Ten Best Games…No One Ever Played
In today’s gaming climate we often only think of the major releases like Call of Duty and God of War. However everyone has that favorite game that they played to death yet none of their friends did. Sadly in gaming some of the best games manage to fall under the radar. This list is for all the best games that no one ever seemed to played.
10.) Alpha Protocol
Alpha Protocol is the prince of all misbegotten and misunderstood games. The level of choice and branching paths in the game even rivals that of Mass Effect. The way the story portrays the whole game as a flashback is an interesting and fun mechanic. The narrative is reminiscent of the Jason Bourne movies (in a good way).
The game perhaps gets its bad rap because of an often confusing battle system. Rather than the combat being controlled by action mechanics such as aiming, the game is similar to Mass Effect, in that it’s based on skill points instead. So if you have a low handgun skill you will often miss regardless of if your aim is spot on or not. However once the player realizes this you can truly play the game as it’s meant to be.
When I finished Alpha Protocol I immediately raced to my favorite forum to talk about the game and was surprised to see how vastly different other players ending’s were. It motivated me to go back and play through the game one more time just to see the various outcomes. That is a rare experience to have in gaming these days, while multiple endings is not uncommon, having several endings all with different aspects is.
Alpha Protocol is far from perfect that is certainly not up for contention. But the game is fun, unique and with multiple and sometimes wildly different endings, worth a playthrough or two.
9.) Gitaroo Man
The Playstation 2 era was surprisingly light on Parappa The Rappa type games and it seemed as if the fledgling music rhythm genre was dead in the U.S. Then seemingly out of nowhere we were gifted with an incredibly weird and original rhythm game, Gitaroo Man. You play as U-1 a boy who is ridiculed by classmates and ignored by the girl of his dreams. But once he comes across a talking dog Puma he learns how to use a magical guitar and become Guitaroo Man.
It’s that ridiculous setup that frames the music game Gitaroo Man. The game takes the concept of Parappa and adds in music battles. The unique and colorful visuals help add this crazy flavor to the game as you charge music notes and deplete the energy of the level bosses.
Above all else though is the music. The levels were fun to play from a rhythm standpoint but its the catchy and infectious music that helps seal the deal. It’s a soundtrack I still frequently find myself listening too.
Bulletstorm was severely hyped before its release, so much so that its possible the game never truly stood a chance. And while the game itself has sold a million copies I know very few people who actually PLAYED it. This game is on this list because I think so many people just tasted it, played it for a level and then quit. Never truly dipping into the depths of the games insanity. Which is a shame because Bulletstorm is above all else, entertaining.
There’s a story in Bulletstorm, a crazy Micheal Bay worthy story. It’s really just a plot device to kill EVERYTHING. To kill everything in as many fun and creative ways possible. I can see how a casual player would play the game for a level or two and become bored. But if you stick with it and embrace the craziness of Bulletstorm you get drawn into a game that plays out like a adolescent boys perfect action movie. The jokes are crude and rude but funny, the on rail action scenes are fast and crazy and the weapons are pure fiction.
The level where you control the mechanical dinosaur is worth the price of admission alone. Some games don’t have to be an Oscar winner, hell they don’t even have to be great, some games just need to be fun. And Bulletstorm is just that and only that, fun.
7.) God Hand
Oh what to say about God Hand. This list contains a lot of craziness but none of it matches the level of Super WTF that is God Hand. Often referred to as “The Game IGN Gave A 3 But We Know How Wrong They Are”, God Hand is a game that has to truly be played to understand.
God Hand is an action game in which the main character, Gene, face rapes everything in sight in the most inventive ways possible. The game is the video game equivalent of Fist of the North Star in the way Gene destroys everything he touches. You go from super punches to drunken fist to even capoeira as you spin and flip and destroy everything in arm’s length.
There’s also a story in there, though let’s be real, its kinda awful. Fallen angel, demon god, the power of god in someone’s hand blah blah blah action ensues. The point is you punch people off the map, super donkey kick people to the balls and stomp creeps into the ground. What else do you want in a game?
6.) Shadow Hearts
Shadow Hearts is on the surface an ordinary game, a by the numbers japanese rpg. But as you delve deeper into the tale you begin to see that the game is anything but ordinary.
Shadow Hearts is about the dark adventure of Yuri and Alice in an alternate version of 1913, as they deal with a dark force that wants the both of them. While the story itself is good, what truly sets the game apart is its dark and gritty style and setting. Never have I seen designs so twisted and crazy in a game, it surpasses even Silent Hill in the nasty department. The music and tone of the game dripped malice and evil and every inch of the game oozed creepy.
The game even has a mechanic where you become so covered in malice from monster killing that Death will show up for you. Then add to the fact that the canon ending has one of the most quietly sad endings out there and you had a masterpiece.
That no one played…
5.) Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
Now I know your first reaction is “But there has been four sequels to Legacy of Kain, how can it be on this list.” Ask anyone who has played the Legacy of Kain series which game was their first and 9 times out of 10 you’ll hear them say Soul Reaver. However Soul Reaver was not the first in the series, it was Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen that was the true first. And sadly the most overlooked and important one of the series.
