MMN's Top Six Most Underrated/Underplayed Games

By Mike on 12:01 am

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Now that we've seen the most overrated, lets look at the most underrated. You know the ones. The games that are just so good but for one reason or another, nobody played them. Here's my top six in no particular order. Why six? This one was more of a head scratcher and I couldn't think of any that were good enough to round out the four remaining. lol

Okami (PS2, Wii)
A beautiful, stunning, masterpiece of a game who's sales ranged from modest in North America to mediocre in Japan. That last one being rather ironic since it is based on classical Japanese legends. Okami stands as the only game that can really rival Myamoto's Zelda series in size, scope, and quality. It featured beautiful sumi-e/ukiyo-e style cell shaded graphics, a haunting classical Japanese score, an engaging story, and to top it off it was just plain fun to play. What other game lets you play as a wolf with god powers?

Grim Fandango (PC)
This is the game that killed the LucasArts adventure games. Sales were poor at best and yet this game is so good. It truly was the studio's magnum opus. A four year journey through the Aztec land of the dead done in a 1930s film noir style. It featured Manny Calavara at the centre of a gripping conspiracy story that saw tickets for free passage to heaven being stolen from souls, then bought and sold on the black market to the undeserving. The game had great art deco visions and a wonderful jazz score. After this game's financial failure, LucasArts too one more stab at the adventure genre and then closed up shop for good. The games that made them famous disappeared, replaced by a seemingly endless stream of Star Wars titles. Now that Monkey Island is being remade and Sam & Max saw a revival, hopefully LucasArts will take another crack at this fantastic adventure game.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC, Xbox)
This game was broken and rushed due to strict LucasArts deadlines. It had huge plot holes. It goes unappreciated because of this. However, Obsidian still manged to create a sequel worthy of the original, and even surpassing it in some cases. It was one of the first Star Wars titles to ever question the clear cut nature of the force seen in most other works, showing that good and evil were not as black and white as they were made out to be. The game is heavier on dialogue and explores a lot of the philosophy in depth. It was vary well written and far darker than any other Star Wars game. The Sith Lord Kreia is regarded as one of gaming's best characters. KotOR II is vary much a thinking man's Star Wars.

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
Majora's Mask has largely been overshadowed by the epic Ocarina of Time that preceded it. It took the Zelda series in a direction I think a lot of people weren't ready for. It still stands as the darkest and saddest game in the series. It also turned gameplay upside down by having a 72 hour deadline to finish events before having to reset a la Groundhog Day. The story involves the theft of Majora's Mask, a legendary mask involved in ancient black magic rituals that became so powerful, it took on a life of its own. The mask is stolen by Skull Kid who wants to use it to destroy a world that he feels wronged him, by crashing the planet's menacing looking moon onto Clock Town. Link has to resurrect the four Guardians of Termina and stop the disaster before time runs out. It stands as a unique entry into the series that brought something refreshing. Compared to more recent entries targeted at kids, this is one adults can strongly appreciate.

Flower (PS3)
I could criticize Flower on several points. Namely it's short length and lack of any complex gameplay. Many other reviewers have in the past. However, there is a certain beauty in Flower's simplicity. The calm gentleness of it all and how it seems to blend perfectly with the PS3's motion controller. Each blade of grass is rendered in full 3D and the score almost has a calming effect to it. It's one of those games you pick up after a hard day when you just need to zen out for a bit.

Sonic CD (Sega CD)
Probably the best Sonic the Hedgehog game ever made. It had beautiful graphics, a lively early 1990s sound track, and a meaningful time travel system that actually tripled the size of the game's six levels. Naturally Sonic CD sold poorly, mostly because it's system sold poorly. Despite being one of the best Sonic games around, it doesn't get the same love as many other titles. Crappy games such as Sonic Labyrinth and Sonic 3D Blast frequently appear on compilation discs but Sonic CD has only made one; on the Sonic Gems Collection for the Gamecube and Japanese PS2. A PC version compatible with Windows 9x was released and is arguably the best port, including high res cut scenes compared to the Sega CD's poor quality FMV.

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