Every year gamers are given a wide variety of awesome titles to play, maybe too many. It’s not uncommon for us to miss out on a truly great game every once in a while because we are so preoccupied with another. With that in mind, I decided to share the hidden gems that I feel didn’t get the love they deserved, or aren’t treated as the classics they should be. These are my most underrated games of all time:
Kratos is probably who comes to mind when most people think of the angriest video game character ever, but he’s got nothing on Asura. This rage-fueled deity’s power allow players of this interactive anime to fight other gods – one of whom might be the biggest video game boss ever – just like Kratos, but that’s only a small part of it. Asura’s Wrath also features absolutely mind-blowing battles against entire fleets of angelic spacecraft, primordial monsters, and, in the DLC finale, the creator of the universe and cosmos itself. It often plays more like a series of quicktime events than an actual game, but nothing is more epic than Asura’s Wrath.
Dead Space 3
The Dead Space series follows a similar pattern to the original three entries of the Alien film franchise: The first is a pure science-fiction horror masterpiece, the second adds a bit of gun-toting action into the mix for an arguably better sequel, and the third is drastically underrated because it deviates so far from what came before. Dead Space 3 isn’t as scary as the first two, but is a terrific action game with a great co-op campaign, and closes the book on one of gaming’s greatest trilogies.
Well, until EA released another chapter that ended on a massive cliffhanger…
Star Wars Battlefront II
Just saying the word “microtransaction” is almost enough to send some gamers into a frenzied rant, and it’s this game has taken the brunt of that frustration recently. The pay-to-win style, astoundingly unintuitive loot system, and sky-high pricing of fan-favorite characters in Battlefront II’s multiplayer were clear indicators of developer EA’s greed and total lack of concern for their customers, and I won’t argue anything else. However, I will say that the campaign doesn’t require any additional purchases, is GORGEOUS, introduces one of the most badass Star Wars characters to date, and is a unique addition to the Star Wars lore that’s worth any fan’s time.
Before the brilliant and bizarre James Gunn was super famous for directing big hits like Guardians of The Galaxy, he helped the equally brilliant and even more bizarre game developer Suda 51 create this totally bonkers hack and slash title. Combining and riffing on B-movies, zombie horror, and the magical girl genre that’s mostly prevalent in Japan (think Sailor Moon), Lollipop Chainsaw is a bloody and hilarious action romp that deserved much more attention than it got.
Prototype hit shelves right around the same time as another super-powered sandbox action game, the first inFAMOUS, and ended up being overshadowed by the PS3 exclusive. However, I’d argue that Prototype was a better game. The traversal was far better, the range of powers was greater, and the ridiculous amount of destruction (or fun!) you could could create while free-roaming in Prototype far surpassed that of the inFAMOUS series’ initial outing. Cole’s electricity powers in inFAMOUS were fine, but Alex Mercer could level most of an enemy base by divebombing from the top of a skyscraper, jumping into a nearby tank, absorbing the memories and skills of the driver, and finishing the job with the armored vehicle. Few games offer a power fantasy of that scale.
Gauntlet Dark Legacy
I’ve probably put more time into Gauntlet Dark Legacy than almost any other game I’ve ever played. I maxed out the stats on dozens of characters, beat each boss countless times, and had so many all day to late night co-op sessions that my closest friends couldn’t stand to play it ever again. There’s just something about this dungeon crawler that kept me coming back to it until the consoles (yes, I had it on multiple consoles) that were capable of playing it stopped working. I still yearn for the day we get a real sequel, and I still curse that Seven Sorrows and PS4 arcade nonsense.
Resistance 2 is by far the best in this undervalued trilogy, and also the game that made me love first-person shooters. Insomniac’s knack for crazy weapons lent itself well to the series, combining an armory of suped up mid-1900’s military weapons with some of the coolest alien guns (or any guns) in gaming history. It also had a fantastic story, a phenomenal 8-player co-op mode, and one of the coolest enemy factions in fiction. While it sold fairly well, Resistance never managed to reach the same heights as Killzone, another dark and gritty Playstation-exclusive shooter series.
Resistance 2 being overshadowed by other games from an older/more popular series is a bummer, but what happened to Bulletstorm is downright tragic: People bought it and then returned it just to play the beta for something else. More than a couple of my friends bought Bulletstorm, but have yet to play it to this day. It’s their loss though because this stylish first-person shooter is one of the most chaotic, unique, and darkly comedic games ever made. A remaster (with a playable Duke Nukem!) was recently released for current consoles, so I highly recommend giving it a go if you missed out on it during the previous console generation.
Tales from the Borderlands
I remember starting up Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead shortly after it was released, and stopping before the first chapter had concluded. Despite being a big fan of the show, I just couldn’t get into it and ignorantly wrote off all interactive storytelling games as a result. Then Tales from the Borderlands, which is set after Borderlands 2 (one of my favorite games of all time) was announced. I decided to dive into the genre once again, and was more than pleasantly surprised with the result. Telltale Games has a knack for adapting different worlds to work with their style of gameplay and storytelling, and Tales from the Borderlands is one of the finest works. It has the same humor, heart, and zany characters that drew me to the original Borderlands in the first place, and weaves the best yarn in the series to date. I was dying to talk to my friends about it after finishing the final chapter, but I’m still the only person I know who’s played it…