10 underrated games you should play
9th Jan 2011 | 13:30
Some games, like Uncharted 2 for example, shine bright for a long time after release, while more than a few quickly fizzle away into obscurity and can usually be found at the bottom of your local bargain bin.
So we thought we'd do our part and highlight a few of these hidden gems. These are few games that are available now for dirt cheap and are definitely worth your time.
Go on, help a good old game out.
OPERATION FLASHPOINT: DRAGON RISING
It may be a modern war FPS, but Flashpoint couldn't be any more different from COD. This is a hardcore tactical simulation, where death can sneak up on you before you even have time to react.
You have to work closely with your squad and, if you're playing online, communicate constantly to keep everyone alive.
Massive levels and a variety of vehicles and classes keep things interesting. Good on your own, but absolutely essential with friends.
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
Riddick's gaming debut was released to no real fanfare, despite offering two entire games: an HD remake of Xbox's Escape From Butcher Bay, and new adventure Assault On Dark Athena.
The grotty dinge of the Butcher Bay maximum-security penitentiary and the claustrophobic corridors of the Dark Athena slave ship are triumphs of design. Two superb games with great stories and unique structures.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
That's right: a film license. Wolverine defied all expectations by turning out to be superbly accomplished, with vicious combat.
Pouncing on enemies from afar and tearing them to shreds with your claws felt hugely satisfying, and there were a lot of comically gruesome set-pieces including sticking a man's head in a helicopter's rotors.
Big, silly and full of weak moments and boss battles, but ultimately one of the best film spin-offs available. Not that there's much competition.
Boasting some fantastic lighting and smart over-the-shoulder combat, Dark Sector is an accomplished Resident Evil 4 homage.
As well as the usual array of guns, hero Hayden is equipped with a glaive (a razor sharp frisbee, essentially) that he can chuck at foes to lop off their heads without too much effort.
It's also used for fetching distant items and solving puzzles. The slow pace and lack of variety eventually let it down, but it's still worth playing, if only for those lovely Unreal engine graphics and the macabre spectacle of the glaive decapitations.
IL-2 STURMOVIK: BIRDS OF PREY
The screenshots might make this look like the world's most po-faced flight sim; the kind of thing you'd find on the PC of a man with taped-together glasses. But it's not.
It's the Call Of Duty of flying games: gorgeous, action-packed and fast-paced. Despite the small team, it has visuals that shame big budget games like Ubisoft's H.A.W.X, and there's an arcade mode if you don't fancy the realistic sim stuff.
Jackie Estacado is a New York mafioso with a dark secret: he's possessed by an ancient, parasitic demon that feeds on shadow.
Under the cloak of night, Jackie can call upon his evil passenger to use deadly supernatural powers, which he uses to get revenge on his treacherous mob boss uncle.
Execution is often clumsy, but using tentacles to fling cars and people around and summoning up Darkling helpers is a real thrill, giving the otherwise plain combat an edge over similar games.
DISGAEA 3: ABSENCE OF JUSTICE
If the linear rollercoaster that was Final Fantasy XIII left you cold, get Disagea. Just be sure you have 200 hours to spare.
This is one of the most staggeringly feature packed RPGs ever made. The monstrously deep combat is supported by hours of story and side content.
The SNES-style graphics and distinctly Japanese sense of humour won't be to everyone's tastes, but get past it and you'll find a funny, surprisingly well-written and engrossing role-player like no other.
UK studio Bizarre Creations' future hangs in the balance. They could be closed down by owners Activision after the poor sales of Blur and 007: Blood Stone.
But let's remember the good old days with The Club, which provides a twist on the third-person shooter. Points are awarded for chaining stylish kills. It's all about racking up a massive score. Think Tony Hawk, but with headshots.
Civilization is the epitome of the 'one more go' game. The turn-based strategy title sees you leading a society from humble tribal beginnings to becoming a modern superpower.
You can win by war, diplomacy or technological advances, and there are a thousand ways to reach each goal.
But rather than just port the PC version, 2K designed Revolution specifically for pads, meaning it's streamlined and easy to play.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: HELL'S HIGHWAY
Gearbox's Brothers In Arms series never made it big, despite generating enough sales to warrant two sequels.
Hell's Highway was is an intensely satisfying tactical shooters. From rainy French villages to the verdant green fields of the Dutch countryside, levels are full of detail, atmosphere and opportunities to outsmart the Nazis using a powerful squad command system.
The story is patchy, but the cerebral action and authenticity make up for it. If you love HBO's sublime mini-series Band Of Brothers, this is an essential purchase.