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Which number is the best number?

The longer a series is, the more chances it has to score a hit. In the case of one of the longest-running game series ever, the sixth game stood out amongst the rest. Unfortunately, a series as old as King’s Quest also makes the review scores more questionable. Were games in 1984 reviewed the same way they are now? No, they weren’t reviewed at all.


Above: Hey look, it’s King’s Quest VI

The first game we have scores for is King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne, but the reviews weren’t written in 1985 when the game was released, they were written within the last ten years. A reviewer today has a completely different contextual point-of-view than they would have had if they were in the ‘80s.

But there’s still hope for our experiment. Even a quick review of the series’ history will reveal that the sixth game is widely considered the best. Our numbers might be skewed by time, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the final result, because all we want to know is which game is the best in the series. If we were comparing these review scores to other games’, we might have a problem, but since all of the games are relatively old, their review scores are fairly accurate relative to each other.

Winner: SIX

Silent Hill 2 wins here. The game improved on the first in part due to improved technology (PS2, Xbox). Aside from the jump to a new console generation, Silent Hill 2 generally captured the essence of the series’ psychological tension, bizarre semi-sexual monsters. It also dealt with some of the gameplay and camera flaws of the first games.


Above: Silent Hill 2, the most Silent Hill-ey game in the series?

Silent Hill 2 has an average score of 89. The third and fourth games just couldn’t recapture its creepy charm with enough zest to overtake it, scoring 85 and 76 respectively. Silent Hill 4: The Room, for example, was well-liked, but criticized for lacking puzzles of any complexity or boss fights. It is also probable that the series had begun to turn its own story and gameplay elements into clichés.

Winner: TWO

Call of Duty 4 is clearly the winner here. The game became the new standard for quality in shooters, both in terms of single player and multiplayer.  While its predecessors were good, none of them contributed as much to the genre.


Above: The obvious winner

CoD 4 has an average score of 94, and is rivaled only by the first game in the series, which managed an average of 91. Like CoD 4, the first Call of Duty brought a lot of new ammo to the FPS genre, and was praised for the quality the AI controlled squad mates and the intensity of its single-player campaign.

Winner: FOUR

The Metal Gear series is impressively consistent in quality. The winner in this batch is two, but only by a very small margin. The margin is so small, it is questionable if the game is actually of a higher quality than the others in the series, or if its score is simply an indication of the context in which it was reviewed.


Above: Despite its anticipation, MGS 4 wasn’t able to surpass the critical reception of MGS 2

Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Metal Gear Solid 4 all have average review scores of 94. Metal Gear Solid 2 leads the pack by only two points at 96. Told you it was close.

Ask a bunch of die-hard fans of the series which game is the best, and the answers you receive will probably be heavily varied. Metal Gear Solid is considered by many to be the best PlayStation game ever made. Some consider MGS 3 a great improvement over MGS 2, often citing protagonist Raiden as 2’s biggest flaw. And surely some will say that the current-gen MGS 4 is the pinnacle of the series.

Clearly it’s nearly impossible to determine which MGS game is truly “the best,” but based on our established system, we have to go by the numbers and call it for two.

Winner: TWO

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94 comments

  • KHfan - May 15, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    i actually thought hat DMC 4 was much bettr than 1 or 3...no.2 was just disapointing :P and its on 360 AND PS3 lol
  • jabba1st - May 15, 2009 9:51 p.m.

    2 is the best:)
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - May 15, 2009 9:57 p.m.

    @KHfan: I only chose the average score for one release of each game. In the case of DMC 4 I used the 360 version. Sometimes the scores were the same between platforms, but if they weren't, I chose the one with the higher score.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - May 15, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    @devinejoh: Remembered Ace Combat 0, but I decided only to include numbers 1 or greater. That was mainly because so few series (Resident Evil also comes to mind...) have a "zero" entry. And also, I think it's really silly. Anyway, the score for AC 0 doesn't affect the outcome.
  • GoldenMe - May 15, 2009 10:31 p.m.

    Tyler, you math sorcerer.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - May 15, 2009 10:57 p.m.

    King's Quest VI is definitely the best King's Quest. You know why? Jane Jensen was involved. "Girl in the Tower" didn't hurt.
  • GamesRadarHankMotherFuckingGilbert - May 15, 2009 11:10 p.m.

    I like how the graphs go to 120. I wonder what game would get that kind of average?
  • jar-head - May 15, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    7 is Bungies number lucas
  • Luigi49 - May 15, 2009 11:30 p.m.

    You didnt do the Final Fantasy games. Is it because their are so many. I like the series.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - May 15, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    Course, one of the biggest problems with this is... American developers hate going past the number 4. It is actually mentioned on the podcast this week. Whereas Japanese developers tend to continually number new games in a series, American developers tend to stop numbering at around four. For example: CoD 4 to... CoD: World at War, then Modern Warfare 2 (can't go past 4, so we reset to 2!).
  • DBAX47 - May 16, 2009 12:35 a.m.

    you forgot the elder scrolls tyler. GOOD JOB! =[
  • Ravenbom - May 16, 2009 12:43 a.m.

    Hmm... so by this logic, there's a good chance that if they ever make a Super Mario Bros 4 and a Sonic 4, they would be the definitive game of their respective series. Maybe this explains why Tetris was so damn good. It's a whole game based on the number 4 and it's named for the greek word for 4.
  • ian edgar - May 16, 2009 1:03 a.m.

    What about Phantasy Star? There were four of those.
  • NelosAngelos - May 16, 2009 1:17 a.m.

    MGS3 I think was the best personally. And I liked Devil May Cry 1 as well, even though it didn't have Virgil in it (In a sense). But Yeah, I noticed a lot of 4s coming out that have been pretty damn awesome. Next is Sly Cooper 4!!
  • Koouunn - May 16, 2009 2:19 a.m.

    the reason 4 is winning most of the battles is because there are more reviews and plp who have acess to the internet to state their opinion and raating which puts previous gaames like street fighter 2 at a disadvantage. but most of them r really good like gta , street fighter 4, cod4, etc
  • EffinChrys - May 16, 2009 3:34 a.m.

    i prefer to go number 2.
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 16, 2009 3:38 a.m.

    I believe that, since it's the highest number, 24 is best number. Just ask the TDar.
  • ssj4raditz - May 16, 2009 5:30 a.m.

    What are some more series that would work? Mega Man X? Persona? Ratchet & Clank? Elder Scrolls? Soul Calibur? Star Ocean? Suikoden? Gran Turismo? PGR? I could go on and on. Anyway, great article Tyler! Thumbs up!
  • garnsr - May 16, 2009 6:10 a.m.

    Ratchet and Clank never really got numbered. There are a number of choices for the next iteration of this article, though. Tyler just didn't want to shoot his whole wad all at once. ReCaptcha: sorry normal. Yeah, the ReCaptchas have been getting very odd lately, with punctuation even. Looks like they've seen the error of their ways, and are ready to turn things around.
  • revrock - May 16, 2009 6:25 a.m.

    Too bad Favre is doing his best to ruin cuatro... Mortal Kombat would have lowered the 4 curve a bit too.

Showing 1-20 of 94 comments

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