The Best Videogames of 2010

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

It's still Mario's galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) 96
Grand Theft Auto IV
Super Mario Galaxy
The Legend of Zelda:
Twilight Princess

Metacritic's Game of the Year
(Highest-Scoring Title, min. 7 rev.)

When Mario heads into outer space, great things happen. Topping our list of the best-reviewed videogames of 2010 is Wii title Super Mario Galaxy 2 97, the sequel to our 2007 game of the year, Super Mario Galaxy. The new Mario title edged out the Xbox 360 sequel Mass Effect 2 96 and two versions of western adventure Red Dead Redemption 95 (for PS3 and 360) to take home this year's title.

Was 2010 a good year for games in general? Not if you go by sales: preliminary reports by NPD reveal that consumer spending on game content was down about 1% last year when compared to 2009. And maybe not if you are looking at quality. While 2009 saw the release of 29 "great" games (with Metascores of 90 or higher), that number dropped to 24 in 2010. More tellingly, the average Metascore for all releases for each console was down last year vs. the averages for 2009.

That doesn't mean there weren't bright spots, with PC gaming shining the brightest. Not only were PC game sales up last year by about 3% vs. 2009, but the average Metascore for a 2010 PC title was up by over a point compared to the prior year. Metascore averages also increased for each of the handheld platforms.

In the following pages, we take a look at the best-reviewed games for each gaming platform. First, however, let's take a look at how each platform fared during the past year. In the console department, though there were slightly fewer "great" games for the 360, the PlayStation 3 had the better metrics in most categories, including the most "good" games (i.e., games with green Metascores), highest percentage of good games, and highest average Metascore.

Platform Comparison, 2010
Platform Scored
# Great** # Good
Avg. Metascores Metascore Distribution
      All       Exclusives % Good
% Mixed % Bad
PlayStation 3 231 7 12 70.0 66.2 44% 46% 10%
Xbox 360 260 9 13 67.8 64.0 39% 48% 13%
Wii 156 2 19 64.6 64.8 29% 54% 17%
PC 182 4 18 71.3 68.6 42% 54% 4%
Nintendo DS 127 1 24 69.4 71.1 35% 61% 4%
PSP 73 1 9 70.4 70.6 33% 62% 5%

* Games with 4 or more reviews in Metacritic's database released between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
** Excludes games with fewer than 7 reviews; also excludes expansions, collections, and reissues.
All Metascore data is from January 24, 2011. The # Great indicates the number of games released during the year with a Metascore of 90 or higher, while # Good Exclusives indicates each platform's exclusive titles with a Metascore of 75 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 of 49 or below (indicating negative reviews). Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Here's another look at the number of good games (titles with a Metascore of 75 or higher) released by platform last year:

Good Games by Platform (Platform Exclusives vs. Others), 2010

And here are the year's best-reviewed titles available on multiple platforms:

Best-Reviewed Cross-Platform Games, 2010
1 2 3 4 5
Image Image Image Image Image
Mass Effect 2 Red Dead
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Super Street
Fighter IV
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Average: 95 Average: 95 Average: 93 Average: 92 Average: 90
360: 96 PC: 94 360, PS3: 95 360: 93 PS3: 92 PS3: 92 360: 91 PS3: 90 360: 89

Releases by platform

On the next pages, we examine the best and worst 2010 games released for each platform, including the top titles exclusive to each platform.

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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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