Well well well... it's been awhile, folks. I've been thinking about all of the games that have been unfairly beaten up, and today I'll list my video game underdogs from the last 5 years or so. This is from least to greatest.
10. Shadow the Hedgehog (GC/XB/PS2)- I just recently got this one for $13. It had a HUGE outburst of negativity, for various reasons. But if you keep an open mind, you'll find it to be a flawed yet entertaining game. Sure the story had problems, and the game had a tacked-on "edge" factor (characters like sonic and knuckles would shout out "damn!"), but I actually enjoyed it. Sure, Shadow zips around way too fast like a goon, and there's the usual "cheap death", most of the vehicles controlled horribly, and the 2-player mode was worthless, but it's hard to deny the fun things the game had going for it. The gunplay added a cool little element to the usual sonic game, the stage layout was very non-linear, choosing different sides allowed decent replay value, and all of shadow's abilities (chaos blast & contol, slide, ring dash, triangle jump, etc.) were all put to good use. Plus, you gotta love the trashy and cheesy original soundtrack. I thought it easily beat out Sonic Heroes, and it's a shame it was hated so much. It's far from perfect, but I'll give it a 7.5.
9. Terminator 3: Redemption(GC/XB/PS2)- Wow. This one's a blast. Terminator games don't have a very good reputation, but this one rocks. It met only average critical response, yet I really liked this one. It's an exciting third-person shooter loaded with driving and shooting action. It's unreasonably difficult, but you'll survive. It really goes above and beyond the movie and fleshes out what the T-man can do. Just blasting the crap and thrashing bots to pieces is fun and satisfying, and the game has great sound and graphics. There's even a fun, albeit repetitive, arcade style co-op mode. This one gets an 8.
8. Gotcha Force (GC)- This 'cube title's a rarity. It was released very quietly by Capcom in '04, meeting critical and financial disapproval.But if you can find this one, pick it up if you have friends. It's a fast and very fun robot-battling game. There are over 200 bots you can put in your team, and duke it out with your friends and their team. The story mode is appalling, but it's worth getting through just to get more bots (which are all cool and varied). There's a co-operative challenge mode, and battle for up to 4 players. The graphics are simple, but colorful and bright (and sticks with a solid framerate mostly). The music is decent, but the voice acting is horrid beyond belief. It's easy to see why this game didn't catch on, but from a gameplay perspective it has top-notch multiplayer and it's really easy to learn. Gotcha Force gets a 7.5.
7. Billy Hatcher (GC)- Sonic Team released this one meeting much flak from gamers and critics, but if you get beyond the game's frustrating difficulty and extremely kidsy vibe, it's quite a solid game. The graphics are fine, and the music is okay but the voices are bad. What's really cool is the fresh gameplay that's introduced. The different kinds of eggs you hatch and how you use them in battle adds a certain strategy when playing multiplayer (which is VERY fun, by the way). Sonic and Co. even make appearances in battle! The multiplayer is where it's at, and you can find this one for DIRT cheap. Billy Hatcher rolls an 8.
6. State of Emergency (XB)- The reason why I only list the Xbox version (there's ps2 as well) is because of the 4-player support. This is a flat-out FUN game. It looks ugly (although there's A LOT going on), and it's a tad clunky. But get a couple friends and you'll find this one to be a fast arcadey romp worthy of play.It's a shooter/beat-em-up, and it's just CRAZY. There's not enough characters and the controls ain't perfect, but it's pure mayhem regardless. There's a lot of types of matches, and it's really addictive. Toss in a bunch of weapons and challenges, and you've got pure unadulterated chaos for you and your friends to enjoy. S.o.E. gets a solid 8, and you can also get this one REEEAAAL cheap.
5. Second Sight (GC/XB/PS2)- Developed by Free-Radical (guys that brought us TimeSplitters) brought us a gem called Second Sight, which met only average acclaim and wasn't a success. This is a high-quality game all around. From gameplay, graphics, music, story, all across the board this one succeeds. You might not have even heard of this one. It's a shooter/adventure/stealth-action game kinda like MGS. This one gives you a good array of powers at your disposal, and it controls well. It gives you camera and difficulty options to suit your style, and it never fails to entertain. You can even interact with "computers" in real-time like Doom 3. It sucks you into the plot well, and it packs great presentation too. It's like a smarter version of Psi-Ops, it gets an 8.5.
