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Power Member - Level 10
A few months ago, I asked various members of the community which game was their personal GOTY. This time, I asked various members of the community which game they thought was the most underrated of all time. The responses I got were very intriguing. Without further ado, here are the community's most underrated games of all time.
(Just a note, the order is completely random.)
This was really hard.
The game I chose is Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, released October 5, 2010. This game was not poorly reviewed necessarily, by critics or by users. It has an aggregate metacritic rating of 80 from critics and 7.3 from users. That really isn't too bad.
The distinction I use is that very few people bought it. To this day it blows my mind why this game didn't do as well commercially as it should have, it received a massive price drop early in it's existence, and that helped, but not much.
You can easily find copies of this game for under 20 dollars brand new. I am not suggesting that I would have rated it a perfect 10, in fact I would say somewhere in the 8.5--9 range is pretty accurate. So perhaps this game was undervalued or under-appreciated more so than it was underrated.
The setting is beautiful, the characters are amazing and the story is pretty dang good also. Combat is fun, but perhaps a bit easy and repetitive, but there are also many gameplay elements that break up the combat, such as platforming and puzzle solving.
After The Last of Us was shown last December, I heard many people say something like "finally, a post apocalyptic game that isn't all bland and wasteland". While I agree that TLoU is looking amazing and will be a great game no doubt, Enslaved certainly beat them to the beautiful post civilization setting.
If you have ever been even remotely interested in this game, do yourself a huge favor and go buy it, then do the developer a solid by downloading the cheap and entertaining Pigsy's DLC!"
"Oh boy that's a whale of a question with a couple different complexities that confound my answer. First of all, I don't know that it would be relevant for me to try and cover "of all time" because it isn't fair to compare the early generations of the industry with present day. I think Telengard is one of the greatest games ever created but your average gamer has never heard and certainly hasn't played it, so technically it could be a game I think is the most underrated. That being said, I will focus my response on the modern era of gaming covering the last few years. That way most experienced gamers will be able to relate to my response and not immediately dismiss it as the foolish ramblings of a crazy, old gamer.
My initial response was going to be the latest Medal of Honor game released in 2010 by EA. The game received mediocre scores and the reviews were fairly critical of nearly every facet of the title including the graphics, the game play and the overall experience. True, the game was rolled out in an already overcrowded genre and yes, it might not have been as flashy and cinematic as some of its competitors, but despite the steep competition, I thought it was it was brilliant representation of actual military operations and displayed a level of authenticity absent from most other shooters. I've talked with a number of other military gamers about their impression of the game, and all of them agreed it was solid. Ironically, many of the reviewers criticized what they felt the game lacked, even though it achieved the look and feel the developers were shooting for.
Discussing this game actually made me think of another underrated game; not just a game but actually a series; and not just a series but several series. Tom Clancy.
Tom Clancy is a prolific author known for his military themed novels. I suppose it was sometime in the 90s when he created Red Storm Entertainment and they started developing video games. Perhaps the biggest series coming out of RSE were Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. Sometime later Tom Clancy sold RSE off to Ubisoft who maintains ownership of the company today.
The first of these games all did fairly well, but after that none of the games have really climbed the charts and left a lasting impression on the industry. Sure, everyone gets excited at first and some of them have experienced decent sales numbers (surprisingly Future Soldier did okay), but it always seems like any of these games with Tom Clancy's name on it enjoy short lived success. Now, don't get me wrong, I buy every one of them and love every one of them. I have played and finished every Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell game, but it seems there is only a small crowd of like-minded gamers who are fans and truly follows these games. Think about it...ask yourself, your friends and fellow gamers what they're playing and chances are it isn't one of these games - even the most recently released Future Soldier. It's a shame too, because they really are great games.
Normally any book with Tom Clancy's name on it - whether he wrote it, let somebody else write it or simply endorsed it - it will quickly climb the best seller charts while earning Mr. Clancy a shiny penny or two. How puzzling this doesn't transcend into the realm of video games.
I think games with Tom Clancy in the title are underrated."
"I would say that Chrono Cross is the most underrated game of all time.Everyone placed expectations upon the game based upon the first game. Yet rather than use the same combat system, they created a new one that required a great deal of strategy in how you utilized and prepared spells.
Next, the story was a perfect compliment to the story of Chrono Trigger. Rather than sticking with another time traveling story, they went a different route and used the theory that changing history causes alternate dimensions. The changes made created two different worlds, with a section of the world being caught as a sort of dump of all changed history. It was a complex but rewarding story in the end, and tied up the only real loose end from Chrono Trigger.
My only complaint with the game would be the cast. They used way too many characters and many of them are severely underdeveloped. However, the core characters are all strong characters in their own right.
In the end, the game may never be appreciated as much as it should be, but I love it all the same."
As far as most underrated, I suppose I'd have to say Cold Winter. Many might not have been exposed to it, as it was a Playstation 2 exclusive. However, it had mediocre reviews in general and was not a retail success. But it has a devoted following including myself.
It did nothing extraordinary in terms of gameplay, but nevertheless I thought it exceptional. Enemy AI was intelligent, using cover carefully and working to flush me out of cover by advancing and flanking, including entering doors behind me. If I remember, they would call for backup when under fire, and even take cover when needing to reload. Combat itself was intense as weapons caused brutal damage such as decapitating foes with a shotgun blast.
Another highlight was an interactive environment. Not only would objects move when you passed by or through them, but you could reposition furniture like tables to block doorways or provide cover. And if I recall correctly, objects were destructible, so hiding behind certain materials didn't guarantee one's safety.
I also appreciated being able to play as two different characters who had compelling backstories. The main character being one Andew Sterling, a former SAS soldier and MI6 agent and a female friend Kim. The narrative in fact is the main reason the game was so memorable. Easily one of the best stories in any video game I've played, it was penned by Warren Ellis, a Marvel/DC comic book writer and author of Red.
