OXCGN’s 10 More Sadly Overlooked Games This Gen
More oldies to track down
©2011 David Hilton
But what about those who can only afford maybe one or two new releases, or maybe none at all yet? There’s a global economic slowdown on after all.
Well at OXCGN we’ve decided to put ourselves a second time in the game Animus and go back in time to discover what titles we enjoyed this gen that you should be able to get for cheap (and still play the multiplayer without a code!).
They may not be as gorgeous or polished as the newbies coming out, and some of their developers have unfortunately gone the way of the dodo, but they still offered some of us great entertainment and we think didn’t get the attention they deserved, either before or after launch.
In no particular order, here is PART 2 of OXCGN’s Best Overlooked Games This Gen. What are yours? Comment below and help the poor (gamer).
You can find PART 1 here.
1. EVE Online (PC,2003)
With over 300,000 subscribers, it sounds a bit odd to say that EVE Online is overlooked. But when stacked up against WoW’s 11 million or so, the game starts to look a bit niche.
Yet there’s a reason that the number of active subscribers in EVE has risen consistently since the game’s inception in 2003. CCP’s prolonged commitment to its ever-expanding universe is noteworthy in this era of fickle commitments and intended obsolescence.
Consider EVE Online the Dark Souls of MMORPGs: a game fraught with risk and frustration, but with some of the most satisfying rewards in the industry as well.
Nothing comes easy or quick in EVE, and everything can be lost in a heartbeat. But with some patience, planning, and cooperation, you might gain a sense of the one-of-a-kind player empowerment that makes it a truly remarkable gaming experience.
2. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii, 2010)
By the end of 2010 many hardcore gamers had written off the Wii as a gimmicky waggle machine for 9 year olds. But that Christmas we were treated to Donkey Kong Country Returns, the long awaited addition to the legendary Super Nintendo platforming series courtesy of Retro Studios (of Metroid Prime infamy).
In an age of seemingly infinite first person shooters, DKCR injected some much needed excitement to this generation built on the foundations of raw nostalgia.
Retro Studios thankfully lived up to the impeccably high standards set by the original trilogy and produced one of the purest examples of enjoyment to be found not only on the Wii, but on any other platform.
DKCR invites the player in with immediately familiar controls and wastes no time in cranking up the action with level after level of uniquely fantastic game play. From the thrilling 2010 update to the classic mine cart stages to the brand new and intensely exciting Rocket Barrel areas, Donkey Kong, yet again, delivers.
Retro Studios also remind us how beautiful the Wii can look with developers who truly know how to use it. An unforgettable experience for one or two players.
And yet so many of my peers I speak to haven’t played this fantastic title. Some aren’t even aware of it’s existence. If you are among this crowd, I compel you to check this game out immediately.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is unbelievably fun and challenging enough to test even the most seasoned gamer. Oh, and Rambi the Rhino’s back.
It’s time to Return to DK Country.
3. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2 (360/PS3/PC, 2006, 2007)
This one may seem like a massively popular title but a lot of people haven’t actually played it. GRAW was and still remains one of the most comprehensive squad based shooters on the market.
You have to control yourself along with a team of various different vehicles, other ghosts and air support. You might be thinking that this one probably hasn’t been as overlooked at the others on this list and you might be right but for all of those of you out there who haven’t played it yet, you need to.
Sure the graphics are a little dated now but if you can look past that then you are in for a great time.
The best part about enjoying this one is that there’s a sequel that is even better. With improvements in basically everything you are sure to enjoy it too – and you won’t have to grin are bare the graphics because they’re actually really good. You can probably pick both up for next to nothing now so you’ve really got nothing to lose.
With Ghost Recon Future Soldier just around the corner, now is a great time to get into the series.
4. Shadows of the Damned (PS3/360, 2011)
Japanese video games, which used to be on most gamers’ ‘must have’ lists have tumbled off the hype train recently. Games like Battlefield 3, Assassin’s Creed, and Skyrim have replaced the Metal Gear Solids, Onimushas, Devil May Crys, and Resident Evils on gamers’ anticipation metres, at least in the West.
