We’ve talked about underrated games before, but that just scratched the surface of the sheer number of games that end up not catching the attention of gamers for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s because they released alongside big name titles, or they just were trying to do something a little different. Whatever the reason, these eight games need a little more appreciation.
Don’t see your favorite? Tell us what it is in the comments!
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Developed by Monolith, the compnay behind games like No One Lives Forever and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Condemned: Criminal Origins threw you into a first-person brawler in a super disturbing world. It combines horror elements with solid shooting and melee mechanics, and tosses in a pretty decent story to boot. It’s hard to believe it only sold around 500,000 copies.
This spin-off from the Drakengard series was criticized for its poor graphics at release, receiving mixed reviews. But Nier belies those complaints. It’s one of those games where you get out of what you put into it. It’s a fantasy action-RPG that doesn’t shy away from being cryptic. It doesn’t hesitate to flaunt its bizarre nature, and that’s reflected in its art style, which can’t seem to settle on a theme, and its gameplay, which switches out mechanics almost on a whim. Add in great characters, and you’ve got a game that took a lot of chances, and never apologized for it.
Few games have been as critically divisive as Deadly Premonition, and fewer still are more deserving of the label, “cult classic.” This Twin Peaks-style horror game may be lacking in graphics, but it more than makes up for it in atmosphere. While you may not have any idea what’s going on in the game at times, and you’ll definitely freak out at least once, you’ll likely fall in love with this one if you just give it a try.
Launched in 2007 as a PS3 exclusive, Folklore was a third-person action RPG that cast players as either a journalist named Keats or a young woman named Ellen. The two characters are different in play style, but their stories intertwine. Instead of weapons, you would harvest the souls of beings called “folk” to harness their abilities to use in combat. Folklore combined unique gameplay with a gorgeous art style, but between its exclusive status and its odd plot, it was overlooked by many.
Warhammer 40K: Space Marine
The Warhammer 40,000 universe has been largely consigned to strategy games and tabletop, but Space Marine changed all that, putting us in the Power Armor of a Space Marine named Titus. It combines shooting and melee with iconic weapons from the Warhammer universe, like the chain sword and the bolter. The combat is extremely satisfying, and although the campaign is linear, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the universe, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try.
One of Nintendo’s biggest success stories is the Mario Kart series, but what if you wanted to play a more realistic-looking version of it? Well, that’s where Blur comes in. It combines familiar, licensed cars with realistic locales, and then adds powerups, boosts and the like. The result is a fun romp in singleplayer, but the game really shines in multiplayer. Much like Mario Kart, you’ll find yourself shouting at the screen and contemplating throwing things at your friends.
Viking: Battle for Asgard
Viking: Battle for Asgard drops you into the world of Midgard, where a fierce battle is taking place between the gods. As a young Viking warrior named Skarin, you are appointed as the champion of Freya to defend the future of mankind. The game features a very solid melee combat system, a great story, and a vast open world to explore, all developed by Total War creator Creative Assembly.
With the large number of open-world games that have hit the market in recent years, it’s not hard to see how one could slip under the radar. So it was with The Saboteur. It drops you into Nazi-controlled Paris, into a world that is rendered in black and white. As you help the citizens resist the Nazis, you’ll see color return to the areas you’ve liberated. It’s a gorgeous world to play in, a great story, and a ton of fun as well. It was Pandemic’s swan song, unfortunately, but if you want to see why people loved that developer, give The Saboteur a try.