The Best Videogames of 2010

  • Publish Date: January 26, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 34 user comments

Xbox 360

Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
2010 Releases
Avg. Metascore 67.8
vs. 2009 Avg. 68.8

Yes, the console's average Metascore was lower last year than the year before, but the news wasn't all bad for Xbox 360 owners. Fewer than 2 out of every 5 games released for the 360 in 2010 received positive reviews from game critics, though that percentage -- 39% -- is actually an improvement over 2009's 35%. Xbox 360 owners once again had a larger number of releases to choose from than owners of other consoles. And the console actually saw the release of nine "great" games (with Metascores of 90 or higher) last year, tops for any platform and an improvement compared to the prior year, when the 360 had just seven great titles.

The best games for the 360, however, were mostly multi-platform releases. The only two platform exclusives to crack the top 10 highest-scoring releases for the console in 2010 were sequel Halo: Reach 91 and minimalist indie Xbox Live Arcade title LIMBO 90. And we are still waiting for a truly great title for Microsoft's new Kinect controller; so far, Dance Central 83 is the platform's best-reviewed motion-controlled game.

Best Xbox 360 Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Halo: Reach LIMBO Pinball FX 2 Dance Central Alan Wake
Critics: 91 Critics: 90 Critics: 88 Critics: 83 Critics: 83
Best-Reviewed Xbox 360 Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Mass Effect 2 Xbox 360 Game of the Year Electronic Arts969.0
2Red Dead RedemptionRockstar Games958.8
3Pac-Man Championship Edition DXNamco Bandai 938.0
4Rock Band 3MTV Games937.8
5Super Street Fighter IVCapcom918.0
6Halo: ReachMicrosoft Game Studios917.5
9Super Meat BoyTeam Meat907.8
10Plants vs. ZombiesPopCap897.9
11Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodUbisoft898.4
12NBA 2K112K Sports897.5
13BioShock 22K Games888.4
14Battlefield: Bad Company 2EA Games888.8
15Pinball FX 2Microsoft Game Studios887.9
16NHL 11Electronic Arts888.0
17FIFA Soccer 11Electronic Arts887.2
18Need for Speed: Hot PursuitElectronic Arts887.2
19Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare PackRockstar Games877.8
20Call of Duty: Black OpsActivision876.3
21Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VietnamEA Games877.4
22Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow BrokerElectronic Arts879.2
23Pinball FX 2: Marvel PinballZen Studios878.2
24NCAA Football 11Electronic Arts867.2
25DJ Hero 2Activision867.9
26Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: ConvictionUbisoft857.7
27BlazBlue: Continuum ShiftAksys Games858.8
28Lara Croft and the Guardian of LightSquare Enix858.6
29Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's RevengeLucasArts859.3
30Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx2K Games858.8
... and the worst:
234Dream ChroniclesHudson Entertainment36n/a
235Power Gig: Rise of the SixStringSeven45 Studios361.2
236Dead Space IgnitionElectronic Arts354.5
237Fighters UncagedUbisoft313.5
238Deca Sports FreedomHudson Entertainment272.5

Note that games are ranked prior to rounding. Only games with 7 or more reviews are included.

Xbox 360 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
1 Toy Story 3 9.2
2 Mass Effect 2 9.0
  Perfect Dark 9.0
4 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 8.8
  Red Dead Redemption 8.8
  Transformers: War for Cybertron 8.8

* Minimum 25 user votes.

PlayStation 3

Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
Avg. Metascore 70.0
2010 Releases
vs. 2009 Avg. 71.7

For the second straight year, Sony's PlayStation 3 console had the highest percentage of positively-reviewed games (with Metascores of 75 or higher) of any platform, with 44% in 2010, which actually was slightly ahead of the console's 2009 figure. The PS3 actually had a larger quantity of good games (102) than any other console as well, and its average Metascore -- though down a bit compared to 2009 -- was still comfortably ahead those of the 360 and Wii.

Only one of the PS3's 15 highest-scoring 2010 releases was exclusive to the platform, however, but it was a notable one: God of War III 92, the final chapter in the popular action-adventure saga. The next-best PS3 exclusive was Quantic Dream's unique serial killer story Heavy Rain 87, which proved to be a much bigger hit with critics than it was with gamers, though the game sold well despite some user criticism. Note that you won't find any titles exclusive to the PlayStation Move controller in our high scores list below; Sports Champions 76 is the best-reviewed of a limited bunch so far.

