Metacritic is undoubtedly the premiere website for aggregate gaming reviews, and is a compass for many players when purchasing games. Unquestionably, it is the most thorough and comprehensive website for review gathering, painting an accurate picture of the quality of the games we play.
The reason we believe that Metacritic has been more trusted in gaming when determining quality as opposed to other forms of media like music and film - both of which are featured on the website also - is because more than other forms of entertainment, there’s typically a consensus among critics and players regarding quality, or lack thereof, of games as a whole. Sure, sometimes individual reviewers will give controversial scores to titles, and we, the fans, will occasionally take issue when games we love are lambasted and ones we hate are lauded, but typically critics, and by extension Metacritic, are well within the ball park.
A lot of this, we feel, has to do with the lack of elitism in the media; unlike in film or music, where genres like heavy metal and horror (respectively,) are often looked down upon, there is no such thing as a bad genre in gaming: all genres have universally acclaimed classics within them.
Some quick notes before we begin: Metacritic started back in 2001, so this needs to be remembered when games from the late 80s and early 90s don’t feature here - doesn’t mean they don’t rule, the site just didn’t have data on them to aggregate. Also, if there are third party games on multiple consoles (I.e. GTA,) we’ll only feature one, going with the highest ranked version! Conversely, for the terrible games, we’ll be ranking down from bad to worst!
25 Best: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox, Metascore: 97)
Just scraping the fifteenth spot, bypassing classics like Resident Evil 4, Half-Life 2 and Bioshock, is this, the first entry in the most iconic franchise in the history of Xbox. Released in 2001, it has to go down as one of the best launch titles in the history of gaming; acclaimed for its phenomenal FPS gameplay and exceptional multiplayer modes, it became an instant hit with Master Chief becoming the de-facto mascot of the console. Receiving no mixed or negative reviews, of all the positive reviews this shooter received 29 perfect scores.
24 Worst: Infestation: Survivor Stories (PC, Metascore: 20)
Unfortunately securing its place on the bottom half on this list, Survivor Stories was built on a cool concept that just couldn't pan out past its initial premise: an online survival shooter which allowed you to either slay zombies or fight against other players while scavenging for food and water to stay alive. Unfortunately it was executed badly to say the least. “Its mechanical foundation,” according to PC Power Play, who gave it a big fat 0, “crumbles at the lightest touch”
23 Best: Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch, MetaScore: 97)
A prime example of Nintendo’s constant striving for creativity and innovation, Odyssey quickly became one of the most beloved games in the series, mixing new gameplay mechanics in an open world with the classic 2D aesthetic of older titles. And it shows in the reviews; with all positive reviews, it also received 56 perfect scores from critics, plus a 90 from fans. Its spot here is indicative of our love for the plumber and Nintendo’s willingness not to rest on their laurels and to keep evolving its most valuable franchise.
22 Best: Grand Theft Auto III (PlayStation 2, MetaScore: 97)
If this list was about the games that had the biggest impact on gaming and culture, than few, if any, would be higher than GTA III. Released in 2001, the revolutionary sandbox was a hit with fans and critics alike, garnering equal praise and controversy for its chaotic open world and violent gameplay, all brought to life for the first time in 3D. With all positive reviews including 24 perfect scores, there’s a reason it’s considered one of the most iconic games on the PlayStation 2.
21 Worst: Deal Or No Deal (Nintendo DS, Metascore: 20)
Somehow managing to garner three mixed reviews, the kindest of which, from Impulsegamer, calls it “an interesting twist on the original television” while acknowledging how “forced” the mini-games are, the consensus everywhere else is that this game is just no good at all. With a matching 20 score from players, AnthonyS says by saying “no deal, that is the answer,” while RommelV simply states that it “has got to be the most useless game of all time, of all TIME.”
20 Best: Metroid Prime (GameCube, Metascore: 97)
Another franchise here that players enjoyed in their original 2D iterations, but absolutely fell head over heels for when they made the jump to 3D. Nintendo took a risk by taking the 2D scroller and making a FPS. But the result was phenomenal: the high-octane gameplay, the environments and exploration, soundtrack and pacing were all roundly praised by all, making Samus’ adventure one of the GameCube’s most valuable exclusives. And with 27 perfect scores and a fan rating of 92, the consensus is clear.
19 Best: Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64, Metascore: 97)
One of the oldest games on this list, it may only have, comparatively, 12 perfect scores, but that is based on 30 total available reviews. And with the lowest score being a still outstanding 90/100 from All Gaming Guide, which still states that Perfect Dark is better than the acclaimed N64 FPS GoldenEye “in every aspect,” it's easy to justify its place on this list. Seen as a spiritual successor to that game, Dark refined its revolutionary gameplay, offering one of the best and arguably the most technically impressive FPS of its generation.
