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Halo 3 & Lord of the Rings Online

14. Halo 3

The whole world was waiting for Halo 3 and there's no getting away from that
fact. The third chapter in Master Chief's saga was number one on many Xbox 360 owners' wish lists, and you couldn't help but understand why. Put simply, the Halo series has done more to promote first person shooters on consoles than any other game. People have a lot invested in its streamlined gameplay, its characters, its AI, and its rich sci-fi universe.

All that said, Halo 3 was hardly revolutionary, and it lacked much of the polish, depth and immersion seen in Bioshock a month earlier. But despite its shortcomings Halo 3 gave gamers exactly what they wanted - another bout of Master Chief kicking covenant arse, coupled with arguably the best multiplayer experience seen on a console. You can bet that FPS developers everywhere are scratching their heads and trying to work out how to imitate the replay features and The Forge in next year's games. Halo 3 may not have been the best game of 2007, but it definitely earned a place in our Top 20.
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13. Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

Don't get us wrong. We still love World of Warcraft. We loved The Burning Crusade. However, this year it was the turn of another MMO to turn our little worlds upside down. LOTRO, as we like to call it, walked a fine line between borrowing elements from WoW and outright theft, but it made up for it with a host of tweaks and improvements that made it a more immediately engaging experience. The real selling point, however, was a stunning realisation of Tolkien's Middle Earth that didn't disappoint fans of the books or the Peter Jackson movies. Anyone who took a trip through The Shire or breezed through Bree couldn't help but feel a thrill of recognition.

Visually more accomplished than WoW, LOTRO matched Blizzard's baby for interesting quests and characters, and made you feel like you were playing a part in the wider War of the Ring. And as new areas and new features have been added, LOTRO is only getting better. It's still hard to say whether this or WoW is the stronger game - particularly long-term - but the fact that it's the one MMO in recent years that can stand comparison to the reigning champion speaks volumes.

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