Greetings Friends! We have, after 17 weeks, reached the 2007 GameRankings.com’s best games of the year list. As we have done recently, the lower scoring version of a game that is featured twice or more on the list is removed to allow for other titles to enter. This time, PS3 versions of BioShock and COD4 were removed.
In an interesting trend, for the times, the PlayStation 3 didn’t have any exclusive titles within the top ten while the Xbox 360 had Halo 3 and the Wii had Super Mario Galaxy. On the other hand, The PlayStation 2 continued to punch above its weight with God of War II.
10. Rock Band (X360) – 91.97
Given Guitar Hero’s success, it wouldn’t be long before another musical game would arrive on the scene. Rock Band was that game. Unlike Guitar Hero, Rock Band accommodated for four players to play different instruments such as a guitar, bass guitar, drums, and even sing through a USB microphone.
The game came pack with 58 core songs, but 2000 downloadable tracks were eventually made available for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360.
Critics would praise the game as the ultimate co-op experience, and as one of the best party games available anywhere.
9. Guitar Hero II (X360) – 92.30
Guitar Hero II did well on the Xbox 360. The game is largely the same as it was on the PlayStation 2. However, despite the great scores on Xbox 360, critics complained that the downloadable songs on the systems were too pricey. Microsoft claimed that the pricing justified the licensing costs.
There were also concerns that the game focused too much on Hard Rock and Metal which critics fear would alienate some casual players.
8. Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar (PC) – 92.61
2007…and the PC platform continued its dominance on the Turn Based-Strategy front. Dark Avatar is an expansion pack of Dread Lords.
Critics would praise the game’s customization options and improved artificial intelligence, justifying the game’s average high scoring on the GameRankings.
Dark Avatar also sported a visual upgrade over Dark Avatar which made it a worthy expansion for fans of the original game.
7. God of War II (PS2) – 92.68
The PlayStation 2 sold over 150 million units during its lifetime. These sales meant that Sony continued to support the platform for a few years beyond the release of its PS3. God of War II is one of the last great games for the PS2.
God of War II continued Kratos’ journey after becoming the God of War (by killing Ares). Despite being a violent third person action game, God of War was a very entertaining tale fueled by real time cinematic moments.
God of War II was bigger than the first game with improved puzzles and more bosses to fight. By most accounts, God of War II was a marked improvement over the first title which was already one of the greatest PS2 games ever made.
To some critics, God of War II remains the best PlayStation 2 game of all time, thanks to its perfect blend of action and storytelling. God of War II (much like the first title) pushed the PS2 hardware to its very limits, as it sported some of the best visuals around even when stacked against games on newer hardware.
6. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PS3) – 92.98
In Oblivion, the PlayStation 3 got a version of one of the best Xbox 360 games available. The PlayStation 3 version offered little changes despite being newer. Improved texture work at a distance and some lighting changes made the PlayStation 3 version a slightly better-looking piece of software than its Xbox 360 counterpart.
Critics would receive the PS3 version with glowing reviews, even if the game did not have the “jaw-dropping” factor that it had when it first launched on the Xbox 360. It was (the PS3 version of Oblivion), at least at launch, considered to be a best way to play the game thanks to minor upgrades in visuals over the Xbox 360 version.
5. Halo 3 (X360) – 93.53
I will always remember Halo 3 for a variety of reasons. First, because I used to work at a Rite Aid Pharmacy, and during my morning shifts I would stock the refrigerators with all sorts of drinks. I will always remember the first time I saw a Mountain Dew can with Master Chief on it. It was the moment that I realized that Video Games had truly become mainstream.
Halo was that big. I was a huge fan of the franchise since the beginning of the series on the original Xbox. Thus, Halo 3 alone justified an Xbox 360 purchase for me.
Halo 3’s campaign picked up right where Halo 2 left and was a satisfying conclusion to Master Chief’s first trilogy. The game took advantage of the Xbox 360’s hardware, and the PlayStation 3 wouldn’t have a comparable first-person exclusive shooter throughout its lifespan.