18 Worst: Alone In The Dark: Illumination (PC, Metascore: 19)
Very few series’ have taken the same nosedive as Alone In The Dark has. The first game, released all the way back in 1992, was very well received. However, each subsequent release (the fourth game notwithstanding) seemed to get worse and worse. The latest release - a co-operative take on the survival horror game on PC - was panned across the board receiving exclusively negative reviews. Eurogamer Poland said AITD:I “simply should not exist,” proving the only thing scary about this horror title is how badly it plays.
17 Best: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PlayStation 2, Metascore: 97)
Aside from one mixed review from All Game Guide lamenting the “lack of notable new features” from the second game,” everyone else acknowledged the subtle but vital additions - most notably the ability to revert which allowed you to string longer combos together - that made the gameplay more fluid than previous entries. Add to this vastly improved new gen graphics, another incredible soundtrack, new levels, and skaters to play them with, and you’ve got one of the most addictive and well-designed games ever made.
16 Worst: SPOGS Racing (Nintendo Wii, Metascore: 18)
“SPOGS Racing… gets the honor of being the worst game on WiiWare” is the praise Eurogamer showered on this humble racer, before insisting that “it looks awful and plays even worse.” Critics panned it wholesale, lamenting the aforementioned ugly graphics and borderline unplayable racing gameplay. Amazingly, this boasts three perfect scores from fan reviews; however, when one justifies the score by saying that they love “long boring tracks” on which they can “win easily,” it somehow makes us doubt the sincerity.
15 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (Nintendo Switch, Metascore: 97)
Considered one of the finest games of the current generation, and of its 106 reviews - of which only 3 were mixed - an astounding 69 are perfect. The newest Zelda title has been applauded for its genuinely free open world where the player’s ingenuity is both required an rewarded (no mean feat in an era of hyper-detailed open world.) In the discussion as one of the best entries in one of the most acclaimed franchises ever, its artful graphics, beautiful soundtrack, and aforementioned gameplay are the reason for this and its position on our list.
14 Worst: Double Dragon II: Wander Of The Dragons (Xbox 360, Metascore: 17)
Like the previously mentioned Alone In The Dark, this is another example of an horrible entry in an otherwise good series. A demi-remake of the original Double Dragon II arcade game, it went from a side-scrolling 2D fighter which many fans and critics thoroughly enjoyed, to a title with “broken combat [and] ridiculous gameplay” which “fails in every possible way;” and while there is a laundry list of things that are wrong with this game, as a whole “it’s hard to describe just how shockingly awful this [game] is.” (NowGamer)
13 Best: Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One, Metascore: 97)
What is there left to be said about GTA V? Released on multiple platforms across two generations, it has been called “a stunning, unmatched achievement” (Xbox Achievements) and “one of gaming's best” (AusGamers) among a litany of other compliments. Receiving perfect scores from exactly half the reviews on Xbox One, GTA V is so beloved by gamers that when essentially the same game is re-released, just with nicer graphics and first person view, this, the best selling video game of all time, still receives the same adoration.
12 Worst: Vroom In The Night Sky (Nintendo Switch, Metascore: 17)
A game that deserves to be condemned for its title alone, Vroom In The Night Sky sees you playing as a magical girl who rides a flying scooter through opening portals in the night sky - so, yeah, it should be condemned for its concept alone. But, most important of all, how does it play? Abysmally. “The lowest of the low,” Destructoid’s 10/100 review states, “there is no potential, no depth and no talent…and will [pass] lonely and forgotten.” Well then…
11 Best: Red Dead Redemption 2 (Xbox One, Metascore: 97)
The highest rated game of the current generation, Rockstar’s latest is only five months old, but its impact was felt almost immediately upon release. Universally acclaimed, this version of the sandbox action adventure title has a whopping 22 perfect scores out of 33 reviews for taking open-world realism, storytelling and environmental graphics to a new level. “Likely to go down as the best game of this generation” (GameSpace,) this “all-time open-world masterpiece” (Official Xbox Magazine UK) sets “a real new milestone in its genre.” Simple as that.
10 Worst: Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PlayStation 3, Metascore: 17)
By total contrast, Play UK branded this action adventure sandbox “possibly the worst game of [its] generation.” And it's easy to see why, “mindless, repetitive gameplay and a truly terrible sense of humor” (GameSpot) has relegated this title to bargain bins all around the world. While games like Red Dead take pride in their design, gameplay, and handling of adult themes, Leisure Suit Larry toils in the slums of crude humor and woeful game design, totally unashamed of its complete and utter lack of quality.
