The Best Videogames of 2011

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

PC games

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 70.0
PC Games
vs. 2010 Avg. 71.3

Of the scored PC games (i.e., those games with at least 4 reviews from critics) released in 2011, a total of 101—or nearly 42%—were positively reviewed, a percentage that nearly matches the year's top-performing console (the Xbox 360).

And PC gamers could choose from six "great" games (with Metascores of 90 or above) in 2011, compared to just 4 the year before. In fact, that's the highest total of great PC games in a single year since 2007. While four of those great games could also be found on consoles, Total War: Shogun 2—2011's top PC exclusive—could not. And while the hugely popular indie sandbox building game Minecraft—available in alpha and beta releases for years before finally getting its first official release this fall—could also be found in (inferior) mobile versions, the PC version received such stellar reviews from critics that it finished among the year's 10 highest-scoring games overall.

Note that our stats and rankings for PC games this year do not include one of the year's biggest releases: Star Wars: The Old Republic, a MMORPG released just a few days ago (an unusually late release for such a major game). While, at press time, the game has a handful of (very positive) reviews already posted, it will take several more weeks (if not longer) for the bulk of the reviews to trickle in—such is the nature of online multiplayer titles, which cannot be accurately graded prior to launch. So it's possible that there will be one more very good PC game for you to mentally insert in the lists below.

PCBest PC Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
90 88 85 85 84
Total War:
Shogun 2

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Frozen Synapse
Matrix Games
Trion Worlds
PCBest-Reviewed PC Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Portal 2
PC Game of the Year
Valve Software958.4
2The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Bethesda Softworks948.3
3Minecraft Mojang AB/Mojang Specifications937.1
4Batman: Arkham City Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.917.5
5Deus Ex: Human Revolution Square Enix/Eidos Interactive908.2
6Total War: Shogun 2 Sega908.2
7Battlefield 3 Electronic Arts897.4
8FIFA Soccer 12 Electronic Arts897.5
10Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Ubisoft888.1
11The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Atari888.4
12Dead Space 2 Electronic Arts878.1
13Bastion Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.878.6
14Crysis 2 EA Games866.5
15DiRT 3 Codemasters867.1
16Amnesia: The Dark Descent ValuSoft/Frictional Games858.8
17Saints Row: The Third THQ858.0
18Frozen Synapse Matrix Games857.9
19Trine 2 Atlus Co.859.0
20SpaceChem Zachtronics Industries848.4
21Football Manager 2012 Sega847.5
22Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition Capcom847.3
23L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition Rockstar Games847.8
24Rift Trion Worlds847.2
25Shift 2: Unleashed Electronic Arts845.6
26Orcs Must Die! Robot Entertainment848.4
27Anno 2070 Ubisoft838.1
28The Binding of Isaac Edmund McMillen837.7
29Terraria Re-Logic/Redigit837.9
30The Book of Unwritten Tales Lace Mamba Global/KING Art/Dreamcatcher838.3
... and the worst:
183Painkiller: Redemption JoWooD Entertainment/DreamCatcher 435.5
184Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter Paradox Interactive422.2
185Battle: Los Angeles Konami382.5
186Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops Viva Media 343.2
187The Asskickers AGO Games26n/a

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.

PCPC Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 To the Moon 9.5
2 Trine 2 9.0
3 Amnesia: The Dark Descent 8.8
4 Serious Sam 3: BFE 8.7
5 Alice: Madness Returns 8.6
  Bastion 8.6
  Gemini Rue 8.6
  Panzer Corps 8.6

* Minimum 25 user votes.

Nintendo 3DS/DS

3DS Avg. Metascore 63.4
DS Avg. Metascore 65.4
Nintendo 3DS / DS

Though the three highest-scoring handheld games (not including iOS) in 2011 could all be found on Nintendo's new 3DS platform, the 3DS actually finished the year with the lowest average Metascore for its games; both the standard DS and Sony's PSP had higher average scores. Only 14 of the 74 (just under 19%) scored 3DS releases this year received positive reviews. There were fewer releases for the older DS, but more of them received positive reviews: 20 of 61, or nearly 33%.