Best PlayStation 3 Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
God of War III Heavy Rain Joe Danger Gran Turismo 5 Hustle Kings
Critics: 92 Critics: 87 Critics: 86 Critics: 84 Critics: 81
Best-Reviewed PlayStation 3 Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Red Dead Redemption PS3 Game of the Year Take-Two Interact.958.3
2God of War IIISCEA928.6
3Super Street Fighter IVCapcom928.1
4Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Namco Bandai 928.0
5Rock Band 3MTV Games917.4
6MLB 10: The ShowSCEA919.3
7Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodUbisoft908.1
8Need for Speed: Hot PursuitElectronic Arts896.7
9FIFA Soccer 11Electronic Arts898.3
10NBA 2K112K Sports897.4
11NHL 11Electronic Arts888.0
12Battlefield: Bad Company 2EA Games888.6
13Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VietnamEA Games888.0
14Call of Duty: Black OpsActivision885.8
15BioShock 22K Games888.8
16Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's RevengeLucasArts878.4
17Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare PackRockstar Games877.4
18Heavy RainSCEA876.5
19BlazBlue: Continuum ShiftAksys Games878.4
21DJ Hero 2Activision868.3
22Castle CrashersThe Behemoth868.6
23Joe DangerHello Games868.0
24UFC 2010 UndisputedTHQ857.3
25The Sly CollectionSCEA857.8
26Castlevania: Lords of ShadowKonami858.2
27NCAA Football 11Electronic Arts857.7
28Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse Episode 2:
The Tomb of Sammun-Mak
Telltale Games85n/a
29Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx2K Games857.6
30F1 2010Codemasters847.9
... and the worst:
190Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1Electronic Arts38n/a
191Dead Space IgnitionElectronic Arts363.7
192Kung Fu RiderSCEA362.7
193Power Gig: Rise of the SixStringSeven45 Studios36n/a
194Kick-Ass WHA Ent.331.8
PS3 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
1 MLB 10: The Show 9.3
2 ModNation Racers 8.9
3 BioShock 2 8.8
4 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 8.6
  Castle Crashers 8.6
  God of War III 8.6

* Minimum 25 user votes.


Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
2010 Releases
Avg. Metascore 64.6
vs. 2009 Avg. 65.2

Say what you will about the Wii, but Nintendo's platform has produced the best-reviewed game of the year in three out of the past five years, including in 2010 with Super Mario Galaxy 2 97. New Wii exclusive titles featuring returning characters Kirby and Donkey Kong also earned high marks from critics last year. In fact, the Wii had more exclusive titles with green Metascores than either of the other consoles.

Yet, despite these successes, the Wii still is far behind the other two consoles in both the number and percentage of quality releases. The percentage of Wii titles with negative reviews actually went up last year vs. 2009, while the percentage of releases with positive reviews basically held steady at under 30%. The Wii had fewer than half the total number of good games than either the PS3 or the 360 last year, and, aside from Super Mario Galaxy 2, the only other "great" release was the latest installment in the Rock Band series. And several highly-anticipated 2010 Wii releases -- including Disney Epic Mickey 72 and Metroid: Other M 79 -- turned out to be major disappointments.

Best Wii Exclusives, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Art of Balance Kirby's Epic Yarn Donkey Kong Country Returns Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Critics: 97 Critics: 88 Critics: 88 Critics: 87 Critics: 85
Best-Reviewed Wii Games, 2010
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii Game of the YearNintendo979.4
2Rock Band 3MTV Games917.0
3Cave StoryNicalis899.3
4DJ Hero 2Activision896.2
5Art of BalanceShin'en887.7
6Kirby's Epic YarnNintendo888.3
7Donkey Kong Country ReturnsNintendo878.3
8Sin and Punishment: Star SuccessorNintendo878.4
10Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-StarsCapcom859.3
11Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11Electronic Arts849.1
12Monster Hunter TriCapcom849.0
13No More Heroes 2: Desperate StruggleUbisoft849.2
14Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate GodTelltale Games83n/a
15And Yet It MovesBroken Rules837.9
16Trauma TeamAtlus Co.829.0
17Mega Man 10Capcom818.3
18GoldenEye 007Activision818.5
19EA Sports Active 2EA Sports818.5
20Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1Sega816.1
21Rage of the GladiatorGhostfire Games818.5
22Red Steel 2Ubisoft808.8
23NBA JamEA Sports798.6
24Metroid: Other MNintendo797.4
25LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Warner Bros. Interact.798.4
26Silent Hill: Shattered MemoriesKonami798.6
27Call of Duty: Black OpsActivision787.0
28Disney Guilty PartyDisney Interactive78n/a
29Pro Evolution Soccer 2011Konami78n/a
30Sonic & Sega All-Stars RacingSega787.9
... and the worst:
109Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1Electronic Arts43n/a
110Fast Draw ShowdownDigital Leisure Inc.43n/a
111Iron Man 2Sega414.9
112Transformers: Cybertron AdventuresActivision416.8
113Naruto Shippuden: Dragon Blade ChroniclesAtlus Co.39n/a
Wii Games with Highest User Scores*, 2010
  Game Users
1 Super Mario Galaxy 2 9.4
2 Cave Story 9.3
  Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars 9.3
4 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle 9.2
5 Monster Hunter Tri 9.0

* Minimum 25 user votes.

More games ...

Continue to the next page for this year's top releases for PC, PSP, and Nintendo DS.

