Best Games of 2007
My favorite games from 2007.
My favorite games from 2007.
I wasn't sure at first whether to count this, as it sort of seems like cheating. I didn't review it as a single package. After all, it's not one game, it's five, two of which I've already played before. But even without the old content, I still got more fun out of it than anything else this year. Episode Two is an excellent continuation of my favorite FPS series, Portal is a brilliant, hilarious, brain-twisting experience, and Team Fortress 2 is the most fun I've had playing online since Battlefield 2. It's kind of a cop out, but The Orange Box is the best gaming value you can get for normal retail price this year.
The best game story of the year, and not just because of the content, but because of how well they use the medium itself to tell it, defying expectations and keeping you immersed in a pretty incredibly designed experience. Big Daddies are still awesome, mixing tonics and plasmids is still good experimental fun, and the encounter with Andrew Ryan is still one of gaming's best moments ever. The gameplay is still stuck somewhere between real shooting and a rich first person RPG experience, but gameplay was the least important aspect as far as I was concerned.
This is a pretty personal choice, as Tools of Destruction didn't do much to push gaming forward, it's merely another great entry in one of my favorite series. It had been some time since the last true game was released, but I settled right into the Ratchet groove as soon as the game started, running around, blowing up everything in sight, enjoying the various diversions, collecting experience, and just having a fun time. The ending left you hanging, but you don't mind too much when you can jump into challenge mode and keep going after all the hidden extras.
I don't have as much perspective on this as the other games since it was the last thing I finished, but I can still see it was a step forward for first-person shooters, maybe not reinventing the wheel but making it a damn smooth ride. I played the first couple games on PC, but as the series has transitioned to be more console focused, it's still just as gripping and entertaining. Probably the best pure shooting-things game of the year.
Perhaps the last great game of its generation, God of War II helped it go out with a bang. Based on the fact that the PS2 is still selling, we're going to be seeing things like Persona 3 and enjoyable ports once in a while, but I still see this as the last stand. It looks pretty terrific for a PS2 game, hitting you right in the beginning with the absurdly epic battle against the Colossus of Rhodes. It gets bigger from there, as they keep what was great about the first game, mixing easy-to-use but entertaining combat with functional puzzles and platforming, while evening out the pacing a bit to keep it fun throughout. Of course, they set up the sequel at the end, leaving fans to wonder how incredible the next game will be on PS3.
Another first installment of a series with a possibly great future. It dips its toe in the pool of frustration once in a while, but never dives in like the Jak franchise did. It doesn't particularly excel in any one area, but it's a good jack-of-all-trades kind of game; fun shooting, fun traversal (although it can't match Creed's smoothness), great graphics and sound, excellently presented and fairly interesting storyline. If they can just add some depth to the puzzle elements and keep the environments fresh, Uncharted 2 should be fantastic.
It got a lot of flack for not reaching its potential, but its potential was so absurdly high that I can't fault it that much for it. I expect a lot more from the obvious sequel, but I thought Assassin's Creed was a great start for a potentially tremendous series, with excellent core mechanics, a wonderful feel, and a very intriguing storyline, even if the normal missions were as repetitive as hell. It seems a little rushed and empty at times, but I still had quite a good time running through the cities and eviscerating unwitting guards like a parkour ninja.
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