Article Archive

The NL issue 880 - Best Games Of 2007

Author: Geoff Larsen
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
At the start of the year we are usually promised a bunch of cool sounding games that spark our imaginations and have us saving up our pennies. Inevitably there are one or two blockbuster releases, a bunch that are released before they are finished, a handful of disappointments and, if we are lucky, a few magnificent underdogs.

2007 played out according to this mold – but thankfully featured a lot more of the good and a lot less of the bad. With Nintendo branching out to new audiences while the other consoles cater to the more hardcore of those among us, there has never been a better time to be a gamer. So sit back and let us take a look at what you should have spent your money on: 


Best Xbox 360 Title:
Bioshock

2k Games

Proudly developed by fellow Australians, Bioshock opened the eyes of the gaming community as to how deep action gaming could actually be. Spiritual successor to the cult classic System Shock 2, Bioshock throws the player into a city built under the sea with jaw-dropping visuals and a unique ’50s art design.

What really makes Bioshock a classic though is the level of interactivity it provides. No longer are rooms just storage space for enemies: everything can be manipulated, blown up and influenced, creating the feel of a truly living world. Enemies set on fire will run looking for a water source and when they find it you can blast some lightning into it, electrifying the water’s surface. Desks can be searched for equipment, then stacked against the wall and set alight. All of this really plays with the creative side of your mind as you try to come up with emergency ways to protect yourself from the hordes of grotesque madmen the game throws at you. Bioshock’s predecessor was the Sistine Chapel of video gaming and while it does not quite equal that masterpiece you are still getting the Statue of David when you pick it up.

Runners up: Halo 3, Mass Effect
Best Title No One Played: Lost Planet

Best Wii Title:
Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo

Nintendo’s very own mascot takes the limelight on the Wii in Super Mario Galaxy. The master of all butt-bouncing, Mario takes flight from the world and is set out to conquer the universe. Designed to recreate the experience first envisioned in Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy mixes addictive gameplay with impressive graphics and accessibility. The game gives players a lengthy adventure and plenty of optional content for those obsessive among us. As one of the biggest selling and best received games of the year, Super Mario Galaxy seems to be an instant classic – however some hardcore Nintendo fans may be disappointed at the low difficulty level the game presents. Still, the game is perfect for introducing non-gamers to traditional gaming and shows that Nintendo’s innovative little system is good for more than just mini-games.

Runners up:
Metroid Prime 3, Resident Evil 4
Best Title No One Played:
Kororinpa

Best PS3 Title:
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

SCE

The Jak and Daxter series was arguably the best action series to appear on the PS2. After four sequels, developer Naughty Dog have finally decided to lay the series to rest (temporarily at least) and see whether or not they can recreate the success with a new title. Uncharted blends the genres of platforming and third-person shooter in a rollicking adventure through a hidden jungle. Players take on the role of an explorer in a hostile land and meet a varied cast of characters both friend and foe. The game controls fluidly in both platforming and gunplay sections presenting an addictive combination that hopefully will influence other titles in the same genre. While the PlayStation 3 did get off to a bit of shaky start, if high quality titles such as Uncharted are continually produced the console may be able to reaffirm itself as real contender.

Runners up: Virtua Fighter 5, Warhawk
Best Title No One Played: Conan

Best PC Title:
Crysis

Electronic Arts

A few years back I heard the disturbing sound of thousands of gamers’ jaws dropping at the sight of the majestic graphics and large open gamespaces of Farcry. As a result of Farcry’s popularity, developer Crytek had to do something really special to meet the expectations of their newly found fans. With Crysis, expectations are met and exceeded. A huge array of spectacular graphical effects previously thought impossible will have Crysis blasting its way onto your hard drive and destroying any semblance of a life that you once had. Thought it requires a tough machine to get the most of it, gamers will find that the cost of an upgrade is a small sacrifice to be made after they are swarmed by gargantuan alien vehicles in this spectacular sci-fi epic. An adventure that should not be missed, Crysis is the explosive introduction into what Crytek have promised to be an action packed series.

Runners Up: Call of Duty 4, Portal
Best Title No One Played: Supreme Commander


Best DS Title:
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Nintendo

Whenever a Zelda game emerges it is pretty much guaranteed to be the game of the year on whatever system it emerges on. In terms of quality and creative design, the Zelda series is one of the most reliable in the gaming world. The DS installment had a few fans worried as the game boasted a completely new control scheme and an engine that seemed outside the system’s capabilities. Post-release and 1.35 million sold copies later all worries have been put aside. Controlled exclusively with the DS’s touch-screen, Phantom Hourglass is a console-length and quality adventure which reintroduces players into the high seas previously featured in Wind Waker. A stand-alone sequel to the Gamecube installment, Phantom Hourglass is a fun-filled romp that is sure to please DS owners both young and old with its charming characters, light hearted story and superb gameplay.

Runners up: Elite Beat Agents, Phoenix Wright
Best Title No One Played: Luminous Arc


Best PSP Title:
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions
Square Enix

For Sony’s PSP, 2007 was a big year. While a redesign and numerous firmware updates helped sales a little, it can be argued that the biggest thing to happen to the console yet has been the holy trinity of SRPGs that were released this year. Unfortunately for we Aussies two of the titles Jeanne D’arc and Disgaea, which are becoming system sellers overseas, have yet to reach our shores. We needn’t worry our little gamer heads though as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, a re-imaging of 1998’s best selling title of the same name, was released earlier this year and stands as one of the most addictive and interesting tales that can be accessed on a console. With potentially over 200 hours of gameplay, a slew of unlockables and a new, more coherent, translation, the PSP installment stands as the best version of the game available. (SRPG fans will be happy to know that Disgaea portable will be available here just days before Christmas however there is no word on whether Jeanne D’arc will be reaching this side of the equator.)

Runners up: Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, Monster Hunter Freedom 2
Best Title No One Played: Gurumin


Best PS2 Title:
Okami

Capcom

Okami is one of those rare events in entertainment where it is obvious that everyone involved in the development has poured their heart and soul into its creation, giving it a pulse of its own. Developed by the now defunct Clover Studios, Okami follows the pawprints of a God reborn as wolf and her quest to regain followers and fight the darkness. Okami is known for its amazing art direction and seamless incorporation of the art of calligraphy into an old school gameplay style – however these are just the highlights of the intricate tapestry that Okami creates. Brilliant storytelling, wit and a painstakingly created breathing world make Okami one of the greatest gaming events in the past decade. Okami is a must for anyone who has ever held a control pad and for those who have forgotten that sense of wonder they had as a child.

Runners up: God of War II, Guitar Hero III
Best Title No One Played: God Hand



Tags