The Best Games of 2009

  • Publish Date: December 9, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 185 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...

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

Comments (185)

  • kevin  

    you forgot to mention pc, even though its clearly in your chart.

  • DaS.RoT  

    This article is complete nonsense, as is the metacritic website. Great idea in theory, but as you can see it turns to sh!t in reality. Opinion of collections of opinions... Really?

    It also doesn't really matter what console you have, as long as YOU enjoy it, your a winner. I personally can't stand the PS controllers, which is why I won't buy one (not friendly to long thumbs, feels like I'm in a thumb-wrestling match every time I play one). My friends do own PS3's though and I will gladly go over and play some Uncharted and Kill Zone though =D. Find some friends with other consoles and your all winners!

    Also, don't buy a console because of secondary features (Media center, Netflix, Facebook, Home, etc...) they are all half-baked implementations and you could do much better elsewhere.

  • nintendonitis  

    PS3 + Uncharted 2= Gaming Heaven!

  • Dom Sacco  

    Interesting to see PC and PS3 above Xbox 360 - especially considering there were more games on PC than Xbox.

    We ran a top games of 2009 list over at Leet Games Blog:
    http://www.leetgamesblog.com/game-of-the-year-2009

  • Mr. E. Nahn Ehmus  

    I'm not saying Killzone 2 and Halo 3 were similar games, I meant in quality. Personally I like Killzone 2 much better but I guess if I'm using critics' opinions to back up an argument I can't ignore it when it's convenient.

    And when I say Uncharted 2 beats GeOW in that category, I mean in the competition of top rated 3rd person shooters. They also have a similar combat and shooting system, but yes UC2 has many more elements to the gameplay and is uncomparable. The games are completely different but they are both the premiere TPSs of each console, hence I will compare them. And I'd hardly say a decent gaming PC is more of a hassle than the RROD...... of my at least 30 friends with a 360 about 20 of them have had the RROD at least once. When I tell any of them that the failure rate is 54.2% they freak and act like I'm lying. Then I ask if they've ever had it break. They always say yes.... Point is a PC is superior to the 360 and less of a hassle.

    The Wii and PS3 offer much better console experiences, depending on what you want. The 360 apes the PC and ends up inferior.

  • Matt  

    "Uncharted 2 takes Gears of War down in its category (third person shooter, then UC2 has even more than just shooting….)"

    I haven't completed Uncharted 2 yet, but it's very good so far. And having played Gears and Gears 2, I can safely say, from personal experience, that the games are not remotely similar to Uncharted 2. There is shooting, and there is cover. But the entire feel of the game is wildly different. Apples and oranges. Comparing the two is absurd, and only seems to make any sense to the kinds of people who feel driven to prove one console objectively better than another.

    "Killzone 2 and Halo 3 are fairly close"

    I have to firmly disagree with you here. The games weren't that similar other than the fact that both involved shooting. And furthermore, I just didn't really care for Killzone 2. There was nothing wrong with it exactly. It just didn't have anything, for me, that made it stand out from the crowd... well, it was pretty. But I think the whole draw of Killzone 2 was supposed to be that it was a technical achievement (i.e. the first game to really take advantage of the PS3 hardware). Congrats. I"m glad such things are occurring, because it paves the way for better games. But that doesn't make Killzone II itself special. Co-op campaign would have helped for me, but YMMV. Personally, I was much more a fan of Resistance 2, if I had to pick a sci-fi shooter PS3 exclusive. The graphics didn't match Killzone II, but I preferred the story a bit, and the weapons were some of the most imaginative I've ever seen in a game.

    You are right, I think, that the 360 is ultimately a choice between PC gaming and console gaming. You are also right that PC versions of many of these games are accepted as better. But again, apples and oranges. People don't choose console over PC for the games. They choose console over PC because it is far less hassle. I loved Mass Effect and Dragon Age on console. By all accounts, they are better on PC. Maybe I would have liked them more. But it's hard for me to argue with the convenience of my consoles.

  • Mr. E. Nahn Ehmus  

    Paaradox Eternal-

    Demon's Souls, Killzone 2, Ratchet and Clank Future: ACiT/ToD. Annnnnd those are just the ones I like....

    And by the way, PS3 exclusive AAAE scores- 96, 95, 94, (92 if GoW Collection counts...), 91, 90

    360 AAAE scores- 94, 94, 93, 92, 90

    Well... err... LOOKS LIKE 360 SCORES MUCH HIGHER!

    Fable and Mass Effect aren't exclusive by the way. This thing called the PC exists people...... and multiplats are usually superior on it........ especially RPGs...... and Fable and Mass Effect are both on it. Those don't even require a very powerful PC, fairly average required specs, you could prolly run it on a really basic computer if you just got a decent graphics card that supported 3.0. I don't know where you get your info, I'm guessing you're some uninformed kid who doesn't know what he's talking about, just playing what everyone else does.

    Then get into AAE games. The PS3 has Ratchet and Clank, Demon's Souls (which should be AAAE, no question), inFAMOUS, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Resistance, MLB '08 The Show (not a baseball game fan but hey it's a good game for what it is so I'm countin it), the Pixeljunk games.... and more! The 360 has what? Nothing? Oh right... When Gran Turismo 5 is released and gets just as good reviews as Forza Motorsport 3, the comparative quality won't even be... well, comparable! Uncharted 2 takes Gears of War down in its category (third person shooter, then UC2 has even more than just shooting....), Killzone 2 and Halo 3 are fairly close, Gran Turismo 5 and FM3 should be close, the 360 has absolutely nothing to even answer to LittleBigPlanet, and the same with Metal Gear Solid 4. The only thing the 360 has on the PS3 right now is racing games.... oooooooo racing games great, let's get some real games out there, not driving ones. Also getting down to variety... PS3's AAAE titles, a Third-person shooter/platformer/action-adventure game, Third-person stealth shooter, 2.5-D platformer with fully customizable levels, realistic FPS, and a baseball game. The 360? A space-marine FPS, two space-marine TPSs, and two racing games. Slight lack of variety on the 360 much? The 360 can win in quantity, but it will never beat the PS3's current quality. Actually the only thing it has quantity in is multiplats that are better on PC anyway so that doesn't count for much.... there's just no defending the 360 outside its superior online play, which is partially ruined since it costs $50 a year, which could be another game....

  • Paradox Eternal  

    Let it not be forgotten that the 360 had more high-quality games than the PS3 from 06-08. 1 year does not bring the PS3 up to par. Not yet. i still believe 360 is the better of the two. how are you going to compare the exclusives of Forza 3, Gears of War (both), Halo 3 (forget ODST) Mass Effect and Fable II? The PS3 has, what, Little Big Planet, Uncharted 2, Gran Turismo and MGS4? You've got to remember to look at the entire picture, people. Surely, the PS3 had a much better year than 360 in 09. But quite frankly, it doesn't matter. Unless it can outperform it in 2010, 2011 and 2012, 360 is the better sell. Just compare the top metacritic PS3 exclusive game scores of all time to the 360's top metacritic exclusives of all time. You will see what i mean.

  • Where Would You Be W  

    [...] is therefore not surprising that the list of the top video games of 2009 on metacritic doesn’t contain many things I’m interested in, seeing as this was apparently the year [...]

  • Metacritic Uses Thei  

    [...] How does God of War Collection even count? You can see all of Metacritic’s top games of 2009 here. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Metacritic Uses Their Stupid Logic To Declare PS3 Best Gaming [...]

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