- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Top 5 Underrated and Overrated Video Games
The term overrated is hated by people. They say nothing is overrated, or nothing can be overrated. If you even try to imply that a game is overrated in the slightest on the internet, you're bound to be met by enraged fans of the game. Those same people usually are okay with the term underrated though. This tells me that it has more to do with them not being able to take criticism on something as trivial as video games. I say if something can be underrated than the opposite is true and things can also be overrated. This is the basis of my article. I look at games that deserve more praise, and games that deserve less praise. An article bound to rub shoulders, but hey, my opinions aren't preventing you from enjoying your games, so stop angrily screaming at your monitor and enjoy your overrated games.
5. (Underrated) Donkey Kong Country
You're probably thinking, but DonkeyKongKiller...Donkey Kong Country isn't underrated at all. In fact, I don't know a single person who doesn't like the first two Donkey Kong Country games. If you had this thought, then you're absolutely right, but as I'm sure you know, relativity is everything when it comes to the value of video games. Yes most sidescroller fans do consider the Donkey Kong country games great games, but when you look at Nintendos mascots, good ole Donkey Kong doesn't get near as much praise or recognition as a certain Italian plumber. That's not exactly fair because I feel that when it comes down to the platforming, the real nitty gritty, Donkey Kong Country is a better game. Yes Mario has better appeal with more vibrant colors and a wholly creative world, but gameplay wise, Donkey Kong Country has it beat. These games put a real emphasis on rhythm and getting a one up on enemies. Sometimes using a bad guy as a living springboard is the only way to progress through the level. Every jump seems calculated and no death unfair. Most of the time the best strategy in Mario is to thoughtlessly speed through the stages, ignoring enemies and your own safety. This type of speed running is almost never rewarded in Donkey Kong Country. That's because the levels are so tightly and well designed that you can't simply rush the system like in Mario. So yes, Donkey Kong is loved, but between Mario and Donkey Kong, only one has had an expensive library of games, thus making Donkey Kong Country underrated.
5. (Overrated) Assassins Creed
With Call of Duty getting nothing, but backlash for basically being the same generic video game, released every year with little in the way of innovations, I find myself wondering how the Assassins Creed franchise gets a free pass. Every complaint leveled towards Call of Duty can be applied to Assassins Creed. I want to like this game. The idea is appealing. Using stealth and your environment to pick off your target in cities of ancient history sounds great. However, the combat which is a large portion of the game, is as bland as tapioca pudding. Sure there's countering attacks, but it mostly feels like button mashing that feels really repetitive. Also and open world has never felt so lifeless. It's filled with people and culture, but the things to do that aren't side missions are next to nothing. You can parkour around the city for so long before you climb to the highest building and are disappointed that this is the most you're going to do in the city outside of missions Climbing to the tallest building is equivalent to being Alexander the Great and having nothing left to conquer. You've reached the highest point in a game where one of the few fun things is climbing high. In an open world game like Just Cause 2, shooting innocents and then taking on the police is fun especially considering the weapons and gadgets in your disposal. In assassins Creed, you kill one innocent before being chased by guards which you can either hide from, which is boring, or you can fight them which is also repetitive and boring. It's a lose, lose situation which doesn't encourage deviating from the missions. I'm not just talking about the first game either. All the games in the series seem to suffer from these problems. I say its time to assassinate this franchise.
4. (Underrated) Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
One of the better games that no one played, this is a game that takes place in the Wild West, slightly after the Civil War. You play two Confederate abandoners, called the McCall brothers. You can play as either Ray or Thomas and the game changes based upon who you play as. Playing as Ray awards you with a more aggressive playthrough of the game, focusing on duel wielding pistols, shotguns and even being able to carry a Gatling gun. Ray can absorb more bullets than his younger brother before dying and is generally a force to be reckoned with. The other brother Thomas on the other hand, is a calmer, more patient fighter. He uses stealthy weapons like throwing knives and bows and arrows as well as having a long range rifle that usually kills in one hit. He also has a lasso which allows him to access vantage points. Playing as either brother (which you can choose before all, but a few missions) opens up different paths and objectives giving the game some serious replay value. The game really nails down the Wild West feel in a way that only one game does better. Red Dead Redemption. However if Red Dead Redemption has been played out, but are still looking for some Wild West action in your gaming library, then make sure you don't pass up Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood.
