The Five Most Criminally Underrated Video Games
Video game fans are a notoriously fickle group. What was popular one month is hated the next and vice versa. All too often, the ever-changing taste of the gaming masses has led to plenty of truly amazing games being passed over. Games of flavor and unique charm have long had an unfortunate track record of being passed over; regardless of critical reception. The list below takes a look at five games that are utterly amazing but never hit their mark with the gaming public. Luckily, many of these titles have achieved a cult status among fans despite never gaining the notoriety they deserve.
Jade Cocoon is as underrated as an RPG can get. Released in 1998 during the heyday of the Final Fantasy dominated PlayStation One era, Jade Cocoon exuded charm and personality that allow the game to stand out from the rest of the RPG pack but never took off commercially.
Praised for its gorgeous graphics and unique story and gameplay elements, Jade Cocoon was a niche RPG fans dream come true. Combining traditional JRPG mechanics with monster raising components, Jade Cocoon had unbridled potential and enough innovative features to earn a name for itself. Sadly, due mainly to its short (in comparison to RPGs at the time) length and ungodly tank controls, Jade Cocoon and its monster battling goodness now lives in RPG infamy.
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System:
Metal Arms is a third-person shooter that wasn’t afraid to stand out. Released on the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox back in 2003, Metal Arms won over the heart of anyone who played the game; leaving spirits completely dampened when the game’s sequel was put on an indefinite hold.
Metal Arms placed players in the metallic shoes of Glitch, a newly reactivated Droid thrown into the middle of a turbulent rebellion. Metal Arms featured the fast-paced TPS style gameplay that ruled releases during the early 2000’s and threw tons of customization and weapon upgrades at the player. These options, combined with the game’s interesting setting and robotic characters allowed Metal Arms to be instantly recognizable from its competition.
However, despite its unique offerings, Metal Arms never took off commercially and was panned by critics for being too challenging at certain points. Metal Arms never got the real chance it deserved and after the purchase of the game’s developing studio, Swinging’ Apes by Blizzard Entertainment, and hopes of the franchise getting a second chance to shine have been dashed.
Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon:
The Nintendo 64 brought 3D platformers to thousands of gamers across the world, making the genre the pinnacle of the gaming world at the time of the system’s release. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon managed to take the tried and true formula and flip it on its head – thanks largely to the game’s absolutely insane absurdist humor and musical numbers.
Mystical Ninja’s story wove a bizarre story of Goemon and his efforts to stop the Westernization of Peach Mountain. As strange as the plot sounded in theory, Mystical Ninja managed to pull it off perfectly, due to the game’s gorgeous graphics and downright hilarious writing.
The game combined tight platforming sections and adventure elements to blend its inane humor, filled with more puns than any other game on the market, together neatly. Mystical Ninja was praised by critics for its charm but was passed over at the time by other, Italian platforming juggernauts.
Similar to the aforementioned Jade Cocoon, Suikoden II never got its fair turn during the PS1 era of RPG dominance. Had it been given the chance, Suikoden II would undoubtedly be known as the greatest JRPG of all time.
Suikoden II’s brilliantly written plot of political intrigue, betrayal, and terrible war was brought to life perfectly thanks to the game’s massive cast of characters. The game blended traditional combat, one-on-one duels and large scale battles perfectly, creating one of the genre’s best combat systems.
Outside of combat, Suikoden II was loaded with diversions and side activities. From recruiting the game’s 108 party members, building your army’s fortress and dominating the trade goods market, Suikoden II offered almost too much content at the time.
Each aspect of Suikoden II came together perfectly to create a deep and immersive RPG that is absolutely adored by those who have played it. Suikoden II also is home to one of the greatest villains in video game history, Luca Blight, whose presence is unforgettable.
God Hand is one of the craziest, most ridiculous, and critically underrated games of all time. From the mind of Resident Evil’s Shinji Mikami, God Hand is a balls-to-the-wall beat ‘em up about a man who literally had god arms that were once used to defeat demons and save the world.
God Hand is known for its insane characters, bizarre plot, and high-octane combat, all providing for a downright unforgettable video game experience. God Hand initially made headlines when IGN panned the game, rating it a 3/10 upon release.
IGN however, notoriously missed the mark when it came to reviewing God Hand. The campy, yet somehow charming brawler has more character in its pinky finger than just about any other game ever released and is notorious for its combat system.
While God Hand was slept on at its release, the game’s legacy lives on in terms of its cult hit status. Fortunately for gamers everywhere, God Hand is now available for download on the PlayStation Store.
You need to play this game. NOW.
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