Here are my picks for the Best and Worst games of 2007. You can see all the nominees, and vote yourself, here! I advise you to do so for 2 reasons: 1) It gets your word out better then a lot o other ways, and 2) You'll probably get an emblem after it's over.
Without further adieu here are my picks!
Best Original Music: Super Mario Galaxy
The game features a great mix of new tracks with remixed old tracks that pump up your sentimental value.
Other picks?: World in Conflict really surprised me with it's soundtrack and it would get my pick if it was nominated. Sadly, it was not. Overall I'd say that this wasn't a great year for soundtracks.
Most Surprisingly Good Game: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
The constant delays made me wonder if it'll turn out to be good or not in the end. Well it didn't miss out on some bugs and oversimplifications here and there, but still turned out good.
Other picks?: Call of Duty 4 probably. I was scared when they said that they changed the setting from World War 2 to modern times, but the end result surpass my imagination.
Best Licensed Music: Rock Band
Obviously the only real competitors in the category where this and Guitar Hero 3. It can go both ways, but I like the song list on Rock Band more.
Other picks?: The mentioned Guitar Hero 3. Other then that nothing (though I have to say that Need for Speed ProStreet's soundtrack wasn't bad).
Best Story: The Orange Box
The combination of Portal and all 3 instalments of the Half Life 2 series make an interesting world to play in. We still didn't see the end of it (Episode 3, not to mention the inevitable Half-Life 3), but that isn't a bad thing.
Other picks?: Assassin's Creed probably. The credits roll in the most unexpected, most cliffhangerous moment that you can think of. Really, the REAL story in this game is only in doses that would fill a prolog. We want more. We want Assassin's Creed 2.
Best Sound Design: BioShock
The environment and multitude of ways to fight your battles, combined with the Plazmid make up for a great array of sound effects.
Other picks?: Call of Duty 4. Man, just stand near a tank before it fires in one of the missions. Woo...
Best Graphics, Technical: Crysis
The new Cry Engine in incredible. The suit, the plants, the water, the aliens... You got to see it at least once.
Other picks?: Call of Duty 4 comes close second, with smaller system requirements too. Who needs DirectX 10 anyway?
Best Voice Acting: Mass Effect
The amount of dialog this game has, combined with the fact that it's fully voiced can make you wonder how did all this fit on a DVD sometimes. And it's not some rambling about by your next door neighbor. It's good.
Other picks?: Both Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict have great voice actors, but on a smaller scale, and that why they didn't win.
Best Graphics, Artistic: Odin Sphere
Haha! 2D graphics? Today? You have to be kidding me, right? Right? ... ... No, I'm not. This game is a perfect example, that using modern technology for 2D graphics isn't a waste. Bravo for the game makers! You get my vote!
Other picks?: Nope. Looks like Other people don't appreciate Odin Sphere though :(
Best Use of a Creative License: The Darkness
Not a very popular license (I never heard of it), but still a license. And made into a very good shooter with some special elements. Oh, and you can eat hearts! SOLD!
Other picks?: The Simpsons Game isn't bad. I can't think of any other good license games... there are so few of them :(
Best New Character(s): Heavenly Sword
Was a close fight. Every game in there (well... I'm not sure about BioShock) has characters worth mentioning. Nariko is not your normal "damsel in distress". Kai is cute :3 Bosses have character. A good cast overall.
Other picks?: Non-nominated games? Call of Duty 4's Characters are incredible and you really care for them. I don't want to spoil the story, but you really, really get to bond with them. World in Conflict has some rememberable characters as well. From other nominees: Mass Effect has a whole sh**load of characters, Team Fortress 2 have very unique and funny personalities. Portal doesn't have much to offer in terms on quantity, but quality. Call of Duty 4 probably would get my pick overall.
Funniest Game: The Orange Box
Or should I say "Portal". Well, Team Fortress 2 has funny stuff to I guess. I'll just borrow a line from Yahtzee: "Some of the funniest pitch black humor I ever heard in a game". And while you're at it, get on steam or on YouTube and look for the "Meat the ..." videos for Team Fortress 2 :P
Other picks?: The Simpsons Game has The Simpsons humor. Nothing more to say.
Biggest News: December 2: Vivendi merges with Activision in $18.9B deal
When I hear that a company "Merged" I usually expect 1 big company that absorbs a small one, or 2 small companies, or companies with some financial problems merging together. Here we have 2 BIG companies, making BIG money with BIG titles and the result is THE BIGGEST game company in the world. Take that EA! This has come unexpectedly, and that why it got my vote.
