10. The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass
Nintendo / DS
What we said: "Even among Nintendo's best, Zelda games have a unique ability to capture the imagination in ways that you'll lie in bed and think about, echoing themselves without becoming repetitive, and while this one might be over sooner than you expect, you won't forget it in a hurry, and you won't be left wishing that it lasted longer, but rather that more games were as well attuned to their host console's abilities, and so completely magical. Simply one of the DS' best."
togelius: "Killing critters by touching them with my stylus. The feeling of a huge world of endless possibilities within the DS in my hand. The pimp-my-ship guy at the shipyard. Link's puppy eyes. Everything, really."
FaceOmeter: "It's a paradox of the Zelda series that being relentlessly innovative is one of its stale, generic tropes. I understand the cynics, and this is a game that only puts out if you put in. But if you make the investment, I can't see anyone coming out of the fantastic ending without grinning like an idiot. Also to be considered: best boss fights in any adventure game for YEARS, first Zelda game ever where auto-jump doesn't routinely piss you off (lol at lifetime PC user), 100% completion almost possible by normal humans."
9. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Sony, Naughty Dog / PS3
What we said: "By focusing on keeping things fun at all times, it might not be considered the most expansive or ambitious game out there. It doesn't have a free-form openworld, but this is proof - if it were needed - that making a linear action game is nothing to be sneered at. By starting with a great control and camera system, building on that with excellent combat and a wonderful spin on Ico's platform adventuring, and then topping it off with a decent storyline, Naughty Dog has cooked up one of the most relentlessly entertaining, fat-free games to emerge in ages. Topped off with the most stunning use of the PS3's underused technical prowess yet, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is, for my money, the first must-have PlayStation 3 title."
dudester: "Fantastic story and adventure finally seeing something break away from the plain shooters which been released this year. Best new characters in a new IP and potentially massive series."
manuel_garcia: "In spite of all its flaws (dodgy combat, not enough adventuring, crap vehicle sections), it turned into something far superior to its individual parts. There's nothing quite like a new IP and a new world to get lost in, and Uncharted provided those with a genuine spirit and affection for the audience. If they hammer out all the flaws, this will be one sequel that I absolutely cannot wait for."
caligari: "It has pirates in it. So did the Goonies. That clearly makes this the game of 2007!"
Microsoft, Realtime Worlds / Xbox 360
What we said: "Being so excellent that you obliterate the single-player in a weekend is not enough to stop it being my favourite Xbox 360 game of recent times. You should definitely buy it, because, on this evidence, waiting for Grand Theft Auto IV would be rather daft. This is what it should do anyway."
banjoted: "So many games have tried to snatch the GTA formula and run with it, and more or less all of them have failed. Crackdown, on the other hand, took the GTA template and dropkicked it over a skyscraper into the sea. Realtime Worlds' game is a delightfully energetic take on the sandbox genre, and one that I went in to with no expectations yet found extremely hard to put down. And the excellent online co-op made was the incredibly tasty icing on an already delicious cake."
HSH25: "Agility Orbs."
Etch: "The best co-op game I've ever played. Massive free roaming environment. Compelling achievement targets. Awesome sound effects, physics, weapons... Everything. That's it - I'm playing that when I get home tonight!"
7. The Orange Box
What we said: "The Orange Box offers everything any fan of first-person shooters could possibly want: some of the best single-player gaming ever in the shape of Half-Life 2 and Episodes One and Two; wonderful innovation from Portal, and the most refined, downright fun team-based online FPS currently available in Team Fortress 2. If that doesn't warrant a 10 out of 10, nothing does. Buy it and enjoy one of the must-have releases of this - or any other - year."
6mullet: "Portal is enough in itself to earn number one, the fact that Team Fortress 2 and Episode Two are included is icing on the cake."
SenorGrande: "Five great games for the price of one. Half Life 2 still stands up today as one of the best games in the genre. Episode One and Two, while not perfect, maintain the brilliance that Half Life 2 originally laid out for us. For online multiplayer you get Team Fortress 2. Frantic, class based gameplay at it's finest with enough classes and play styles to satisfy anyone and everyone. Also not to be overlooked it the game's unique visual style that only serves to further enhance its excellence. And finally, the icing on the cake (feel free to use that one). Portal is a worthy GOTY winner on it's own merits. The fact that it's included in an already spectacular collection just a bonus. It's one of the most ingenious puzzle games in years. It's also one of the most charming games of any type I've ever played. If you come away from Portal not in love with GLaDOS then there's no help for you. Turn in your weighted companion cube and hurl yourself into the nearest Aperture Science Disposal Unit."