Blood Omen shows the fall of nobleman Kain at the hand of assassins and his rise as a vampire by the hand of Mortanius. From there you learn about the world of Nosgoth and the impending corruption that could doom the world. Blood Omen introduces to you the time aspect that would become the key to the whole series and introduces characters like Moebius and Mortanius.
While you can play the series starting from Soul Reaver without Blood Omen you never truly understand why Kain loathes the concept of fate and his hatred for the Time Keeper. Watching the story play out as Kain is manipulated into changing the future is gripping and gives insight into why he rips the wings from Raziel in the sequel. The style of combat and overhead perspective may have been dropped in the sequels but the amazingly well written story that defines the series started with Blood Omen. Anyone who played Soul Reaver and not Blood Omen has done themselves a great injustice.
4.) Shadows of the Damned
I talk about this game a lot, ever chance I get in fact. And that’s for one simple reason. Shadows of the Damned is so, so damned good.
Shadows of the Damned is a horror fueled 3rd person shooter that isn’t afraid to let the dirty humor flow. The protagonist Garcia Hotspur is a badass demon hunter who basically gets called out by the king of hell, Flemeth, by kidnapping his girlfriend. And so you dive into hell to get her back and kick Flemeth’s ass on the way.
The appeal of Shadows of the Damned is the mix of third person horror and dark macabre humor. Your gun is actually a demon capable of turning into different forms all of which are hilariously named. How could you not love a game that lets you wield a gun named Hot Boner and Big Boner?
The music is penned by Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka, the voice acting is great and the level design is great and creepy at the same time. Hell you even have a level where you fly around as a pinata in a side scrolling Gradius style. It even manages to have a surprisingly good ending, something you almost don’t expect. Shadows of the Damned is a great game that for frustrating reasons fell into cult classic status instead of selling tons of copies.
3.) Viking: Battle for Asgard
Out of every game on this list this is one that I think is quite literally the least played. I almost missed this game myself if I hadn’t been trying to fill out my GameFly queue one boring summer. Even I didn’t know what to expect upon turning the game on. What I was greeted with however was an incredibly bloody and fun game despite its flaws.
Viking thrust you into the role of Skarin, the chosen champion of Freya, as you battle against Hel and her attempts to bring about Ragnarok. While the story is no doubt light and a little cliché it’s a great setup and setting for a bloody good massacre. Viking is an open world action game in which the player frees settlement’s on portions of Midgard in order to raise an army. After you’ve freed enough settlements through action and stealth you engage in an enormous Lord of the Rings style battle complete with dragons.
While the game can get repetitive at times that is simply the trappings of every action game and can be easily forgiven every time you see a dragon barbecue a monster. Viking is a fun action game that manages to break away from the mold while not straying so far that it feels alien. And did I mention dragons?
2.) Phantom Dust
There is absolutely no reason why Phantom Dust didn’t sell millions of copies. Perhaps the reason lies in the system it debuted on. Phantom Dust was a hybrid card based adventure game exclusive to Xbox. Released at a time where Xbox was growing in the FPS market, Phantom Dust managed to fly under the radar. Which is a shame because it’s also one of the most innovative games ever released.
The story revolves around the main character and his friend Edgar trying to unravel why the Earth has been destroyed and replaced with a mysterious dust. If it seems like an odd story that’s because it most certainly is, and it only serves to make the setting that much more unique.
But really its all about the crazy card fueled combat. You can mix and match three cards from over 300 unlockable skills that vary from attack to defense to status skills. Then when your on the field you can pick up a random fourth skill from orbs.
The card based action system was a breath of fresh air and was a bit like mixing Unreal Championship and Yu-Gi-Oh. Phantom Dust was a truly singular experience that has yet to be duplicated.
1.) Chaos Legion
Let’s just be upfront about it, Chaos Legion has an awful story. The protagonist Sieg is a knight under orders by his order, Dark Glyphs, to find his former friend Victor. Victor stole a super powerful and naturally forbidden book and Sieg has to stop him before he inadvertently destroys three different planes of existence.
Sounds crazy right? Yea pretty much, but its Capcom you come to expect that. The appeal of the game is the unique system they’ve added to the action adventure. You see Sieg can control Chaos Legion, specialized monsters that can be summoned to help fight. However when you have a Legion out you can’t move and your own melee moves are slower and weaker. You can only bring two of the seven Legions with you so you have to pick carefully.
The music, the atmosphere and the looks of Chaos Legion are all metal infused gothic in a vein similar to Devil May Cry. The addition of legions to a normal hack n slash adventure was all it needed to rise above the ordinary dribble of the genre. The Thantos legion specifically was amusing of enough for me to replay levels several times just to continue to watch it teleport and destroy helpless monsters. Chaos Legion is epitome of the game that sucks you in with style and gameplay and makes everything else in the game secondary.
This is a bit of a tangent but you know what every game on this list has in common? They’re all slightly flawed but great games that were passed over because they didn’t get 9 out of 10′s by the critics. We have somehow ended up in a world where we only believe in playing the games that are hyped as life changing. Sometimes a game just has to make you laugh or smile for a few hours, much like the popcorn action movie, some games are fun flashes during an afternoon. And ultimately that’s not such a bad thing, sometimes games just need to be fun and nothing more.