The Best Videogames of 2011

  • Publish Date: December 23, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 44 user comments

Xbox 360

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 68.5
Xbox 360
vs. 2010 Avg. 67.8

True, the PS3 finished with more great games in 2011 than the Xbox 360. But 2011 was still a very good year for Microsoft's console. Not only did the average Metascore for all Xbox releases tick up this year when compared to the year before, but the 360 had a higher percentage of "good" releases than any console this year: 43% of all Xbox releases in 2011 had a green Metascore of 75 or higher indicating positive reviews from professional critics. That's an improvement over the previous year's 39% (and 2009's 35%). In all, there were 101 Xbox 360 games released in 2011 receiving generally positive reviews, tops for any console.

Once again, however, most of the 360's best games were multi-platform releases. Just two Xbox exclusives cracked the top 15 high scores for the platform in 2011: the third installment in the Gears of War franchise, and the latest racer in the Forza Motorsport series. Forza Motorsport 4 was also the highest-scoring game of the year to utilize Microsoft's Kinect controller.

Xbox 360Best Xbox 360 Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
91 91 86 83 83
Gears of War 3
Forza Motorsport 4
Dance Central 2
Iron Brigade
Double Fine
Ms. 'Splosion Man
Twisted Pixel
Xbox 360Best-Reviewed Xbox 360 Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Xbox 360 Game of the Year
Bethesda Softworks968.5
2Portal 2 Valve Software958.1
3Batman: Arkham City Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.948.4
4Gears of War 3 Microsoft Game Studios917.5
5Forza Motorsport 4 Microsoft Game Studios917.9
6Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Konami918.3
7FIFA Soccer 12 Electronic Arts906.7
8Dead Space 2 Electronic Arts908.5
9NBA 2K12 2K Sports/Take-Two Interactive908.1
10Dark Souls Namco Bandai898.2
11Deus Ex: Human Revolution Square Enix/Eidos Interactive898.2
12L.A. Noire Rockstar Games897.5
13Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision883.2
14Joe Danger: Special Edition Microsoft Game Studios888.2
15Rayman Origins Ubisoft888.6
16DiRT 3 Codemasters877.7
17Dance Central 2 Microsoft Game Studios868.6
18Mortal Kombat Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.868.5
19Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition Capcom866.6
20Radiant Silvergun Microsoft Game Studios868.1
21Bastion Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.868.6
22Fight Night Champion EA Sports867.2
23NHL 12 Electronic Arts867.6
24Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Capcom857.0
25NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Electronic Arts857.5
26Crysis 2 EA Games847.5
27Beyond Good & Evil HD Ubisoft848.2
28Top Spin 4 2K Sports848.1
29Outland Ubisoft847.5
30F1 2011 Codemasters847.5
... and the worst:
236Thor: God of Thunder Sega384.7
237Lucha Fury Punchers Impact/Mindscape 375.6
238NCIS Ubisoft36n/a
239Star Raiders Atari356.0
240Blackwater 505 Games324.0

Note that games are ranked prior to rounding. Only games with 7 or more reviews are included in this and other rankings on this page.

Xbox 360Xbox 360 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Bastion 8.6
  Dance Central 2 8.6
  Orcs Must Die! 8.6
  Rayman Origins 8.6
5 Dead Space 2 8.5
  Mortal Kombat 8.5
  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 8.5

* Minimum 25 user votes.

PlayStation 3

90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 69.5
vs. 2010 Avg. 70.0
PlayStation 3

There were more "great" games—12 individual releases with scores of 90 or higher—for the PS3 than for any other platform in 2011. That's actually the highest number of 90+ titles ever released in a single year for any of the current generation platforms.

However, for the first time in three years, the PlayStation 3 did not have the highest percentage of positively-reviewed games (that title went to the 360 this year). While 38% of all PS3 releases in 2011 earned positive reviews, that number marks a drop from the prior year's figure of 44%. The PS3 did finish the year as the console with the smallest percentage of negatively reviewed games, however; just 8% of the year's PS3 releases received scores of 49 or lower.

Out of the PlayStation's 30 highest scoring games this year, just 3 were exclusive to the platform: the latest installment in the Uncharted adventure series, a sequel to LittleBigPlanet, and Killzone 3. But it's a testament to the kind of year 2011 was that the hugely popular and extremely well reviewed Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception didn't even finish among the year's ten highest-scoring games overall (and was only the fourth highest-scoring game for the PS3 this year).