So it is no surprise that Shadows of the Damned, despite its pedigree and big publisher didn’t attract the attention it otherwise might have. It certainly was a strange title, which may have turned some gamers off, but that made it a bit different too, and difference is much needed in the industry.
I found that the game started out fairly strong and got less interesting and more strange as it went on. Its over-the-top grotesque look, swearing, and sexual innuendo were perhaps ill-conceived and a bit too juvenile but there were some genuinely funny moments too. It was a case of too much when less and subtly might have been better.
Certainly painting hell as a warped version of our world instead of a red-filtered burning Dante-esque landscape was a welcome change.
5. Wipeout HD / Wipeout HD Fury (PSP/PS3, 2007,2008)
The Wipeout series is one of Playstation’s stalwarts, with consistently strong entries across the full gamut of Sony’s platforms. Wipeout HD continued that legacy, arriving on the Playstation Network with crisp visuals, a catchy soundtrack, and the series’ trademark high-speed gameplay.
Despite the game’s pedigree, and the fact that it was a complete steal at $20.00, it’s never made the waves that it deserves. Being part of the PSN’s “Welcome Back” program garnered the game some attention, but too many passed it over for the other offerings.
That’s probably because Wipeout has been pigeonholed as a niche title. True, the genre might not be for everyone. But Wipeout HD is fun enough that it should defy demographic limitations, in the same way that the Mario Kart series has always been enjoyed by those who don’t otherwise have an affinity for racing.
Wipeout HD has a lot going for it: colorful 1080p visuals, slick 60fps animation, a polished UI, a fitting techno soundtrack, challenging gameplay, and tons of replayability. At its low price point, the game has tremendous value, and that’s even before the addition of the Wipeout HD Fury expansion. Fury doubled the game’s initial offering, adding quality content to nearly every facet of the original game. Downloadable titles as deep and polished are a rare find.
6. Scene it? Lights Camera Action (360, 2007)
If you thought Playstation was the only console that has a quiz show game then you were wrong. Scene It comes complete with buzzers much like the ones from BUZZ! on the PS3.
If you haven’t already played this game then you have to because you’re missing out.
It may have been overlooked because it doesn’t really have a great single player, but grab a few friends and you’ve got the evening sorted.
7. Tropico 3 (360/PC, 2009 )
There is a lot of reward to be found in this game, both in replayability and in the challenge of creating your ideal island nation. But the deep strategy and occasional micromanagement is a niche draw.
But if you have an interest in politics and history, and enjoy strategy and management games, Tropico 3 is a great game for the PC, and an absolutely one-of-a-kind title for the Xbox 360.
8. Lost Odyssey (360, 2008)
Lost Odyssey blends story elements, loveable characters, an interesting battle system and a breathtaking musical score into an all round package, which every Japanese role playing game fan should not miss.
Some of the dialogue is the funniest found in a video game and the colourful environments make the world come alive.
With some minor technical issues aside this game demonstrates everything we love about the genre.
9. The Darkness (PS3/360, 2007)
The Darkness largely went unnoticed even in the early stages of current console gaming.
However, the game’s narrative and immersion and interesting progression through mob infested New York, an area not always knows for diverse environments in gaming, with a variety of methods of disposing of enemies, made it something that still stands out years of gaming later.
If you’ve played the game, will you ever forget the surprise of the game getting you to watch TV with your girlfriend as a method of making a connection with her character? And then what happened after?
Perhaps the dark tones were a bit too much for gamers then, but now dark tone and over-the-top gore is everywhere in games.
There is finally an upcoming sequel in The Darkness II, but it doesn’t look to have continued the original’s vision, and the demo we played didn’t really feel to have the same character as the original.
10. Wolfenstein (PS3/360/PC, 2009)
Wolfenstein is not a must-have title, but it is a lot of fun. It is reminiscent of early FPS games, but still has the graphical horsepower to compete with some of the games on today’s market.
The developers at id Software, Raven Software and Endrant Studios, who all collaborated on the project, successfully blended old-school shooter action with several more recent conventions in the genre, such as a more open world, to create a modern game that remembers its roots.
The fact that it was a Wolfenstein game should have guaranteed it a huge following, but it seemed to just fade into the sunset.