The Best Games of 2009

  • Publish Date: December 9, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 185 user comments

The best Nintendo DS games of the year

ImageThe top DS game of 2009

Although set in the same Liberty City as Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is more than just a mere handheld version of the franchise. The year's best-reviewed DS game was hailed by critics for adding new features to the GTA series, and showcasing the capabilities of the Nintendo DS. In fact, it's the best-reviewed DS game in Metacritic's entire database.

The DS also scored with critics for Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, an RPG using the classic Mario characters, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, a challenging hybrid RPG/strategy game set in a demon-infested Tokyo that's (part of a game series that's hugely popular in Japan).

Nintendo DS Top 20 Best-Reviewed Games, 2009
  Title Genre Metascore Users
1Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown WarsAction, Adventure93 9.0
2Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside StoryAction, RPG919.2
3Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, TheAction, Adventure86n/a
4Might and Magic: Clash of HeroesRPG, Puzzle, Adventure86n/a
5Peggle: Dual ShotPuzzle858.7
This addictive PC game port is one of six puzzlers to land in the DS Top 20
6Shin Megami Tensei: Devil SurvivorRPG, Strategy849.3
7Professor Layton and The Diabolical BoxAdventure849.5
8Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly BrideRPG848.7
9Art Style: DIGIDRIVEPuzzle83 9.0
10Mighty Flip ChampsAction, Puzzle83 10.0
11Art Style: PiCTOBiTSPuzzle838.8
12Rhythm HeavenRhythm, Music839.5
This generally well-reviewed Japanese import plays like a Wario Ware title
13Dragon Quest WarsStrategy83 9.0
14Pokemon PlatinumRPG838.7
15Space Invaders Extreme 2Shooter82n/a
16Dawn of DiscoveryStrategy, Simulation828.5
17Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!Action, Adventure828.5
18Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling AdventureAdventure, Puzzle829.2
19Bomberman IIAction81 9.0
20Fire Emblem: Shadow DragonStrategy816.5

Games must have at least 5 reviews to qualify for the above list. The productivity title "Flipnote Studio," although highly-ranked, is excluded from the list because it is not a game.

The best PSP games of the year

ImageThe top PSP game of 2009

Although it didn't score quite as high as its DS counterpart, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars also finished as the best-reviewed game of the year for the Sony PSP. On its heels was PS3 port LittleBigPlanet, which proved as charming on the handheld as it did on the console.

Four role-playing games made the PSP Top 20 list, including Half-Minute Hero, a comedic meta-game that boils genre standards down into a 30-second essence. Gamers looking for a more conventional RPG can turn to Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days, rated by critics as one of the top strategy-RPG games available on the platform.

PSP Top 20 Best-Reviewed Games, 2009
  Title Genre Metascore Users
1Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown WarsAction, Adventure917.2
3PixelJunk Monsters DeluxeStrategy869.7
4Half-Minute HeroRPG859.5
6Blast OffArcade, Puzzle84n/a
7Disgaea 2: Dark Hero DaysStrategy, RPG84 9.0
8FIFA Soccer 10Sports, Soccer838.2
9Tekken 6Fighting, Action828.6
10Resistance: RetributionThird-Person Shooter818.2
11Monster Hunter Freedom UniteAction, RPG819.4
12Patapon 2Action, Music, Platform818.8
13Pinball FantasiesPinball817.3
14FieldrunnersStrategy80 10.0
15BeateratorRhythm, Music809.6
16Soulcalibur: Broken DestinyFighting80 6.0
17Rock Band UnpluggedMusic798.8
19Dissidia Final FantasyAction, RPG, Fighting798.2

Games must have at least 5 reviews to qualify for the above list.

For more information

Which games bombed with critics this year? Find the "Duds of the Year" in Metacritic Games. Our sister site Gamespot names its "Games of the Year" on December 17th.

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Comments (185)

  • 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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