How many have you played?
Not every game on this list is truly great - some only limp past "good" in the technical sense, but there's more to gaming than being the most technologically advanced or smoothest playing. Some of the greatest innovation comes from places in games that typically go overlooked. This is a chance to honor the last generation of games that were lost in the shuffle, eternally bound to a backlog entry that will never move, the lost PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, PSP, and Nintendo DS games that didn't get their proper due the first time around.
Alice: Madness Returns
American McGees Alice put a dark and bloody spin on the classic Lewis Carroll fairy tale, and while it was met with great fanfare back then, nearly nine years had passed until we were able to once again venture into McGees horrific take on Wonderland. The wait turned out to be worth it, thankfully, as Madness Returns is a dark and twisted story that will be the cause of a lot of long, cold showers at the end of it.
This time, Alice is of sounder mind, so she bounces back and forth between the real world and her Wonderland trying to figure out how to fix things. The juxtaposition between real land and Wonderland is interesting, especially toward the end of the story when we learn who's behind all of the madness. However, the intriguing story is little positive buffer against repetitive gameplay and a sometimes too simple level design. If you can get past those imperfections, then Alice will be worthy of your time.
Few games are stranger than Crush, a 2007 puzzle platformer for the PSP. Were tasked with helping Danny cure insomnia by traveling through his own mind, solving puzzles to collect his lost marbles and unlock memories. What appears to be another portable puzzler eventually reveals one of the most unique (at the time) features we've ever seen: the seamless ability to switch between 2D and 3D, crushing block in 3D views to make paths in 2D views. The results are impressive, but a steep learning curve keeps it from being ascendant.
If the learning curve can be conquered, the tale that Crush tells is a pretty interesting scenario. The journey through Danny's mind is one of anguish and anxiety; we see many key moments in his development that all serve as a cause for his illness. Eventually we even get to see his childhood, and thats when everything begins to make sense. It was never going to crush the competition, but Crush is a neat little puzzle game thats perfect for a long flight or car ride (as long as you're not driving, of course). If you don't have a PSP to check it out on, Crush was re-released on Nintendo 3DS with a completely new graphical style.
Viking: Battle for Asgard
Well before Alien: Isolation stormed PS4 and Xbox One, Creative Assembly proved it isn't just a house of strategy games with Viking: Battle for Asgard. The bloody combat and vast open world support an interesting story of gods at war with one another, but many players were still too entrenched in Cyrodiil to even notice. Thats not to say Viking isn't without its issues, but its still worth trying out just to see how the house that Total War built can do in other genres.
Our problem with Viking is that its just too damn slow and empty for our tastes. Sure, the open world of the three islands is huge, but when theres nothing in those islands to explore, whats the point of exploration? Furthermore, our hero Skarin lumbers around with the agility of a pregnant cow, making traveling from mission to mission a chore. Its a shame really, because we do enjoy playing the missions when we finally get to them, but the in-between is a near-dealbreaker. If you have more patience than we do, we totally recommend Viking for its story and combat. Just have something to do while traveling around the world.
Dead Head Fred
Dead Head Fred embodies the weird heart in many PSP exclusives. Your hero, a decapitated detective in search of his stolen head, is merely one part of the game's off-the-wall creativity. Your arch rival is a crime boss. Your mentor is a mad scientist. You brawl hand-to-hand with zombies, usurping strange superpowers by screwing on their heads. In your spare time, you play pinball, learn the saxophone and raise mutant chickens. The reward for such refreshing inventiveness? Some of the saddest sales numbers for any game on any console.
Dark Sector feels a little like Gears of Resident Evil, but as everyone knows, giving your lead character a glaive goes a long way in elevating your game above its inspirations. Throwing that freaky disc blade in slow-motion, watching as it curves around poles and decapitates enemies, never grows old.
Critics were rather unkind to the non-MMO Conan, with most reviews accusing it of being, well, stupid. What did you expect from a barbarian, guys? Enlightenment? This is an action-adventure about the original muscle-bound chunkhead. Conan delivered everything promised in the old pulp novels that spawned him: an avalanche of gore and an ocean of bare-chested men and women. Don't write off the combat as mindless, either. The formula doesn't stray far from superior titles like God of War and Devil May Cry, but Conan does sport incredibly tight controls and pleasurable fisticuffs.
