The games industry moves at a rapid pace, and with the ever-changing interest of the fans alongside an abundance of releases – it’s not uncommon to see many promising games get forgotten to the past. To that effect, here are 5 incredible games that are rarely talked about today:
Remedy is one of the most consistent developers in the industry, having endured this legacy for over two decades at this point. The developer’s portfolio of games is largely great and remains well-recognized to this day. Its debut hit, Max Payne is still remembered as one of the genre’s very best, Control was an exceptional game and Alan Wake just got remastered while rumours of a sequel run rampant. However, its Xbox One exclusive title Quantum Break sticks out like a sore thumb in the fact that not a lot gets talked about it.
Quantum Break was released in 2016 for Xbox One and PC, to great critical acclaim. The game’s narrative employed a mix of in-game cutscenes along with a live-action TV show for storytelling, which while innovative did ultimately became a point of contention among fans. Much like Remedy’s previous projects, Quantum Break features great attention to detail, both in storytelling and visuals. Players could manipulate time using a wide variety of powers, all of which created a dynamic combat loop that remains enjoyable through and through.
Quantum Break was a mix bag in terms of sales, although no word of a sequel has been known as of yet. Of course, there’s also the fact that the game’s story does round up fairly well by the end, leaving little room for any continuation, so, yes, a sequel seems unlikely at this point. Coupling the lack of sequel with some underdeveloped mechanics such as sloppy gunplay and weapons that weren’t as accurate as one would want from a shooter, it becomes clear as to why Quantum Break hasn’t garnered a legacy as many of its contemporaries from the developer. But when one looks at the overall package, Quantum Break was a largely underrated game.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
The masked spider has had no shortage of iconic appearances in video games, and while some games such as Spider-Man 2 for the PS2 and Spider-Man for the PS4 have regularly been defined as two of the best incarnations of the superhero in video game form – others such as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions have largely been forgotten.
This Beenox-developed title was released in 2010 for all major platforms. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions sees players taking control of 4 different versions of Spidey as he races against archnemesis Mysterio to collect pieces of a sacred tablet. Each Spider-Man controls differently and has different methods of dispatching his enemies. The Amazing Spider-Man might pummel his enemies through the use of fists and web-shooters while Noir Spider-Man of the past will resort to a stealthier approach.
The levels are linear, sure and the story isn’t exactly great, but Shattered Dimensions does feature a great variety in its gameplay that hasn’t been replicated since. Following the expiration of Activision’s Marvel license in 2014, the game was delisted from all storefronts, significantly shortening the game’s lifespan and by extension, its ability to carve out a long-standing legacy.
United Front Games’ Sleeping Dogs is arguably a poster child for games that have been largely ignored, despite being incredible in what they sought to achieve. Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game following the adventures of undercover officer Wei Shen as he climbs up the criminal ladder to ultimately bring down the infamous Triad. Many slapped the game with a “GTA in Hong Kong” label, but Sleeping Dogs is a lot more than that.
The game has an excellent hand-to-hand combat system, featuring a number of moves and environmental takedown opportunities. It also featured a parkour system, alongside the usual shooting that one would expect from a game about taking down a criminal family. Some aspects of the game such as driving felt underdeveloped when compared to Rockstar’s offerings, but the game was largely received very well.
However, the game did not meet Square Enix’s sales expectations as per a 2013 financial report of the company. The reasoning behind the game being a sales disappointment remains a tough mystery to crack, although one could put some blame on the low market credibility of the game on account of it being a new IP. A sequel was conceived shortly after, but would ultimately get cancelled before United Front Games closed doors in 2016.
The Aliens franchise has produced many video game adaptations over the years to varying degrees of quality, with games like Aliens: Colonial Marines being extremely underwhelming and the recent Aliens: Fireteam lying somewhat in the mediocre place. Alien: Isolation is widely regarded as the best iteration of Ridley Scott’s 1979 original in video game form.
Alien: Isolation follows the story of Amanda Ripley as she investigates the strange disappearance of her mother. The gameplay largely revolves around you hiding from the hideous and extremely dangerous Xenomorph. The game’s enemy AI is very intricate and complex and actually learns from previous encounters making sure players always remain on their toes.
The game also does a great job at capturing the aesthetics of the Aliens world, with excellent art direction and post-processing effects. However, the game was released just a year after Colonial Marines, which might have impacted the game’s sales as most would be exercising caution with an Aliens game. Publisher Sega also admitted that the game’s sales were weak, which of course ties in directly with why the game isn’t talked about all that often in today’s landscape.
Arkane Studios is one of the best names in the industry when it comes to developing immersive sims, having proven its mettle in games like Dishonored. Hot off the heels of Dishonored 2, Arkane shipped Prey in 2017. Prey follows the adventures of Morgan Yu as he or she explores an alien-infested space station. Prey 2017 was emblematic of the studio’s biggest strengths, featuring a vividly detailed world filled to the brim with environmental storytelling and additional notes in logs and voice notes.
The game also features a great assortment of abilities, and all of them feed into the central idea of systemic and emergent gameplay that fans of the genre love so deeply. However, Prey was released in a buggy state, which of course held huge ramifications for reviews. Many critics noted the technical inefficiencies within the game, and fans were advised to wait it out until patches resolve the game’s litany of issues. Keeping all the bugs and glitches aside, Prey remains a solid game today although its sloppy launch state did undermine the game’s better qualities by a significant margin which ultimately makes it rare to see it being held on the same pedestal as other games from the developer’s portfolio.
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