6. Halo 3
Microsoft, Bungie / Xbox 360
What we said: "Hype machine aside, cutting through the crap about console wars and the like, what we find in Halo 3 is quite simply this - the best game yet in one of the best FPS franchises of the era. Better than either of its predecessors, Halo 3 still can't quite escape the category of flawed masterpiece - but this time around, the flaws are so minor that even the most churlish of reviewers would be hard pressed to mark the game down."
Spiral: "There are things that happen during in Halo 3 during the regular game that trump just about every other game's set-pieces. They're different for everyone, and these war stories are part of what makes Halo so great and are probably what inspired Theatre mode. And the set-pieces themselves are the stuff of legend. I had to stop playing for a while after the Two Scarabs battle because I was on so much of a high. The game did such a good job bringing me into its world it actually felt like I'd brought them down myself. Nothing else like it."
Negotiator: "Every facet of it is polished to almost perfection, from the wonderful score to the online matchmaking and of course Forge. No other game has so much to it that is polished to such a high level, and it's just so much fun."
FinalPenguin: "Fanboy-ish though voting for the obvious Halo 3 maybe, I genuinely found this to be a fantastic game. The campaign was engaging and entertaining, especially on co-op, and well worth several play-throughs. As well as this, the multiplayer is exciting, tidy and offers thrill after thrill, despites the many times you are almost guaranteed you will play it the moment you pop the disk in the 360."
5. Mass Effect
Microsoft, Bioware / Xbox 360
What we said: "Forced to stumble towards a conclusion, I'd say that despite the niggles, Mass Effect is most definitely a great game with an awful lot going for it - but one that doesn't quite deserve unquestioning praise. For what it achieves in delivering a compelling narrative and wonderful atmosphere, BioWare deserves a huge amount of credit, as there are few games that come anywhere near it in this regard."
Ceatlan: "I just loved the story, it kept me playing even though parts of the gameplay felt unfinished."
arjan: "It was the only game in 2007 that made me play the game again as soon as I completed it. The setting is awesome, the voice acting is awesome, game is awesome! Sure there's a few things which could be better (texture pop-in, loading times, uncharted worlds) but it was the most enjoyable game this year for me."
Gallilee: "A well done, open-ended RPG with fully functioning action aspects that doesn't rely on the invisible toss of virtual dice. Your actions actually reflected the gameplay and outcome of the game. It doesn't hurt that it was fully voice acted and had beautiful graphics."
What we said: "The portal gun is the most exciting thing to happen to FPS games since the gravity gun, and it's no surprise to discover that Valve is agonising over whether to give it to Gordon Freeman. Its function is simple: bridging gaps. But, in doing so, it alters the way in which you approach an FPS environment so radically that it's hard to think past it. Give it to Gordon, and Half-Life will never be the same. Better to keep it in the family, but away from the action. That's what Portal does, and the results are interesting."
plok: "Refreshing idea and fun to play. It's been too long since I've said that about a game."
Universal Hamster: "To me, Portal is a giant step forward for gaming. It's short length allowed the developers to fine-tune the game to an insane degree. Its script is razor-sharp black comedy, the acting nothing short of perfect of course, but another source of mirth for me came simply from the concept. There were no end of times that the game made me laugh from sheer head-bending delight as I grappled with the game's mechanics. The levels are subtly designed to allow you through the game without getting irreversibly stuck, but will still have you scratching your head. (Just check the in-game commentary for examples of how.) Of course, the cherry on top is the finale, (Now talked to death, but hey...) which has you calling people into the room, just to say, 'Hey this is how far we have come in videogames.'"
3. Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo / Wii
What we said: "Where Galaxy matches Mario 64 is not quite in its quality of execution - alongside the brilliance of some stars are others which fall a bit flat, and there isn't the overall sense of implacable perfection that that game had - but in its confidence and originality. Another decade needs to go by before we'll know whether it will come to be as revered as 64 did. For now, all that matters is that the waiting is finally over."
JuanKerr: "Incredible level design, imaginative, stunning music, beautiful to look at and a joy to play from start to finish."
JetSetWilly: "It is unashamedly a simple game focused on getting the core gameplay mechanic absolutely spot on."
JonFE: "It's a game both me and my 8-year-old son can equally enjoy, by either playing or just watching and helping each other. I love the way it messes with gravity, the fact that it can be as easy-going or as challenging as you want it to be, the way it constantly surprises with its creative enemy / level design and gameplay elements. In my humble opinion, it succeeds to rewrite the rulebook of platform games (previously held by the mighty Super Mario 64)."
