My Favorite Games of 2007

by Darius Kazemi on December 14, 2007

in games

I think December 14 is a pretty good time to do a recap of my favorite video games of the year. I’m not going to bother describing the gameplay to you. You can look that up yourself. I’m just going to describe what I love about these games.

Crackdown. The thing I love most about this game is it takes the simple act of moving around this incredibly detailed and expansive city environment and turns it into a complete joy. Getting to the top of any building is a little puzzle in and of itself. The combat is actually really underrated, too. You’re basically a superhero: it shouldn’t be hard to take out any individual thug in combat. But the game stacks the odds so you’re dealing with pretty huge amounts of enemies, and the strategy comes in way you (or at least I) succeed in combat is by breaking it up so you’re only dealing with a few people at any one time. Oh, and I love that driving is pretty much an irrelevant side-quest. Driving was always my least favorite part about the GTA games.

Rock Band. I’m a drummer. I like playing Rock Band‘s drums. The other day I was over at Darren‘s house, and we had just finished watching Superbad (my favorite movie of the year). We were rocking out, and he was singing. Every time he went into overdrive, he’d yell “McLOVIN!!!” (link is NSFW unless you have headhpones on) into the microphone. And every time it cracked me up and I lost my streak. What a fucking awesome game.

Skate. This is the only Xbox 360 game I’ve actually completed start to finish. But then, I’m a total fiend for skateboarding games. A few years ago I bought Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on a lark, based solely on the fact that Gamespot gave it a perfect 10. I instantly fell in love with the gameplay. The next year, THPS 4 came out, and it too was awesome. Then THUG came out and it was disappointing. And then THUG 2 made me swear to never buy another Tony Hawk game. Fortunately, Skate is everything I’ve ever wanted out of a skateboarding game. I love the fact that it rewards skill: when I’m able to land a move I couldn’t before, it’s not because my character got more skilled, it’s because I got more skilled. It’s a wonderful feeling of real accomplishment. Food, not drugs.

Portal. I don’t really need to say anything except that I really appreciate it when a game can give me the best play experience of the year and pack it into less than three hours. I love the fact that I sat down with this for about as long as it takes to see a movie, finished it, and was incredibly satisfied. I’d love to see more of that. As much as I love the other games on this list, if I had to pick a favorite, this would be it.

Team Fortress 2. I have traditionally hated online first person shooters, but I love TF2. I guess it’s mostly because I like playing with Darren. When I play this game I yell, laugh, and curse–it creates a lot of intensely physical joy for me. Lots of fiero.

UPDATE: Jeff has reminded me of my favorite game of the year that I haven’t (really) played: Everyday Shooter. I’ve played a few of its levels at GDC, and at E For All. And I love what I’ve played. Jon Mak takes the zen state you get into when playing an 8-way shooter and amplifies it tenfold with Steve Reich-inspired musical compositions triggered by game events. But unfortunately it’s PS3-only. If this thing ever comes out on PC, I will buy it twice.

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