The Best Games of 2009

  • Publish Date: December 9, 2009
  • Comments: ↓ 186 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 (186)

  • Wii are bottom of th  

    [...] in the year) the Wii is bottom with the lowest quality games. This is based on critics reviews. The Best Games of 2009 - Metacritic The top 40 Wii games are here: The Best Games of 2009 - Metacritic Interesting reading, theres [...]

  • tweezy  

    PC GAMING WILL NEVER DIE. any sign that pc gaming is making a comback makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • And Metacritic’  

    [...] you want to see the full list, head on over to Metacritic and check it out. Go get playing all of these games so you can weight in with your thoughts when we drop out Game of [...]

  • Hits from the Web 12  

    [...] The Best Games of 2009 by Metacritic. No doubt this was the Year of the PS3. [...]

  • George  

    Its not that big a difference. If your into action adventure games then Uncharted and God of War are great, but personally Im happy that I got to play Forza and the GTA downloads, and I also play Halo, soooo yaaaa, still waiting on the new Gran Turismo before I shell for a PS3, good to see them rally, but really its not like the Playstation was the end all be all this year.

  • RRODney tRRODer  

    To all those who doubted Sony and the PS3, enjoy that humble pie.

    And looking at next years games, it looks like it will be another victory for the PS3. This is living!

  • John Zorich  

    The METHEDOLIGY and approach is at best Subjectively FLAWED. Since Jason Dietz is METACRITIC and there isn't any outside industry review of how things are aggregated, He can make statistics whatever he chooses. Naming a console console of the year when the MARKET is the ultimate decider is extremely pretentious. Good to see you wanted to get an end of the year pub line to make your site relevant.

  • RaszSa  

    F--- the motherf---ing 360 PS3 is taking over. I'm glad i throwed my 360 AWAY.

  • imsh  

    Finally! I'm glad PS3's got such a good score. Oh, and I wonder why
    all these PS-hating dudes, comparing the pc and PS considered only the 0.5% difference; aren't these 3 blockbusters more important? I mean, i bought about 10 PS games this year, so I actually don't give a crap that a game scored 72.5% : I would probably buy it if I run out of hits such as U2:AT or R&C.

  • Playstation 3 Wins &  

    [...] the full article and get a graphical view of the rankings. Category: Featured Articles, News, Playstation 3, Xbox [...]

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