2007 Game of the Year Critics Poll
The judges of the Game Critics Awards are honored to announce the first annual Game of the Year awards. Considering games across all platforms, released commercially in North America between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007, the judges have voted to decide on the best of the best for the year.
To arrive at the top ten games of 2007, the judges applied a points system. Each judge nominated 10 games and awarded a score between 5 and 30 points to their chosen games, with a total point allotment of exactly 100. The cumulative total for each nominated game was then calculated to generate the ten highest scoring games. More details are available in the rules section.
10. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (87 Points)
(Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment America for PlayStation 3)
Crafting a next-generation action adventure game on a new platform that delivers on the promise expected from the development studio’s acclaimed track record is a pressure-laden task. Naughty Dog proved itself up to that challenge as it fine-tuned Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune into one of the standout games among PlayStation 3 releases. The challenging situation of introducing a new franchise, setting, and lead character was executed superbly on the back of first-rate production values. Nathan Drake’s adventures comprised stylish, action-packed, beautifully paced set pieces in a remarkably believable game world.
For PlayStation 3, Uncharted sets an action adventure benchmark by which all future games in the genre will be judged. The graphics engine ably powers a deep, dense jungle environment and the score underlines the cinematic approach to gameplay as it picks up the pace at all the right moments. Backed by inventive gameplay moments, Uncharted stands out as one of the most memorable games you can play, and richly deserves recognition as one of the ten best games across all platforms released in 2007.
- Rob Smith, Editor in Chief, Official PlayStation Magazine
9. Assassin's Creed (88 Points)
(Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Assassin's Creed is easily one of the most unique gaming experiences of this, or any other year. The emphasis is on "experience' as the awe-inspiring articulation of the Crusades-era Middle East manages to make mere travels through cities and the rural countryside pleasurable as you absorb the details that make this hyper reality sublime in it's perfection. The gameplay itself, be it the preternatural climbing and running, or the brutally effective combat, are so deceptive in their initial simplicity that you are unprepared for how complex, strategic, and arrestingly visceral they will eventually become. The writing as well is mature in a way that has little precedence. A subtle and thoughtful storyline doesn't fall prey to the sophomoric technique of upending all reality in a perfect 180 degrees but, instead slowly peels back motive to reveal a moral ambiguity free of nihilism yet more troubling in its sincerity. In the end, this is a game that has stayed with me well after completion and I know I will be returning to for many gaming generations to come.
- Adam Sessler, Host/Managing Editor, G4's X-Play
8. God of War II (103 Points)
(Sony Santa Monica / SCEA for PlayStation 2)
We’ve all seen it happen before: A brilliant game design stifled by the limits of technology. So it’s all that more impressive when a game does the opposite and transcends over the bounds of technology. That happened in 2007 with God of War II, an epic on the scale of 300 crammed onto the PlayStation 2. Kratos’ second chain-blade slashing adventure was so engrossing that it felt like a PlayStation 3 game that, through some feat of voodoo magic, miraculously works on a PS2. God of War II is a stunning example of how to design a game: Find a fluid core game mechanic and then surround it with a compelling story, ever-changing scenery, and massive battles. God of War II is a fitting capstone to the last generation of consoles. It represents the mastery of the PlayStation 2 both technically and artistically.
- Geoff Keighley, Contributing Writer, Entertainment Weekly
7. Mass Effect (213 Points)
(BioWare/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Given BioWare's history as a top-notch RPG developer, it's no real surprise that Mass Effect made our top 10 list for 2007. Combining a compelling storyline with stunning cinematic presentation, masterful voice acting, and a fully-realized universe, Mass Effect is one of the most epic role-playing adventures ever created. Not only does it provide gamers with 30+ hours of gameplay, but incentives such as branching storylines, diverging moral avenues, and ongoing Xbox Live achievements make it ripe for at least another, if not several, replays. While exploring the universe at large is a blast, being able to land a little closer to home – well, about 240,000 miles away on Luna, Earth's moon – keeps the adventure at least somewhat familiar, and the potential for implied alien intimacy gives those of us who dare to dream a bit of cosmic titillation.