You're forgiven for thinking Culdcept Saga doesn't sound right for you. Fantasy-themed Monopoly where you protect your squares by summoning monsters to fight the enemy's monsters in collectible trading card battles? The only way this can get geekier is if you add in a dork in his bathrobe throwing marshmallows and squeakily shouting lightning bolt! So yes, you're forgiven - but you're also wrong. This game is fantastic. Give it an hour and Culdcept Saga will sink its insidious hooks in. Its only real problem is that CPU opponents will wipe the floor with you repeatedly until you learn to customize your deck, adding in the more powerful cards you win after each match.
5th Cell, the studio behind Scribblenauts and Drawn to Life, is not the studio you'd expect to make a solid third-person shooter. Hybrid is a ton of fun, though, taking standard cover-based shooting and literally turning it on its head. You can find cover on walls and ceilings while skirmishing with the opposing team. The only actions are being in cover, flying to the next cover, and shooting, but that basic formula can grip you for hours.
Like Madden, NBA 2K, and other sports franchises, the annual WWE video game installments bring some new ideas to the ring, but more often than not the games end up being more of the same schtick. The video game equivalent of, say, John Cena. WWE All-Stars, a rare branch off from the core series, proves that shaking things up can absolutely work out thanks to its over-the-top matches. The combatants in All-Stars are over-exaggerated walking muscles (more so than usual) and the in-ring action defies the rules of physics. The Big Show should NOT be able to jump 20 feet in the air before delivering a massive chokeslam, nor should Macho Man Randy Savage be able to touch the ceiling and perform flips in the air when dropping his trademark elbow, but All-Stars makes both scenarios possible in the very best way.
Disney Guilty Party
If you've ever played Clue, you know the feeling that arises when you're about to figure out who the killer is and make your big reveal. Disney Guilty Party is filled with moments like that, those light-bulb "A-ha!" feelings of pure gratification after figuring out an answer. These moments are scattered throughout a light-hearted, cartoony whodunit adventure with a ton of characters to investigate. While there is a single-player mystery to solve, the big draw here is Party Mode, where up to four players can try and figure out the dastardly fiend behind the committed crimes. In any given playthrough, one of seventeen NPCs could be the one responsible, so our work is cut out for us from the get-go. Disney Guilty Party is Clue on steroids, and anyone who used to love the board game as a child should try and figure out the Guilty Party.
Does the name Hironobu Sakaguchi mean nothing? The man created Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy! He helped bring Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Xenogears and Parasite Eve to life. He is a videogaming legend. For some damn reason, that pedigree meant little for Blue Dragon. Nobody played it and those that did disagree about its merits. If you're into the cutesy bobble-headed characters, though, you'll find a meaty old-school epic with lovable heroes, despicable villains, addictive leveling, memorable music and gorgeous Pixar-like visuals. Whats not to love?
In Asura's Wrath, CyberConnect 2 made the Japanese equivalent of Heavy Rain, an emotionally overwrought interactive movie that often took direct control of events away from the player in order to show them the most dramatics sights possible. Unlike David Cage's games, though, Asura's Wrath leaned into video games' capacity to show you impossible things. A screaming anime man gets stabbed with a sword. Not unheard of. The sword here stretches from the moon to the surface of the earth. Now that's worth seeing.
Tony Hawk Proving Ground DS
By the ninth year of annual Tony Hawk's Pro Skater updates, the writing was on the wall. Gameplay was growing more and more indistinguishable, while the licensed pros were reduced to useless bit cameos in idiotic plots. The series was in desperate need of a breather. Heres the thing: the only thing that never sucked about Tony Hawk was the core gameplay. The only version of Proving Ground that maintained that focus on play was also the worst selling DS version. It was a little on the fugly side but it also trimmed the fat of its console siblings with zero analog Nail the Trick boredom.
Sid Meier's Civilization: Revolution
Fact: many gamers are turned off by the very notion of strategy. As such, many simply cast Civilization: Revolution as an exercise in boring spreadsheet management and moved on to the latest sci-fi or WWII shooter. In doing so, however, they missed what is probably the best and most accessible console implementation of turn-based strategy ever made. For an experience that was designed with keyboard and mouse in mind, Revolutions gamepad controls are still remarkably easy to learn. The bright colors and hypnotic music conjure a mesmerizing ambience in which the centuries drift by and your puny band of hunter-gatherers rise to military, economic or scientific dominance.
