Sometimes good games can fly under the critical radar, or not get the sales they hope for. Whether they’re overshadowed by another game, or they’re just a bit out of the ideal time frame. These games often end up with smaller, but extremely dedicated followings that are more than happy to advocate for them at any opportunity. There are plenty of games that became cult classics, but these eight immediately jumped to mind.
Think we missed one? Tell us what it is in the comments!
Zone of the Enders
Most people immediately think of Metal Gear Solid when you mention Hideo Kojima, but some gamers just wish for another Zone of the Enders game. The game offered a bit more serious take on the mech-combat genre. You’ll travel around a space colony orbiting Jupiter to take out the rogue Orbital Frames that are attacking it. The combat and camera work are excellent, but Z.O.E. is often criticized for it short length and lack of difficulty. Still, it’s one of the best mech games you’ll play.
Parasite Eve was the first Square Enix game to be rated M. It’s an odd mixture of pausable real-time combat, free movement in the world map, and Final Fantasy-style random encounters. It falls somewhere between Resident Evil and Final Fantasy, and it was nothing short of awesome. As New York police officer Aya Brea, you’ll travel around the city trying to stop a monster that is making people burst into flames. It’s a great game, and thanks to a 2010 PlayStation Store re-release, you can play it on your PS3 or Vita.
Few games have accomplished what Planescape: Torment did. It managed to be a story-focused, combat light role-playing game that featured immersive dialog in a dark world. As The Nameless One, players wander the planes to try and discover their past and origins. Throughout this journey, you’ll meet possible companions, enemies, and more. Torment’s lead designer was Chris Avellone, who also worked on titles like Fallout 2 before leaving Interplay to co-found Obsidian Entertainment.
Deadly Premonition is like a video game sequel to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. As FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan, you’ll be investigating the murder of an 18-year old woman, mostly because of its similarities with other murders across the US. As you progress, you’ll find that nothing is what it seems – not even York himself. There are plenty of twists and turns, and despite the sub-par graphics and controls, it’s still worth a playthrough just for the experience.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
One of the reasons we were so excited that Paradox had purchased White Wolf was that it means there’s a chance we might get another Vampire: The Masquerade game, and that it might be as good as Bloodlines. It was bursting at the scenes with great narrative. In fact, the game’s writing was so good that it made its shortcomings in other areas less noticeable. You’ll die, be reborn as a vampire, pick a clan, and begin your journey through a darker world. Filled with memorable characters, great moments, and blessed with wide-ranging mad support, Bloodlines is a must-play for just about any RPG fan.
Tim Schafer is a household name, but a surprising number of people haven’t played what is arguably his best game: Psychonauts. It’s a strange game. Set in a summer camp, it follows the adventures of a young man named Raz. Raz can wander the world of the camp, platforming hi sway around gathering lots of collectibles, but it’s when he shows off his special ability that the game really gets good. Raz can read the minds of those around him, and can even jump into the landscape of their thoughts to save them from the terrible things found within. It’s a quirky game, full of humor and delightful weirdness.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
After fans complained that Conker’s Pocket Tales was too cute and too much like previous games from Rare, the developer decided to shake things up in the sequel. Thus was born Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which turned the titular squirrel from a family-friendly mascot to a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking ne’er do well. After a night of one-too-many drinks, Conker finds himself lost in a strange land. To return home, he’ll have to confront multiple enemies, including a giant pile of feces that sings opera, the Tediz (a group of Nazi-like teddy bears), and finally the Panther King himself. The whole game is ludicrous, and sounds more like something you’d encounter during a South Park episode than a Rare game.
System Shock 2
Before the Bioshock series was born in 2007, Irrational Games created System Shock 2, a sci-fi predecessor that may be the best game of them all. You wake up on the Von Braun, an experimental spaceship, only to learn that you’re the last remaining soldier, and that you’ve forgotten everything due to amnesia. You’ll fight through the ship and try to discover what happened to the crew. It’s a dark game, full of solid cyberpunk themes and whole lot of strange occurrences, and it’s still definitely worth checking out, even today.