2007: Game of the Year
Another hectic gaming year has gone by, folks. Oh stop your whining, it really wasn't that bad. Fair enough, most top releases made it to the market within the past few months, but, overall, it's been a considerably more eventful year, as opposed to 2006.
We've also discussed what awaits us in 2008 and what lies in store on the ever-expanding MMOG scene, so check out those features to find out more about our expectations for the impending gaming season.
Before we go ahead with our Game of the Year awards, let's take a closer look at what some of you guys thought about some of the titles that hit the market this year.
Our 2007 Game of the Year voting poll registered 10673 participants and Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat emerged triumphant. While 1809 voters selected CoD 4, 1279 regards Halo 3 as the pinnacle of this year's gaming. At the same time, 1192 people think Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed should take the spotlight this year. Next up; "None of the Above" (837 votes), BioShock (716 votes), Crysis (710) and so on. Frankly, we hoped that Valve's Orange Box would do much better than garnering 627 votes, which puts it in 7th place, right behind EA's Crysis. The rest of the results can be viewed in our voting poll section.
Okay then, let's get the show on the road.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Developer: Infinity Ward
Amongst the numerous titles we've experienced this gaming season, a majority of people seem to think Activision's shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare deserves to be named Game of the Year. Well, all we can say is, you guys made a fine choice and as you might recall, the game received the AT Editor's Choice Award. An intense, cinematic, first-person shooter, worthy of anybody's time. You're going to want to play all through the entire game. Additional praise goes to the multiplayer and the perks system. Congrats to the talented crew at Infinity Ward.
Runners-up: Halo 3 (Bungie, Microsoft), Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal), BioShock (Irrational Games, 2K), Crysis (Crytek, EA), Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (Valve, EA)
Portal (and all that other stuff in the package)
Developer: Valve Software
If we had a "Bargain of the Year" category, the Orange Box would definitely be a winner. However, we decided to let Portal take all the glory for this one, because that's exactly the kind of effort we generally expect from game designers.
Portal shows what developers can do if they really put their minds and creativity into it. Portal represents a fusion of innovation, an old school approach to crafting solid gameplay and a wry and witty, borderline philosophical dialogue that blew us all away.
Oh and did I mention you get Team Fortress 2 (one of the best multiplayer shooters we've seen in a while) and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 in the same package? Well done, Valve.
Runners-up: Mass Effect (BioWare, Microsoft), Halo 3 (Bungie, Microsoft), BioShock (Irrational Games, 2K), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward, Activision), The Witcher (CD Projekt, Atari).
We've waited long for this one. As it turns out, Halo 3 has all the qualities of an excellent modern-day first-person shooter - top notch design, superb sound effects and music, gripping storyline and engaging gameplay. It also outshined its predecessor by bringing a far more rewarding single-player and multiplayer experience. Bungie came through, once again, and we're eagerly anticipating the announcement of their next project (be it Halo-related or otherwise).
Runners-up: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward, Activision), Half-Life 2: The Orange Box (Valve, EA), God of War II (SCEA), BioShock (Irrational Games, 2K), Crysis (Crytek, EA)
World in Conflict
Developer: Massive Entertainment
This year has brought a few solid strategy games our way. World in Conflict was chosen to represent the genre in 2007, not only because it effectively draws on classic RTS elements and wraps them up in a compelling, epic atmosphere, but also because it is one of the most visually impressive strategy games we've ever seen. With an intuitive control scheme (a mix of RTS and standard FPS controls), the game quite simply has everything to appeal to both strategy fans and average gamers alike. Massive Entertainment did a splendid job. Here's hoping for a sequel.
Runners-up: Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games, THQ), C&C3: Tiberium Wars (EA LA, EA)
With the decline of single-player role-playing games (and MMOGs taking center stage) the choice was narrowed down this year. At any rate, Mass Effect, BioWare's 360-exclusive, is, by all accounts, the victor, snatching the AT GoTY trophy from CD Projekt's The Witcher. Admittedly, some aspects of Mass Effect seemed a bit generic (such as side-quests and a few locales). This doesn't overshadow the game's addictive combat system, good plot and well-implemented moral choices that are brought before the player. In addition, Mass Effect conveys some of the most realistic character expressions ever seen in a video game. Thanks to the efforts of BioWare's animation team, each character in the game depicts true-to-life facial expressions, enriching the experience for gamers and giving the story emotional depth. Keep up the good work, BioWare (and spill the beans on KOTOR 3, while you're at it).
Runners-up: The Witcher (CD Projekt, Atari), NWN 2: Mask of the Betrayer (Obsidian Entertainment, Atari)
Developer: EA Sports
It doesn't take a lot of pondering when sports games are concerned, especially after we've seen this year's edition of FIFA. We first caught sight of FIFA 08 during the Games Convention in Leipzig , which was presented on both Wii and PS3 consoles. It looked more than promising. When the game hit shelves, we were disappointed with the PC version. The X360 and PS3 editions are a completely different story. In fact, both versions were the reason we chose this as the top sports game in 2007. For all you soccer sim fans out there, this is the first time we can easily recommend FIFA over Komani's latest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer. EA made several good movies, with cool dribbling mechanics, enhanced physics and more. They also introduced the "Be A Pro" facet, which gives a whole new feel to FIFA games (both offline and online).
Runners-up: SSX Blur (EA, EA Sports), NHL 08 (EA, EA Sports), Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (Konami)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard released its expansion pack for World of Warcraft in early 2007. Normally, we don't give GoTY awards to add-ons, but we are prepared to make an exception this year. Hey, it's World of Warcraft! By releasing Burning Crusade, Blizzard extended the life of its powerful WoW franchise and won our hearts over with more content, fun instances, flying mounts and, of course, its admirable trademark artwork. That said, and with "Wrath of the Lich King" looming, WoW's popularity shows no signs of waning.
Runners-up: Tabula Rasa (NC Soft), The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (Midway Games, Turbine Games)
Developer: Harmonix Music
Sure it's expensive ($170), but it's fun. Ever since our first encounter with Rock Band, it became clear EA was fired up to take on Activision's Guitar Hero series. While not succeeding in that financially, Harmonix/EA did nonetheless create a kick-ass game. Taking the GH mechanics to the next level, this multi-instrument video game features a superb soundtrack and allows gamers to form the virtual band of their dreams. If you're a geek with a severely suppressed urge to be a rock star, Rock Band can awaken your musical aspirations better than any other game on the market. Just as long as you actually have friends.
Runners-up: Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Neversoft, Activision)
Publisher: Hans Krupa (Dad)
Developer: Irina Krupa (Mom)
And now for the fun part. There's something that makes our ever-day work easier and our lives richer. Choosing the Babe of the Year was a delightful and VERY satisfying experience. Of course, don't think we made the choice without your help. These five lovelies were selected based on the votes you guys cast and, by the look of it, the sizzling hot Joanna Krupa is this year's winner. Sadly, she was unavailable for comments. (Even though Vader camped her house. - Ed)
Okay, I think that about wraps it up.
Just remember, whether it's news, previews, reviews, comics or just random stuff, we'll be back in 2008 with continued coverage on the hottest game-related topics.
As always, we thank you for sticking with us.
Happy Holidays everyone!
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