SAN FRANCISCO - BioShock, which captivated video game fans with its tale of an underwater utopia gone wrong, took the top honour from the Game Critics Awards, with judges praising it for innovating game play.
Released last August for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, BioShock was a sleeper hit for Take-Two Interactive Software and critics gushed over its finely crafted story and disturbing moral choices.
"BioShock truly shocked, amazed and pushed all sorts of boundaries for gaming. And while we felt it was 2007's best title, we're betting its influence will extend well beyond 2007," Dan Hsu, editor-in-chief of EGM magazine, wrote of the group's decision.
It was the first time the Game Critics Awards have picked a game of the year. The group, consisting of several dozen game journalists, is best known for judging games shown at E3, the game industry's most influential trade show.
The runner-up was The Orange Box from privately held studio Valve, co-published by Electronic Arts Inc. The title is a collection of Valve's acclaimed Half-Life 2 shooter plus two follow-up episodes, an online multiplayer shooting game called Team Fortress 2 and a devilish puzzle game called Portal".
"Every single one of these things is unbelievably frickin' brilliant," Time magazine's Lev Grossman wrote.
Activision's Call of Duty 4 came in third, with judges saying the game combined an "adrenaline-pumping" story for single players with the best multiplayer experience of the year.
Microsoft had two games in the top 10, its blockbuster alien shooter Halo 3 and the epic sci-fi role-playing game Mass Effect".
Sony Corp also had two games, God of War II, perhaps the last major title for its aging PlayStation 2 console, and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune", a cinematic action title that showcased the power of its PlayStation 3 machine.
Nintendo, whose Wii console was the runaway hardware hit of the year, was only recognized once, for Super Mario Galaxy and its "delightfully irrational graphic design".
2007 Game Critics Awards Top 10
1. BioShock -Take-Two
2. The Orange Box - Valve and Electronic Arts
3. Call of Duty 4 - Activision
4. Rock Band - MTV and EA
5. Super Mario Galaxy - Nintendo
6. Halo 3 - Microsoft
7. Mass Effect - Microsoft
8. God of War II - Sony
9. Assassin's Creed - Ubisoft
10."Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Sony