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Why We Love Unloved Games.

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  • Every one of us finds ourselves caught in a situation like this at some point in our lives.  A game finds itself in our disc drive, dazzles us with its unique personality, and then we take a glance at its respective Wikipedia page and discover that it garners a Metacritic score below 70 and has sold less than 500,000 copies worldwide.  No matter how much we love that game, it is impossible to find anyone who shares such passion for it.  We can assume that its developers loved it this way, but they are usually a bit out of reach to share fandom with.

    This thread is meant to serve as a hub for the discussion of these unloved games.  Any title you have developed a liking for that you feel is not spoken of enough or is underrated in the media, talk about it here.  This isn't a place to express your Skyrim passions or confess your man (or lady) crush on Master Chief.  This is where we can talk about cult favourites and dark horses, but I won't judge specifically what is appropriate.  Any game that you feel has been forgotten in some way, regardless of its generation and regardless of its distribution method, lay it on here everything and anything you feel about it.      

  • I was just talking about this very subject with a friend and fellow gamer just a few days ago. And I've got two said game from the "Island of Unloved Games".

    First I must admit I have a deep love for the Original Star Wars Trilogy. Even those little fur balls the Ewoks. In turn I hate everything related to the Star Wars Prequels. *in best Gary Oldman voice from the Professional* EVERYTHING!. That said I love Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. It was reviled by gamers and critics alike. In fact, if memory serves me, Game Informer itself gave it a 5 and compared it to "being held down and having someone fart in your face". Yet, I adore that game and my adoration for it flies in the face of everything I despise about the Prequels: it stars Jango Fett, it elaborates on prequel story, it has Count Dooku. It's a Prequel tie in and doesn't have Boba Fett! But I still own it and play it at least 3 or 4 times a year. It's the one time I ignore my Prequel hating code. It's a long game and a rather tough one to boot. I know of only one other friend who likes it and he didn't even finish it (released in 2002) once to my over 20 times. The game taught me a lot of patience and to venture beyond my Horror Survival roots.

    My 2nd unloved game is P.N.03. This game was one of Capcom's Big 5 of exclusives for Nintendo's 'Cube back in 2003-2004. And it was the last one of only 4 to actually see the light of day and hit store shelves without even a whimper. Created by Shinji Mikami (of Resident Evil fame) the intention was to create something new moving away from Resident Evil and Devil May Cry and focus on a rhythmic shooter in the vein of the old arcade style shooters just brought to (then) next gen levels. And for me it did that in spades. I love the hell out of the game and it's mysterious protagonist Vanessa Z Schneider. It is yet another one I play whenever I can squeeze it into the constant and ever growing new release roster. Why the game came and went without notice and was snubbed is still a little confusing to me except maybe it was a bit ahead of the curve (at the time) for the now inescapable deluge of "revival" games on XBLA and PSN. Sure it's light on story and yes you can't run and shoot (hello Mikami and Capcom!). But if you like quick thinking action, stylish gameplay and a cool looking character with a nice set of moves and powerhouse upgrades...well, maybe you can give Vanessa Z Schneider some love. Maybe? 

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  • Hmmnm... I was under the impression that pretty much no one on this site cared for anything but the biggest AAA releases.

    Perhaps I'm not alone in buying, loving, and supporting games that exist outside the ultra mainstream...

    There also seems to be a trend these days, especially in the online community, that any game averaging a score less than 90% is "crap not worth the money."

    Hell, the Splatterhouse revamp got dismal reviews, but I loved it.  It perfectly delivered an old-school horror feel with decent beat-em-up gameplay.  I felt it's worst fault was a couple totally unbalanced segments and the worst loading times this side of a Bethesda game.  Aside from that, pure splattery fun.

