A new generation is upon us, and I personally couldn't be more excited. 2014 and beyond is shaping up brilliantly for games, but before they all hit, I feel I should look back at some of my favorite experiences from last gen that either failed critically or commercially, and explain exactly why I loved them.
Folklore (2007) This one might hurt the most, right off the bat. Easily my favorite RPG of the generation, it was a victim of the struggling PS3's early years. It's a real shame, because the game was brilliant and there was real potential for it to be a massive hit for Sony. For me, no RPG has topped it since, even in 2013.
TimeShift (2007) I can honestly see why this game received mixed reviews. Its gunplay isn't great, its story is poorly written, and it had a multiplayer mode that I don’t think ever worked, but I just had too much fun playing it. Manipulating time was a neat gameplay mechanic that set it apart from other shooters and held my interest. Pausing, rewinding and slowing time in-game was a new exciting thing to me.
Fracture (2008) This game received average reviews upon release, but the concept of terrain deformation was far too interesting for me to skip it. I am very glad I didn't, because I genuinely found this game to be brilliant. Sure, the story was forgettable (in fact, I literally don’t remember it), but I will never forget having endless fun raising and lowering terrain at my own will.
Haze (2008) Now this one is polarizing. I know of a few people who enjoyed this game despite obvious flaws, but it was also demolished upon release after months of hype. I went into Haze blind, six months or so after release and having never read anything about it. I honestly bought it from reading the back cover. It was only after completing the game and then seeking other players’ impressions that I realized just how reviled this game was. I guess perspective really can change when you haven’t been subjected to reviews!
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (2008) I refuse to believe anyone who played this game didn't have a giant smile on their face at some point. My opinion is probably invalidated by the fact I never played the N64 games, but I thought this game was excellent. I spent hours building shit and just driving it around mindlessly. I really, really hope for a sequel from Rare. Please Microsoft, get them off of this Kinect Sports business and let them give the Banjo-Kazooie series another crack.
Too Human (2008) Not much I can really say about this one. I can see why people dislike it, and can definitely acknowledge its flaws, but that didn't stop me from enjoying my time with the game. Early in the generation I actually thought it would remain my favorite until the end. Obviously it didn't, but that shows how strong my appreciation was at the time.
Fable II (2008) I feel this one will be the most debatable in this list, but I enjoyed the hell out of this. Granted, not as much as the original on the Xbox, but I felt it was a worthy sequel that copped a little bit more flak than it deserved. If my 360 still worked, I would still be playing it today. Fable II is nothing mind-blowing, but it’s just fine. Fable III on the other hand…
Blur (2010) Where to begin with Blur. The best description I ever heard for it is “Mario Kart with neon and street cars” and its not far off. One of the best racers of the generation, with excellent splitscreen modes and all around fun gameplay, it still hurts that Bizarre was shut down after its release and the sequel cancelled. This leads nicely into…
Split/Second (2010) I actually have no idea if this sold poorly at all, or Disney were just being total assholes when they closed Black Rock following release, but I'm still so damn salty about it I'm going to include it here anyway. Ugh, why Disney? WHY?? You will never play Pure 2 or Split/Second 2 because of Disney. Let that sink in.
Resistance 3 (2011) Critically very well received, but the title was a victim of Sony’s bumbling (pre-2013) advertising department. Which is a real shame, because it is easily the best in the Resistance series, and prior to The Last of Us, was my game of the generation. The bleak, hopeless atmosphere throughout the story was absolutely brilliant, and unlike almost every other FPS I can think of, I actually gave a shit about the protagonist. Insomniac nailed the weapons as always (atomizer secondary fire was brutal). Multiplayer was a nice addition, though lowering the player cap from 60 in Resistance 2 to 16 in the third game was a shame. The massive battles and co-op were the only things I enjoyed about 2.
Twisted Metal (2012) Another game received pretty well critically, but it seems it didn't make much of a splash commercially. Twisted Metal multiplayer was top notch, specifically local 4-player splitscreen. It’s a shame that local multiplayer is dying in this industry, it's only the odd game such as this that comes along and proves it can still be done. Although, if you ever chose the semi-trailer for multiplayer, you suck. That thing took about 5 times the damage of every other vehicle.
Starhawk (2012) Save for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, this is my favorite online game this generation. Calling in my own buildings that land and build before my eyes always felt great, even better if they landed on someone else. The game has admittedly gone downhill since release, to the point where I’m scared to check the server population, but at launch it was a thriving online game with an interesting “build n battle” system and vehicle combat. As far as I know, this game flopped pretty hard, but a complete lack of advertising tends to do that.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, DmC: Devil May Cry (didn't feel like getting eaten alive), Remember Me.
That about summarizes the games that left a lasting impression on me. These games are a big part of the reason I put absolutely zero stock into reviews or sales. Just think of all the amazing experiences people could miss just because they read a number at the bottom that was a bit lower than they wanted?
But how about you, dear readers? Did you enjoy any of these games, or do you have any favorites you feel were unappreciated? Discuss them in the comments below!
PS - This is my first blog in a long time, so I'm happy to listen to feedback about how shit/great/perfect it was and where I could improve. It would be much appreciated!