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Best Games Of 2007

- BEST OF 2007: It has been a terrific year for video games, and boiling it down to a top 10 list was difficult. But here are the games I enjoyed the most in 2007.

 1. '' BioShock '': My AP colleague Matt Slagle called it the game of the year, and I have no argument. Ken Levine's undersea epic combines a thought-provoking story, compelling gameplay, dazzling visuals and a lush soundtrack to create one of gaming's true masterpieces.

2. '' Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction '': Everyone's favorite lombax-robot team returns in this delightful space-faring romp. The animation is movie-quality; the action, whether you're swinging between platforms or blowing up aliens, is consistently satisfying.

3. '' Super Mario Galaxy '': Just about every planet Mario visits in his latest adventure provides a new kind of challenge, giving ''SMG'' more ''how'd-they-think-of-that?'' moments than a dozen of its competitors - combined.

4. '' Mass Effect '': BioWare's latest role-playing game lets you explore one of the most elaborate science-fiction universes ever created, in a fascinating galactic chase that requires you to make some real moral choices.

5. '' Rock Band '': Add drums and a microphone to the ''Guitar Hero'' formula and you have the best multiplayer game of the year. Huge props to developer Harmonix for landing songs from an excellent cross-section of real-life rockers, from Metallica to The Clash.

6. '' Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 '': I'm a sucker for old-school, turn-based role-playing games, and this was the year's best, adding a disturbing story and - of all things - a dating simulator.

7. '' Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare '': The venerable combat series leaves World War II behind and moves into the 21st century - but still sets the standard for first-person shooters.

8. ''Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords'': Mixing a puzzle game with a role-playing fantasy sounds like a terrible idea until it's 4 a.m. and all you want to do is just fight one more ogre.

9. '' Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure '': Don't let the cute characters fool you: This throwback to the graphic adventures of the '80s and '90s offers some of the toughest brainteasers around.

10. '' The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass '': Nintendo showed everyone else how to make a great DS game with another brilliant chapter in its ''Zelda'' cycle.

 - THE REST OF THE BEST: A few other games that didn't make it into my top 10 deserve some mention: Best game that almost seems like an afterthought: ''Portal,'' the innovative puzzle game that rounded out Electronic Arts' '' Half-Life 2 '' omnibus, '' The Orange Box .''

Best Xbox Live Arcade game: '' Catan ,'' Big Huge Games' slick adaptation of the classic board game ''Settlers of Catan.''

 Best TV-based game: '' The Simpsons Game .''

Best game-based TV: '' South Park ,'' for its tributes to '' World of Warcraft '' and '' Guitar Hero .'' Best new character: '' Eternal Sonata '' protagonist Frederic Chopin - yes, the legendary Polish composer.

Best trend: Games go mainstream, thanks largely to Nintendo's Wii and DS . Even your grandma has joined a Wii bowling league.

-By LOU KESTEN Associated Press Writer

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