3DSBest 3DS Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
94 90 90 85 85
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Super Mario 3D Land
Pushmo (aka Pullblox)
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
Mario Kart 7
3DSBest-Reviewed 3DS Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
3DS Game of the Year
2Super Mario 3D Land Nintendo907.7
3Pushmo Nintendo909.4
4Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition Capcom858.5
5Mario Kart 7 Nintendo857.7
6Cave Story 3D NIS America838.6
7Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Activision824.8
8Star Fox 64 3D Nintendo818.0
9Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked Atlus Co.807.6
10Dead or Alive: Dimensions Koei798.5
... and the worst:
60Driver: Renegade Ubisoft482.3
61Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D Ubisoft443.3
62Asphalt 3D Ubisoft433.3
633D Classics: Urban Champion Nintendo375.0
64Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Stealth Force Edition Activision30n/a
DS Best-Reviewed DS Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Pokemon White Version
DS Game of the Year
2Pokemon Black Version Nintendo878.0
3Radiant Historia Atlus U.S.A., Inc.858.8
4The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Nintendo856.5
5Professor Layton and the Last Specter Nintendo/Level 5849.3
6Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Capcom838.6
7Kirby: Mass Attack Nintendo838.6
8Okamiden Capcom828.6
9Mighty Milky Way WayForward81n/a
10Plants vs. Zombies PopCap817.1
... and the worst:
27Cars 2: The Video Game Disney Interactive58n/a
28Captain America: Super Soldier Sega56n/a
29Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Osborne House THQ48n/a
301950s Lawn Mower Kids Zordix AB43n/a
31Duke Nukem: Critical Mass Deep Silver293.3
3DSDS3DS/DS Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Pushmo 3DS 9.4
2 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective DS 8.6
3 Dead or Alive: Dimensions 3DS 8.5
  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 3DS 8.5
  Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition 3DS 8.5

* Minimum 25 user votes.

PlayStation Portable

2011 Avg. Metascore 69.9
PlayStation Portable
vs. 2010 Avg. 70.4

For perhaps one final time, the PlayStation Portable had a higher average Metascore for its games than either of Nintendo's two handhelds. But even by PSP standards—the platform typically has fewer releases than any other—2011 offered slim pickings; we calculated Metascores for just 40 releases for the device all year. Fortunately, 17 of those 40 (42.5%) were reviewed positively by critics, so PSP owners could find something decent to play this year (though many of those good releases were smaller downloadable games, including the year's highest-scoring PSP exclusive). Next year, of course, will bring the PSP's replacement in the form of the PS Vita.

PSPBest PlayStation Portable Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
80 78 77 76 75
Where Is My Heart?
Copenhagen Game Collective
Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy
Square Enix
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Square Enix
1000 Tiny Claws
Corpse Party
PSPBest-Reviewed PSP Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
PSP Game of the Year
Square Enix878.4
2The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Xseed Games809.2
3Where is My Heart? Copenhagen Game Collective80n/a
4Legends of War: Patton's Campaign Enigma Software Productions798.8
5Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Square Enix787.5
6Angry Birds Chillingo Ltd775.7
7Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection Square Enix778.5
8MLB 11: The Show SCEA77n/a
9Shift Extended Zallag769.7
10Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 - Innocent Sin Atlus Co.768.2
... and the worst:
20Ys I & II Chronicles Xseed Games639.2
21Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact Namco Bandai 597.8
22Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Namco Bandai 57n/a
23Ninjamurai Open Emotion Studios55n/a
24Lord of Arcana Square Enix535.2
PSPPSP Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 9.2
2 Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together 8.4
3 Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy 7.5

* Minimum 25 user votes.

What do you think?

What are your favorite games of 2011? Let us know in the discussion section below, or cast your vote for your favorites in our Best of 2011 Users Poll.

Comments (43)

  • ShuteTheRunner  

    As far as I know, there isn't a difference between the XBox 360 and PS3 version of Batman: Arkham City, so shouldn't the true score of the game depend upon which version has more reviews? The XBox version has almost twice as many reviews as the PS3 version, therefore the score of this game is 94, not 96. While this is still a brilliant score, it does mean that Batman: Arkham City is not the game of the year. Skyrim is slightly different across all platforms. the PS3 version has a major bug, which is why it has a lower score. The PC version plays differently due to it being on a PC, giving it a slightly lower score. The XBox version has a score of 96 based upon 88 reviews, whereas the PS3 version of Arkham City has the same score based upon 41 reviews, which is less than half of Skyrim's reviews. This makes The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (XBox 360 version) the most critically acclaimed game of the year. I will not offer my personal opinion, I am merely pointing out that, based upon Metacritic's scoring, the Metacritic GOTY is Skyrim, not Arkham City.

  • tonyb  

    the thing I find interesting is how much harsher users are as compared with critics
    only a handful of the scores either matched or exceeded what critics thought of the games
    I would be curious to hear why people think this is
    (contrast this with films where it seems to be the other way around)

    just an FYI, you forgot to include Mass Effect 2 in the PC best of

  • Unbelievable21  

    Since LoZ: Four Swords was released on the DSi - and, therefore, both on DS and 3DS - isn't it a bit unfair to only list it in the DS games?

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 »