  • @deckard:

    I played Star Wars: Bounty Hunter a while back, as my younger brother likes Star Wars but isn't able to play many more complicated games yet, so I play them while he watches.  However for some reason I wasn't able to get into it, and we actually traded it off because he was getting bored with it as well.  As for P.N.O3, I recognize the cover but don't really know much about it, I must have seen it at the local EB many years ago when my knowledge of the industry was virtually non-existent beyond my personal library. :)

    Great hearing from you, and its always interesting to hear an unusual opinion about games, for they are too diverse and complex to squander on generalizations. :)

  • @RezidentHazard (rides again):

    The GIO community is more diverse than you might think, I think its just that AAAs are easier to talk about. :)  That and a bit of an image thing. :)

  • @Colton:

    I did check out your blog, it was an interesting piece that I could relate to (you can read my comment to hear my full thoughts).  And coming from that storied background and now in your present endeavors, you must have some obscure experiences to share with us here.  If so go right ahead! :)

  • Its been a while, but here is the first of my underloved favourites, and for added drama, I shall open with inspiration taken from fellow commentor, deckard:

    Metro 2033, developed by Ukrainian dev. 4A Games, was released on March 16, 2010 on the Xbox 360 (the picture doesn't lie!) and Microsoft Windows.  It was an unusual project, as it was an adaptation of Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky's book of the same name, a story that follows protagonist Artyom through his desperate journey through the ruined metro system of a post-apocalyptic Moscow in the year 2033, as he seeks political & military support to rescue his doomed home - one of the many stations around the metro.  In this world the stations house Moscow's population, as a nuclear war rendered the surface inhospitable and drenched with the irradiated fallout.  The game also delves into the supernatural, as beings known as The Dark Ones, vicious creatures who assume a multitude of grisly forms, from wolves to gargoyles, are threatening the population of the metro, most imminently the home station of young Artyom.  It is against these beasts that he must fight against, or face the extinction of his family and race.

    However the real magic in this world is that despite the danger and mystery behind The Dark Ones, a massive focus is in displaying human suffering at the hands of humans.  In such a decrepit world, you would hope that people would be focused on helping one another through pain, but here, the populace's fragility has given rise to two opposing philosophies, the Soviets and the Nazis, who take advantage of the suffering to indoctrinate people towards their cause, and wage war against one another for control of the metro.  2033 doesn't feel shame in depicting humans as lowly, base creatures, and it is in this, alongside the seedy atmosphere of the stations, that the world feels truly alive and believable, as it is no secret that the average human is easily pushed into a self-centred nature when life is difficult.  Artyom, who is truly selfless, finds himself caught dealing with people driven only by their own needs and convenience, while fighting a two-pronged war against an unknown monstrous threat, and the scum of his own race.

    Despite being made as an FPS, 2033 is anything but ordinary, as it stands a proud mixture of action and light survival horror, where Rambo style tactics (or lack there of) will only result in swift death.  It is not the most polished shooter, but generates an incredibly heady atmosphere with moody shadows and a constant feeling of vulnerability, as the desperate jaunts to the surface world require gas masks that break, air filters that must be interchanged, and a head-mounted flashlight that must be manually recharged.  Even the night-vision goggles found later in the game require upkeep to stay effective, and it is this kind of believable resource management that makes you feel like a tunnel rat, a survivor barely scraping by in an incredibly hostile world.  And every combat senario presents a question in itself, as there are two kinds of bullets available to you for use in pistols, SMGs & assault rifles, dirty or clean.  Dirty rounds are plentiful like in any shooter, but the rarer clean rounds are much stronger, but are also used as the currency of the world.  Another fine merging of plot & gameplay, you will only be able to buy better equipment and supplies like health packs if you save up these rounds, but at the same time, if you don't conquer your enemies there is no use in being a packrat.  It is interesting mechanics like these that fill in the intoxicating atmosphere and feeling of survival, with The Dark Ones providing jump scares and general creepiness, that set 2033 apart from being labelled a sub par FPS.  

    And in spite of this, the game has failed to achieve anything more than a cult status, though its sequel, Metro: Last Light, will provide the series a second chance at widespread love.  Currently schedules for Q1 2013, it may shed the adaptation status, but the continued involvement of Glukhovsky will ensure that the story and atmosphere remains strong, only strengthened by the experience of 4A Games.    

  • I totally forgot about this game brother! I remember the reviews being slightly tepid. Like they had nothing great to say about it and yet...nothing bad either. But after reading this I'm completely sold. I'm going to search for this game. I also didn't know ( or just didn't remember) the game was based on a book. So that's even more intriguing now!  

