Five Overlooked Last-Gen Games

Five Overlooked Last-Gen Games

For every blockbuster title that garners high praise and sales, there a number of games that fly under the radar. There’s plenty of great titles that have plenty to offer but, for numerous reasons, never get the love and attention they deserve. This isn’t the definitive list of the most overlooked games; it’s merely a look at few of them.

 

The Club:

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Bizarre creations (R.I.P) were best known for their Project Gotham Racing games, but The Club was their attempt at something new. It was a bold departure for the developer, but to be fair to them, they did a great job.

The Club was a fast-paced third-person shooter which focused on scoring points in various ways. Killing enemies in various ways earned the player points, as did shooting hidden targets within the level. The speed in which the player completed a level also played a large part in the final score awarded.

Bizarre creations managed to carry over some of the elements of their Project Gotham games into The Club. The most enjoyable part of the game was beating friends’ scores and climbing the leaderboard. Poor sales, however, limited the chances of your friends owning the game and thus the joy of half the game was halved.

The reason for poor sales could be put down to many things: The Club was a fresh IP which didn’t have much of marketing campaign behind it; it launched on the same day as installments of already established franchises such as Turok and Devil May Cry; there seemed to be a few issues when it came to describing the game eloquently; and the retail box of The Club was a bit of a mess and left potential customers confused rather than interested.

It’s a shame The Club flopped in sales and was largely forgotten by the gaming masses. Fans of old-school arcade action will find plenty to enjoy. Those who enjoyed the likes of Bulletstorm may find some enjoyment due to the similarities between the two games. Given how cheap the game is now (around £4) it’s easy to recommend The Club. It’s a nice change of pace and still has plenty to offer even in 2014.

 

 

WWE All Stars:

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While the WWE still maintains its global appeal, WWE All Stars seems somewhat overlooked. Spinning off from the yearly WWE video game updates, All Stars was a lot more of an arcade affair. The stylised over-the-top cartoon-like art style split WWE fans and non-fans a like.

The gameplay was a lot faster paced than people had come to expect from a WWE game, but the accessible yet hugely fun nature of the game resulted in an enjoyable experience. Watching WWE superstars of past and present fly around the ring had a giddy sense to it. The gameplay offered a surprising amount of depth to it, as well as some great opportunities to pull crazy combos.

WWE All Stars’ under-performance appeared to be down to its art style and departure from regular WWE games. People just didn’t know how to take the game. This issue wasn’t helped by All Stars releasing just a short time after the yearly WWE game,either.

The obvious stigma attached to WWE (and wrestling as entertainment on the whole) didn’t help matters either. All Stars can easily be enjoyed by anyone who likes their fighters. Surprising depth, great visuals and overall attitude, made All Stars a great little title which deserved more than it got.

 

 

Deadly Premonition:

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One of the deepest games in the last generation, Deadly Premonition was a celebration of the weird and wonderful. Taking influences from the likes of Twin Peaks, the game had a fantastic feeling of mystery surrounding it.

The story involved an FBI agent on the case of a mysterious serial killer. The protagonist and supporting cast all offered some wonderfully bizarre dialogue and characteristics. The puzzle-solving and interaction with the world was brilliant and the combat was decent, if a little fiddly.

Deadly Premonition suffered from little to no production value, with the visuals being very basic for the generation. The voice acting was quite bad, but this added a lovely cheesy feeling to the game and its script.

With no marketing and probably the most varied review scores in gaming history, Deadly Premonition went largely unnoticed. A limited PAL release didn’t help things either, especially considering the game was released during a busy period in Europe.

Deadly Premonition can still be tracked down in many stores that sell pre-owned games–as well as the likes of Ebay. Digital copies can also be purchased through the Games On Demand service on Xbox live. It’s a true modern cult classic well worth the time of anyone who can enjoy substance over style.

 

 

Zack & Wiki: The Quest For Barbaro’s Treasure

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Charming and incredibly deep, Zack & Wiki was an utter treat. With plenty of puzzles that truly challenged the player, the game is still one of the finest Wii titles. The characters were adorable and amusing, their design nothing short of beautiful.

The game was a treat on the eyes due its its fantastic cel-shaded style and nicely crafted world. Sure, the nature of the puzzles could be frustrating, but they always resulted in a satisfying conclusion.

One of the main triumphs of Zack & Wiki was its fantastic use of the Wiimote. A lot of games on the market at that time tended to misuse the device. Zack & Wiki, however, helped turned the Wiimote from a gimmick to a legitimate way to play a game.

Zack & Wiki was a fantastic game that suffered some pretty poor sales. Zero marketing for the game was an early sign that the game was destined to sell poorly. The visual style was cartoonish and was wrongly seen as a kids game by the majority of gamers.

Given the stigma attached to the Wii, the game’s hardcore puzzler ways were often overlooked. At around £6-9 pounds (at most stores that sell pre-owned games), Zack & Wiki is a bargain. Dust off the Wii and enjoy some top quality point-’n'-click adventures with some great puzzles.

 

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

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Seeing a Grand Theft Auto title on the Nintendo DS was quite surprising at first. The DS was riding high but was seen as a family/casual system by a large group of people. Chinatown Wars was a brilliant game that offered all the traits the Grand Theft Auto franchise was known for. The crime-soaked story, the large open world, and of course the interesting characters.

Chinatown Wars made great use of everything the DS had to offer. The touch screen was put to good use and played a legitimate role in the gameplay. The game’s presentation was to a high standard, with Liberty City being lovingly recreated. Chinatown Wars was praised by critics left, right, and centre. However, its sales were dismal.

Sales struggled to meet expectations and things didn’t really improve. There was a fair good amount of marketing behind the game, with various adverts on the internet and printed media. The main problem Chinatown Wars seemed to suffer from was the platform it was on.

The DS was widely seen as a casual system (a common misconception by a lot of modern gamers). The established fan base for Grand Theft Auto tended to stick to the consoles; this was always a problem for Chinatown Wars to tackle. The game was quality, but the market just didn’t seem to be there.

Since its release on the DS, Chinatown Wars has been ported to PSP and Apple mobile devices. Regardless of which format you play it on, Chinatown Wars is worth a look for anyone wanting a quality game on the go.

 

Sean Halliday


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