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Comments (34)

  • mnementh  

    there is major bias against wii among reviewers, so the metacritic averages don't mean too much. the Wii has the the best exclusives of course, and combined with all offerings of the virtual console, and its accessibility, low power usage, and fun, it still ranks top... super mario galaxy 2 is the culimination of the Wii's greatest assets, but there is plenty else to buy here with TvC, Monster Hunter Tri, Red Steel 2, No More Heroes 2... I think Wii clearly won this year. The graphics are actually pretty darn good when using the component cables and settings right... looks pretty awesome on LCD's and plays like a charm!

  • lucas  

    yeah this seems kinda late to the party, and is telling us stuff we have known for a few months now, next time try and get it out more at the tail end of the year rather than a month into the next one

  • Adam Johnson  

    I'm glad to hear that for the most part, console allegiances are dying down. Not as much fanboyism as I've seen in the comments in the past. I personally feel as though Mario was overrated. I think it gets a bump in score when it is compared to the shovelware that is usually dumped on the Wii. It's an amazing game that I own and love, but I just feel that if all gameplay elements were the same and it was a platformer on 360 or PS3 with a different title character the reviews would be lower. Limbo was also overrated. A 2 hour game that cost me 15 bucks to download with zero replay value? Microsoft Marketplace also has Portal on sale for 15 bucks...are those two games really in the same converation? I love the graphical decisions as much as anyone else, but there were no groundbreaking game mechanics to set it that far apart from the rest of the pack. I'll take Super Meat Boy over Limbo any day of the week. And nmementh...spare me. You're going to say that Monster Hunter Tri and Red Steel 2 gives Nintendo a better lineup when compared to the other consoles that delivered Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2, God of War III, Heavy Rain, Halo Reach, Assassin's Creed II, Fallout New Vegas, CoD Black Ops and Deadly Premonition? Really? Even if I added the new Kirby & Donkey Kong Country to your list, you're still missing out on a wealth of tremendous games from wonderful developers if you limit yourself to the Wii alone. But always startling to me is why game reviews are always so much higher than other forms of media. I'm tired of reading reviews that go on and on about how mediocre or even bad a game is and then they drop a 7 - 7.5 on it. Word to game reviewers: mediocrity on a 10 point scale is a 5. Stop inflating your scores just to make the aggragate metascore higher to avoid the risk of offending a publisher that releases a bad game.

  • Rooster  

    Thats total bull, they forgot a bunch of games, like modnation racers has a 83 metascore but it wasnt on top 5 ps3 exclusives, with one being a 81

  • glotero  

    Yes, Thats the REAL game of the year! "Its still Marios galaxy". Like metacritic has said talk aall you want xbox 360 and ps3 fanboys... non of your games could beat Nintendos masterpiece. Not to blame, as SMG2 is up there in the best in history with ocarina of time, sorry for Mass Effect 2 as that one is still a great game but Mario also came in 2010 and there theres no competition whatsever! Also, out of 5 years, 3 have won Nintendo...So really, shup up! We can have less great games, but those few are all worth of buying and surpasses most of your "good" games.¡Nintendo has always, still it is, and will continue to be the best! Go say what you want! Good buy.

  • Sean R  

    @mnementh: The Wii had some tremendous games this year (SMG2, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Sin & Punishment, No More Heroes 2, bit.trip runner, Cave Story, etc.), but I completely disagree that it "still ranks top." I will, however, argue that the Wii had the best exclusives this year, bar none (Halo and God of War don't do much for me). 2010 was all about multiplatform gold: besides the obvious triple A titles (Mass Effect 2, Red Dead, Black Ops, etc.), 2010 had some fantastic gems this year such as Just Cause 2, Darksiders, Bayonetta, and Vanquish. It's nice to see someone sticking up for the Wii since it gets an unfairly bad rap, but come on, sit down, man.

  • Peter Robinson  

    @Adam Johnson: "I’m tired of reading reviews that go on and on about how mediocre or even bad a game is and then they drop a 7 – 7.5 on it. Word to game reviewers: mediocrity on a 10 point scale is a 5."
    That's so spot on. I've read far too many reviews with this problem. One would think professional video game critics would be quick to argue in favor of games as a legitimate artistic medium, but these same critics do nothing to further this notion when they dole out shining scores to undeserving titles.

  • Metacritic’s 2  

    [...] score aggregator Metacritic has released its roundup feature for 2010, revealing the highest-scoring games of the [...]

  • Eggonyoface  

    You guys messed up BIG on the top five PS3 exclusives. You forgot MLB10 The Show which has a 91 average meta'. That should be #2 but you forgot it completely. You also left off ModNation Racers with its 83 average and The Sly Collection with its 85 average, scoring higher than Hustle Kings and GT5 respectively. Correct list should be:
    MLB10 The Show...91
    Heavy Rain...87
    Joe Danger...86
    The Sly Collection...85

  • Sean R  

    @Eggonyoface - They didn't mess up at all. MLB 10: The Show and ModNation Racers are also available on the PSP, and thus are not exclusive to either system. Excluding The Sly Collection is pretty simple: it's a repackaging of old PS2 games. Notice how Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable was the PSP game of the year, but not not listed as an exclusive title?

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