SteamDB ranks Steam games not by metrics such as sales, but by the reviews the game has received. These five stack up with some interesting caveats.
The third-partywebsite SteamDB, or Steam Database, presents a wide range of data about Steam and how it's used. One feature of this website is that it presents a more accurate ranking of Steam games based on user reviews, utilizing a formula created by Reddit user tornmandate. Steam's default way of sorting games when a user selects "highest-rated" is simply showing them games with the highestpercentage of positive reviews.This means that the more reviews a game has, the less likely it is to show up on Steam's "highest-rated" page.
Tornmandate's formulascales to accommodate when a game rises in popularity.The actual mathematics at play is fairly complex, but the important thing to know is that SteamDB's percentage rating forgamesfactor in that the more reviews a game has, the more accurate the end result will be, and thus, it ranks those games higher than ones with fewer reviews. With that in mind, here are the five Steam games that are currently considered to be the best-reviewed games on the platform.
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The puzzle-platformerPortal 2stands at the top of SteamDB's ranking, with about 98% of its user reviews marked as positive. SteamDB gives the gamea 97.59% rating after taking into account the game's popularity.Portal 2is actually a fairly strong example of why SteamDB's way of ranking games based on user-reviews works so well, as what is arguably one of the best puzzle games ever made is nowhere near the top of Steam's default top-rated list.
Given that SteamDB's ranking system factors in popularity, it's no surprise thatPortal 2is so high. The game is incredibly easy to understand and was an extremely anticipated sequel. Almost anyone could sit down withPortal 2and quickly understand how they're meant to use the portal gun within the context of the puzzles. The game's co-op mode also means there's a huge reason to encourage friends to buy the game, too.
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Factorioactually sits at a higher default Steam ranking thanPortal 2, but sincePortal 2has more Steam reviews, it's given priority overFactorio. However, somethingthat these two games share in common is that there's a huge gap between the number of positive reviews they have and the number of negative reviews. There's a 90,000+ difference between the two inFactorio's case.Factorio's popularity is certainly an amazing example of how addicting and wide-reaching a game can be, even if it has complex gameplay.
A game that many people think should have won The Game Awards' Game of the Year,Hadesis the most recently released game in SteamDB's top five. This is an honest testament toHades' quality and widespread appeal when it's noted that it only took two years forHadesto gain this popularity. Most of the games on SteamDB's list have been out for 5+ years, at least.
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Hades'spopularitymay be due to how the game widened the appeal of the usually restrictive perma-death rogue-like genre. Well-written characters and gameplay that fits a wide range of playstyles help the game appeal to people who don't usually even consider themselves fans of rogue-likes. SteamDB's ranking ofHadesshows just how popular the game really is.
Although CD Projekt Red's credibility may have been irreversibly damaged byCyberpunk 2077's disastrous release and aftermath, there's no denying thatThe Witcher 3: Wild Huntis an exceptional title. SteamDB's charts reflect this, with the game having over double the number of total reviews as the number one game on their list,Portal 2. However, TheWitcher 3 finds itself fourth due to a larger amount of negative reviews.
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The Witcher 3revived many people's faith in the genre of fantasy RPGs. With its incredibly deep story, well-written characters, complex combat system and monster-fighting mechanics, there was something inThe Witcher 3for everyone.The Witcher 3's status as an RPG that still holds up today may also contribute to its massive amount of positive reviews.
A common theme with a lot of the highest-rated games on SteamDB's list is that they've all received continuous support and updates since their release or were early access games before seeing a full release.Terrariafalls into the former category, having received its final content update last year, nine years after its initial release. At this point,Terrariais a massive game that's full of content that helps it still be incredibly enjoyable in 2021.
With these five titles topping SteamDB's popularity-focused rating list, there's a pretty distinctive pattern that may explain why they're so popular. If a game can appeal to a wide range of players and continue to be fun years after its release, it'll be able to maintain a strong and supportive fanbase. In a way, SteamDB highlights games that withstand the test of time.
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A writer for CBR since September 2020, Jacob Creswell is a life long writer and gamer. Has written for both local and global publications. Lover of Animal Crossing, Undertale, Team Fortress 2, and a little professional wrestling on the side. Often can be found doing way more research than needed for his video game theories. Can also be found on his Twitter, @Creeology98
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