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)

  • Jerry Curlan  

    2009 has clearly been the year of the PS3, while I believe that 2008 was a toss-up between the 360 (quality) and Wii (quantity). Now if Sony could just put a push behind quality games for the PSP, they'd be in business!

  • Marie  

    So without Braid which had already been on the 360 for over a year with the same score 360 and PS3 had the same number in the top ten for the year. Worth noting.

  • rumtumtugger  

    "However, Wii once again struggled to match the other platforms in terms of cortical acclaim."

    Indeed they did.

  • bomba2812  

    @marie stop being a fanboy or fangirl ps3 games were obviously better than the 360 games plus there were 50 more games released for the 360 than for the ps3

  • Metacritic’s B  

    [...] you would like to see the top 40 for all platforms, head on over to Metacritic, for more in depth analysis of each platform as [...]

  • VG247 » Blog A  

    [...] has beaten out PC, Wii and Xbox 360 to finish on top of Metacritic’s first annual Game Platform Power [...]

  • Brian  

    Someone goofed. I see a note under MW2 for the PS3 and it says users vented their anger about the game. But it doesn't say it for the 360 version. If users are going to vent wouldn't they vent against the PC version? They're the ones who were mad.

  • Ejsponge61  

    I'm glad to see that the PS3 is finally getting the acclaim it deserves. Now maybe my friends will get one, because none of them do. And I cant believe that ODST got an 83, I thought that it was Microsoft's only big title to compete with Uncharted 2 and Super Mario Bros. Wii, which both scored way higher. And I'm also surprised to see the Wii at the bottom of the list, well, not really, they did only have a few OK games this year. And I'm glad to see the PSP was in a respectable place, seeing as I'm getting a PSP Go for the holidays.

  • major  

    @Marie hahahaah ,There is only one exclusive (not downloadable title) on the Xbox360 which scored 90 or above while the Ps3 had 4 titles scorning 90 or above ,let’s not forget the other ps3 exclusives which scored above 85 ,the Ps3 beat the X360 this year by a land slide it’s not even funny
    2008 was ps3 year; most of the awards were for Ps3 titles not X360

    anyway Keep spinning guys

  • Jason Dietz  

    Brian: Actually, they vented against ALL the versions. Go figure.

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