In general, the story is a suspenseful tale of espionage that turns tragic. It deals with its subject matter in a dramatic but solemn fashion befitting the gravity of its issues including world war and nuclear winter. Indeed, not only does it succeed in shocking its audience, but the poignant denouement is sad, beautiful and satisfying in ways that video games rarely achieve.
If you want specifics (and spoilers), it follows Sterling, who is rescued from Chinese imprisonment by Kim and a fellow former SAS soldier, Daniel Parish, after Sterling is effectively disavowed. Through backstory, you realize that Sterling had freed Kim from brutal captivity some while back, and had since become a mentor and comrade in arms.
To pay back his debt, he joins Parish's security agency to recover a stolen missile guidance system from an arms cartel. After doggedly pursuing their prey, Kim is captured and executed before Sterling's eyes. Eventually, the device is recovered but in the process a conspiracy is uncovered involving the agency's employer, John Grey
Grey, who had fought in WWII, created the secret society Greywings to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons. But their solution ultimately rested with turning public perception against such weapons by unleashing a superpower nuclear winter courtesy of their guidance systems.
However, Grey turned against the plan to protect his granddaughter and Sterling set about to destroy the Greywings and their capability to follow through with Operation: Cold Winter. Despite Sterling's eventual success, Grey is hunted down by surviving Greywings and murdered.
The mature tale of idealism gone awry, coupled with suspenseful and dramatic moments on its way to a bittersweet close, is well-complemented with intelligent, intuitive gameplay and a solid presentation for a gaming experience that is among the most memorable I've played. It deserved a much better reception."
"In my opinion, Fire Emblem is the most underrated game of all time. The game play is near perfect, the stories for all the games are well thought out and usually involve warring nations that end in some sort of supernatural event (demons, dragons, goddesses, that sort of thing). Still, they are always good stories, and the characters are interesting, usually. They have flaws and strengths that make them feel real. The gameplay is that of a strategy game, turn-based to be exact. You move your characters on a grid, and attack other units, trying to complete several different objectives. The combat is actually pretty deep, whenever you get into the magic and weapon triangles and how each character can move and their equipment. Still this game seems to fly under the radar a lot. and it generally has favorable reviews, but too many people pass this game up in favor of Nintendo's bigger franchises."
"The most underrated game of all time is Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Sure, people look back fondly on that game, but not many people really talk about it being one of the best RPGs ever made. It departed wildly from anything done in a Mario game before or since. The plot did not revolve around Bowser kidnapping a princess, instead it focused on a giant, sentient sword from outer space smashing into and taking over Bowser's castle. It forced Bowser and Mario to team up, something that had enver happened in a Mario game. it was the first Mario RPG and had graphics that looked fantastic on the Super Nintendo and still look pretty good today. The game was genuinely funny and uniquely quirky. Many of the characters who appear in Super Mario RPG never made another appearance in a Mario game. Great characters like Geno, the possessed children's doll, the Axem Rangers (a Power Rangers parody boss fight), Mallow, and Smithy. It had tons of secret goodies to find and the combat had a great timed button pressing mechanic that increased the damage you did if you got it right. I further submit that Super Mario RPG is better in every way than its spiritual successors in the Paper Mario series. Don't get me wrong, I love Paper Mario, but Super Mario RPG is better. Hands down. Unfortunately, due to Square's involvement in the development of Super Mario RPG, we are not likely to ever see another game quite like Super Mario RPG outside of re-releases on Virtual Console. Sigh."
"The most underrated game, in my opinion, is Advance Wars. It never got as much recognition as it should have. The series may be a bit silly at times and the story is universally godawful, but the gameplay is rock-solid. The rock-paper-scissors approach to combat is layered with complexity. Throw in an awesome map editor, and you've got a perfect way to kill endless hours on the DS. I put in over 200 hours on Dual Strike alone. Why Advance Wars isn't more popular (or why there hasn't been a sequel since 2008) is a mystery to me."
Jolt the Cynic
"One underrated game, huh? Several come to mind. Dynasty Warriors... Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best games ever made... If I had to pick just one, I would go with Rampage for NES.
It's difficult to remember the original thanks to the less-than-par remakes and additions that have been made. My father and I would play Rampage for hours. Smashing buildings, eating people, contending with the air strikes and tanks that tried to stop you... man, those were some good times.
The point of the game was to destroy every city you came across within the time limit. You accomplished this by destroying every building you could find. Meanwhile, you found goodies like food, people taking baths, even explosives to help you out. It was a simple enough idea, but it was addictive; so much so that my grandmother loved to play it."
"I'm gonna have to go with Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. The fact that I enjoyed the first one so much may have a little to do with it, but I really enjoyed this game. I wouldn't put it on my top ten list, and it did have some notable flaws. But every time I put it in, I always end up having fun. It's just something about the crazy action, fun vehicles, and constant explosions.
It even does a few things I've yet to see another sandbox game do. Like for example, anything you do in the world, stays that way until your machine is powered off. You could park a car on one side of the world, drive around for awhile, and that car will still be there. You could blow up a tree, and it won't respawn until you restart your console.
All in all, it definitely isn't a masterpiece, but it's a game I've a lot of fun with."
"The most underrated game of all time, in my opinion, is Mirror's Edge. While a critical darling and loved by the lot who played it, you don't hear many people talking about it or taking notes from it. The gameplay is still some of the most unique and inventive I've ever seen in a game, and no one's thought to do anything else with the idea. Is the game perfect? Absolutely not, but that's why other developers need to adopt the formula and perfect it, or DICE should at least hurry up and make a sequel. Maybe it can finally get the recognition it deserves."