Shea’s Top 10 Games from 2007

I’ve never gone back and put together a list of my favorite games from 2000-2009. Until now. Here are my retrospective favorite games from 2007.

Great Games I Didn’t Play
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
The Witcher

Honorable Mentions
Motorstorm
Pokemon: Diamond/Pearl
Team Fortress 2

10. Assassin’s Creed
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The first Assassin’s Creed game was overflowing with great ideas, but unfortunately, not all of them were fully realized at the time. The concept was exceptionally strong, and opened for the door for numerous sequels in different exciting time periods. The “future” story was kind of nonsense, but things were thankfully simpler for Altair and his conquest during the Third Crusade. The climbing and movement mechanics were revolutionary at the time, but still had their fair share of jank. By and large, the sequels have done a better job of cleaning things up and improving the game systems, but the first Assassin’s Creed is still special.

9. Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock
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I play drums and guitar in real life, and I was definitely skeptical of Guitar Hero and Rock Band when the games first launched. I couldn’t imagine how they could translate such complicated instruments down into plastic toys that anyone can play. Turns out, they couldn’t. But that didn’t make the games not fun to play. I probably enjoyed the Rock Band series more overall, but I definitely think Guitar Hero 3 was the best Guitar Hero game. The song list included some of my favorite bands like Muse, The Who, and Weezer, and the instruments felt great to play (for what they were). I still think there should have been an even harder difficulty for people that play the real-life instruments, because I rarely found the drum tracks to be challenging.

8. God of War 2
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The God of War trilogy was one of the best in recent Playstation memory, and God of War 2 improved upon the original in basically every way. The graphics were still surprisingly beautiful considering the subject material, the melee combat was varied and over the top in a brutal sort of way, and the story was really fun (if absurd). Kratos wasn’t exactly the most interesting or three-dimensional character in gaming, but his journey of revenge against the gods that betrayed him was an exciting one. The boss battles were all unique, as well, and really highlighted the scale of the game. God of War 2 was one of the last big PS2 games, and really helped that console go out with a bang.

7. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
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I recently played the first Uncharted game again in the PS4 collection, and it unfortunately doesn’t hold up incredibly well. The game is far from bad, but some of the mechanics have been dramatically improved in more recent Naughty Dog games to the point where the original just feels a little stiff. Still, this was one of my favorite PS3 games, and it deserves a spot on this list. Nathan Drake is just such a great modern Indiana Jones, and the supporting cast of Sully and Elena were well performed, too. The shooting wasn’t exactly precise, but the cover mechanics and up close and personal melee helped make up for that. The game also supported the motion controls of the early PS3 era, and that stuff is a little rough. But, as a launching pad for the Uncharted series, Drake’s Fortune did its job well.

6. Mass Effect
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I personally think that nostalgia clouds the memories of most people when they talk about their love for the original Mass Effect. I love the game — I really do — I just think that its problems are many and that the second game is unequivocally better than the first. Saren was a great enemy to fight in the original Mass Effect, and the scale felt notably “smaller” than its sequels, which is a good thing in some ways. I loved how there was this huge universe to explore, but most of the history and greater machinations were only ever hinted at. I did find the combat to feel a little slow for a third-person shooter, and the weapon/armor customization menus were archaic at best, but the story and characters were the real draw.

5. Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction
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I’ve said many times that the Ratchet and Clank series is one of my personal favorites, and Tools of Destruction is one of the better games. It also had the advantage of being an early PS3 game, which brought more people to it. It really pushed Ratchet and Clank onto the new console in spectacular fashion, with gorgeous art direction and great effects. Being able to strafe and lock on made shooting feel much more modern, and the weapon variety was fantastic, as always. Emperor Tachyon wasn’t as great a villain as Dr. Nefarious, but he was still fun. Quark returned in a great way, and the game ended with a surprisingly affecting, heartfelt twist that led directly into the following game. I’m still holding out hope that they’ll eventually add trophies to Tools of Destruction; I’d love another platinum.

4. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
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Call of Duty has had its ups and downs over the past several years, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Modern Warfare is the best game in the series. The story mode was absolutely top notch, and told a near future story that was surprisingly gripping for a Call of Duty game. It was still overrun with explosions and betrayals, but it was damn fun. At the height of Infinity Ward’s development on the series, the shooting mechanics of their games could not be beat, and they also designed some of the best multiplayer maps ever. These were simpler multiplayer days, where there were fewer perk options and only three killstreaks to achieve. Some would say these were better days for Call of Duty, and I’d agree.

3. Portal
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I count Portal 2 among my favorite games ever made, but the first game was also pretty damn amazing. I unfortunately played the second game before the first, so my mind wasn’t completely blown by that first experience in Portal where you could go outside of the test chambers to learn about cake. I totally get why people flipped out about that, though. At first, the game just seems like a straight forward puzzle game with a unique sense of humor, but then things snowball and give you a completely new perspective on what’s happening. There’s still almost no story, as most of it is left for the player to assume on their own, but I liked that. The puzzle elements were absolutely brilliant, as well.

2. Super Mario Galaxy
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Wow, I’m now realizing how strong 2007 was for video games. It was still early on in the PS3/360/Wii life cycle, so developers were still figuring things out, but we still got some amazing sequels and new IP. Super Mario Galaxy definitely falls into both categories, in a sense. The second game added Yoshi, but I still prefer the first for its relative simplicity, and for the fact that I was patient enough (and stubborn enough) to earn all 242 stars — completing everything as both Mario and Luigi, including all of the secret and purple star levels. It was a grind, but one I’m glad I finished. Every Nintendo console has taken Mario into new places the previous couldn’t handle, and the gravity mechanics of Super Mario Galaxy were truly unique and revolutionary.

1. Bioshock
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Shocker, my favorite game of all time is my favorite game from 2007. But seriously, Bioshock is so damn good, you guys. No game has established a sense of place the way that Bioshock established Rapture, and I personally liked the audio diaries. I understand people’s frustration with them as a story-telling crutch, but I much preferred being able to listen as I explored at my own pace, rather than being locked into a text box or cutscene. The underwater setting and characters were suitably mysterious and creepy, and to me the shooting felt great. It wasn’t as tight as something like Call of Duty, but that felt appropriate. Bioshock 2 added the great ability to dual wield powers and weapons, but I still liked the tactical challenge of switching back and forth depending on the situation. It still amazes me how much there is to discover in Rapture, and I enjoy it every single time. If there was one game that I could forget playing in order to experience it again for the first time, it would be Bioshock.

And there you have it, my top 10 games from 2007! Be sure to leave your favorite in the comments, and check out my other video game rankings!

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