The 2000s were huge for gaming. Sony released the incredibly successful PlayStation 2, Microsoft introduced the world to the first Xbox, and Nintendo proved that they could still innovate when the Wii was announced.
Now that the dust has long settled on this period in gaming history, it's a good time to take a look at some of the best games of the era. To do that, we'll look at the consoles released in the 2000s and see what Metacritic claims are each one's best game. It's worth noting that some consoles (particularly educational ones) are excluded from this list as they aren't on Metacritic. The list is ordered by the release year of each system.
8 PlayStation 2 - Grand Theft Auto III (97)
The PS2 has two games rated 97 on Metacritic, Grand Theft Auto III, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. Due to having a better user score, GTA III gets the spot on this list.
It's hard to argue against the first 3D GTA title being the best that the PlayStation 2 had to offer. The action-adventure game was huge, witty, and most importantly, fun. Plus, it was one of the most influential games of all time because of the way it revolutionized open-world sandbox gaming upon its release. Even some games today struggle to make driving around and causing mayhem as enjoyable as GTA III did.
7 Game Boy Advance - The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (95)
It's tricky to find a Nintendo console that hasn't had a great Zelda title released for it, and handheld systems are no different. The Link To The Past port is the joint-highest rated Game Boy Advance game on Metacritic. Its vastly superior user score means it beats Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 to a place on this list (the second time the Pro Skater series misses out due to Metacritic's users).
From its charming visuals to its exciting gameplay, the Zelda port managed to retain all of the magic of the original on the Super Nintendo. Plus, the addition of the multiplayer mode named Four Swords, made the whole package an improvement on the SNES version.
6 Xbox - Halo: Combat Evolved (97)
No series is as closely linked to Xbox as Halo. So it is fitting that the Master Chief's first adventure is the original Xbox's best game (according to Metacritic).
Whether playing through the campaign alone or with friends or facing those friends in PvP modes, Halo was outrageous fun. It brought multiplayer console shooters to a whole other level before Xbox Live even existed. Also, it would be remiss not to mention the fantastic soundtrack that Halo fans will never forget. Unfortunately, Combat Evolved has been slightly overshadowed by its successors since, but it was still a wonderful game.
5 GameCube - Metroid Prime (97)
Reinventing a popular series is risky as there's a high probability of alienating the original fan base. Metroid Prime, however, managed to mix up the franchise's formula while still appeasing the fans. Critics liked it too, as the first-person adventure title's Metascore of 97 is better than every other GameCube game.
Samus's adventure was unique as it was a first-person title that focused more on exploration than gunplay. There have been few games like Metroid Prime since, and even less that have had as many well-designed levels.
4 Nintendo DS - Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (93)
It might not be as beloved as some of GTA's biggest installments, but Chinatown Wars was still a strong entry in the series. This is evidenced by its solid 93 Metascore, which no other Nintendo DS game can beat (the free app Flipnote Studio ties with it).
Before Chinatown Wars' release, there were questions whether a Grand Theft Auto game could work on handheld consoles. Those fears disappeared once players got their hands on the title, as it managed to retain the franchise's signature charm. And it even brought back fond memories of the early GTA games with its top-down camera perspective
3 PSP - God Of War: Chains Of Olympus (91)
The PSP might not have captured the imagination of PlayStation fans as well as some of Sony's other consoles, but there were still a few great games released on the system. One of those great games was God of War: Chain Of Olympus, which is regarded as the console's best according to Metacritic.
God of War's crazy over the top gameplay felt just as good on the handheld system, with only the occasional technical bump. The visuals were similarly stunning, even if they might not look as good by today's standards. Overall, God of War: Chains of Olympus was a fantastic installment in the franchise.
2 Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 - Grand Theft Auto IV (98)
It's a testament to the quality of GTA IV that not only does it have a better Metascore than any other Xbox 360 and PS3 game, but it also has a higher score than every other game on this list.
The title was more grounded than it's predecessors, which allowed Rockstar to deliver a more serious narrative. The story of Niko trying to make it in America was a compelling one, with many twists and turns. Although, the game's high score wasn't only down to its amazing story and characters. There was also plenty of entertainment to be had simply by wreaking havoc all over Liberty City, both in single-player and multiplayer.
1 Wii - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (97)
There is very little to separate the two Super Mario Galaxy games on Metacritic, as they both have an impressive score of 97. Even their user scores are incredibly close, with the second installment's rating being only 0.1 higher than its predecessor.
The closeness of their scores isn't surprising as they're very similar games. Super Mario Galaxy 2 took the first game's fun platforming, exciting power-ups, and brilliantly designed levels, and enhanced/added to them. The result was an all-around outstanding 3D platformer that is among the Italian plumber's best games (which is no easy feat).
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