  • @deckard

    Great, I'm glad it piqued your interest.  Its not heavy survival horror and the story is told in a bit too vague a manner, but its still very interesting and very unique.  You'd probably be able to get it quite cheap now, I hope you'll like it and support the sequel! :)

  • Many years ago before I even paid much attention to video game reviews, and just bought what looked coo,l I played Bounty Hunter for the PS2. I found it to be a very enjoyable game. I really liked all the different environments that you got sent to.

    Metro 2033 has been on my radar since before it came out but I've just been too cheap to buy it. It looks super cool and I really just want to play it for the story and atmosphere. Don't care much about the gameplay. If it goes down enough in price at Gamestop I'll probably pick it up next summer.

    Now for a game that I'd rank as one of my all time favorites.

    Alpha Protocol scored a 72 on metacritic which really isn't that bad, but having actually read many reviews the game received some serious hate. On PS3 and XBOX360 the game only sold about 200,000 copies. It may not have helped that on the day the game was supposed to be released the release date changed, with no notification. I remember going to Gamestop ready to buy Alpha Protocol then not seeing copies for purchase.


    For the most part the game was criticized for its poor gameplay. I found the gameplay to be fun in an over-the-top arcady sort of way. Being stealthy and taking out lots of enemies with silenced pistol shots and hand to hand takedowns or going in guns blazing with duel SMGs was fun. But I have to admit that some parts could be frustrating, especially the boss fights.

    However, I looked past the gameplay flaws and enjoyed a game with good acting and a really fun story. Different choices you make actually have short and long term consequences and affect the way characters treat you, unlike some RPGs. Another thing a lot of RPGs do that AP didn't do is repeat environments. Every little place you go to is completely different. I found this surprising for a game that lacked AAA polish when even games like Mass Effect had a lot of repeated environments. You get to go to a lot of cools places including Rome, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The conversation system is very cool. It's similar to Mass Effect, only instead of picked a general wording of a response, you select an attitude, such as suave, professional, or aggressive. Of course with actually decisions have to be made you have appropriate prompts for selecting those. Also conversations flow at a natural pace and you must make many split second decisions. A timer goes down when having conversations with people so you have only a few seconds before the game makes a response for you. Here is an example of a split second decision to be made. Data is being removed from a computer system and you can only pick the limited data you want.

    Well I know this game is really cheap now so it's worth picking up if you're interested. I've played through the game four times so far and I still want to revisit it.

    If you post it, they will troll.

  • @Luke

    Great to hear from you, this thread has been dormant for a bit so its nice to see it get some love. :)  It sounds like Obsidian did some interesting things with Alpha Protocol, its always sad when a game loses its potential fanbase over imperfections like this, as often it takes a sequel to a flawed first game to make those ideas shine.  Also, I like your signature, a very true maxim for the internet age. :)

  • Thanks Nikolas.

    I haven't posted regularly on GI in about a year so I've sort of been looking through everything.

    If you post it, they will troll.

  • This is a great topic Nikolas! It's funny because I usually play the kind of games in GI, but I have such a soft spot for a little game called Kya: Dark Lineage from the PS2. I think maybe my dad found it and brought it home for me and my sisters, but I had a blast with it. I liked playing as a female heroine, Kya (my avatar now actually), who got to rescue her brother which doesn't happen very often! The setting itself was very different and full of these original creatures (like a fantasy setting).  I really enjoyed that game, so I was disappointed when the sequel was scrapped. Still, I can look back and at least reminisce. :)

  • That sounded like a very unusual game, I like how the female rescues her brother too. :)   I love games with settings that are hard to classify and full of originality, like a Bioshock or (for a cult title) Heavenly Sword [probably one I'll talk about here ;) ], so it is a shame it never got a second chance.  Beyond Good & Evil is another odd, charming game that bombed with its original release, but got a new lease on life with the HD re-release and lots of fans clamouring for a sequel.  It seems unlikely, but Kya sounds like something Atari should revive sometime, even as a shorter DLC release. :)

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