games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 2007 – Super Mario Galaxy, BioShock, More

December 19, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! We roll along with these series of columns with the year 2007. Next week I’m doing 2008, but I’ll be doing a small break in the next few weeks to do a bit of 2017 roundup, so I’m letting you all know that. Let’s begin:

#8: The Darkness

While The Darkness couldn’t be as great as the Starbreeze Studios earlier game, Chronicles of Riddick, it’s still an interesting game on its own. The Darkness has a really distinctive look to it, environments have a sheen to them that gives the world a somewhat heightened look. The actual gameplay is where some of the game falters, it is honestly great using your Darkness tendrils to kill guys and eat hearts, but the World War 1 sequences severely bog the game down. The later Darkness 2 game is, on the whole, a much better playing game, but it was missing some of the soul that this first game had.

#7: Super Mario Galaxy

Honestly, this game would be much higher if I had played more of it. My total time in the game though is around 2 hours, so I can’t offer that much of an opinion on it. I think the thing that bugs me about the game is the motion controls, they just feel kind of incredibly tacked on to a platformer that didn’t need them. Aside from that though, I know the game has a ton of potential, and is the eye of a lot of Mario fans out there. I do also appreciate the creativity in the game, at least when it comes to how the levels are constructed.

#6: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

I think to me, Puzzle Quest might have been the first game I played that paired simple gameplay (Bejeweled) and more “serious” game mechanics, like an RPG-like system. The nuts and bolts of the game is playing Bejeweled against CPU enemies, where you can match jewels (or skulls) to deal damage, get gold, or fill up your mana reserves. You can then activate abilities to deal damage, heal yourself, or turn the tide of battle in your favor. By today’s standards, Puzzle Quest RPG systems are a bit simple, but the game is still massively addicting, due to having on-the-surface simple gameplay, but you always come back for more.

#5: The Orange Box

This right here is a huge cheat, since it allows me to talk about two great games: Portal and Team Fortress 2. Portal is still a great puzzle and inventive puzzle game, with razor sharp humor and a bad guy you can’t help but love. Arguably the greatest “in” joke about Portal is that the guys who wrote the game, Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, invented the “Crate Review System” (Google it), and then wrote a game where you have to protect and carry around a crate for most of the game. On the flip side is Team Fortress 2, a long-delayed class-based multiplayer shooter, full of personality and charm. For you people playing Overwatch nowadays, this is where that game came from…so, be thankful for it.

#4: Rock Band

What Guitar Hero started, Rock Band finished. It added both drums and singing to the equation, making it a damn good party game. I say “party game” here, because the single-player portions of the first Rock Band game were terrible, and were fixed in the sequel. Still, Rock Band let you and your friends sing, strum, and drum your way through around 55 or 60 songs, with most of them being from the actual artists. The later Rock Band games added support for DLC and more/better instruments, but the first Rock Band game was the flashpoint for the rhythm game craze, in the late 2000’s.

#3: Mass Effect

If you’re talking about scope and ambition, the first Mass Effect game is still the best in the franchise. If you’re talking about actual gameplay, then it’s Mass Effect 2. While ME2 and the later ones are much more singularly focused on telling their stories, the original Mass Effect is a slightly unfocused game but it has a much larger world than the other games. Compare the size of the Citadel in ME 2 or 3, with the Citadel in ME1. The Citadel in later games is fairly large, but everything is easy to get around and do what you want. The Citadel in the first game is a huge structure, which you can get lost in, just because of the sheer size of it. That’s what I really remember about the first Mass Effect game. Well that, some slightly weak combat, and truly abhorrent vehicle sequences.

#2: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

No other game in the PS3/360 generation shaped the course of what was to come like Call of Duty 4. Love it or hate it, the game not only really launched Call of Duty as a console FPS franchise, it essentially started the idea (on consoles) of level-based progression, bonuses for doing well (killstreaks) and the concept of resetting your progress once you hit max level, with prestige levels. These systems not only are still going on in today’s CoD games, they are generally used in other FPS games, if not other game genres as well. Aside from this though, the game had a truly cinematic single player story, which is probably still the best story in a CoD game. It’s believable and serious, in a way that most CoD games aren’t these days.

#1: BioShock

For as important as the first Modern Warfare was, I still think BioShock is a more enjoyable game. That’s nothing to take away from the greatness of MW, but BioShock was the first real stab at a cinematic FPS game, with a completely unique setting and characters. The gameplay is a more streamlined version of the ones in the System Shock games, it ditches a lot of the more esoteric functions, and just has you either using guns or magic (essentially) via each hand. The city of Rapture though is the clear standout in the game, from the steampunk and ruined look, to the 40’s and 50’s music, to just the gloom of it all, not Andrew Ryan or the Big Daddies, Rapture is the real star of this game.

For comments, list your favorite games of 2007 and why.

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Top 8 Games of 2008

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison