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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-12-31 04:09:17
Happy New Year!
And the the 2007 Direman Press Game of the Year is awarded to...
Winner - BioShock (360, PC)
No other game this past year has done more to advance the cause of videogames developing into a legitimate art form. If you invest yourself in BioShock's atmosphere and storytelling, it delivers an experience rarely seen in the medium. Couple that with the flexible underlying game mechanics, toss in technical mastery, and BioShock is an absolute landmark.
Runner Up - Call of Duty 4 (360, PS3, PC)
The single player is a traditional corridor gauntlet with lousy A.I. But it's still awesome. Between the technical expertise and the scripted events, Call of Duty 4 is the closest you can get to playing a fun action film. The multiplayer is outrageously good. By simply adding an RPG-esque leveling system, which unlocks weapons and perks, Call of Duty 4's multiplayer might be my favorite ever, delivering an utterly narcotic addiction.
Honorable Mention - The Orange Box (360, PC, the PS3 version shipped late and was less than optimal)
You get Half-Life 2, HL2 Episode 1 and 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2 in one package. This is stunning simply from a value proposition. Half-Life 2 is a few years old, but it's a legendary title and completely new to many console gamers. Episode 2 might be the single best portion of the Half-Life saga (truly high praise), tightly combining organic game design and storytelling. Portal is the single best three hour game ever. Team Fortress 2 (now that it's working on the 360 version) is awesome, but sadly drowned out by the glut of awesome first person shooters.
Episode Two and Portal seriously gave me pause as to where The Orange Box belonged on this years' list, but ultimately, the bulk of the content isn't new. And as great as Portal is, if I was buying it individually, I wouldn't want to have paid more than $20 for such a haiku of a videogame.
Honorable Mention - Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Remember Super Mario Brothers on the NES? Super Mario 64? Galaxy has the same pick up and have a blast factor. Every inch of this game is jam packed with a variety of pure fun. You can also pick and choose what to do. If one level doesn't float your boat, you'll be sure to find tons that do. If you only have 30 minutes to play, you can enjoy that small portion as a satisfying gaming experience. If you want to go hardcore and pursue all 121 stars, you'll enjoy the best "pure" videogame in the...geez, past decade?