4. Phantom Dust (XB)- Some of you may be wondering why this is on here, seeing how it was critically recieved positively. Well to tell you the truth, you can't praise the game ENOUGH. This was released with a $20 pricetag, but it still met pisspoor sales, and has become a cult classic. The gameplay is extremely innovative, featuring a mash of action and strategy through the game's battle system, which resembles the ability-swapping of a card game, but is played in real-time. The graphics are GREAT and feature destructible environments and beautiful effects. The soundtrack is very fresh, featuring influences from techno,industrial and classical. There's Live play for up to 4 players, and there's 2-player splitscreen. The customization is vast and satisfying, and this is really one of the most original games EVER. You can easily find this for five bucks, too. A spectacular 9.5.
3. Shadowrun (X360)- The critics beat this one up too much, getting a much lower score than it deserves. Sure there's only like 9 maps and 2 game modes so far... and the graphics aren't perfect, but I'll be damned if this isn't the most exhilarating and balance multiplayer game EVER. In the style of UT or Counterstrike, it's a team (or free-for-all) online shooter. If you don't mind plopping down some cash for a content-lite game, you'll find the core gameplay to be absolutely awesome. You pick your race, weapons, tech, and magic, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. So the underlying depth of combining your character and abilities makes an extremely satisfying game. Resurrecting your allies, gliding over the landscape, and teleporting through walls are some of the coolest game mechanics I've ever encountered in this kind of game. The bot AI is really smart, too.There's no music at all, but that's why there's custom soundtracks, right? No splitscreen kinda drags this one down a bit, but still the multiplayer is damn near flawless, so Shadowrun bags a 9. Try the demo and see for yourself.
2. Earth Defense Force 2017 (X360)- Even being released with a $40 price tag, this one FAILED on the market due to poor advertising. Recieving mediocre reviews, this one was lost to obscurity, yet I picked up this Japanese sci-fi shooter hoping for a fun time, and I DID! It's a game you should totally hate, from the sub-par graphics (2D power-ups from the SNES era... check), to the horrible sound (Bad music and worse dialogue... check), it seems that this shooter brings nothing to the table. But as soon as you PLAY it, your thoughts will change. An addictive arcadey shooter featuring HUGE enemies and 150 weapons (thats right, one hundred and fifty weapons!), and full co-op, this is immensely enjoyable for some inexplicable reason. You will laugh out loud because of how ridiculous the game is, and maybe that's why it's so good. It's just a fun game for ANYONE who likes a shooter. It's cheesiness is reminiscent of old Godzilla movies, yet trying to collect the dozens and dozens of weapons to dispatch giant robots and insects sucks you in. I actually liked this one more than Gears of War :lol:. Theres a crappy versus mode, no online to speak of, and clunky vehicle control, but if you have a friend to play this with you're in for a great time! This one gets a 9.
1. Geist (GC)- I can't believe this one recieved lukewarm sales and reviews. What may appear to be just another shooter, turns out to be one of the best multiplayer games ever. No kidding. The cube didn't have online, but if it DID, this game would be flawless. The single player is a decent fare, but the main factor is getting more maps for the superb multiplayer. The VO is kinda bad, but the music is quite good. The graphics are very nice and have some nice effects. It controls like any FPS, except for one thing.... you're a ghost. Being a ghost you can possess characters and objects to gain the advantage in battle. You can only hold one weapon, but you can switch between characters in a snap. There's a variety of good, balanced weapons to use. You can even get crazy and take control of a missile (not a launcher, A missile!)and manually home in on your target.There's 4 player support, but it can be up to 8 with bots (which are smart, by the way). I can't express how fun the multiplayer is. It's so fast and addictive, that you and your friends will be happily blasting eachother into the wee hours of the morning. You can get this one for $10 BRAND NEW at Gamestop/EB, if it wasn't a sweet enough deal! Although... more weapons and stuff like vehicles would have been nice, but this one gets a great big 9.
So there you have it, my top ten underdogs from the present-gen era (save for 360). If you have any comments, suggestions, questions, please go ahead.:D