4. (Overrated) Team Fortress 2
This game made it onto one my other lists in which I praised the game. It was a list about most colorful games and the saturated color scheme is easy on the eyes, especially compared to most shooters. However the game itself, is fairly overrated. There are some solid foundations to Team Fortress 2 though. The character classes, the balancing, the weapons and the teamplay. These are all good things. On the other hand, when it comes to multiplayer games, I hate games that take forever to kill enemies.Strategy always gives way to jumping around firing as fast as you can. It's why Halo multiplayer sucks. When you get a kill, its not satisfying. It's more like "finally, I put enough bullets in you, It's about time." To me, the ultimate online multiplayer makes killing and dying easy, but rewards smart thinking with the ability to survive and rack up kills. People rag on Call of Duty for the twitch shooting, but really, more thought goes into matches of Call of Duty, than Team Fortress. because deaths come so easily to any person in a Call of Duty match, the person with the most kill steaks, is the person who uses the best strategies and thinks out their attacks. Team Fortress 2, from what I observed boils down to jumping around and spamming rockets. Racking up kill-streaks is really hard in the game, while dying is easy. I don't find that to be a satisfying experience. Strategy being rewarded is what I look for in a video game, not twitch shooting, and no amount of cartoony graphics can hide that.
3. (Underrated) Stuntman: Ignition
Stuntman for the PS2, was a great, but overlooked game. It had a sequel called Stuntman: Ignition on the Xbox 360 and PS3 that I'm sure most people don't even realize was released. I own both games. They're totally trial and error video games, and I'm not even a fan of trial and error video games, yet I love these games. They can reach incredible peaks of frustration, yet I've beat them both. For someone like me, that's quite an accomplishment. You take the role of a stuntman who, using a variety of vehicles, has to navigate the various sets, nailing the directors orders near perfectly. You will fail to complete the task over and over before you finally drive perfectly, but when you finally do, it's incredibly satisfying.
3. (Overrated) Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I shouldn't be writing about this as an overrated game. The reason for that, is I should have known better. I didn't like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but something that I did something that I rarely do. I got caught up in the hype train. Sure Skyrim is an improvement to Oblivion, but it just improved and boring mess of a game. What we're left with is an improved boring mess of a game. The Elder Scrolls games are not for me. Skyrim did its best to make things accessible and I even came close to enjoying the game. Close, wasn't good enough though. People talk about how many things you can do in Skyrim and it's true. While you can do many things in the world of Skyrim, I believe in quality over quantity. If you took any one thing in Skyrim and made it the basis of a linear game, you'd have one poorly reviewed game. It's only the sum of all these terrible parts that tricks people into thinking it's a great game based on sheer size and scope alone. It would be bad enough that the side things to do in Skyrim are boring, but the combat, which is the meat and potatoes of a third/first person action game, is terrible as well. Attacks barely connect, enemies take too many hits to take down. Besides the huge game world, and detailed environment, the gameplay doesn't feel next gen. When the gameplay sucks, not much else matters.
2. (Underrated) 007: World is Not Enough
The World is not Enough is an N64 James Bond game. You've probably never heard of it though because of a little game called Goldeneye. Any shooter, much less James Bond game, that would come out in the wake of Goldeneye would be compared to it, whether fairly or not. Yes Goldeneye is one of the best shooters ever, but that doesn't mean that James Bond's other N64 outing is throwaway either. In fact it offered some improvements. The first one being the graphics got an overhaul. In fact this is one of the best looking Nintendo 64 titles. The gun models are amazing, the character models look much more realistic and overall the game has a great look to it. Also my biggest complaint about Goldeneye is that, it's a great shooter, but not really a great Bond game. All it did was take great shooting and add a James Bond theme. This game however is a truly James Bond game. There are some awesome James Bond moments like skiing down a mountain while shooting thugs, sneaking around a manor with night vision goggles, or disarming a bomb in a subway with a gadget. You have much more gadgets at your disposal this time around as well. A few are a bomb that looks like a pen, a grappling hook that comes out of your watch, dart gun and laser. Plus, there are bots in multiplayer for the days you can't get your friends over to your house. I definitely recommend this game.
