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The 50 most overlooked games of last generation

Stuntman: Ignition

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.

Nier

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.

The Club

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.

MadWorld

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.

Splatterhouse

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. 

Resistance 3

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. 

I've been playing games since I turned four in 1986, been writing about them since 1987, and writing about them professionally since 2008. My wife and I live in New York City. Chrono Trigger is my favorite game ever made, Hum's Downward is Heavenward is my favorite album, and I regularly find myself singing "You Won't See Me" by The Beatles in awkward situations.