NBA Street Homecourt
The beauty of EAs Street franchise was that you didn't need to actually know anything about the sports you were playing. Rules were gleefully bended. Regulations were unapologetically broken. You could bounce balls off opponents heads, defy gravity by running up a wall or score multiple baskets within a single jump shot. NBA Street Homecourt, the last entry in the basketball series, opted for a slightly less show-off style, painting the sport with warm '70s nostalgia and casting the celebrity players as younger, not-yet-famous versions of themselves. The moves and dunks were still ridiculously over-the-top, the multiplayer still endlessly entertaining and the art never looked better, but the lack of in-your-face xtremeness must have turned away a large part of the audience. Shame.
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
Underneath its gorgeously bright visuals and kiddie-friendly, so-cute-I-want-to-choke-something exterior, the second Viva Pinata on 360 is a massive game. If you can manage to juggle all the various tasks keeping the pinatas getting along with one another, breeding baby pinatas, crafting new foods for them to eat in case it triggers a valuable mutation we don't need to tell you theres stupid depth here. It's like you start off playing Pokemon, but end up playing Civilization. Trouble in Paradise had an extended co-op multiplayer mode, 28 new pinatas, new desert and snow environments, and the power to scan in new critters via the pinata vision camera.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Miles Edgeworth is admittedly not as personable as his longtime rival Phoenix Wright. He's stoic, matter-of-fact, and struggles to even crack a smile at times. Giving him his own game would then seem like a risk, but Capcom wisely decided to change up the format in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth , which put more of a focus on investigating crime scenes than battling in a courtroom, and the result was a fun new take on the series.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned: Criminal Origins is tragically underplayed and we can't understand why. For a game that launched early in the generation, Condemned had everything you could want: horror (seriously, the game will scare the crap out of you), solid shooting, and an interesting story. If you're planning on going back and revisiting some games you may have missed from the seventh console generation, we suggest starting with Condemned: Criminal Origins. Then go play the sequel. That game makes you fight a psychotic bear. Seriously.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
The team behind the underrated the lovely, light Eternal Sonata (also on this list, how about) took a turn for the bruised and melancholic in Fragile Dreams. This post-apocalyptic story follows Seto, a 15-year-old boy looking for other living humans after a catastrophe wipes out the entirety of humanity. Players help Seto traverse the wreckage, fight ghosts with limited-use weapons, and solve puzzles with his flashlight. It is one of the most haunting games in the Wii library.
Third-person action, PlayStation exclusive. If we were to describe a game like that to you, we have little doubt that the words God of War or Infamous would be the first out of your mouths. Ninja Theory's Heavenly Sword should be a name synonymous with great PS exclusives, but its association with the PS3's troubled launch period has relegated it to B-tier status. The action is just as fierce, the story just as tragic, and the characters just as memorable as Kratos' many games, but it never connected with people in the same way. A lack of a proper sequel hurts (ahem) and developer Ninja Theory went on to make some very good games, including DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. The intensely mediocre Heavenly Sword animated movie failed to rekindle interest in making this a series, sadly.
We don't like to throw the term cult hit around lightly, but Deadly Premonition earned that distinction more than any other game on this list. This quirky, Twin Peaks-style horror game looked and played like a broken PS2 game, yet anyone who tried it fell in love with the weirdness of it all. Swery65, the game's mastermind, now runs his own studio and Deadly Premonition has been re-released on multiple platforms to keep its cult growing even if it remains small.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
The Nintendo DS gained a reputation for being a terrific system for RPGs, as many a famous series saw some kind of portable release during the DS' lifespan. It took six long years for Nintendo to jump on the bandwagon, but in 2010 the Golden Sun rose again and fans jumped right back into the world of Psynergy and Alchemy. Set thirty years in the future, this sequel turned some people off by not directly continuing the story of the Game Boy Advance games. The new characters and 3D presentation may have been questionable choices, but the story and play were still as charming and strategically thorny as ever.
Heres an interesting idea for an RPG: set it within Polish composer Chopin's dreams as he lies on his deathbed. Here's another: infuse the adventure with musical elements, in battle and in exploration. Another: have the battle between actual physical light and darkness inspire the games combat system. Crazy, no? Well, we prefer the word inspired. Originality often goes unrewarded, however, and Eternal Sonata sold in scant numbers on both Xbox 360 and PS3. Anyone looking for a gorgeous, light role-playing game will be well served by checking it out today.
