(August 21, 2007, 2K Games) BioShock completely raised the bar for storytelling in a video game. By creating the absorbing underworld of Rapture, 2K Games had players become instantly engaged in its dark and creepy atmosphere lead by the game's now infamous dwellers, the Big Daddies. Combine that with incredible art direction, top-notch production value, impressive voice acting, and a few thrilling plot twists and you've got yourself what I consider to be the hands-down best game of 2007.
(March 13, 2007, SCEA) The original God of War introduced an incredibly addictive action game set in the ancient times of Greek mythology. Most notable in the game were the towering bosses and the minigames involved in taking them down. Just when we thought the action couldn't get anymore intense, the team at SCEA pushed the PlayStation 2 to its absolute limits delivering us a sequel with more boss battles, larger, more enormous environments, and increased gameplay time.
(November 12, 2007, Nintendo) Level designers take notice. It may be an old formula, but Mario still does it best. What is truly the spiritual successor to Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy goes above and beyond anything you'd ever expect from a platforming game--and with the vastness of space as the backdrop, Super Mario Galaxy took players to places they never thought Mario would ever tread. Plus, with the addition of the Wii controls, we experienced new and innovative ways of controlling everyone's favorite plumber.
(October 10, 2007, Valve) Undeniably the best overall value in gaming for 2007, The Orange Box somehow packed five games into one package. While most of us had already made our way through Half Life 2 and Episode 1, Episode 2 proved to be a worthy adventure in its own right. Combine (no pun intended) this with the dimension-bending puzzler/Internet phenomenon known as Portal and you've got yourself a best-of 2007 award. Lest we forget the highly anticipated class-based multiplayer shooter, Team Fortress 2 rounding out this incredible deal.
(November 5, 2007, Infinity Ward)
This is the first Call of Duty game to step out of World War II and into the modern era. Call of Duty 4 is by far the most polished combat shooter to date and features a campaign presentation unmatched in terms of production quality and value. While there are those who have complained about the campaign's lack of length, the incredibly well-thought-out ranked online multiplayer system will provide more gameplay time than you could ever wish. Rewarding gamers with a level-up system that allows them access to new gameplay modes, weapons, and perks has proven a winning formula.
(November 16, 2007, Naughty Dog) Uncharted won us over with its gorgeous environments and top-notch gameplay unparalleled by anything available in the PlayStation 3 library. But what makes Uncharted truly important is its relevance to the PlayStation 3's struggling lineup. The game has helped Sony sell consoles and might just be the jolt the company needs to continue its success into 2008.
(November 13, 2007, Crytek)
A visual and technical masterpiece, Crysis is undoubtedly the most advanced shooter ever made. The Crytek team has crafted a true achievement as the game contains physics and particle effects never seen before in a video game. While you may need to borrow a computer from NASA to run it, Crysis is still our pick for best PC game of the year.
(September 25, 2007, Bungie)
No surprises here--Halo 3 has become a video game and entertainment phenomenon over the past six years. Its engaging sci-fi experience has become a staple in the first-person shooter genre. In the third chapter, Master Chief must finish the fight as the race to save the universe comes to a close. But most notable is the game's multiplayer mode which is the reason 9 out of 10 gamers will have bought the game in the first place.
(November 20, 2007, BioWare)
While RPGs (role-playing games) have come a long way, none have reached the evolution that Mass Effect has achieved. Combining the gameplay mechanics of action/adventure and shooters, Mass Effect generates a unique experience unmatched in any game available today. Until now, exploring the universe had never felt so epic or important. In addition, BioWare has introduced incredibly seamless character interactions with dialog scenes that seem to be taken directly from the silver screen. Top that with fantastic visuals and high-quality voice acting, Mass Effect is sure to live on for generations.
(November 20, 2007, Harmonix/MTV Games)
Games like Guitar Hero have opened the door for a brand new type of interactive experience. Taking this a step further, Rock Band is by far the most ambitious of all, allowing up to four people to perform as band members at the same time. Games like this have also been credited with breaking down the barrier between the casual and hardcore gamer now that anyone can simply pick up and start playing. Where can they go from here? Harmonix claims that its next project, unrelated to music, will blow people away all over again.