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

2009 Game Platform Power Rankings
1Playstation 3
2 PC
3 Xbox 360
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 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 (186)

  • hik  

    I don't think cross platform games should greatly weigh in on this. Batman favored the PS3 and AC2 favored the 360 (greatly) but the editors of this article should have not have factored this in for the top titles or at least only acknowledge them. Remakes/Rehashes like the GOW series should be excluded and all the rehashes ported for the Wii and DS (which are 1/5 of the games) should also be excluded because it is not original title and no real development and game design was needed. PS3 also looks good for 2010 with GOW3 and Heavy Rain (though i hate QTE). 2010 should also release the Natal for 360 and the motion controller for PS3. Wii will be Wii.

  • Tony  

    A video game review is nothing more than opinion. The critic(s) who reviewed these games clearly like PS3 more, hence GH Metallica getting an 86 for PS3 while 360 got an 84. GH 5 85-84, SF IV 94-93, FIFA 91-90. just a few examples, same exact game, different rating

  • PS3 Tops Metacritic  

    [...] For a more detailed breakdown of the results head over to Metacritic. [...]

  • Bruce Leeroy  

    Uncharted 2 was a pretty fantastic game, far, far from perfect but still damn good. Street Fighter IV though, really? Good game though it was -- it wasn't one of the best of the year. Weird seeing Braid up there, thought that was an '08 title. Kind of a weak year all around. PS3 and 360 are kicking some ass though.

  • john  

    its very simple. PC wins every year and will always win every year. And the old games on the Wii, like twilight princess, metroid, and mario galaxy are so good that they will be played for ever and ever no matter how dated they may get. So whatever these ratings may say on here, PS3 will never be the best. For no other reason than its impossible.

  • Uncharted 2 (PS3): G  

    [...] To see full details on Metacritic’s recent study check out their article here. [...]

  • Albino  

    @Simon. Median is not average. Median score is the score for which 50% of games are rated above and 50% of games are rated below. Average is the sum of scores for all games, divided by the number of games. All platforms have a lot of mediocre trash, but a quick glance at the lists tells you that PS3 has far more games above 85% than the 360. This is what should count the upper n-percentile of games.

    Multi-platform games are somewhat problematic. On the one hand new console buyers simply want to know which console has the best games. In this respect for Braid to count for the PS3 but not the 360 is biased. On the other hand, if the purpose of the ranking is to reflect the current state of the quality releases per platform as an indication of which platform has possibly a brighter future, then it is correct to disclude Braid from the 360. Stepping away from the stats, Uncharted is really something special. Games scoring in the low 90s come out several times a year, but 95+ is very rare and puts it up in the pantheon of the Halo 1, FF7, Ocarina of Time, Metroid 1, Half-Life, BioShock, GTA 3 etc. This game is an ALL TIME great. Personally, the fact that it's a PS3 exclusive steals the prize for the PS3 regardless of whatever else has been released for PS3 and/or 360, much like BioShock did for the 360 a couple of years ago. And like BioShock there might well be a day in that it makes a debut on the 360!

    Disclaimer: I am a 360 owner, but Uncharted is serioiusly making me consider splashing out on a PS3!

  • The Daily Fisting Ep  

    [...] Number 4 story: Metacritic’s Best Games of 2009 [...]

  • Simon  

    Interesting read indeed. Besides Uncharted (which is a good game admittedly) we have Braid, which came out for the 360 a year ago and we have God of War Collection, which is a republishing of old material. These are the Úber games that "win" it for the P$3 crowd. If you are looking the REAL results, look at this tiny fact "XBOX 360 Median score 72.5 and P$3 72" For you ppl illiterate in calculus, this means that on average (which metacritics scores are all about) the Xbox 360 still rules supreme

  • GuardianMode  

    Congarts on the PS3 this year. Im looking forward to a great 2010.

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