2
PS3Best-Reviewed PlayStation 3 Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Batman: Arkham City
PS3 Game of the Year
Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.968.1
2Portal 2 Valve Software958.0
3Mass Effect 2 Electronic Arts948.2
4Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception SCEA928.4
5The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Bethesda Softworks925.3
6The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection SCEA918.0
7LittleBigPlanet 2 SCEA918.1
8Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Konami919.2
9NBA 2K12 2K Sports/Take-Two Interactive906.6
10FIFA Soccer 12 Electronic Arts907.2
11MLB 11: The Show SCEA907.9
13Dead Space 2 Electronic Arts898.1
14Deus Ex: Human Revolution Square Enix/Eidos Interactive898.3
15L.A. Noire Rockstar Games897.3
16Dark Souls Namco Bandai898.4
17Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision882.9
18DiRT 3 Codemasters877.7
19Rayman Origins Ubisoft878.7
20NHL 12 Electronic Arts868.3
21Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition Capcom866.5
22Plants vs. Zombies PopCap857.9
23Battlefield 3 Electronic Arts857.5
24Crysis 2 EA Games857.2
25Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Ubisoft847.6
26Fight Night Champion EA Sports847.2
27God of War Origins Collection SCEA847.9
28Resident Evil 4 HD Capcom847.1
29Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Capcom847.6
30Killzone 3 SCEA847.9
... and the worst:
222PlayStation Move Ape Escape SCEA43n/a
223Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Electronic Arts434.8
224Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Atari423.0
225Thor: God of Thunder Sega392.6
226Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game THQ313.5
PS3PS3 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection 9.2
2 Rayman Origins 8.7
3 The King of Fighters XIII 8.7
4 Dark Souls 8.4
5 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 8.4

* Minimum 25 user votes.


90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 62.2
vs. 2010 Avg. 64.6

The Wii U (due in 2012) cannot come soon enough for Nintendo fans. As a platform, the current Wii is clearly at the end of the line; just a dozen positively reviewed games were released for the console in all of 2011. (You can add three more "good" games if you also include games with fewer than 7 reviews.) In fact, there were fewer than 70 scored games in all released this year for the platform; in 2010, over twice as many titles were released for the Wii. And those few games that did arrive in 2011 collectively scored over two points lower than the average Wii game released the year before.

Fortunately, the one game that Wii owners were likely looking forward to the most this year—The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 93—didn't disappoint, earning top honors as the highest-scoring Wii release of the year. But out of all our Wii Game of the Year recipients, only 2009's Metroid Prime Trilogy 91 had a lower Metascore.

WiiBest Wii Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
93 82 81 78 73
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
escapeVektor: Chapter 1
Kirby's Return to Dream Land
FAST - Racing League
WiiBest-Reviewed Wii Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Wii Game of the Year
2Rayman Origins Ubisoft918.3
3Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Electronic Arts858.0
4Bit.Trip Complete Aksys Games848.6
5MotoHeroz RedLynx826.5
6Bit.Trip Flux Aksys Games/Gaijin Games817.2
7escapeVektor: Chapter 1 Nnooo81n/a
8Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Activision815.3
9Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 Konami79n/a
10de Blob 2 THQ797.9
... and the worst:
40Top Spin 4 2K Sports546.5
41Rango Paramount Digital Ent./Electronic Arts 52n/a
42101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix Atlus Co.41n/a
43X-Men: Destiny Activision366.1
44Transformers: Dark of the Moon -
Stealth Force Edition
WiiWii Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Kirby's Return to Dream Land 7.8
2 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 7.7
3 Conduit 2 7.4

* Minimum 25 user votes.

More games ...

Continue to the next page for this year's top releases for PC, PSP, and Nintendo DS/3DS.

Comments (43)

  • boy  

    I wonder if the number of reviews was taken into consideration for the overall rankings. Even if the ratings are different by a few decimal points, Skyrim clearly has twice as many reviews as Arkham City's.

  • IAimToMisbehave  

    @ShuteTheRunner I think you're absolutely right about the observation of PS3 Arkham City and 360 Skyrim. There has been such a ridiculous buzz about Smyrim all day at work from my co-workers, that I'm going to start playing Skyrim this weekend to see what the big deal is. Apparently people's lives, jobs, marriages, relationships and day-to-day activities are being ruined because they play Skyrim all freaking day. If that's the case, then it's gotta be the game of the yeat!

  • IAimToMisbehave  

    Got myself into way too much trouble this year buying video games. Working at GameStop, it's hard to just not buy everything up all the time, but the backlog for me is now staggering. Still, I was pretty lucky to be able to work for the company during this video game year, which, in my 23 years playing video games, was the biggest and the best, ever. Period.

    Play Battlefield 3 multi-player all the time. Finished Killzone 3 and played a lot of multi-player - very nice all-around exclusive for the PS3. Finished Uncharted 3 campaign - loved every second of it; got halfway through Gears 3 campaign before co-op partner moved on, but it was definitely a great game; playing Skyward Sword now - it's flat-out awesome; started AC: Revelations - it's good, more of the same; tried Deus Ex - controls suck, might play next year; briefly played Arkham City - it's definitely good, but I wish challenge maps were available from the start (like in Arkham Asylum) in order to practice combos, and the gliding and exploration can be a little tricky sometimes, probably will pick it up again once the calendar turns.