MrMarc: "It's that reminder of why I love videogames so much in the first place, what it was that hooked me into videogames since my very first gaming memory on the NES when I was 4 years old, and above all: the reminder that Nintendo are without doubt the greatest games developer there is. Pure genius and to risk sounding corny, it's a purely magical game to play and amazingly consistent as well. The wonderful and sometimes overwhelming sense of joy from playing the game in it's early levels does not disappear as you play on and only increases more so. Possibly the best game of this generation, and we've a long way to go yet!"
login_name: "It's the first game of this generation to make me feel like I did when I first started playing games. It's pure gaming fun, like it used to be. The industry has become too western and as a result has lost some of that magical spark. I love a good action game as much as the next man but when that's all that's available it gets dull very quickly. Mario Galaxy is a bright, colourful beacon of hope for all gamers of all ages. It proves that games do not have to be all about shooting, crashing and hookers to be enjoyable. From the incredible level design to the moving sound track, it's an absolute masterpiece. If any game can show games as an art form in their own right, Super Mario Galaxy is it and as a game designer, it's the first game this year that truly humbles me. Funny thing about this, I was always a Sonic man."
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
aldo_14: "The most outrageously cinematic single-player in, ooh, yonks, a set of SAS characters who don't sound like they have personal butlers in vast stately homes, and a multiplayer whose clever XP and perks system results in more crumb nibbling addiction than chocolate hobnobs crossed with wagon wheels."
fifthcolumn: "More fun than a box of squirrels. Fabulous single-player campaign backed up by the best online multiplayer ever. I've never felt as close to an NPC in a game as I did with Captain Price - but in a manly, SAS type of way you understand."
Apostle: "Magnificent single player experience, great characters and voice acting. As if being in a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. Multiplayer has had me hooked, too. A deep rewards system and great online gameplay make it a winner."
DDevil: "By far the best multiplayer experience on XBL. The single player is fine, and has some great standout moments, but the sheer depth of multiplayer has kept me playing. From the rank system to the well-balanced maps, for me it's the standard all future games will now have to reach."
What we said (at the beginning, anyway - we never bloody well shut up about it): "It takes the tired, worn-out FPS genre by the scruff of the neck, reinvents and bend it out of shape in such a breathtaking fashion that it's going to take something very special to top this in the months and years ahead. For a game to be so outstanding in one department is one thing - to manage to tick every single box from graphics to audio to gameplay depth to atmosphere and innovation is pretty much unprecedented. Seriously - if you don't find something to love about BioShock, we'd recommend a trip to the nearest doctor to check if your heart's still beating."
dickrickulous: "Possibly the best setting for any story, regardless of medium, told in the last decade or so. The plot is pretty clever too, until it tails off near the end."
gogobaka: "It made all the stupid people upset about how stupid they are."
Daymare: "It's not easy to be a smart, unique and beautiful [oh I dunno - Ed] first-person shooter [aha! - Ed] with a heart these days. BioShock pulls it off, makes a living, stays memorable in company of keen last year's competition and gets its very own 'defence' article. It's not perfect but it's definitely Game Of The Year 2007."
nickthegun: "It dared to do something different. Which was, apparently, dumb itself down for a console audience, have the final third be a fetch quest nightmare and still be the most compelling, inventive and entertaining game of last year. I also liked the soundtrack."
BeheretiK: "I initially did not like this game and still do not like some things (like the way Vita-Chambers are implemented) but then, after trying it again in the last two weeks, realized what I fool I was - this game is brilliant. With the following caveat: It is brilliant when played properly! Now that I understand how to play and how to optimally use all your abilities and weapons, I have no problem playing on hard while having no problems with having enough items/cash/ammo. Add to that the incredible atmosphere and great characters it is a game that in my opinion will become a cult game. This one warrants many replays to properly get its magic..."
Jim Bob: "Ken Levine's magnum opus might just be the best game ever made."
HyperShadow: "From start to finish it was an absolute joy to behold, and who could forget that moment with Andrew Ryan? Such a well-written plot twist to make you play through it again because as Lloyd Grossman said, the clues are there. Brilliant."
imamazed: "A watery world of wonderful happenings. Filled with amazing characters, the best twist you've ever seen in a videogame, and atmosphere that could crush a puppy this game if a pure joy, start to finish. It's an intelligent game; one that makes you truly concentrate to get the most out of the story, with multiple playings strongly advised. The gameplay has been criticised by some, with claims of repetitiveness, but it's really very good and there is indeed enough variation in the combat to justify its heavy use. Besides, when the story is so truly engrossing, you don't really mind what comes between!"
Move42: "Yes, the gameplay has its problems. Yes, it dumbs down a lot of its predecessors more fascinating aspects. Yes, the final part sucks. A lot. But it offered a glimpse into what games could do if designers would just start to use the special possibilities of the medium: Games can make us fear and think at the same time, break our hearts and twist our minds, tell a story like no one else, all this while still including the chance to freeze a screaming drugzombie in midair and then hit him over the head with a wrench. No movie, no song and no book can do that, ever."