Suikoden Tierkreis hit DS in 2009, bringing most of what we loved about Konami's RPG series with it. 108 characters to unlock, an gorgeous musical score, and a massive world to traverse, Tierkreis is one of the deepest and most enjoyable RPGs on a system filled with them. It did bring changes to the Suikoden formula, though, with a wildly different art style and exploration structure. Sadly it also marked the end of the franchise.
With Pokemoning and Monster Hunting still all the rage, we wonder why Folklore didn't kick up a little more dust. It may not have been the PS3-justifyinig RPG it was first billed as, but the lush art design and creature capturing play is one-of-a-kind. Your only weapons are your enemies. You must murder over a hundred beasties, or Folks, and siphon their souls to harness their unique abilities. Coolest of all, the hyper-gimmicky SIXAXIS enabled you to jerk back on the controller to rip the monsters spirits from their still-beating carcasses in a way that was deliciously Ghostbusters-esque.
House of the Dead: Overkill
The House of the Dead: Overkill, a brilliant, blood-soaked satire of zombie games and movies, debuted on the platform where people were least likely to be looking for violent comedies: the family-first Nintendo Wii. Even after a port to PS4 and Xbox 360, though, Overkill remains widely underplayed. That's criminal. Agent Washington's potty mouth, Varla Guns' impossibly sexy shotgun reload, an impeccably executed send-up of grindhouse horror and one of the most disgusting, funniest endings in gaming history; Overkill is a treasure.
Jeanne d'Arc isn't sure what it wants to be. On the one hand, it's a fantasy-laden RPG with demons to slay and magic to wield. On the other, the game borrows legitimate historical facts about the real Joan of Arc, becoming a history lesson at certain points. There aren't many games that can tip-toe the line between historical accuracy and outlandish fantasy the way Jeanne d'Arc does, and in doing so Level-5 created a fun little game for the PSP. With Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics (the genre's titans) already on the system, it's understandable why some may have passed Jeanne d'Arc right by. The attention to detail and the grand fights warrant a second look.
WiiWare never really took off - most people who bought the system bought it for fancy Nintendo games, and the system's limited storage made downloadable indies a chore to purchase. The criminally unrecognized Lost Winds was the best of those indies. It took full advantage of the system's motion controls to create a an elegant puzzle platformer. With Nintendo consoles still supporting motion controls, it would be wonderful to see Lost Winds return on a Nintendo machine capable of HD output.
Kirby Canvas Curse
How is the best Kirby adventure on Nintendo's handheld also the worst selling? Canvas Curse had captivating music, sparkling visuals and addictive touch play; in fact it was one of the first games to really capture how powerful touch controls could be. Kirby's ceaseless roller-coaster momentum born of tracing rainbows with your stylus is just delightful. Inferior (though still fun) follow-ups, Squeak Squad and Super Star Ultra found far more players on DS. At least it got a claymation sequel in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse on Wii U.
Warhammer 40K: Space Marine
When we think of Warhammer games, we think of huge real-time strategy battles with hundreds of characters filling our screens at one time. We don't think of a third-person action shooter following the exploits of one particular Space Marine. Yet when THQ tried to mix up the formula with Space Marine, it largely succeeded. It may not have felt like Warhammer, but it did feel good. Released into a veritable sea of third-person shooters, Space Marine didn't connect with action or strategy fans. If you missed it the first time around, it's available cheap on Steam to this day.
Stuntman Ignition puts you in charge of every 180, ramp jump and expensive pyrotechnic that goes into the typical Hollywood blockbuster. And if you were turned off by the game's disappointing predecessor? Know that this sequel is a HUGE improvement. Production values have been heightened, gameplay variety has been expanded and the notorious difficulty has been rebalanced. Courses are now relatively forgiving, so you can complete challenges without adhering to a vicious line while some egomaniacal director barks orders at you. Stuntman: Ignition deserves better than the bargain bin status it was saddled with from the start.
How many games have you played with multiple endings that completely recontextualized the original playthrough's story? How many games will literally erase your save file when you reach the true conclusion? How many games look like a bargain big cast off but have some of the most moving events in gaming history? How many games star a talking book who sounds like C-3PO is he were a snotty drunk? Nier's barren presentation and mediocre combat belied a soaring heart. While it was overlooked on PS3 and Xbox 360, its cult helped earn it a sequel on PS4 and PC almost a decade later.
