2010 is coming to a close, and it has been a great year for the video gaming community. From the release of big-budget masterpieces such as Mass Effect 2 to exciting new hardware such as the Kinect and Playstation Move, there's something for just about every type of gamer this year.
Unfortunately, there were a few games released this year that everyone seems to have overlooked. Some of these games lie at the bottom of dusty bargain bins. Some of these games received stellar reviews, yet performed poorly in sales. Some of these games you've heard of, and others you haven't. All of these games, however, make up the most overlooked games of 2010.
5. Valkyria Chronicles II (PSP) Released: August 31, 2010
Sega's Valkyria Chronicles II is a tactical Japanese RPG that is just as dramatic, deep, and addicting as its PS3 predecessor. just like the PS3 game before it, unfortunately, the game was largely overlooked by the gaming community. The game made a smooth transition into a portable game, with more than 200 bite-sized missions that are perfect for those short bus rides or bathroom breaks.
4. Deadly Premonition (XBOX360) Released: February 23, 2010
Access Games' Deadly Premonition was a murder mystery that was released at the budget price of $20 early this year. The greatest thing about this game: It's fun! It also has a well-written story that makes the player want to continue in order to unravel the mystery, no matter how horrible the graphics are.
3. Alan Wake (XBOX360) Released: May 18, 2010
Remedy Entertainment's Alan Wake recreated the feeling of what made those old classic horror games special. It relied on atmosphere and tension instead of action in order keep gamers on the edge of their seats. Plus, it's not too often that we get a chance to experience a well-written horror game that doesn't rely on clunky controls and denying the player supplies to create tension.
I enjoyed Alan Wake. Most people enjoyed the game, as well. So why wasn't the game a top-seller, as it deserved to be? Remedy franchise head Oskari Hakkinen said it was due to "a very competitive launch window, with some games dominating with extremely aggressive marketing." Considering that the game had to compete with the likes of Super Mario Galaxy 2, Lost Planet 2, and Red Dead Redemption in May, it's no surprise that Remedy's game was somehow lost in the shuffle.
2. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (XBOX360, Playstation 3) Released: October 5, 2010
Looking at Ninja Theory's Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, you'd think that the game would have everything it takes to be a top-seller. Great Unreal Engine 3-powered graphics, among the best voice acting of this console generation, and gameplay action that rivals the movies. Unfortunately, these factors alone don't sell games anymore. With multiplayer-focused games such as Halo and Call of Duty dominating the sales charts, there isn't much of an opportunity for shorter single-player experiences to become successful. That's unfortunate: Enslaved is an experience that shouldn't be missed.
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1. Nier (XBOX360, Playstation 3) Released: April 27, 2010
Square Enix's Nier reinforces the fact that video game reviewers have lost touch with what makes a good video game these days. Here, we have developer Cavia going against the grain in order to make a game that breaks the cliches of typical Japanese RPGs, and they get punished for it. Nier is an excellent title. The wonderfully designed characters, Zelda-like gameplay, well-written narrative, and one of the most beautifully orchestrated soundtracks in recent memory elevate Nier above all of the rehashes and sequels that are so common these days. Nier Developer Cavia was unfortunately disbanded in July 2010, which is probably in part due to Nier's lackluster sales. Do yourselves a favor and pick up this hidden gem.