The Top 7... Overlooked games of 2011

We forgive you. 2011 was a stupidly crazy busy year for videogames, and unless you neglected sleeping, eating and breathing, there was literally no way you could play every great release.

But! Whether you get to them now that the holidays are here, get to them in the emptier early months of next year, or simply get to them at some point in your life, you need to experience the following seven titles. While they may not have sold as well as the likes of Skyrim, Modern Warfare and Batman, or received as much attention as the likes of Portal, Mario and Uncharted, they’re often just as amazing. Sometimes better.

7. Yakuza 4

A few reasons you forgot to play Yakuza 4: it's the fourth entry in a decidedly Eastern-leaning series that makes no apologies for potential cultural barriers, it's about Japanese gangsters, and there are more characters in it than even the most accessible Russian novel.

If you can still find the game on shelves, however, here are a few reasons it’s totally worth checking out: you can pick up motorcycles and slam them against yakuza-wannabe's jaws, try your hand at running a hostess bar, become part of the foodie elite by seeking out every secret restaurant, or receive a sensual massage (really). That’s in addition to the main story, which examines why four people from wildly different backgrounds chose a life of crime, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. You’ll spend dozens of hours exhausting everything each character can possibly do in this massive city.

Grand Theft Auto might be our closest approximation to Yakuza 4 in America, but that's really an unfair comparison, as Yakuza is more focused on keeping the action varied, interesting, and, well, warranted. From daring rooftop chases with perverts in diapers to subdued prison breaks, Yakuza 4 offers some of this year's most memorable moments – for those who played it, anyway.

GamesRadar’s review of Yakuza 4

6. Outland

Was it the glut of XBLA games that washed through your dashboard's ad space, or was it the fact that by the time it dropped on PSN, you were already knee deep in free Welcome Back games? Either way, Outland is a game that undoubtedly deserved to be on your playlist.

It's a game that combines several proven gameplay mechanics to concoct a surprisingly stout platformer. Imagine the best elements of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Metroid, then add a twist of Ikaruga's on-the-fly switching between color coding to battle different shades of enemy, and you've got a pretty good idea of how it plays.

Outland is also a sleek-looking game with fluid animation and a unique art style. Its shadow-puppet-themed presentation is a real standout, and it does a great job of highlighting how important your palette switching is to surviving its challenging environments. So, yeah, you should really feel terrible that you've deprived yourself of such a fascinating action platformer for as long as you have. Maybe you could remedy that?

GamesRadar’s review of Outland


Top 7


  • ChaseByKO - February 7, 2012 1:02 a.m.

    Playing Ghost Trick on my iPhone. WHAT A DELIGHTFUL AND FUN SURPRISE. High-five to the recommendation.
  • AuthorityFigure - January 2, 2012 2:40 a.m.

    The conclusion seems to me to be that naming your game too eccentrically harms its sales. I thought these guys would consider that pre-release though.
  • Darkhawk - December 15, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    I'll tell you why these were overlooked: 1) Yakuza - 4th in an ultra-Japanese non-GTA GTA-like game 2) Outland - I LOVE THIS GAME. Shame on everyone 3) Ace Combat - As we've learned from previous entries, these are all one-trick-ponies. Even at $40, the price is too steep to essentially play a bunch of variations on the demo I already beat. 4) El Shaddai - Demo kinda sucked, and based on other reviews... 5) SotD - Suda's biggest disappointment. Though there are hints of Suda madness in here, it's essentially just a derivation of his own (far better) work, with far too much silliness. 6) Ghost Trick - Obscure, but I LOVE this one too. 7) Rayman - "Soul-crushingly" difficult, with kid-friendly exterior. I'm surprised there aren't more returns
  • AuthorityFigure - January 2, 2012 2:38 a.m.

    So 2) and 6) were overlooked because you loved them?
  • ChaseByKO - December 14, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    I haven't even heard of Ghost Trick—and I follow games pretty well. I'll have to see if I can find it. Outland is fun and a nice twist on the Shmup genre. And it's not overly-difficult like Ikaruga.
  • adamhowes - December 14, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    Meh list only 2 of them games even look good Shadows of the damn is great fun and Rayman Origins love the demo.
  • symphonicdeathpop - December 14, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Great list. Yakuza 4, El Shaddai and Outland are all really great games. And El Shaddai in particlar was criminally overlooked :(
  • egregious - December 14, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    Never heard of Outland to be honest. Will definitely give it go, so thank you, GR!
  • Hobogonigal - December 14, 2011 4:15 a.m.

    GamesRadar don't judge me!!! I was going to get a few of these but kind of forgot. Will you let me off if I promise to buy Yakuza 4 and Ghost Trick? Please....
  • pin316 - December 13, 2011 10:10 p.m.

    I'm in the middle of a dry spell regarding new games atm, due to a backlog that needs clearing combined with budgetary management requirements. However, two of these (Shadows of the Damned, and Assault Horizon) have been on my "purchase when it's viable" list since they were released. Awesome to have confirmation that I have some stellar gaming to look forwards to :D
  • AshLynx - December 13, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    Well, just picked up Ghost Trick! It was on my "to do" list...better late than never, and it was a new copy so it does support them directly. I loved Phoenix Wright and I like puzzle games, so why the heck not get it? Or get it for Xmas, close enough.
  • quincytheodore - December 13, 2011 9:21 p.m.

    El Shaddai and Yakuza 4 weren't exactly aimed outside Japan. So it's a bit predicted they wouldn't get much exposure. But SotD was different, it's a real shame. It's entertaining, nice OST, cool gameplay. Slightly overused dick jokes though. It deserves more...
  • TheFabricOfTime - December 13, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    LittleBigPlanet 2. A lot of people overlook it for its cartoony style. Forget you haters, we're still creating some awesome levels and finding new ways to do it.
  • RedHarlow - December 13, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    People still churning out trophy levels and heart for heart levels, eh?
  • laurenhiya21 - December 13, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    Ghost Trick was awesome, but I had so much trouble playing it without a guide >,<
  • ShowMeYourKitties - December 13, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    This article could probably also be called "GamesRadar's Okami of 2012" Also, I really want to get my hands on Ghost Trick
  • PleasantPig - December 13, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    I actually bought both Rayman Origins and Outland. I love Outland, and Rayman Origins is definitely my game of the year. No question.
  • Turboash - December 13, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    Street Cleaning Simulator!!!
  • losthero15 - December 13, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    I absolutely loved Ghost Trick Where is my Missile focused spin-off Capcom?
  • jackthemenace - December 13, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    Well, I played Shadows of the Damned, and that was awesome, but nothing else here really interests me :/ Although, I suppose that's the POINT, that I SHOULD play them DESPITE that... ANYWAY, i hate to say it, but Ascension of the Metatron, visually, looks crap. At least, i think so. Other's might think it looks, I don't know, Avant Garde, but I think it looks like a cluttered mess of colours. So, If the GAMEPLAY'S wank, and the VISUALS are wank, I don't see much point sitting through it for the story :/

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