Little King's Story
While it seems like Little King's Story is a cute, simplistic game, nothing could be further from the truth. There's a lot going on in this little kingdom, and virtually all of it falls on your shoulders. Through the king you must build up the kingdom, command the subjects to do your bidding, and conquer other lands for personal gain. All of this is done in a way that emulates games like Pikmin, and The Sims. The deep strategy was a poor fit for Story's cartoony presentation back when it came out on Wii, and while multiple re-releases on PC and PS Vita have tinkered with the art style to try and make it connect with a bigger audience, it's never found that momentum. For those that gave it a shot, though, they found an essential Wii experience.
While certainly not a tremendous game, The Club is a fun little bit of blood sport. The concept is simple: run through short levels as quickly as possible, killing waves of enemies in combos and thereby racking up as many points as possible. Its a neat concept, and a nice throwback to the sort of old arcade action games that Sega itself specialized in way back in the day.
Nintendo fans complained about a lack of real games to play on the Wii. Yet when presented with a super stylish, hyper violent beat em-up throwback with high review scores, they ignored the damn thing. MadWorld never received the wild adoration of Platinum Games' other early works like Bayonetta and Vanquish, nor does its motion-based gameplay reward the same sort of hardcore precision those games do. But it's grotesque humor and distinctive black and white art have kept it feeling relevant years later. Seek this out rather than its terrible PS3/360 sequel Anarchy Reigns.
Mario Strikers Charged
To FIFA and PES players, Mario on the pitch probably sounded like sacrilege. Nintendo fans knew, though: Charged was following up the already brilliant Strikers. Mario Strikers Charged delivered; it's still an absolute hoot. Every charged power shot and character-specific special move is designed with satisfyingly tactical, risk-and-reward balance in mind, and motion-controlled goal-keeping means that skill can always beat super-powered cheese. That's right. Even its motion controls feel great.
Splatterhouseis not for the squeamish. It is for those player that think Evil Dead 2-style geysers of blood are absolutely hilarious. It is also for fans of things that are both totally metal in spirit and actual metal since the soundtrack sports Lamb of God, Mastodon, and Five Finger Death Punch. The constant gore, puerile humor, and noise can be wearying - as can the drawn out boss fights with instant death on failure quick time events - but all in all Splatterhouse holds up. It's gaming's very own Troma movie.
Resonance of Fate
Tri-Ace is best known for Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile, but in 2010 they decided made one of the hardest, strangest turn-based JRPGs ever made: Resonance of Fate. Its hybrid of real-time and turn-based controls require hours of practice to master. As a result the long story and prolonged, sometimes repetitive fights can start to drag. Push through, though, and the strange mix of fantasy, gunplay acrobatics that make Equilibrium and John Wick look tame, and gorgeous character design overshadow its shortcomings.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, Square-Enix turned the RPG formula on its head by casting you not as an adventurer that sets out to save the kingdom, but the king that sends them out to do it. It felt just right. You're able to upgrade your town, outfit your warriors, and send them into the unknown.
We remain confused by what happened with the Resistance franchise. The first two games sold a ton of copies, creating the first powerhouse PS3 exclusive franchise, but for whatever reason the third game never connected with people. Adding insult to injury, Resistance 3 is the best of the series, a story-centric journey mixing the eccentric weapon juggling of the original with the narrative pacing of Half-Life. Even free of its predecessors, Resistance 3 is still absolutely worth playing.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
El Shaddai is an adaptation of a non-canonical book of the bible called the book of Enoch. The original is about Enoch, grandfather of Moses, ascending through multiple levels of heaven and dealing with nephilim, the offspring of angels breeding with men. The video game is sort of about the same thing! If Enoch were a fancy male model that can wield a neon battleth, the world looked like it was remodeled by Daft Punk, and conflicts with angels were settled with both combat and Michael Jackson style dance offs. If all that sounds too weird to handle, it was for most people, but El Shaddai is a singular game worthy of anyone's time.
Sonic Generations was not the series savior people thought it might be. A game that tapped into Sonic's entire history, mixing his vintage 2D highs with his more controversial 3D lows, could have been the magic elixir to win everyone's approval, whether or not they were among the Hedgehog faithful. The results were imperfect. The 2D sections of Sonic Generations are exactly what classic fans asked for. The 3D sections are, sadly, almost as troubled as they were all the way back in Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast. The good far outweighs the bad in Generations, though, and it deserved a bigger audience than it got.
