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

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...

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Comments (185)

  • Metacritic’s B  

    [...] extensive use of their database’s ORDER BY clause they have produced a number of tables looking at which of the year’s titles and platforms have attracted the [...]

  • 120spaced  

    I know this is all mathematical but the fact the 360 GOTY is MW2, with a user rating of 6, is pretty lame. In terms of something interesting, new, fun and original i'd have to go with Borderlands.

  • MW2 = Horrible  

    Just to clarify, users gave MW2 a low score because they felt it was bad. We didn't "vent anger by rating it low," rather we were angry because the product was horrible, and we rated it accordingly. In this case, the actual end users disagree with establishment corporate reviewers. On other sites MW2 has cumulative user ratings of 2/10 and lower.

    The refusal to implement such a demanded feature as dedicated servers is only one of MANY reasons why MW2 bombed so hard (and hence why real life users rated it so low). Lengthy lists of the epic blunders in this release can be found in viral videos, articles and forums, all generated by the actual end users. The low score isn't a result of anger; rather the anger is a result of a horrible product, and the low score reflects that.

  • cc99999  

    There's an important piece of information that's being left out. that is sales. It's easy to look at the top ten list and make some false assumptions. If the Xbox version of Modern Warfare 2, for instance, sold nearly twice as many units- why is it listed #4 instead of #2? It's easy to say that the PS3 had better games- but if more people are buying the Xbox 360 version then how does the PS3 come out on top?

    Uncharted 2 was an expensive game to make and it has sold nearly 2 million units. Halo 3 ODST has outsold it. The next issue I have with this way of rating the consoles against each other is the fact that there are 50 or so more Xbox 360 titles available. If a majority of these aren't superior titles then it would place the Xbox 360 at a unrecoverable disadvantage. Until Metacritic shows more work in their list- it's hard to take it seriously as a tool for rating one platform against the other.

  • Oscar  

    This web have to be full of PS3 Fanboys staff. Fail 100%

  • PlayStation Around t  

    [...] PlayStation 3 edged out Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to top Metacritic’s first annual Game Platform Powe... [...]

  • Sean  

    Arkham Asylum should have won for PC. If you look; Street Fighter 4, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dragon Age: Origins all have the same reviewer score. In that case the winner should have been determined by user score (since it is listed after all) . That's just my opinion, and everyone has one of those, including the people who created the list.

  • PlayStation Around t  

    [...] PlayStation 3 edged out Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to top Metacritic’s first annual Game Platform Powe... [...]

  • Noob Tube  

    1.PS3 - 72.0
    2.PC - 72.5 LOL what!? How the hell does that fu...n happen? If you got paid off fine but don't make yourselves look retarded as well as bias.

  • Anonymous  

    Sony wins out over Microsoft because of Tomb Rai.. I mean Uncharted 2. (Sorry I get the two confused all the time what with the tomb raiding and treasure hunting. Who woulda thunk it?) I'm perturbed by the fact that Modern Warfare2 is on the list only for the PS3 seeing as it's sold more units on the 360. (it also has a lower rating on the PS3 yet it's ahead of the 360 version.. hm that's weird.) I know alot of people throw around console partiality but come on.. the 360 had Fable 2 - ODST - L4D2 and a host of other games and the PS3 had what again? (hell I've forgotten and I own one.) Oh, the PS3 had Uncharted 2 and um... Uncharted 2.. sweet.

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