PS3Best PS3 Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
92 91 84 83 83
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
LittleBigPlanet 2
Killzone 3
Resistance 3
inFamous 2
PS3Best-Reviewed PlayStation 3 Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 Batman: Arkham City
PS3 Game of the Year
Warner Bros. Interactive Ent.968.1
2Portal 2 Valve Software958.0
3Mass Effect 2 Electronic Arts948.2
4Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception SCEA928.4
5The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Bethesda Softworks925.3
6The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection SCEA918.0
7LittleBigPlanet 2 SCEA918.1
8Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Konami919.2
9NBA 2K12 2K Sports/Take-Two Interactive906.6
10FIFA Soccer 12 Electronic Arts907.2
11MLB 11: The Show SCEA907.9
13Dead Space 2 Electronic Arts898.1
14Deus Ex: Human Revolution Square Enix/Eidos Interactive898.3
15L.A. Noire Rockstar Games897.3
16Dark Souls Namco Bandai898.4
17Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Activision882.9
18DiRT 3 Codemasters877.7
19Rayman Origins Ubisoft878.7
20NHL 12 Electronic Arts868.3
21Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition Capcom866.5
22Plants vs. Zombies PopCap857.9
23Battlefield 3 Electronic Arts857.5
24Crysis 2 EA Games857.2
25Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Ubisoft847.6
26Fight Night Champion EA Sports847.2
27God of War Origins Collection SCEA847.9
28Resident Evil 4 HD Capcom847.1
29Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Capcom847.6
30Killzone 3 SCEA847.9
... and the worst:
222PlayStation Move Ape Escape SCEA43n/a
223Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Electronic Arts434.8
224Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Atari423.0
225Thor: God of Thunder Sega392.6
226Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game THQ313.5
PS3PS3 Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection 9.2
2 Rayman Origins 8.7
3 The King of Fighters XIII 8.7
4 Dark Souls 8.4
5 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception 8.4

* Minimum 25 user votes.


90+ Games by Year
(2007 - 2011)
2011 Avg. Metascore 62.2
vs. 2010 Avg. 64.6

The Wii U (due in 2012) cannot come soon enough for Nintendo fans. As a platform, the current Wii is clearly at the end of the line; just a dozen positively reviewed games were released for the console in all of 2011. (You can add three more "good" games if you also include games with fewer than 7 reviews.) In fact, there were fewer than 70 scored games in all released this year for the platform; in 2010, over twice as many titles were released for the Wii. And those few games that did arrive in 2011 collectively scored over two points lower than the average Wii game released the year before.

Fortunately, the one game that Wii owners were likely looking forward to the most this year—The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 93—didn't disappoint, earning top honors as the highest-scoring Wii release of the year. But out of all our Wii Game of the Year recipients, only 2009's Metroid Prime Trilogy 91 had a lower Metascore.

WiiBest Wii Exclusives, 2011
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar Image bar
93 82 81 78 73
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
escapeVektor: Chapter 1
Kirby's Return to Dream Land
FAST - Racing League
WiiBest-Reviewed Wii Games, 2011
  Game Publisher Metascore Users
1 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Wii Game of the Year
2Rayman Origins Ubisoft918.3
3Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Electronic Arts858.0
4Bit.Trip Complete Aksys Games848.6
5MotoHeroz RedLynx826.5
6Bit.Trip Flux Aksys Games/Gaijin Games817.2
7escapeVektor: Chapter 1 Nnooo81n/a
8Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Activision815.3
9Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 Konami79n/a
10de Blob 2 THQ797.9
... and the worst:
40Top Spin 4 2K Sports546.5
41Rango Paramount Digital Ent./Electronic Arts 52n/a
42101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix Atlus Co.41n/a
43X-Men: Destiny Activision366.1
44Transformers: Dark of the Moon -
Stealth Force Edition
WiiWii Games with Highest User Scores*, 2011
  Game Users
1 Kirby's Return to Dream Land 7.8
2 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 7.7
3 Conduit 2 7.4

* Minimum 25 user votes.

More games ...

Continue to the next page for this year's top releases for PC, PSP, and Nintendo DS/3DS.

Comments (44)

  • TheHorrorAnthem  

    Thank you very much ShuteTheRunner, that is very complimenting, and yes I agree that this forum thus far has been great. RainbowYoshi, I am someone who plays Skyrim constantly but is not a fanboy, and I personally would say that it is defiantly the best game of the year. Uncharted 3 like the first two is a great linear action experience, and while great, fun, and explosive, it will take less than 20 hours to complete, maybe less than 15 depending how you play. Skyrim however can run you beyond 150 hours with absolutely no problem. In fact you can play over 150 hours without even paying attention to its main plot line. I have not played Mario Kart 7 but I assume Skyrim has it beaten as well. Uncharted is great, but Skyrim is worth even more than 60 bucks. It may find its way into your console a few years from now. Its huge, its extremely fun, its addicting. If you like RPGs or open world it is a must.

