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The Top 7... Overlooked games of 2011

2. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Shu Takumi, the creative genius behind the Ace Attorney series, has created some of the most memorable stories and characters in all of gaming. So when he announced that he was working on Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, a brand-new adventure game for DS, we already knew that it would be something special. And when we finally got to play it for ourselves and experienced its truly mind-bending and heartwarming tale (featuring the greatest game dog of all time, hands down), we hoped with all our niche gamer hearts that Ghost Trick would catch on just as Phoenix Wright had before.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Not only did Ghost Trick sell poorly, but Capcom even went so far as to specifically call it out as a contributing factor in their recent fiscal downturn. Seriously, people, this is why we can't have nice things. All of you who ignored Ghost Trick are missing out on one of the DS’s most charming experiences, on par with the magic of Disney or Pixar, with what's possibly the best ending of the year. For the small number of us who actually played it, the saddest part is that we'll probably never see a sequel. Thanks for that, everyone else. 

GamesRadar’s review of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

 

 


1. Rayman Origins

We don’t know what sort of insanity prompted Ubisoft to release Rayman Origins on November 15, but the timing put developer Michel Ancel’s quirky side-scroller in direct competition with heavyweights like Modern Warfare 3, Saints Row The Third, Zelda: Skyward Sword and even Ubi’s own Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Pushed out to fend for itself in a crowded field like that, it really isn’t surprising that Origins sold a piddly 50,000 copies across three platforms in its first two weeks (for reference, Revelations sold more than 25 times as many).

While it’s not surprising, however, it’s certainly a shame. Origins is a beautifully animated, gorgeously realized and instantly absorbing piece of inspired lunacy that sees Rayman and his misshapen friends out to liberate their silly dreamworld from its annoyed neighbors, the Livid Dead. It starts out as a seemingly simple side-scroller, but quickly becomes so much more; after granting Rayman and company an assortment of new powers and luring them to the “end” of its easy but addictive levels, it turns the tables and becomes a wickedly balls-hard romp through some of the most demanding, timing-intensive 2D gameplay we’ve seen since the Super NES was king. And yet even at its most soul-crushing, Origins’ perfectly tuned action and endlessly entertaining personality makes it impossible to put down the controller.

So yeah, Origins is pretty badass. In a year filled with explosive spectacle and deep storytelling, it opted to simply be a game, and it stood out because of it. Unfortunately, it also got steamrolled right out the gate, making it one of the sadder instances of a game that the buying public blew right by. Oh well, maybe the inevitable post-2011 discount – and a re-release on Vita early next year – will give it the audience it deserves.

GamesRadar’s review of Rayman Origins

 

What’s your choice for the best overlooked game of 2011? Champion it in the comments and maybe, just maybe, you’ll give it a second chance at success.

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88 comments

  • 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 :/

Showing 1-20 of 88 comments

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