Top 5 Underappreciated Games: Monthly Roundup April 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
March: Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items

Recently I was in a discussion about games that you love that no one else seems to like so much. They just don’t get it, right?! So I got thinking about a way I could be sure that these games were actually less appreciated than I think they should be: Metacritic scores! If you haven’t come across Metacritic it’s a site that gathers together all the reviews of each game (and other things like movies etc) and gives them an average score out of 100. So I looked through my All-Time Top Games List and found the ones that had an average of less than 80. There were 6 in total, so here are the Top 5, plus a bonus:

#1: Mirror’s Edge – Xbox 360/PS3
Metacritic Score: 79
I played a demo of Mirror’s Edge when it first came out in 2008 and immediately knew I had to get it! I was surprised later when it didn’t get glowing reviews. It had a decent and engaging, if generic, story line and the gun play was only OK but all of this was brushed aside by how fantastic the free running was. I played the whole game quite a few times on 360 and on PS3 – it was a joy just to run through the world at top speed. If I was picking any single game to replay it would be this one, without doubt.24-03-2018_21-53-46

#2: Quantum Break – Xbox One
Metacritic Score: 77
Another game that I picked up without really seeing the reviews. I saw a couple of videos of it in action when it was released and went out more or less straight away to pick it up. I’m so glad I did. The gameplay – a combination of 3rd person shooting and controlling time – was great, it looked fantastic and the plot was far more complex than most games. Quantum Break also had 3 or 4 ‘TV episodes’ in it that advanced the story, which was something I really enjoyed but I guess maybe that concept wasn’t for everyone as it certainly hasn’t caught on!25941057304_18a8a9e06b_o

#3: Super Mario Run – Android/iOS
Metacritic Score: 76
This is one of my favourite Mario games ever. Made completely for mobile, it could be played with one thumb but still had all the elements required of a Mario 2D platformer. Perhaps the short-sharp bursts of gameplay didn’t work for people that came to it as Mario fans but as a mobile game it was perfect and the chance to play against others in the Toad Rally mode was great fun too.screenshot_20180326-160206.png

#4: Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Xbox
Metacritic Score: 79
Forget all the usual – and mostly correct – comments about cross overs between video games and other media never working. This game fit into the Buffy mould perfectly, whilst also being a superb game in it’s own right. Story-wise, it had a lot of the same actors from the TV show providing the voices and it didn’t try and reinvent the wheel, playing out like an extended episode. On the gameplay side the platforming and fighting were both top notch. It all came together nicely.Processed with VSCO with  preset

#5: Super Beat Sports – Switch
Metacritic Score: 68
This is the most recent game on this list and to be honest, unless you hate fun (?!), I cannot imagine how anyone wouldn’t love Super Beat Sports! It’s not particularly deep and the quality of it’s mini-games does vary but at it’s core it takes common gaming tropes – rhythm and sports – and combines them into something that prioritises fun above all else. I am mystified by the negative reviews.2018011618031600-B5326B1E58931254287CB2E8DA86D794

Bonus: P.N.03 – Gamecube
Metacritic Score: 63
This game only just squeezes onto my All Time Top Games list, so I can more understand that it didn’t work for everyone. P.N.03 certainly had it’s flaws – the story wasn’t really engaging at all for a start – but I just loved the smoothness and grace with which you could move your character Vanessa around. Somewhere inside it is a basic shooter but on top of that you have elements that feel like a dance game. It had that same feeling of joy from just playing it that Mirror’s Edge has, but in a less complete package. It’s hard to explain so just watch this video!

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REVIEW: Mirrors Edge

  • Released: 2008
  • Played on: Xbox 360
  • Also available on: PC, PS3 and Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility

Mirrors-Edge-scr1.jpg
Fair use, Link

Short Review: The story was simple but endearing but the key was how much fun it was to simply run. Around, over, through. The perfect game for speedrunning.
Review5

REVIEW: Mass Effect

  • Released: 2007
  • Played on: Xbox 360
  • Also available on: PC, PS3 and Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility

Kurwachuj.png
By DfdfdsfOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Short Review: A huge, detailed game world (or galaxy even!) and tight if not spectacular combat made this a joy to play but it was the wonderful end that pushed it so far up this list. A great (story-based) game can fall down with a lame end but this game showed that a great ending can elevate the game as well.
Review5

REVIEW: Portal: Still Alive

  • Released: 2008
  • Played on: Xbox 360
  • Also available on: PC, Mac, PS3

Portalgame.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: So short but so perfect. What starts as a fairly simple puzzle game eventually turns into a deep and intriguing adventure game. It was the way solving the puzzles and the actual gameplay were in fact the same thing that made you want more.
Review5

REVIEW: Halo 3

  • Released: 2007
  • Played on: Xbox 360
  • Also available on: Xbox One via ‘Master Chief Collection’

Halo3-gameplay.png
By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: After the (campaign) disappointment of Halo 2, this was a real return to form. A good story with a great end and the same fun run-and-gun gameplay of the first Halo.
Review5

REVIEW: Mass Effect 2

  • Released: 2010
  • Played on: Xbox 360
  • Also available on: PC, PS3 and Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility

MassEffect2 cover.PNG
By Source, Fair use, Link

Short Review: Whilst it lacked the spectacular and exciting end of the first game Mass Effect 2 did a great job of holding your attention to a main single story despite its length and massive scope. Great example of DLC that added to the game rather than just being a random add-on too.
Review5