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)

  • Armin  

    @Sean R:
    The PSP versions of both MLB 10: The Show and Mod Nation Racers were quite different than the console counterparts. Also, Persona 3 Portable was vastly different from the PS2 version. The Sly Collection can be dismissed as I dont believe an HD makeover should qualify, but the other games listed should be considered exclusives.

  • rtp7  

    they should only count HD remakes if it has a different score then the original

  • Sean R  

    @Armin - It is irrelevant whether or not they differ slightly from each other, they still aren't exclusive to their respective platforms. Whether or not I agree with it, that is obviously Metacritic's viewpoint on the subject.
    Also, Persona 3 PSP was definitely not vastly different than the original (or FES for that matter). Adding bonus content and a new playable character (with a slightly altered storyline) are small potatoes for a game 70+ hours long.

  • Sir John Thomas  

    @Simon : Don't be a m0r0nic loser your whole life. Controllers: Unless the cave you live in doesn't have electricity you know that controllers are made that are exactly like the 360's, but with PS3 buttons. NPD : Do they track purchases of online only content? To me METACRITIC is about information and little else. Sure if a game gets a 41 I'm sure it sucks, but I've read good reviews here and the site comes up with a 65. Mkes no sense to me.

  • Jake  


  • Splicedsausage  

    Like a few here,I have all gaming systems.The missus has the Wii and I deny all knowledge of its existence in my home.Whenever I notice a review score for it,I just halve it for accuracy.No mario game can compete with ME2,Red Dead,GOW3,Starcraft2 etc.The Wii is for kids and entry level gamers, and it does have a deserved place in gaming.Game of the Year?It's no longer 1985 and 'fond memories' shouldn't count towards the score...

  • johannes  

    xbox games are still overhyped by us gamers and us magazines. you could put xbox 360 between nds and psp if us reviews wouldnt count. thats the reality in europe, asia and the rest of the world.

  • MattC  


    A system itself is for nobody, it's a systems games that matter and the Wii is like every other relevant system ever when it comes to providing gaming experiences for everyone. It's you yourself and mainstream homers like you that are missing out by ignoring what the Wii offers by generalizing it's library. What was fun in 1985 is fun now the only difference now is some people like yourself are too ignorant and/or insecure to enjoy something that doesn't elevate their status in some imaginary universal fraternity of 'cool' 'hardcore' 'gamers'.

    You remind me of the typical 'hardcore gamer' who gets mad when someone trolls the 360 with comments like "It only has shooters" or the PS3 with "It has no games" and refute their comments with the long list of great games that run counter to such ignorant generalizations. Yet turn around and make the VERY SAME ignorant generalization about the Wii except rewording it as "Only for kids and casuals" meanwhile plugging your ears to the people reciting the long list of exceptional Wii games that exist contrary to such absurdly stupid statements.

    Go ahead and keep sticking your head in the sand, judging the Wii based on the obviously small sampling of it's library a biased observer like yourself is aware of. I and others with an open mind will enjoy it's exceptional games of countless kinds just like we enjoy the same great quality and variety offered by PC, PS3, 360, PSP and DS.

  • MattC  

    Oh and on the subject of Wii reviews, unless it has the word Mario or Zelda in the title it's probably more accurate to ADD about 20% given the mainstream media's love-to-hate relationship with the Wii. Their laughably nitpicky reviews and their faux compliments like 'it's good...for a Wii game harharhar' show just how illegitimate most Wii scores are.

    When it comes to Zelda and Mario, yeah, they get a boost due to brand name but that's nothing new nor is it something exclusive to Mario and Zelda. The media has love affairs with lots of different franchises and publishers and many from Rockstar and BioWare to Halo and Metal Gear receive advantages they wouldn't get if you put the same game in a new box with an unknown title and an unknown studio. The bottom line is that mainstream gaming reviews are a farce and serve little more purpose than being extensions of the marketing departments for major publishers and franchises.

    There's a reason every year's best reviewed games are also the ones with the biggest budgets and/or the biggest marketing budgets. Think about that for a minute; think about what movie reviews/awards would look like if Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen swept top honors in 2009. I'll tell you. It would look like the gaming reviews/awards.

  • Sairon  

    Any reason for why Nimbus was excluded? As it was released in 2010 and is in the top 30 on PC, while also being PC exclusive.

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