- Tal Blevins, VP of Games Content, IGN Entertainment
6. Halo 3 (232 Points)
(Bungie/Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360)
Halo 3 not only delivered on the humongous hoopla that Microsoft built up around its launch, but also satisfied critics and consumers alike, to the tune of nearly 4.82 million sold in the U.S. Developer Bungie continued to evolve the look of the Xbox standard bearer, elevating the Master Chief into the realm of high definition graphics. And the game itself evolved, too – for single players and the multiplayer masses – even allowing four players to collaborate in story mode. The game developer also transported Halo 3 into user-generated space giving players the ability to save films – as well as “kill shot” postcard screen shots – and to tinker with the surroundings and create, in essence, new playing fields. Halo 3 is a game that will keep on giving into 2008.
- Mike Snider, Entertainment Reporter, USA Today
5. Super Mario Galaxy (323 Points)
(Nintendo/Nintendo for Wii)
Five years ago cute, colorful games were uncool and 3D platformers existed in the shadow of "Super Mario 64." Nintendo shot Mario into space, set him on spherical worlds and shook him up with motion control. Perhaps even more importantly, they sent the series' development to the company's hungry new studio in Tokyo. Super Mario Galaxy sports controls you'll barely think about, varied gameplay designed to deliver jungle-gym pleasure, delightfully irrational graphic design, and chunky sound effects that punctuate every move sound like a well-orchestrated accomplishment. Plus, its co-star multiplayer mode enables hardcore Nintendo fans to play with the new Blue Ocean casuals. The full package makes this a 2007 Game of The Year contender.
- Stephen Totilo, Reporter, MTV News
4. Rock Band (349 Points)
(Harmonix/MTV Games/EAP for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
It was already past 1 AM when my friend Pete's Rock Band band, Manny Being Manny, finally decided to go for it and take on the Hall of Fame induction ceremony challenge. There were about seven of us in his Los Angeles apartment, and it took all seven of us – trading off among lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals, and drums – giving everything we had, using every trick we'd learned, to survive the monster eight-song set. As we took our bows and accepted our elevation into the rock pantheon, the sense of achievement – both individual and collective, from vets and newcomers alike – was both palpable and uniquely satisfying. Thanks, Harmonix.
- N'Gai Croal, General Editor, Newsweek
3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (361 Points)
(Infinity Ward/Activision for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Without a doubt, Infinity Ward is the best developer in the industry at delivering what I like to call, TPM, or thrills per minute. From the moment you press start to the final pull of the trigger, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a rollercoaster ride of military madness that offers some of the most mind-blowing scenes you will ever see in a first-person shooter. Combine its adrenaline-pumping single-player experience with simply the best multiplayer first-person shooter to release this year and it leaves little doubt that not only can Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare go deep, but it can go hard as well.
- Andy McNamara, Editor-in-Chief, Game Informer
2. The Orange Box (387 Points)
(Valve/Valve for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
There are five things inside The Orange Box: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. I don’t know why Valve put all five things in one package. I would gladly have paid a significant sum to own any one of them individually. I would say it’s because they’re idiots, except they’re clearly not idiots, because every single one of these things is unbelievably frickin’ brilliant. Half-Life 2 and its episodic offspring are as bleak and compelling a dystopic vision of the future as 21st Century culture has yet produced. Team Fortress 2 is the quintessence of balanced class-based multiplayer combat. Portal may be the greatest and most fiendishly narbacular puzzle game on any console ever. (Seriously, even its theme song is great.) The Orange Box is a testament to the endless gameplay richness that can be wrung out of a great physics engine if you throw enough genius writers, artists, and designers at it. Even if the cake is a lie.
- Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine
2007 Game Critics Awards: Game of the Year
BioShock (464 Points)
(2K Boston/2K Australia/2K Games for PC, Xbox 360)
It's awfully pretty (old neon signs pierce the darkness of a ruined underwater utopia; water realistically streams and dribbles from cracks in the walls...). It sounds neat (distant whispers of hidden enemies increase the tension, while the screen-shaking roar of a Big Daddy just flat-out scares the crap out of you...). And it really f's with your mind ("Would you kindly"...anyone?). BioShock truly shocked, amazed, and pushed all sorts of boundaries for gaming. And while we felt it was 2007's best title, we're betting its influence will extend well beyond 2007. No one wants to see a bunch of BioShock clones, mind you. But if we can get refreshing, mind-blowing experiences like this more often from now on, we'd kindly get in line.
- Dan "Shoe" Hsu, Editor in Chief, EGM
Game of the Year breakdown by platform:
Xbox 360: 7
PlayStation 3: 5
PlayStation 2: 1
Game of the Year breakdown by publisher:
Microsoft Game Studios: 2
Sony Computer Entertainment: 2
EAP (Valve, MTV Games): 2
2K Games: 1