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...

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (186)

  • Cooler  

    Check out www.gotylist.blogspot.com to see how well Uncharted 2 is doing in Game of the Year awards.

  • SpinControl  

    Wow, the PS3 finally had a good year. Took them long enough. Now if only people would buy the games and the system, they might be able to avoid bankruptcy. That's the PS3's main problem; the attachment rate. Enjoy one year of stellar games Sony, because Microsoft is taking back the throne next year. It's already started with Black Friday.

  • Andrew Mahaney  

    wow, I love how the fanboys/fangirls come out in force everytime a list like this is put up. 360 and PS3 both have distinct, yet differetn advantages, and that's as far into that as I'm going.

    P.S. ROFLOL at the Wii, 362 games released and only ONE in the 90's, and a low 90 at that. that's a whole bunch of different kinds of sad and pathetic

  • Paul-G  

    Ice, I haven't seen such fanboi-ism since the Sega Vs Nintendo days. Well done!

  • SeamenLog  

    "Users vented their anger about developer Infinity Ward’s decision not to permit dedicated servers for this title by hammering the game on Metacritic."

    True, to a degree. But perhaps gamers are also attuned to the true quality of Modern Warfare 2, which is to say that it nowhere near attains the hyperbolic heights denoted by critics.

  • The Personal Univers  

    [...] Metacritic’s top videogames of the year: http://features.metacritic.com/features/2009/the-best-games-of-2009/ [...]

  • Evan B.  

    This is a great article! Metacritic should do more articles like this - a "Game of the Month" feature would be nice 12 times a year. Keep up the great work!

  • Sul  

    The top 10 for the year looks pretty even for PS3 and 360 (Braid is already out for 360). If someone already has a 360, they aren't going to buy a PS3, since that money would be better spent on new games. So PS3 marks, please calm down. You all are finally catching up to xbox, enjoy it. And no need for anyone to get all defensive about 360 either, theres plenty of good games out there for that system and more on the way.

  • OtisFeelgood  

    @SpinControl

    Last I heard PS3 outsold Xbox 360 on Black Friday and Xbox's exclusives next year isn't going to be close to the PS3's.

  • name  

    huh.
    must of been one hell of a slow year then.

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