The ZippyGamer staff picks the best video games of 2007.
Jonathan – Halo 3
No 2007 list is complete without mentioning Rock Band. Harmonix took Guitar Hero’s idea and made it 10x better by adding vocals, drums, and an emphasis on playing with friends. It brought multiplayer to a brand new level. Gamers and non-gamers alike started to get together for Rock Band parties. Although the genre is starting to get a little too full with all the spinoffs, it’s still a great time to get together and play.
Anyone who knows me understands that Halo is one of my all-time favorite series and so it is no surprise that my 2007 pick is Halo 3. This game is the reason I bought a Xbox 360 and I wasn’t disappointed. Many are quick to complain about the campaign mode, but listen, you don’t buy Halo for the campaign. You buy it for the multiplayer.
Halo 3 has been a major success. Its release even affected movie ticket sales and many gamers called in sick on the day of release. Many popular games come and go on Xbox Live, but Halo 3 is still very active and isn’t going anywhere. The next big Halo game is Halo: Reach, expected to be released late this year. Let’s hope you’re not needed at work that day…
Joe – Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really played many games made in 2007. I would probably choose Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. But since I have yet to play it, I can’t guarantee that I would even like it. And I refuse to choose any game I haven’t played. So that leaves me with Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80’s, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Sonic Rush Adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and depending on your country and console, Rock Band. That’s literally all the 2007 games I’ve played. So I will make my pick for the best game of 2007 from that list.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was the first Zelda title on the Nintendo DS. When I heard that the game was played entirely with the stylus, I was a bit skeptical. Surprisingly, the touch-screen controls worked tremendously well. It just felt natural. Drag the stylus to a side of the screen and Link will run towards that direction. Draw a quick line and Link will swing his sword. And shooting an arrow was easier than ever. Just pull out your bow and “touch” your target with the stylus. The boomerang was also more fun than ever! Now you can draw a path and the boomerang will follow it. This was incorporated into some nice new puzzles as well. Phantom Hourglass also featured a multiplayer mode which was a lot like capture the flag. One player would control Link and try to collect as many triforce shards as possible and bring them to their base. The other player had control of three knights that would follow a path you drew on the screen. After every round, each player would switch roles. With these new elements of gameplay, Phantom Hourglass was a nice breath of fresh air for The Legend of Zelda franchise.
Kelsey – Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
When people think cover systems in third-person shooters, they tend to think of Gears of War. I actually think of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 – which came out the same year. I feel GRAW did the cover system in a better way – it controls well and there is a sense of satisfaction in getting your kills as you peek out of cover. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 didn’t change the gameplay too much, it fixed things that needed fixing, finished the storyline that GRAW left wide open, and looked a lot better. To me, that’s all that matters. Between this and Assassin’s Creed, my 360 got quite a bit of love this year.
Liam – The Orange Box
A great year for gaming, 2007 bought us one of the best-selling games of all time; Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. We had the grand JRPG Lost Odyssey, the brilliant Sci-fi RPG Mass Effect, and one of the best Party games to grace the land, Guitar Hero III.
However my choice goes to The Orange Box, more specifically, the PC version of The Orange Box.
You get Half Life 2, Half Life 2 Episode 1 & 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. It’s an amazing deal. To this very day I still play Team Fortress 2, it’s constant free updates to the game, is a refreshing change of paying for DLC, and its nice to see a company care so much about their own product. Portal will have you scratching your head at the well designed puzzles, and Half Life 2 is just has such a great story line you might even start coming up with your own theories.
Honorable mentions: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii), No More Heroes (Wii), Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360), Mass Effect (Xbox 360)
Lewis – No More Heroes
Seriously, you want me to pick ONE game? How the hell am I supposed to do that? 2007 was amazing; too amazing in fact. This year saw the most releases of high quality titles to date, most of which are now seeing full blown sequels that improve on their originators already fantastic layout. Where do I even begin? Bioshock is released, questioning the philosophy of objectivism and pushing video games into their pre-adult years, dragging with it some of the most atmospheric gameplay, setting, characters and some stupidly inventive ideas into the mix. From the terrifying Big Daddies to the creepy Little Sisters, to one of the most interesting characters in a game ever, Andrew Ryan, Bioshock is a master class in atmosphere. And the recently released sequel promises to continue this.
But there’s no way I could give this to Bioshock, because Super Mario Galaxy was released! A fantastic game of joyful innocence and exploration, filled to the brim with clever ideas, beautiful locals, amusing and creative gameplay, what more could you want! How about some great use of the Wii Remote? Perfect! Surely nothing could rival this GEM of a game!
And yet something does, and it comes in a lovely Box, an Orange one. Sure, Portal and the Half Life 2 episode were great fun, but the killer here is a game I am still playing today. Team Fortress 2 has gone to prove itself beyond worthy of any praise. It’s initially a great team-based multiplayer, now a Micro-MMO with FPS gameplay. It’s filled with 9 hysterical characters, fantastic voice-acting and balanced gameplay. Team Fortress 2 has meaningful events that happen fairly regularly and an increasing list of achievements. And I haven’t even mentioned how cool it is to land a backstab as a spy! The game is INSANE in terms of content, with nearly 20 official maps, 6 weapons per class, 9 classes, a ton of hats and YET MORE TO COME! How on earth did valve pull this masterpiece off? And how can I dare not give this an award? Because something else came out that is even better.
Something that wasn’t as atmospheric as Bisohock, as playful as Mario, as deep as TF2. No. But it was different. So different in fact, that despite being a hugely flawed game, it almost steals this prize. No More Heroes is devastatingly cool. The main character is a sexually hyperactive otaku who buys a Beam Kanata off eBay one day and decides to become an assassin because a hot chick said she’d do him if he became the number 1. Holy crap, I am interested! No More Heroes is a masterpiece in character creation. Travis Touchdown is a perfect reflection of the gamer, a vengeful, over the top dramatist who loves the vulgar things in life. Every ranked fight against a boss is a brief insight into an even madder, sadder, funnier or crazier character than Travis, and this insane collection of characters is matched with a gleeful disregard for the conventions of gaming. Not supposed to have a long grey corridor level? Tough. Suda’s going to make you play it. Every level has a boss? Nope. Every bit of the game should be action packed? Actually, go clean up graffiti before the next match. Suda51 plays with his gamers, and an awareness of his sadistic attitude towards his player leads to moments of sheer laughter as you do some bizarre task because Suda wanted you to. It can also be annoying as hell but the rough sure as hell makes the smooth as frictionless as scotch.
But I have only one award to distribute, and if it was a physical one I’d break it into tiny pieces and hand it to each developer. But it isn’t. So I can’t. So I have to choose… and as far as games that have had a real impact on me, it has to go to the flawed underdog No More Heroes. It’s simply been too much of an inspiration to the way I think and write. I love it, but don’t think it was the best game of the decade for everyone. In fact, a lot of people will hate this game. But I don’t. And it’s my award. And it goes to No More Heroes.