2. (Overrated) SSX
I don't mean the original SSX or any of its PS2 sequels. What I'm talking about is the new one for the PS3 and 360. It garnered almost all positive reviews and yet I find it to be such a departure from the franchise in a negative way that I can't see why it gets all the praise that it does. The soundtrack is terrible first of all. Gone is the mid 2000s electronic from Tricky, or the cool alternative music from 3. In its place is terrible modern music. I don't care for modern music and the new SSX reeks of poor music choices. The worst offender is taking one of the most catchy songs ("It's Tricky" by Run DMC) and remixing it with dubstep trash. Some say that dubstep is this generations disco. I say it's much, much worse. Now about the gameplay. Lets look at the tracks shall we? It's clear by looking at this game that the developers took the worst of both worlds when designing their mountains. They've got the linearity of mountains of tricky, mixed with the grittiness and blandness of the uncharted mountains in SSX 3. The exploration and ability to seamlessly board down a whole mountain, that was most peoples favorite aspect of SSX 3? Gone. A huge step down. Even the tricks are completely messed up in the game. It's not fun to land any trick when all difficulty is taken away. Off a medium sized ramp in the other SSX games you had to calculate how many flips and turns you could do to land without bailing. The new SSX throws that all out the window and makes it where any ramp can let you do at least a 1080 turn and flip. The tricks look ridiculous and take away all pleasure from landing a perfect rotation. All in all, I wanted to love this game, seeings that SSX is one of my favorite franchises, but this was too much of a disappointment and that is why it's overrated.
1. (Underrated) Stranglehold
Max Payne is one of my favorite games of all time. With Max Payne 3 coming out in May, its a good time to look at one of Max's spiritual successor; Stranglehold. Reviewers said that Max Payne's slow motion gunfights felt like a John Woo movie. Stranglehold takes it a step further by being based on a John Woo movie. Playing out like a sequel to the Chow Yun Fat vehicle that was Hard Boiled, you take on the role of Tequila in a story to rescue.a police officers daughter. The story matters far less than the journey and that journey is full of slow motion diving, destruction to your environment and countless bodies along the way. As you work your way through the game, you unlock special abilities such as being able to zoom in while time slows to a crawl and pinpoint your target, have infinite ammo and invincibility for a short time (my favorite ability), or spin in circles while taking out every enemy in the room. Something else unique to the game is being able to stylishly use the environment to your advantage. Sure you could take out bad guys the cookie cutter way, or you could do it the John Woo way and slide down a railing while popping guys off with duel pistols. It's a shame this game is so overlooked because to me, its the most enjoyable third person shooter on current gen systems. Yes even more so than Uncharted or Gears of War.
1. (Overrated) Portal
Finally we come to the number one most overrated game on this list and perhaps in the video game industry. First the good. Yes the game (and its sequel) work well. The concept of Portals and using them to solve the puzzles you face are great. However the level of God status that these games have been driven to are ridiculous. The first game is incredibly short. Nobody complains about this, and its not such a problem except when you consider how many hours some other XBLA games are that don't even get half the recognition. Battlefield 1943 lasted me longer than most full retail games and no one still talks about that game. For a game that seems to have one okay mechanic in such a short game, you'd think the praise would be appropriate for the game. However the worst offender and this applies to Portal 1 and 2, is the writing. The jokes aren't funny. The humor in the Portal games is internet style humor, random and quirky humor...In other words it's not funny at all. The fact that one of its jokes got turned into an internet meme (The cake is a lie) shows how unfunny the game is. Never has an internet meme been funny, besides that peanut butter jelly time banana guy. Nerd humor sucks. It has neither edge, nor wit, yet pretends that random quirkiness is the highest wit there is. So please, stop saying Portal 2 was game of the year. It's a decent puzzle game with less than decent writing. That's all it is. Well actually it is something more. It is incredibly overrated and that is why it takes the number 1 spot on this list.
There you have it. The 5 most underrated and overrated video games. Which games do you feel are underrated or overrated? Tell me in the comments below.