  • IAimToMisbehave  

    Got myself into way too much trouble this year buying video games. Working at GameStop, it's hard to just not buy everything up all the time, but the backlog for me is now staggering. Still, I was pretty lucky to be able to work for the company during this video game year, which, in my 23 years playing video games, was the biggest and the best, ever. Period.

    Play Battlefield 3 multi-player all the time. Finished Killzone 3 and played a lot of multi-player - very nice all-around exclusive for the PS3. Finished Uncharted 3 campaign - loved every second of it; got halfway through Gears 3 campaign before co-op partner moved on, but it was definitely a great game; playing Skyward Sword now - it's flat-out awesome; started AC: Revelations - it's good, more of the same; tried Deus Ex - controls suck, might play next year; briefly played Arkham City - it's definitely good, but I wish challenge maps were available from the start (like in Arkham Asylum) in order to practice combos, and the gliding and exploration can be a little tricky sometimes, probably will pick it up again once the calendar turns.

    This doesn't even include L.A. Noire, Skyrim, Resistance 3, Rayman Origins and lord knows how many others I bought, haven't played and can't now think of. Done buying games.

  • IAimToMisbehave  

    @ShuteTheRunner I think you're absolutely right about the observation of PS3 Arkham City and 360 Skyrim. There has been such a ridiculous buzz about Smyrim all day at work from my co-workers, that I'm going to start playing Skyrim this weekend to see what the big deal is. Apparently people's lives, jobs, marriages, relationships and day-to-day activities are being ruined because they play Skyrim all freaking day. If that's the case, then it's gotta be the game of the yeat!

  • boy  

    I wonder if the number of reviews was taken into consideration for the overall rankings. Even if the ratings are different by a few decimal points, Skyrim clearly has twice as many reviews as Arkham City's.

  • TheHorrorAnthem  

    IAimToMisbehave, I hope you enjoy Skyrim very much but since your new to it you are probably new to Elder Scrolls as a whole, so with that in mind just let me say dont go in expecting to be wowed like you may in many other high budget games. Skyrim is amazing and deserves game of the year, but it is within its depth and open world that the amaziness can be found. Dont expect some kind of God of War or Uncharted epicness to pop out at you right away. The reason so many people get addicted is because of the never ending play time and never ending amount of discovering that can be done. You should have no problem enjoying it but I wanted you in the right state of mind. Devote probably a good minimum 15 hours of playtime before gaining a full opinion and play how you want to play not how you think you should play. Make Skyrim your new home and your character the creation you want to see and enjoy.

  • Happymonk  

    Hang on a second, they forgot Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. I know it never came out in the USA this year, but it did come out in the UK and has a very high score of 92 based on 42 reviews. Surely it should be put up and included in the Wii's category. I think it's stupid not to even mention the second highest rated Wii game of the year. I'm sure Kirby's Epic Yarn was in last year's list for the Wii, even though it didn't come out until this year in the UK, gaining more reviews than it would've had before.

  • MarcDoyle  

    @Happymonk - You raise a very legitimate point - Xenoblade Chronicles does have a very high Metascore [92], and it was listed under its UK release date for much of the year on Metacritic, but when a game gets its US release date (which, in this case, is April 2, 2012), that's the date which controls for end-of-year awards. Metacritic will list regional release dates (UK/EU/AU, etc.) along with the US release dates in the future, but until then, we're sticking with our current rules.

  • BIGCHRIS2112  

    I don't think it's fair to say Arkham City is the highest scoring game of the year when Skyrim has more than double the reviews.

  • Lickcheez  

    I keep seeing "Look how many review Skyrim has, it's better than Batman just because of the amount!" We'll, go READ the reviews! The game was and will be broken on PS3, as same issue that was wrong with Fallout 3 and never fixed is STILL wrong with Skyrim's "Creation" engine (which is really just a tweaked Gamebryo, NOT a new one Hines promised!) Plus 360 users are starting to have the save bloat happen to them, now reducing their copies to unplayable , lagfests! Yay for Bethesda for making another bugridden, crippled game with really no TRUE rpg choices in the game. Just the same crap over and over. Most hyped game of the year perhaps, but NOT best!

  • Mudpooch  

    Skyrim should be number 1... Luckily most game of the year awards has gotten that one right

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