The Best Games of 2009

  • Publish Date: December 9, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 186 user comments

Lists, lists and more lists ... and our platform of the year

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2009 Game Platform Power Rankings
1Playstation 3
2 PC
3 Xbox 360
4 PSP
5 Nintendo DS
6 Wii

Sony's Playstation 3 console has edged out Microsoft's once-dominant Xbox 360 to finish on top in Metacritic's first annual Game Platform Power Rankings.

The Power Rankings combine a variety of factors -- all involving the quality and quantity of titles released during the year -- to rank the six major gaming platforms. Although Xbox 360 finished with the highest number of positively-reviewed titles (88 games receiving a Metascore of 75 or higher), and though Nintendo's Wii had the largest total number of releases (a whopping 362, or almost one per day), the PS3 console showed the best overall game quality for the year. Among other factors, five of the 10 highest-scoring games in 2009 (for any platform) were PS3 titles, including the year's top game: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

Note that sales figures are not included in the platform or game rankings; if they were, the Wii, which is expected to sell almost twice as many titles as PS3 this year, would have a distinct advantage. Instead, the popular Wii platform had a poor year in terms of game quality, with critics liking just 28% of games released for the platform. We'll report more on the connection between reviews and sales (or, in this case, the lack of such a connection) in January, after final 2009 sales data is released.

Overall, we did not see quite as many blockbuster releases in 2009 as we expected, even though we are now deep into the lifecycles of the current generation of consoles and handhelds. Many of those expected "AAA" titles scheduled for release during the pre-holiday period (October through Thanksgiving weekend) were pushed into the traditionally calm waters of early 2010, avoiding some of this fall's giants (Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3 ODST) and thus delaying some of the most significant battles in the platform wars.

Below, we list the best-reviewed games for each gaming platform. First, however, let's take a look at how each platform fared during the past year.

Platform Breakdown, 2009
  Platform # Titles # Great Median Metascore % Good
% Mixed % Bad  
1 Playstation 3 228 10 72.0 43% 50% 7% 43,50,7
2 PC Games 306 7 72.5 43% 49% 9% 43,49,9
3 Xbox 360 279 7 70.0 35% 55% 11% 35,55,11
4 PSP 125 1 69.0 36% 57% 7% 36,57,7
5 Nintendo DS 329 3 69.0 27% 62% 10% 27,62,10
6 Wii 362 1 67.0 28% 59% 13% 28,59,13

The table reflects scores for all games in Metacritic's database released between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. All Metascore data is from December 7, 2009. The # Great indicates the number of games released during the year with a Metascore of 90 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 below 50 (indicating negative reviews). Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Games with fewer than 4 reviews are not scored and are not included in the percentage or median calculations above.

Sony clearly had a strong year in terms of game quality, with titles for both of its platforms (Playstation 3 and PSP) receiving better reviews on the whole than games for similar platforms. The two Sony platforms also had a fewer percentage of bad releases than any other platforms, so although PS3 and PSP gamers might not have had as many titles to choose from, they were less likely to buy a terrible game. In fact, PS3 owners could choose from some of the top-rated games of the year:

Best-Reviewed Games (Any Platform), 2009
  Platform Title Genre Metascore Users
1 PS3 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Action, Adventure 96 9.5
2 PS3 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 First-Person Shooter 94 5.4
Users vented their anger about developer Infinity Ward's decision not to permit dedicated servers for this title by hammering the game on Metacritic.
3 PS3 Street Fighter IV Fighting 94 8.0
4 Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 First-Person Shooter 94 6.0
5 Nintendo DS Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Action, Adventure 93 9.0
6 PS3 Braid Puzzle, Platform 93 9.4
7 Xbox 360 Street Fighter IV Fighting 93 7.4
8 PS3 God of War Collection Action, Adventure 92 9.5
9 Xbox 360 Batman: Arkham Asylum Action, Adventure 92 8.4
10 Xbox 360 Forza Motorsport 3 Racing, Driving 92 8.1

Games must have at least 5 reviews to qualify for the above list. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). User scores represent an average of scores assigned by Metacritic.com site visitors.

Which games received the best overall reviews from top game publications during 2009? Let's check the individual platforms...

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Comments (186)

  • PC Games » PS3  

    [...] Metacritic has employed their unique rating aggregation system to generate the first annual "Platform Power Rankings" list that arranges the various video gaming platforms by the highest rated [...]

  • Jillian(thats rite i  

    all about the ps3 hasnt it?

  • Greg  

    Most of the PS3's top 10 games were multip-plats...

  • Thretau  

    I don't get all the hating for MW2's lack of dedicated servers. Yes they would be good to have but that haven't stopped me from playing the multiplayer on PC over 200 hours now, it's great and lots of fun with friends. Isn't that what matters the most?

    As a owner of PS3, PC and X360 I can't really say which one was the "best" this year. Only bought UC2, InFamous, Demon's Souls and Batman for PS3 and loads of multiplatform games for X360 along with Forza 3. It's not about exclusives, well atleast it's not if you have most of the consoles, 90% of the great games this year were released for more than one console, like the game of the year Dragon Age: Origins.

    Let's wish for more great series going multiplatform this year like Final Fantasy and Bioshock, so everyone can enjoy these amazing games.

  • It Only Does 256 Pla  

    [...] from VGA’s Game of the Year award for UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves to PS3 crowned “Platform of the Year” by Metacritic’s 2009 Game Platform Power Rankings for overall game quality. [...]

  • It Only Does 256 Pla  

    [...] from VGA’s Game of the Year award for UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves to PS3 crowned “Platform of the Year” by Metacritic’s 2009 Game Platform Power Rankings for overall game quality. [...]

  • It Only Does 256 Pla  

    [...] from VGA’s Game of the Year award for UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves to PS3 crowned “Platform of the Year” by Metacritic’s 2009 Game Platform Power Rankings for overall game quality. [...]

  • WLBjork  

    To the numpty above, the death of the PC has been predicted for years - every time a new console comes out, in fact.

    It's still here. Why?

    1. Technology - technology is developed faster for PCs (new technology every 12-18 months) than it would be for consoles (new technology every 5 years).

    2. Mods

    3. Indies.

    Plus, when companies started investigating, they found that PCs pulled in more money than any other platform - due to flexibility, MMOs, technology upgrades , online gaming (adverts)- the list is quite comprehensive.

  • rollin489  

    i love videogames and something i cant seem to wrap my head around is why halo 3 has so much praise. Yeah it was a good game but i wouldnt say it was great, and certainly not legendary. The graphics compared to other fps, well there is no comparison. The last three call of duty games have so much more detail it just makes halo's graphics seem bland. All im saying is if you slap another title on it that doesnt say Halo, would it have still got all the publicity?

  • ewaeobwa oeawbve  

    Halo 3 > any game ever

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