Halo 3 would meet and surpass its incredible commercial hype, setting a record for highest gross of a video game within 24 hours of its release in 2007 ($170 million). Ultimately, Halo 3 sold about 14.5 million units worldwide.
Critics loved Halo 3. The game’s addition of new vehicles, weapons, and gameplay elements not seen in previous entries were well received. Many critics felt that the game not only met expectations (in terms of quality), but that it surpassed many of the high standards set by previous games. In general, most critics felt that the game had improved upon what already was a great formula in terms of multiplayer.
Halo 3 was a defining moment for the Xbox 360 and a huge reason why Microsoft would take an early lead over Sony during that console generation.
4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360) – 94.16
I was blown away by Modern Warfare’s realistic visuals the first time I saw it on a TV screen. While the 360 version of the game is the one ranked here, one could say that COD was the most powerful reason for many First-Person Shooting fan to stick with Sony’s PS3 despite the lack of Halo.
The game had a decent “modern” warfare storyline, as opposed to the WW2 setting that had been popular on previous Call of Duty games. Call of Duty 4 would be the top seller for 2007 (7 million copies). Along with Halo 3, the game seemed to usher in a golden era for the first-person shooting genre.
Critics loved the game’s visual presentation and multiplayer modes. Some critics claimed that Call of Duty 4 did not revolutionize the first-person shooting genre, it perfected it.
3. Bioshock (Xbox 360) – 95.07
Halo 3 and Call of Duty might have been great and popular games in 2007, but the game that critics loved the most, to the point of calling it a “masterpiece”, was 2K’s BioShock. Unlike the former two games, Bioshock was a strictly single-player focused experience.
Critics praised the game for its take on mature, thought-provoking themes and its unrivaled atmospheric presence. While Bioshock is considered a first-person shooter, the game has RPG mechanics and resembled System Shock 2 in its gameplay elements.
Bioshock would go on to win 2007’s BAFTA’s “Best Game” award and numerous other game of the year honors. Many of the individual awards won by BioShock were won due to the game’s fantastic writing.
BioShock consistently ranks amongst “the top 100 games” ever made lists and is generally considered as a defining moment for the industry during the Xbox 360/PS3 era.
2. The Orange Box (Xbox 360) – 96.36
What did I say a few paragraphs above? A “golden first-person” shooting era? The Orange Box is Half-Life 2’s Xbox 360 version complete with its two expansions. The Science Fiction first-person shooter had aged well at that point, remaining a must-play on the system.
However, the Orange Box included two other games that took this package to a different level of greatness in terms of critical reception. Portal and Team Fortress (which oddly reminds me now of an early take on the Fortnite cartoony multiplayer action fest) stole the show.
Portal specifically was considered the pleasant surprise of this collection. Portal’s inclusion on the bundle made critics praise The Orange Box as one of, if not, the greatest gaming bundle in history. Portal was a huge part of this as many considering its puzzle elements to be the most revolutionary thing that had happened to genre since Tetris.
There was also a PlayStation 3 version of the game which was plagued by frame-rate and technical problems, and thus, only the Xbox 360 version entered the 90s GameRankings’ scoring bracket.
1. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – 97.64
The Wii was grossly underpowered (an overclocked GameCube is a fitting description of the hardware), but Nintendo EAD’s wizards were unfazed by their hardware handicap. For a second year in a row, the Wii had the highest scoring game in terms of critical reception.
Super Mario Galaxy was worthy of all the accolades that it received. It was the best 3-D Mario game since Mario 64 (far surpassing Mario Sunshine in quality), making use of the Wii’s unique motion control set up.
While The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time remains king in terms of Metacritic ratings, on GameRankings it is Super Mario Galaxy which holds the “highest rated” distinction. The game’s take on platforming while dealing with the gravity mechanics of its miniature planet sized worlds was refreshing and challenging.
Critics praised Super Mario Galaxy for pushing the Wii’s hardware to its absolute limit and its stunningly polished gameplay. Some reviewers even felt that Galaxy was as close to perfection as game’s could get. Consequently, the game would go on to win most ‘Game of the Year’ awards and went on to establish itself as one of the greatest games ever made.
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