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...

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Comments (185)

  • k00giking  

    The PC got 78 more games released this year than the ps3, and the scores are still high so even though it got a lot of releases, they weren't crappy shovelware releases. So we got just about the same quality and a large amount more quantity at the same time. Why did the PC not win?

  • ComeOnIn2Sin  

    I have an XBox360 but have always loved the PS3. Can't wait to get one. This is why I hate fanboys-you people go crazy defending a machine made by multibillion dollar coorporations that don't give a f*ck about you. It's OKAY TO LIKE THE OTHER SYSTEMS! You act like you're committing treason, it's sad.The PS3 had way better exclusives thew last 2 years and when I look at the future (Heavy Rain, God of War3, Quantum Theory, ect) the PS3 isn't even in its prime yet and that's exciting. Not to say I'm not psyched for the 360 exclusives like Splinter Cell, Fable 3, and Halo Reach. It's just a great time to be a gamer right now.

  • level250geek  

    You won't hear me debate the fact that Uncharted 2 was the game of the year. It was the best-reviewed, and considering I've never cared about the PS3 it's the first game that is actually edging me to get one. However, wouldn't it have been more fair (and much less convoluted) to just tabulate the best-reviewed games of the year overall instead of splitting them up by platform? For games appearing on multiple platforms, just average the review scores and place them accordingly, unless a tremendous amount of parity exists (which it usually doesn't; 360/PS3/PC scores tend to be within a point of each other).

  • Golden Developers Wo  

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

  • PlayStation Around t  

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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... [...]

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