The Best Games of 2009

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

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)

  • Metacritic names PS3  

    [...] case, the lack of such a connection) in January, after final 2009 sales data is released. Source: The Best Games of 2009 - Metacritic _________________ There is a ton of more data and such in there but if I posted it all it would get [...]

  • Nintendo Wii »  

    [...] Uncharted 2 is the best game of 2009 Who says so? Science says so. Just look at the numbers in this Metacritic round-up of the year’s top games and it’s pretty obvious that Uncharted 2 is the best. Also, [...]

  • Xbox360 Elite »  

    [...] December 15th, 2009 | Tags: Who says so? Science says so. Just look at the numbers in this Metacritic round-up of the year’s top games and it’s pretty obvious that Uncharted 2 is the best. Also, [...]

  • Luke  

    Shoudln't everyone be more worried that the AVERAGE score accross the industry is 7? I mean doesn;t this make it even harder to get decent scores or for us to get an idea of how much better than average there is if thers only 3 points to go? If the average game doesn;t score a average number (you would expect average to be 5, as its, you know, in the middle of 0 and 10). Currently people have a false idea as they assume that 7 = good, not average.

    Also the wii having a median score that it did with an extra 100 or so releases isn't that bad, especally as online mags love to review random titles that woudln't even be touched when it comes to the 360 or PS3 versions of the random titles (yes, some of the "shovelware" is also out on the other consoles, but they never get review for some reason, only the wii versions?)

  • JimmyZ  

    The median score is not the only thing determining which system wins here. Is anyone noticing the number of games that received a score of 90 or greater? Yeah, the median score of pc may be 72.5 compared to the PS3's 72 for all games; but the PS3 had 4.4% of its games with a score of 90 or above, compared to the PCs 2.3% and xbox's 2.5%. Also, If you read the fine print, you would know why some totals don't add up to exactly 100%.

  • Metacritic Platform  

    [...] aggregation site Metacritic has released its first annual “Game Platform Power Rankings,” which calculates the scores of each of the six most popular platforms’ top selling software. [...]

  • Bill  

    CC99999: I don't think sales (i.e monetary gain) really reflect the success of a system. If you want to get technical, you can look at the billions of dollars that Microsoft has lost in both shipping and repairing broken consoles. Just because a game sold more doesn't mean it is of higher quality and polish. I think the quality and build of a PS3 vs a 360, as well as the exclusives available this year, reflect that fact that just because more people own it, doesn't mean its better (especially when we see how many 360s have broken down).

  • Stewart  

    Brian: The reason PS3 users vented their frustration was because call of duty 4 had dedicated servers on the PS3 and not the 360. When infinity ward decided to abandon these servers for the PS3 version, the players obviously weren't happy.

  • Science: Uncharted 2  

    [...] says so? Science says so. Just look at the numbers in this Metacritic round-up of the year’s top games and it’s pretty obvious that Uncharted 2 is the best. Also, [...]

  • Xbox360 Elite »  

    [...] says so? Science says so. Just look at the numbers in this Metacritic round-up of the year’s top games and it’s pretty obvious that Uncharted 2 is the best. Also, [...]

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