    This doesn't even include L.A. Noire, Skyrim, Resistance 3, Rayman Origins and lord knows how many others I bought, haven't played and can't now think of. Done buying games.

  • TheHorrorAnthem  

    Thank you very much ShuteTheRunner, that is very complimenting, and yes I agree that this forum thus far has been great. RainbowYoshi, I am someone who plays Skyrim constantly but is not a fanboy, and I personally would say that it is defiantly the best game of the year. Uncharted 3 like the first two is a great linear action experience, and while great, fun, and explosive, it will take less than 20 hours to complete, maybe less than 15 depending how you play. Skyrim however can run you beyond 150 hours with absolutely no problem. In fact you can play over 150 hours without even paying attention to its main plot line. I have not played Mario Kart 7 but I assume Skyrim has it beaten as well. Uncharted is great, but Skyrim is worth even more than 60 bucks. It may find its way into your console a few years from now. Its huge, its extremely fun, its addicting. If you like RPGs or open world it is a must.

  • spadenx  

    Little curious as to how AC is number one then it has far less reviews then Skyrim. Not a fanboy, I love the new Batman games but I am just curious.

  • RainbowYoshi  

    Oh well, my top 2 favourites will be Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Mario Kart 7. I'll be getting Skyrim soon (not from a fanboy's opinion) but is it league's above those games?

  • ShuteTheRunner  

    TheHorrorAnthem I think it may be because of the popularity of the Xbox 360 over the PS3. I think that, unless a critic specifies which version they are reviewing then the score should count for all currently available versions. By the way, it is excellent to see another open-minded, mature person on this site. Far too often do I see immature and childish comments regarding how awful or excellent something is without giving any real insight as to why their opinion is so. In fact, everyone who has commented on this article has written a well thought out and open-minded comment. It pleases me to see such maturity over the internet

  • evergreenOldboy  

    @tonyb The reasoning for this is that, if someone gives an unfavorable review of a movie they eloquently express their opinion to match the corresponding score they gave the the movie. As for video games, if someone gives an unfavorable review they usually just give it a 0 out of 10, this could be for many reasons some of which include glitches they have suffered that the critics have not, having to spend many hours in a game only to discover that you dont like it, and fanboyism (very broad reason).

  • TheHorrorAnthem  

    ShutetheRunner, Very true, everything you said is exactly right. The way the article is written is twisted a little bit almost like it is trying to sell it. Also, I notice most first look demos and critic videos are on Xbox which also almost always contains the most reviews written. I dont know if that is coincidence or if maybe Xbox just delivers first to game testers or what. Does anyone know the answer to that?

  • TheHorrorAnthem  

    Hey Tonyb, I consider myself a pretty hard critic and tend to agree with the metacritic and rotten tomato critics at least 85-95% of the time. I know exactly what you mean by how the audience reaction is reversed from games to film, and I honestly think it is just a mix of how each is delivered, maturity and fanboyism. In film the Transformer movies are a great example, fans love them because they are big, colorful, loud, explosive action films with pretty and popular faces and require no thinking whatsoever, but then that is the exact reason why critics dont like them. Besides something to munch popcorn to they provide nothing into the history of film aside from maybe box office records. Avatar for one was nominated for multiple Oscars in visuals only, not in writing, because honestly other than being pretty it was nothing special, great film making but not deep at all.

    In games though it comes off a little different, first of all as mentioned above, maturity, gamers who comment and review are probably mostly younger than the average movie viewers who comment and review outside of Youtube. Faboyism is a large part of it and that cannot be denied, they are the number one reason I dont follow user reviews closely. I see 10's in reviews that involve the words "its not perfect" or 2's because they suck at the game or didnt understand it, or worse of all, played ten minutes of it or a demo. Critics are at least finishing the games, aside from releases like Skyrim where you really cant finish everything by a due date. A good critic is not afraid to give a game he does not like a 10 if the game deserves it, or a 1 to a game that sucks yet he loves it, but knows its not a great game. Same in film, buddy comedies average a 2 star rating but that doesnt mean it wasnt hilarious with multiple viewings, just means by great film standards its not great. That is where average viewers and critic types really truly think separately. I personally dont watch many musicals yet I know The Sound of Music is a 4 star film, but I devout a lot of time to film and music and games. Making and critiquing such things is my entire life so I get really into prissiness. Bottom line, its all opinion of course, but some of it is overlooked fact. Rather a piece of entertainment is well made or not is fact, rather you like it or not is opinion, and that is something else a lot of people never consider. Another point I will add is users are also only playing games of their choice, while critics are playing everything. They strive to see something fresh and original, while many gamers want the same thing over and over. Call of Duty fans, just give them a FPS with great online and their year is set, others are waiting for the next epic in storytelling, some want both. To really focus on your question, in the game department a lot of due also to how games are treated. They are still after all these years looked down upon compared to other medias. Which is unfortunate because video games have become great ways to express and tell stories. I think 2011 had better games than movies by far, and even in this article The Dark Knight Rises was challenged by Arkham City. Which ultimately leads back to the maturity subject I mentioned earlier. Gamers do range from 10 all the way to 40 on average but so many of the great games are being marketed for early 20 year olds. I think someday it may balance, after more Mass Effects, Red Dead Redemptions, and Bioshocks it may level itself. I for one think video games can compete as art as well as any other media. Time will tell. If you actually read all of that I thank you, and I thank anyone else who read. Long comment but I actually enjoy talking about these things. - Matt M.

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