Retro Game Challenge
Retro Game Challenge could have been a miserable attempt to trade on NES nostalgia. Rather than feel like a limp tie-in to a Japan-only comedy show, this DS collection created brand new games that actually captured the magic of the best games on Nintendo's console in the late '80s and early '90s. All those games are packaged in a loving conceit as well. You're a kid trapped in the '80s and forced to overcome 8-bit challenges divvied out by the tyrannical head of the Retro Game Challenge TV show's host. Brilliant. It apparently sold in such catastrophically low numbers that XSEED couldn't even entertain the idea of localizing its superior sequel.
The World Ends With You
Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy remain the darlings of Square-Enix's Japanese line up, but this bizarre action RPG experiment is worthy of the same reverence. The World Ends with You's story, unique dual-screen combat, and hip J-Pop soundtrack made a huge impact on everyone played it. Taking place in a strange purgatory where the underworld directly resembles the real life town of Shibuya in Japan, you must survive the Reapers Game where players (dead people in purgatory) must try to survive lest they be erased (removed from purgatory into what we assume is Hell). An excellent iOS port gave the game a second shot, but the teased sequel at the end has never materialized. Heartbreaker.
Chromehounds is for serious mech fans. None of that silly Armored Core jump-jet stuff here - this is painstakingly careful, considered strategic combat between obsessively customized robotic war machines. Single matches of Chromehounds could take ages to play, and the drab, spare presentation did nothing to invite in new players let alone hold onto existing ones. For the community that gelled with the game's demands, though, Chromehounds was mana from heaven. Unfortunately its best feature, online matches, are no longer available.
Shadows of the Damned
Suda 51 made a name for himself with his exercises in stylized sex and violence. Lollipop Chainsaw, No More Heroes and Killer 7 all found healthy cult followings. Shadows of the Damned, his collaborations with horror game icon Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil 4 fame and Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka, didn't even form a cult of devoted fans. It tanked back on PS3 and Xbox 360, ending Grasshopper Manufacture's reportedly troubled relationship with EA. Seek out the game now, though, and it stands tall, a funny, strange tour through hell that plays a hell of a lot better than Mikami's own The Evil Within that came out on PS4 just a few years later.
Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure
Henry Hatsworth looked like the sort of kid game schlock that glutted the Nintendo DS. You would never know that one of the most teeth shatteringly difficult platformer action games hid beneath its cartoon facade. The game cleverly combined the best of both action and puzzle games with the top screen devoted to Mario-like action and the bottom screen saved for Tetris-like brain teasers. The interplay between the two made for frenetic activity that was totally unique to the hardware that hosted it. The final boss fight, if you can even reach it, is one of the hardest ever.
Lost Odyssey is the last Final Fantasy game ever made by Hironobu Sakaguchi in everything but name. It's a lush, strange, melancholic turn-based RPG with music by Nobuo Uematsu and flowing art direction. It is, in effect, everything Final Fantasy fans let down by Final Fantasy XIII said they actually wanted, but few people played it. Part of the problem was that despite its modern presentation, Lost Odyssey clung to seriously old-school ideals. Battles were as drawn out and frequent as Final Fantasy 1's were back on the NES. Working through its rough edges let you bask in its strange story of immortals and their weird lives. Lost Odyssey was made backwards compatible on Xbox One, but a remake would be even better.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Imagine waking up with no idea where you are, only to look over and see your dead corpse lying on the ground. Then you realize you're a disembodied wisp in the sky, no longer living, able to possess objects around you. That's how Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective begins, and what follows is a quest to figure out who killed you through some of the best puzzle gameplay we've ever experienced. Using Sissel (the dead guy), you'll manipulate the environment in each level to manipulate what happens; knock things down, create platforms, and more in a series of video game Rube Goldberg devices. The Nintendo DS was already fading as a platform when Ghost Trick came out, and while it received an okay iOS port, it's still never found the Ace Attorney-sized audience it deserves.
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
People thought Zack & Wiki was going to be yet another dumbed down game on Wii. They were wrong. Forget the cutesy swashbuckling art style - Zack & Wiki is a hardcore puzzler at the core. More akin to LucasArts' old point-and-click adventure classics, Wiki confronts you with dozens of brain bending riddles complimented by some of the smartest, subtlest motion control implementation in the Wii library.