Most Under-rated Games of Last Gen

These new shiny consoles aren’t cheap. Unless you have a fair amount of disposable income you’re better off wringing every last ounce of fun you can get out of your PS3 and Xbox 360. With that in mind, here are some completely under-rated games that deserve more attention, most of which can be picked up on the cheap.

Hitman: Blood Money - 2006

Released on both PS2 and the original Xbox as well as the 360, this game is the oldest on our list, but has proven it can stand the test of time. Taking the control of Agent 47, you're tasked with hunting down your assassination targets in an array of globetrotting locales, with each level a self contained sandbox with which to devise your stealthy schemes, and to this day nothing feels quite the same as nailing a "Silent Assassin" ranking after hours of plotting your setup. 

The most terrifying Christmas story of all time
                                                    
Pure - 2008

There was a time when Disney made videogames. It even had its own development studios, the best of the bunch being Black Rock Studios, who turned out this little gem of a racer. Pure is essentially SSX on quad bikes, and that should sound awesome to you. If it doesn’t, try the demo on Xbox Live. Pure features great tracks with some epic trick spots, and each rider has a special move which are wholly unrealistic (breakdancing on a flying ATV anyone?). For a twist on the usual extreme sports genres, you could do a lot worse than Pure.

                                                    

Breaking every bone in 5, 4, 3, 2....
Split/Second - 2010

Black Rock Studios again, this time with cars instead of ATVs, and with traps instead of tricks. Imagine it, you’re racing around an Airport Terminal in a style not dissimilar to track based Burnout games. You end up on the tarmac, and have enough in your “Powerplay” (read: trap) meter to unleash an attack on the racer in front. With the touch of a button, a jumbo jet starts heading into land, before hitting the runway without landing gear, taking out every racer but you. This kind of thing happens a lot in Split/Second, but just infrequently enough so as to not cheapen the experience. A truly explosive arcade-style racer, and well worth a look.

Oh boy, this is gonna hurt...

Vanquish – 2010

Imagine Gears of War if it had been developed by Platinum Games and directed by Shinji Mikami. Prior to Bayonetta and Metal Gear: Rising, Platinum released this fast paced, very short but very fun shooter. The story is pretty pap, revolving around scientist Sam Gideon, trying to fend off a terrorist attack on a space station orbiting the Earth. No zero gravity here though, and that’s just fine – Sam’s ARS suit (no sniggering) allows him to boost along floors, flip over cover and slow down time like some kind of balletic space samurai. No multiplayer hurts longevity, but its worth picking up for the insane speed of the fighting.

"Don't fancy your odds mate..."

Ni-No-Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch – 2013 (PS3 only)

A more recent title here, and one that is begging to be played by anyone with a passing interest in either RPGs (developed by Level-5 of Dragon Quest fame) or Anime (directed by Studio Ghibli of Spirited Away (and countless others)). The game features a fairytale-esque story, taking lead character Oliver through a mystical world to find a way to bring back his late mother. Its full of memorable characters and Pokemon-esque monster catching, with some wonderfully whimsical voice acting to bring the whole thing to life. Particular standout is Mr Drippy, the very welsh Lord of the Fairies. It could be very niche, but its certainly worth taking a chance on.



 Basically the opposite of the next game...

Bulletstorm – 2011

Coming from the same Epic Game’s publishing stable as titles such as Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, Bulletstorm is another one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A first-person-shooter which revolves around killing with as much style as possible. As a result, you’re given all sorts of environmental hazards and crazy weaponry to use to rack up points. The best bit? The crazy electric whip which allows you to fling people into spikes, explosives, or just up into the air for target practice. The game’s story is a B-movie revenge trope, but it takes enough fun out of itself to feel more like the kind of 80s action movie with a sense of fun to match

All those guns and still prefers the "Up close and personal approach"...

Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days – 2010

After the lasting success of the Hitman Franchise, IO’s heavily hyped Kane & Lynch: Dead Men fell far short of critical expectation with loose cover mechanics and bullet sponge enemies. That said, it had some brilliant set piece moments in the first half, including heists and abseiling down a skyscraper in downtown Tokyo. Dog Days, the sequel, wasn’t a game that many people had asked for, and whilst it evolved into a more competent shooter, it left behind some of those wow-moments. So why is it on the list? Dog Days tries something different, taking the titular duo exclusively through the murky underbelly of Shanghai, “filmed” through a grainy, partially pixelated handheld camera. This adds some intensity to proceedings, and whilst the game paints a depressing picture of two veteran criminals out of their depth, if you can find a game online and rob banks with your friends, it takes on new life (particularly when you double cross them and steal the loot).

Pretty tricky to get a non-offensive screenshot for this one...
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – 2010

Konami’s Castlevania franchise has a well-earned legacy and reputation for quality games, despite the occasional misfire. So rebooting the franchise in full 3D, in a similar hack-and-slash genre to the God of War series could have been a risk. Thankfully, this paid off, and then some. With a 20 hour story, Easter-eggs hidden throughout, memorable locales and a great soundtrack, it stands up to Sony Santa Monica’s series and lives up to its own name. Be sure to stick around to the end for a great finale.

Because nothing says "Welcome" like wings and teeth...

Spec-Ops: The Line – 2012

The final game on our list is commonly regarded as a huge miss by many gamers. Dismiss it as another generic military shooter at your peril: whilst it may begin as such, the game soon takes a turn for the dramatic, leaving you haunted by the horrors of war. Whilst the multiplayer feels tacked on, wholly unnecessary and tonally at-odds with the rest of the experience, the single player will leave you questioning the point of war, and the lengths we’ll go to follow orders.

"Sand and Deliver!" (Sigh)

So there you have it, my most under-rated games of the last console generation. Got any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!

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