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)

  • Omega2k3  

    How come the total percentage of PC and 360 games are 101%? DS is 99%?

    What the hell?

  • francisco  

    And to say that PS3 has no games. Xbox 360 with the head start only has 50 more games. Pretty sad how Halo:ODST ended up all the way in the bottom.

  • Troy  

    The 360 rules. I don't know why all the hate for the 360 all of a sudden.

  • Randy Moorhead  

    Why is Braid up there if it was released on the 360 last year? Is it really that much better on the Ps3? I don't think that Braid should count towards the PS3's overall score unless it significantly improves on the 360 iteration. Also, why is that God of War re-release up there?

  • Video Game News Week  

    [...] Meta Critic: Best Games 2009 Details click here [...]

  • Grey  

    These all need to be taken with a grain of salt, and the inclusion of Braid is obviously a bit silly since it's been on XBLA for over a year. But PS3 deserves some props this year, finally getting a killer app in Uncharted 2. Wipeout HD is another exclusive that adds a lot of value to the machine, even if it didn't factor into this list. That said, most of the games here are non-exclusive, and calling a "victor" is stupid. When duplicate cross-platform titles eat up such a good portion of the top-10 list, it only takes the one exclusive Uncharted 2 to throw the whole thing off.

    On an unrelated note, I'm sad to see the Wii fall so far behind. If nothing else, Punch Out! deserved much higher reviews than it received. I know it's cool to rag on the Wii, but it has some good stuff for hardcore gamers (Muramasa is another great exclusive), and deserves more respect than it gets.

  • man1985  

    Nice list and all but why is the 360 version of MW2 at #4 and the PS3 version is at #2. Don't they both have a score of 94? Why is the 360 #4 eventhough the User grade is higher than the PS3's.

    My question is what makes the PS3 MW2 that much better than the 360. Biased much?

    I admit PS3 had a better year this year in gaming, espiacially in the exclusives, but MW2 is the same game no matter what platform it's on. That sort chart just makes you look biased when it isn't even necessary. Everybody knows PS3 had better games this year.

  • Biggre  

    I find it funny that with all the "fanboy" acusations being thrown around, this article is being flooded 10:1 with "OMG PS3 **** in my pants!" comments. I'm not being a fanboy, I'm just advocating that everyone grows up a little bit. Well a lot.

  • Video Game News Week  

    [...] Meta Critic: Best Games 2009 Details click here [...]

  • Phil G  

    Counting a re-release of two PS2 games from several years ago, and a port of a year old 360 title? That doesn't seem like a particularly strong sign of PS3 dominance when a lot better titles could be cited (maybe not in reviewers eyes, but certainly in player's).

    Furthermore, with the sheer quantity of PC indie titles and such that likely go unreviewed, is it credible to give any kind of quality assessment to the PC? The problem is compounded when you factor in the technical difficulties that would prevent some people from playing the PC version (example: The Saboteur not running for those with ATI cards), thus creating an uneven experience with the game.

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