Other picks?: Bungie's split from Microsoft was equally unexpected. Microsoft is a big company, and splitting away from it is as hard as battling the laws of gravity. But they did it anyway. Must have been a big spaceship Oo. This didn't get my vote mainly because I'm not a Halo fan, and I don't really care for Bungie until they make something else, but if this was the biggest news for you I understand.
Best Multiplayer Game: Rock Band
Oh, oww... ouch! This was such a hard decision to make... I had 3 favorites: Call of Duty 4, Rock Band and World in Conflict. CoD4 and WiC focus on Online Play, and Rock Band focuses on local "get your friends around" lay (though it has online too). It's the local part, and the fact that you're generally cooperating with each other rather then competing against each other that finally made me pick Rock Band. there's nothing better to play with some friends when they come by. Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict both have superb competitive multiplayer though (WiC relies on cooperating with other teammates, but that rarely turns out good if everyone on the team is someone you don't know).
Other picks?: Like I said above, Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict. One for the FPS fan, one for the RTS fan. You like both? Then go get both!
Best Expansion Pack: Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar
All right! I confess. I have no idea what this game is about! I just voted here, so it won't influence the games that are fighting for supremacy.
Other picks?: You bet! Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer and Guild Wars: Eye of the North are great expansion packs that got skipped for got know what reason. Both are a must have for everyone that has the games. Forget Galactic Something-or-other.
Best Original Game Mechanic: The Eye of Judgment
The most limiting part of playing a card game (not having anyone around to play with) has disappeared (online) while retaining the best part (real cards and actual playing) and it includes animated monsters to boot! Not only that, but the game is actually good. Even the most original and surprising mechanic can't save a card game if the actual card game is bad. This card game is good. The camera is only an addition, and not the main thing the game has to offer.
Other picks?: Portal I guess... though portals are not an "original" game mechanic it did take it to a new level. Still, Eye of Judgment deserves better.
Best Downloadable Console Game: Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection
The best modern fighting game, coming to your home by cable AND it has online play. It is priced higher then other downloadable games though.
Other picks?: Everyday Shooter looks nice, though I didn't have a chance to play it. Puzzle Quest is a good combination of a puzzle game and a RPG that you should get if you have some spare Microsoft Points (note: The game is also on the DS, PSP and PC).
Most Improved Sequel: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
It took everything that Call of Duty 2 had, made it better, compressed it, made it better again, and then made it better some more! One might argue that "Well you where shooting in CoD 2 and you're also shooting in CoD 4, where's the difference?". I honestly don't know what to say to that, because on paper there isn't any, but when you play it... whooo...
Other picks?: Nope.
Best New Gaming Hardware: Rock Band Instrument Set
Actually, this may have been a bad vote, since I remembered that the things often break, but whatever. Making your own band is great! We had Guitar games, we had Drum games, we had Karaoke games, but when we get it together... we have something new!
Other picks?: The GeForce 8800 GT (especially some OCd versions of it) is an incredible graphics card. If you're thinking about upgrading your computer, then this is the card you want it to have. Sure, the GTX is still better, but it just costs too much compared to the GT.
Most Innovative Game: Crush
The first game to blend 2D and 3D... literally. It makes an incredible game mechanic that you have to at least see once.
Other picks?: World in Conflict is a new way to play RTS, but it didn't really strike me as "Innovative". Good, yes. Portal is also a great way to use portals, but it's been done before.
Best Downloadable Content: Rock Band
Though not all songs are master tracks, there's a lot of things to chose from, and more are on the horizon. The price isn't bad (especially since you get 4 instruments, and not 1-2 like in Guitar Hero), and you have a wide selection (single songs, packs and albums). I just want more master tracks and less covers.
Other picks?: Nope. People go for oblivion, but I still remember the Horse Armor -_-
Best Use of Control Scheme: Assassin's Creed
You use the R1 trigger to change between Socially Acceptable (slower, more gentle) and Unacceptable (faster, more aggressive) behaviour. The buttons are responsible for the head, weapon hand, free hand and legs. While this may sound complicated, it's very easy. You learn it in minutes. Head = looking around. Weapon hand = attacks, using weapons or the hidden blade. Free hand = grabbing on to ledges or grabbing enemies, counters. Legs = walking, running, dodging. It's even better and more fluid then the control scheme of Prince of Persia, and I thought that was very good.
Other picks?: Nope.
Best Atmosphere: Assassin's Creed
The mix of old and new, the "2 worlds" as you will, makes are really good atmosphere. Each one on it's own would be good, but when the 2 blend together it's mindblowing.
Other picks?: BioShock might me a good choice for many, but I didn't like the atmosphere there. It's not to say that it's bad... just not my type.
... To be continued in the next blog post (There's a 20,000 character limit) ^^;