Ever since the days of Atari the gaming market has been absolutely full to bursting with hundreds and hundreds of games. With all the massive developments over the years and the popularity computer games have garnered, you wouldn’t think the gaming market is still relatively new to the world. Yet there’s such a massive variety of games that gamers these days are completely spoiled for choice. This however, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Such over-saturation means that it is unfortunately, woefully easy for a game to fall into the deep, dark pits of obscurity never to be seen again, except by a select few.
I’m not talking about niche games; despite catering to a very specific audience they are still generally pretty successful. Just look at the Persona series for a good example of this. No, I’m talking about the games so hidden that they’ve been all but forgotten after the parent company or publisher swiftly abandoned the sinking ship taking their funding with them. Whether it’s because of a lack of interest in the premise or negligence in the advertising department, these amazing games unfortunately flopped financially. So today, I’ll be bringing your attention to some of the hidden gems of gaming in the hopes that they’ll get just that tiny bit more love that they so rightly deserve.
Taking the No. 5 spot on this list is the Timesplitters series; more specifically, Timesplitters: Future Perfect. The reason it’s so low on this list is because unlike all the other entries on this list, it met with moderate success at first and was a respected FPS during the Playstation era. Granted, it was nowhere near as popular as the likes of Halo-which overshadowed it in a way-but it still had its fans; for a time. Shortly after the release of the third game in the series however, Future Perfect, the game developers that made it, Free Radical, were bought by Crytek who seemingly had no interest in the series as the planned fourth game still hasn’t seen the light of day for over a decade after Future Perfect’s release. Now, the mention of the name “Timesplitters” won’t elicit a reaction out of almost anyone but a handful who still remember its glory days.
Future Perfect is personally one of my favourite games of all time and in my opinion, it’s more than worth a look. Even at its initial release it was plenty of bang for your buck. As well as a six-seven hour, well-written story campaign there is a large selection of challenges to test your mettle. And when I say large, I mean you’ll probably spend the majority of your single player playtime trying to 100% them all. As well as that, there are over a hundred different, creative characters to unlock and play as and with a bit of work you can even make use of a program called Xlink to play the game multiplayer with the game’s undead fanbase. You can probably get it pretty cheap considering it’s now twelve years old and believe me when I say this, there’s not a single other FPS like it.
Yes, I know, it’s another FPS. Don’t worry, if you don’t like FPS’s then go ahead and scroll down to the next three entries because I promise they’re of a different genre. I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to talk about this absolute ruthless romp of creativity and innovation. One of the newer games on this list, Bulletstorm is a fast-paced, frenetic rollercoaster of a game that revels in gore and guts. In a market incredibly saturated with samey, copy paste military shooters, Bulletstorm dared to be different… and it failed! Despite receiving massively positive reviews, people were sadly not willing to take a risk on a new, poorly advertised IP and it sold poorly, not even managing to earn a profit. Of course, it was quickly abandoned by EA and although a remaster was recently released, it is still relatively unknown which is sad as the game is absolutely, gobsmackingly amazing with an innovative combat system that never gets boring and is constantly presenting new ways to take down your foes. As depressing as it is to admit, it seems most people don’t like to embrace change.
#3 Viewtiful Joe
Viewtiful Joe is a unique game series to say the least. It’s a game about a guy called Joe who enters the movie world and becomes a superhero to save his girlfriend in a side-scrolling beat-em-up that allows him to make use of camera SFX to annihilate all who stand in his way. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But with such an original idea and a gorgeous comic book art style, it’s difficult to ignore once the concept storms into your brain demanding your attention. In a way, it’s ironic because overall, Viewtiful Joe and all its sequels sold quite poorly in Europe and America. Maybe it was the fact that it was first released on the Gamecube, an unpopular console to say the least. Maybe it was just too alienating a concept for some people. Maybe it was the sub-par advertising. Viewtiful Joe is another example of a game that failed spectacularly in sales despite managing to garner stellar review scores and being bold in presenting a fresh, new concept. Nowadays, it still has somewhat of a cult following despite the development studio that made it, Clover Studio no longer existing after being dissolved by Capcom. Most of its developers went on to form Platinum Games which has continued to make a ton of awesome, unique games… that keep failing commercially. Seems like the game’s creators are cursed.
#2 Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors
If I had to bet on which game in this list I think most people will not of heard of, this is the game I would choose. Despite being a game in the largely popular Dragon Quest series and being released on one of the best selling consoles of all time, the Wii, this game seemed to come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly as it had came. Dragon Quest Swords is also the most personal entries on this list as I have fond memories of playing it as a kid.
The combat makes good use out of the motion controls the Wii provided to make some truly intense, skill-based combat. Think of Skyward Sword’s motion controlled combat but better. You can slash in all different directions including horizontally, enemies take up different spots on the screen and you have to aim at them like you’re actually fighting them right in front of you and you can use a shield to block attacks from enemies directly. This makes for some of the most fun-filled fighting I’ve ever experienced in a game. Sometimes, you can even use your environment as well, such as cutting down bridges by hacking at the ropes with your sword. So why isn’t it Number 1? While I do love it and it is a hidden gem, I will admit it has a few glaring faults. The game is incredibly linear and the base game could also be considered short by today’s standards. Nevertheless, I still recommend playing it as you’ll never experience a game with a combat system like it. A far cry from its turn-based JRPG roots.
#1 Soul Sacrifice/Soul Sacrifice Delta
Soul Sacrifice’s main mistake was being on the Vita. One of the biggest modern console failures commercially. Being an exclusive to the console meant there were no other platforms it could fall back on and because of this, Soul Sacrifice is one of the most underrated Triple A games ever made. I first played it a couple of years ago and I loved it so much that I ended up purchasing the expanded version, Soul Sacrifice Delta which made major changes and additions to make the game even better. How do I explain this game? The biggest similarity I can give is the recently popular Monster Hunter series except it’s a bit easier and has a larger focus on story.
Soul Sacrifice, in my opinion, has one of the best stories ever told in a video game. I’ll keep it short so I don’t unload a bunch of exposition upon you but the game’s menu is a talking, fleshy book called Librom that contains a man’s life story for you to play through in the form of Pacts. This is where the gameplay comes in as you hunt massive, disgusting abominations of sin using offerings that transform your arms into giant, bloody swords, cannons and shields. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say this: the story was so good it made me physically cry at some points and the voice acting is some of the best I’ve seen in a game. There’s plenty of replayability, the characters are likeable and three-dimensional, the idea is completely unique though it still expands on mythical monsters and fairytale characters for its bosses and locations. Throw in a save or sacrifice mechanic that makes the murder or sparing of any monster important and you’ve got a real diamond in the rough. It left so much of an impression on me that it’s still one of my favourite games to this day and I’ll hopefully review it one day. If there’s a game I’d say is worth buying a Playstation Vita, it’s this one.
So that was my Top Five Most Underrated Games/Game Series! Hopefully there’s at least one game on this list that you’ve never heard of before as that means my selection is a good one. This is just my opinion and if there are any games you think are underrated and deserve more attention then feel free to comment your own Most Underrated Games/Game Series. Thanks for reading!