Metacritic has been a valuable tool for the media for well over twenty years. Thanks to its compressed reports that draw statistics from all over the web, both players and reporters have been able to locate and explore the best of the best. Though, when it comes to video games — not a great deal has changed over the past two decades. In fact, a large portion of the best video games ever made all seem to stem from the late nineties period. Apart from that, only a few have made it into the highest ranks.
It’s 2021, and we have yet to induct an up to date video game that holds a near-perfect score on Metacritic, which goes to show that acquiring such a status isn’t just your average walk in the park. And, when I say near-perfect scores, I’m talking about an average score of 97 or higher. Now, believe it or not — there are only a handful of video games that have achieved such a figure. However, it’s these five that idle at the summit. Take it away, Metacritic.
5. Super Mario Galaxy (97/100)
Considering Super Mario is not only the face of Nintendo but also the gaming world as a whole, it only makes sense that at least one of the games reaches the apex of the charts. While a fair few titles reach the boards and weave between the top fifty — only one has reached the final five on Metacritic. That’s right, it’s the Nintendo Wii entry that comes all the way from 2007. This BAFTA-winning, chart-topping crowdpleaser has earned a whopping 97 from a whole pile of critics across the board.
Super Mario Galaxy is the third major 3D chapter to the Mario timeline. With space being thrown into the equation, this incredible platformer becomes the ultimate sandbox arena, where creativity runs wild and the playable hours stack up by the motherload. So yes, Galaxy is a worthy successor to the Super Mario sibling entries. But then, we’d expect nothing less from Nintendo. Or Mario, for that matter.
4. Grand Theft Auto 4 (98/100)
Of course, Rockstar was destined to appear on this list somewhere, right? Though, perhaps you’re slightly confused over the game that reaches the fourth spot? It’s true, Grand Theft Auto 5 does have a secure position up on Metacritic, but it’s still a few points away from overtaking its older brother. While Grand Theft Auto 5 has sold well over 140 million copies worldwide compared to the fewer million from the fourth game, critics have agreed that the latter truly is the better performer. Yes — even with those driving mechanics.
Grand Theft Auto transitioned from a fluorescent gem to an enchanting diamond after introducing the fourth major chapter. Rockstar Games ramped up the narrative and found sanctuary on new platforms, where hardware was still in its infancy and opportunities were well and truly open for exploration. Liberty City was brought back to the fold, and the rest was history in the making. Well played, Rockstar. Can you serve up a remaster now, or?
3. SoulCalibur (98/100)
In 1999, when the eye-popping Dreamcast became one of the most wanted home consoles in the world, fans began enrolling themselves in fantastic new experiences in the gaming community. Though, with eighteen fantastic gems to tuck into from the get-go, only one seemed to burst out of the screen on launch day. It wasn’t PowerStone, Sonic Adventure, or even Mortal Kombat Gold. It was, in fact, SoulCalibur, the fast-paced weapon-based fighting phenomenon.
Luckily, for everyone outside of the Japanese market, SoulCalibur made its way from arcade systems to home consoles by the time launch day rolled around in 1999. Since then, both BANDAI NAMCO and Project Soul have worked to produce even more remarkable chapters to their groundbreaking fighting franchise. Talk about setting the benchmark, eh?
2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (98/100)
Speak to a million PlayStation users and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is one of the best games to ever grace the PSX. Yes, that is a rather bold statement to make over a twenty-year-old skateboarding game, though looking back at it, it feels as though calling it anything less would be an insult. Not only did the Pro Skater series reveal a whole library of instantly recognizable soundtracks over its long reign, but it also knuckled down on some of the most memorable playgrounds to ever touch the console.
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming back to Pro Skater 2 two decades after its release because navigating the levels manages to instantly flick a switch in our brains. Like muscle memory, we’re able to locate those secret tapes and smash out a 100,000 point combo without even having to flick through the tutorial. And, while Pro Skater, in general, is on the best series to play for any player — the second game still stands as the crowd favourite even after twenty years.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (99/100)
Yes, it’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. But you probably expected that though, right? After all, it’s been celebrated for all the right reasons ever since it touched the ground back in 1998 on Nintendo 64. Not only has the original soundtrack been engraved in millions of memories since then — but also the vast open-world of Hyrule, the diverse characters and oozing personalities, and everything in between. Ocarina of Time stands at the highest point on Metacritic, and we can truly understand why.
The Legend of Zelda has always been known for creating long-lasting memories through powerful and unique storytelling. That’s why it came as no surprise when Ocarina of Time dropped on consoles back in 1999. Except, even with high standards already set pre-game, OoT still managed to capture an otherworldly volley of emotions throughout its mighty quest chain. Everything about it screamed utter perfection, and, to this day — we’re still very much singing the same praises. And, you know, “Saria’s Song.” There’s no way that tune is leaving our heads. Ever.