By Bryan Reynolds

Now that we have laid 2007 gingerly to rest, it’s time to look back at the video games released in 2007 and take stock. Yes, every video game magazine, Web site and TV show does the same thing, but they often skip some very important categories. So, without further rambling, here is the Eastern Progress’ best and worst of 2007 list.Best bang for your buck

The winner is: The Orange Box

2007 was a great year for video gaming. With the next-gen systems starting to hit their prospective strides, a lot of amazing games were released. Yet this compilation pack was most worthy of a gamer’s hard-earned cash. Five games for the price of one; that is a hard deal to pass up.

How did they get that past the entertainment software ratings board?

The winner is: Persona 3

In this game the teenaged heroes put guns to their heads and shoot themselves, which in turn summons monsters to fight for them. The lesson here is that the ESRB has zero tolerance for games where characters shoot other people (Grand Theft Auto) and will come down on such games with all of their might. On the other hand, they have nothing against games where characters shoot themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

Most entertaining multi-player

The winner is: Team Fortress 2

With nine distinct player classes, frequent releases of new maps and the silliest over-the-top violence around, Team Fortress 2 can hook gamers and non-gamers alike.

Most frustrating multi-player

The award goes to: Call of Duty 4

Cheaters, campers and FPS sharks have staked a claim to CoD’s servers. As if getting killed in one shot by a dude with a pistol from halfway across the map wasn’t irritating enough, the game adds insult to your injury by rewarding these guys with new ways to kill you the more consecutive kills they rack up. If you suck at first- person shooters, or you’re a part-time gamer, steer clear of this game’s multi-player mode unless you want to go bald from pulling your hair out.

Freakiest moment

Winner: Bioshock

In no moment in horror gaming history has there been a creep-out like the introduction of a Big Daddy and Little Sister in Bioshock. The main character is fading in and out of consciousness after injecting himself with the first plasmid, genetic enhancement and falling from a balcony. Suddenly, a moaning whale-like sound echoes throughout the room, and there materializes a little 9-year-old zombie girl with glowing yellow eyes, armed with a huge syringe, followed closely by a hulking armored brute.

“Look Mister Bubbles it’s an angel,” the little girl says, ” I can see light coming from his belly.” This moment drives home the realization that the underwater city of Rapture is a truly terrifying setting.

Most underappreciated game

The winner is: S.t.a.l.k.e.r. Shadow of Chernobyl

Set in Russia on an alternate timeline, this game combines the open-world element from games like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, mutants from Fallout and the skillful use of lighting like Doom 3 into a very fascinating title. If you like open-world games, but would rather blow stuff away with a gun instead of slashing it with a sword, then this is the game for you.

Most surprising game

And the winner is: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

Capcom’s other attempts at Resident evil shooters (Survivor and Dead Aim) were failures with the critics and fans. The third worked out for the best, though. Umbrella Chronicles has two-player co-op, expands on the Resident Evil storyline, lets the gamer play as Wesker and has enough nostalgia to bring tears to the fans’ eyes. The game is zombie-killing at its best.

Most over-hyped waste of money

The winner is: Halo 3

Why spend $60 on a new game when you could do the exact same thing by replaying Halo 1 or 2? Go use that money on a different game or a week’s worth of food.

And so we say farewell to another year. Here’s hoping 2008 brings more great games, fewer bad games and a lot less hype then last year.

Yeah, right.