In our ongoing quest to highlight some of the best games of this past generation, here is our "Top Five" list of most-notable Xbox 360 games from 2007. After an admirable, but not stellar, launch window lineup in 2005-06 (new console adopters, take note!), the 360 really began to hit its stride in 2007 with some outstanding new IPs, the return of blockbuster franchises, and the birth of an entirely new genre.
Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth Achievements - THQ Studio Australia - October
Community Rating - 1.6 | Metacritic Score - 54
You all know why this is here... let's just leave it at that.
Assassin's Creed Achievements - Ubisoft Montreal - November
Community Rating - 4.0 | Metacritic Score - 81
While the promise exhibited by the franchise wasn't realized until 2009's Assassin's Creed II Achievements, Ubisoft's first trip with the Animus introduced gamers to a rich world full of conspiracies old and new, breath-taking visuals, and stabbing people. The story of the free-running, sword-swinging, Templar-stabbing Altair and the promise that "Nothing is true, everything is permitted" opened a brand new world and laid the path for many great games to come.
Crackdown Achievements - Real Time Worlds - February
Community Rating - 3.7 | Metacritic Score - 83
Many gamers may have purchased Crackdown just to get access to the Halo 3 beta, but soon discovered an sandbox full of fun mayhem. As your agent grew in power, they were able to be something of a Superman by being faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound... all while blowing stuff up and collecting those orbs. While the game may not have held up as well as one would have hoped, it certainly gave gamers an amazing power fantasy.
The Orange Box Achievements - Valve - October
Community Rating - 4.3 | Metacritic Score - 96
Take one iconic PC game (Half-Life 2), add in a ridiculously-popular multiplayer experience (Team Fortress 2), and introduce gamers to one of the best puzzle games of this (or any) generation (Portal), and you've got a recipe for huge success. A critical and commercial darling, Valve's willingness to bring these three games to the 360 in one package stands as one of the best values in gaming and has a little something for everyone.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Achievements - Neversoft - October
Community Rating - 3.6 | Metacritic Score - 85
While 2007 also saw the release of Guitar Hero II Achievements by Harmonix in April, GH3 raised the bar with more officially licensed songs, better presentation, and more DLC options. Even though Neversoft's first GH entry began the franchise's slow march to annualized over-saturation and was soon overshadowed by another music game that appears later on this list, GH3 was the game that made people buy those plastic guitars that are (no doubt) sitting in closets everywhere.
Forza Motorsport 2 Achievements - Turn 10 - May
Community Rating - 3.7 | Metacritic Score - 90
Turn 10/Microsoft's debut racer for the 360 boasted amazing (for the time) graphics, tight controls, and incredible customization options. Turn 10 successfully skated the line between hardcore racing sim and accessible driving game, much to the delight of both audiences.
The Fine Five
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Achievements - Infinity Ward - November
Community Rating - 4.4 | Metacritic Score - 94
What more can be said that hasn't already been said? Could this be the best shooter of the generation? Some will invariably say, "Yes!" Could this be the high point for a franchise that continues to rake in billions of dollars a year? Many will respond in the positive. In 2007, Modern Warfare became the standard by which all Call of Duty games have been measured and still stands the test of time for great design, amazing gameplay, and incredible aesthetics. In short, if you're a fan of military shooters, this game is on your shelf and if it's not, you're not really a fan of military shooters.
Halo 3 Achievements - Bungie - September
Community Rating - 4.2 | Metacritic Score - 94
For many (myself included) Halo 3 was the reason I bought an Xbox 360. With the cries of, "Finish the fight," gamers everywhere were pining to see "the end" of Master Chief's tale. With a rich, compelling campaign and one of the best multiplayer suites to date, Bungie hit the homiest of home runs with Halo 3 and brought the series into the next generation with amazing flair.
Rock Band Achievements - Harmonix - November
Community Rating - 4.0 | Metacritic Score - 90
After releasing and launching the megahit that was Guitar Hero II, Harmonix moved on from the franchise, cast their lot with MTV Games, and expanded beyond the guitar with Rock Band. Their innovative design and programming created the party game of all party games, giving gamers the ability to live out their inner rock star fantasies as either the lead singer, guitarist, drummer, or (if you're aiming your rock star dreams a bit lower) bassist. The fun didn't stop on the disc, though. Harmonix went above and beyond with DLC support that was unprecedented at the time, giving gamers access to a gigantic and consistently-updated library of songs to customize their playlists and parties.
Mass Effect Achievements - BioWare - November
Community Rating 4.4 | Metacritic Score - 91
Like many of the games from earlier in the generation, Mass Effect is not only a good/great game in its own right, but it also laid the groundwork for one of the iconic series of this generation. At the outset, gamers were able to craft series protagonist, Commander Shepard as they saw fit: male, female, tall, short, pretty, ugly, a survivor, a hero, straight, homosexual and more. This customization didn't just stop at the character creation screen, either. The choices gamers made throughout the game created a one-of-a-kind experience that continued through the series' sequels. One part space opera, one part cutting-edge RPG, and a dash of shooter (which got bigger in sequels), Mass Effect created a blockbuster RPG experience that pulled in fans from all corners of the gaming world with its epic story with depth and promise, complex characters and relationships, and unprecedented customization.
BioShock (Xbox 360) Achievements - Irrational Games - August
Community Rating - 4.5 | Metacritic Score - 96
Jack wasn't the only one who was compelled to do things in Irrational's opus to objectivism, dystopias, megalomania, and industry/science/art run amok. What started as a deeply dark and intense shooter with rock-solid gameplay and tense environments eventually became an intellectual phenomenon that had gamers digging deeper into meanings, metaphors, and allusions to everything from literature and history to pop culture and art deco. Rapture still holds a place in the hearts of gamers as one of the best settings in video game history. It was/is so good, in fact, that Irrational considers it a main character to the series. Few games have been able to check off the boxes of intellectually stimulating while also viscerally satisfying and emotionally compelling; BioShock is one of the few, the proud, and the enduring.
The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five for each year of the 360 era until we hit this year. Did we miss a game you loved? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments!