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Below you will find the Lunabean list of Top Ten Underrated games. While some may have received critical acclaim, they just didn't get the attention they deserved. Others, in our opinion, were just unfairly reviewed by critics.
Please note, because they are our underrated games, the list sticks to console titles, and they are all fairly recent games (the PS2, Xbox, Gamecube generation, if you will). Enjoy!
10 - The Operative: No One Lives Forever (PC, PS2)
In No One Lives Forever you play as Agent Cate Archer, a covert agent for UNITY, an international agency tasked with combating terrorism around the world. What's more, Cate, is witty, talented and drop dead gorgeous. With a flower-power 60s backdrop, think of NOLF as 007 Goldeneye meets Deus Ex meets Austin Powers.
Yes, the critics loved this one, but something about Agent Archer intimated the guys and prevented them from actually purchasing it in respectable numbers.
The crime here was that this game was released after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which happened to be the acme of video game experiences. The disappointment of the game not measuring up to OoT, along with a certain annoying (but lovable) character name Tingle, caused gamers to pan the title. With that being said, strip away the hype, and we all had a fantastic Zelda adventure sitting in front of us.
8 - GunValkyrie (Xbox)
Honestly, we don't remember much about GunValkyrie, other than really enjoying the experience. We do remember it was quite graphically impressive, as it was one of the first Xbox games we ever played. Also, we remember it being hard. Very, very, very hard, which is why I think it really stuck. It also causes carpal-tunnel.
Difficult video games that make you want to throw your controller but don't disappoint once you succeed, should get more credit.
7 - Psi-Ops
What could have been yet another third person shooter ended up being one of the most fun games of 2004.
The hook, of course, were the six different powers that you gained during the game, allowing you to manipulate objects and people in creative ways. Whether it was using your mind (via the right control stick) to throw an explosive barrel into group of enemies or taking over the brain of a weak-minded guard, this game had us wanting more.
In fact, it should be the model for all Star Wars "force" actions as it definitely had that feel. If you like third person shooters, you'll love Psi-Ops.
6 - XIII (PC, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)
In our opinion, XIII's crime was timing. In late 2003, the game industry had a case of the doldrums. The new consoles were no longer new, and the next gen consoles hadn't been announced. This meant that gamers and reviewers began picking on games. And, no, there's nothing wrong with game picking, but XIII got hit by many as, "just another first-person shooter". This couldn't be further from the truth.
With its comic-book foundation, unique styling, fantastic storyline, and David Duchovny as the voice of Agent XIII, what you had was a completely engrossing game experience. If "The Bourne Identity" was a video game, (and it were in comic book form) this would be it. Perhaps we're just suckers for conspiracy theory based games, but we think this one is a "must play".
5 - Rule of Rose
If creepy, giggling little girls, residing in a fog-filled boarding school in 1930s Britain send chills up your spine, you better stay away from this game. If you're a fan of the genre, you'll love it.
While many survival-horror games are jarring and shock-inducing, Rule of Rose takes you on a sustained, meloncholy, chronic, creepy quest to figure out the "rules" of the sadistic girls whom with you go to school.
This game originally debuted in Japan and had a hard time getting a publisher here in the states due to somewhat "suggestive" gameplay elements involving young girls...so you can see why people didn't want it to come out.
Nevertheless, this is one of the best games in its genre, and completely immerses you in an alternate world governed by the rules of rose.
4 - Jet Force Gemini (N64)
Here was another game that most people agree was good, but was damaged because it wasn't quite as good as the developer's predecessors 007 Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Had this game been judged on its own merits, it would have done much better.
Our fondest memories of the game came in its sidequests, which were numerous. Collecting "Tribals" (Ewok-like teddy bears) became a task that could have filled an entirely new game. We're big fans of video games that have a solid beginning and end, while allowing you to go back and examine all that you've missed.
3 - Ico (PS2)
Ico was a beautiful, beautiful game that did everything right, but sell itself to the gaming public. While most games can cause a gamer stress, Ico managend to calm you as you played. The music, the beauty, the characters...everything was just calm. Ico was a rather unique gaming experience that can really only be compared to its follow up, Shadow of the Colossus.
2 - Psychonauts (PC, Xbox, PS2)
The fact that Tim Schafer's Psychonauts was not more successful is one of the greatest crimes in video game history. Pretty much all of the blame for that one can go to its publisher, Majesco, who had a series of failures that year which nearly killed the company. It seemed Majesco thought such a clever, fun and funny platformer would sell itself, and they directed most of their hype dollars toward Advent Rising, known at the Bean as the "Ishtar" of video games. Psychonauts barely sold over 100,000 copies in its first year. Do yourself a favor and buy it now.
1 - Beyond Good and Evil (PC, Xbox, Gamecube, PS2)
Ubisoft made the mistake of releasing this title in the middle of a very exciting holiday season. For that reason, Beyond Good and Evil was tragically passed over by many.
In BG&E you star as Jade, an orphan and amatuer photographer, who has stumbled into a group of underground journalists who believe the planet is being fed propaganda by their own military. It is Jade's job to sneak (and fight) her way through the many environments to snap photos of evil propagandists in action. Interestingly, many agree that this title has several Zelda elements going for it. If you missed this one, buy it now.
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