9 Best: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo Wii, Metascore: 97)
The sequel to arguably the best and most impactful game on the Nintendo Wii, Galaxy 2 took the intergalactic platforming of the first title, offering “so much more in terms of content and creativity” making “for some of the greatest platforming you’ll ever see.” (Thunderbolt) And that was the appeal, after all, not recreating but expounding upon the first game, presenting players with an entirely new universe, a litany of new feature, a more challenging difficulty level and, of course, Yoshi! And with 42 perfect scores, what Wii game could be better?
8 Best: Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Wii, Metascore: 97)
The original, of course! While lauding its sequel in their review, Wired were forced to admit that the original Mario Galaxy title ultimately “felt like a bigger, more complete adventure.” While it was arguably a fuller, more well paced adventure, there’s no debating how big an impact the original had on gaming’s landscape. Fans and critics applauded a game of such “ingenuity, variety [and] quality” (GameTrailers) that “influenc[ed] gaming perceptions” (NTSC-uk) and, after the divisive Mario Sunshine of the Gamecube, made “the old feel new again.” (GameCritics)
7 Worst: Yaris Platform (Xbox 360, Metascore: 17)
The Toyota Yaris is a popular car the choice of motorists the world over: its is known for its sleek design, reliability and practicality. Yaris, the free-to-play racing game for the Xbox Arcade named after the hatchback, is known for its shockingly poor graphics, its inability to function correctly and its inexplicably adding high-powered firearms to small on road vehicles. When a free game is dubbed “a festering turd” (X-ONE Magazine UK) and players still “somehow… still feel ripped off” (Talk Xbox), that ain’t a good sign…
6 Best: Soul Calibur (SEGA Dreamcast, Metascore: 98)
Another oldie but a goldie. Console’s fifth generation was a hotbed for fighting games - with games like Tekken 3 and Super Smash Bros. on the market - but the one that stood tallest and knocked out all comers was this, the now defunct Dreamcast’s crowning jewel. Heralded for its graphics, addictive weapon-based gameplay and revolutionary 8-way moving system that deviated from conventional 2D fighters, giving players more freedom. All of this, along with a ton of perfect scores, make this “the most beautiful fighting game ever to grace a home console.” (Daily Radar)
5 Best: Grand Theft Auto IV (PlayStation 3, Metascore: 98)
As divisive a game as you will find on the upper echelon of this list, confirmed by the relatively poor 7.5 fan rating. However, the critical instincts that awarded GTA IV 37 perfect scores out of 64 reviews, and thusly pole-position on our list, were spot on. Simply put, there has never been a more well paced and immersive sandbox game ever made. With “storytelling that makes it an instant classic” (Gamespy) and the word “masterpiece” doled upon it by too many publications to mention here, it absolutely deserves its place this high up.
4 Worst: Ride To Hell: Retribution (PC, Metascore: 16)
Inspired by the likes of GTA: The Lost and Damned and television show Sons of Anarchy, this game sees you controlling Vietnam veteran and biker Jake Conway as him and his buddies embark on a wild adventure. Only problem is the adventure is terrible. With dull combat and bikes that cannot be ridden in reverse. EGM tells you not to even “think about thinking about playing it”, before giving it a score of 5/100, while user Mrexreturns apocalyptically proclaims that Retribution’s woefulness signifies “that the end of gaming is near.”
3 Best: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PlayStation, Metascore: 98)
Earlier we talked about THPS3, how impactful it was and how its gameplay improved upon previous franchise entries. So why is THPS2 ranked higher? Well, this game, which “could possibly be the best game ever” (Happy Puppy,) took the original game which was good, totally refined it (the addition of the manual being just one innovation) while setting a new standard for design and playability in sports games of all kinds. The end result being a game “so good it should come with a warning label.” (Game Revolution)
2 Worst: Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade (Wii U, Metascore: 11)
As of time of writing, this is the lowest ranked game of over 16,000 reviewed games on metacritic.com, and with a player rating of 1.2 and Metascore or 11, a full five points lower than the second lowest game, we can’t see any terrible contenders dethroning this much maligned Wii U party game any time soon. A game so bad that it upsets reviewers that “it isn’t illegal to sell…to children” (Eurogamer Sweden), we highly recommend you give this “borderline unplayable” (Game Revolution, 0/100) a miss.
1 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (Nintendo 64, Metascore: 99)
Standing atop the gaming landscape with a near perfect rating of 99, it's only fitting for a title widely regarded as the greatest video game ever created. Out of 22 reviews, this Zelda entry - which revolutionized the open world adventure genre and gaming mechanics in general - only four were not perfect. And it's not hard to see why, when it “can’t be called anything but flawless” (Gamespot,) but can be called “the… most heart-pounding and awe-inspiring quest of all” (Nintendorks) and “Perfect. Epic. Unstoppable [and] Unbeatable.” (Electric Playground)