Video Games

The Most Underrated Video Games Of This Decade

Via Electronic Arts

We’ve seen some of the greatest video games ever made released over the past decade and with more and more games being published each year, there are bound to be plenty of great titles that fly under the radar. There are many reasons why a game can be overlooked, whether due to poor timing or market saturation of a particular genre. Often games are written off because of one weak aspect of the experience even though they may have plenty of other redeeming qualities.

Most of the games on this list have suffered poor critical reviews, sales, and/or negative feedback from gamers for one reason or another. Despite that, every title on this list has made an impact on gamers who are willing to dig a little deeper for a unique gaming experience. Here are the 12 most underrated video games of this decade.

12. Catherine

Year of Release: 2011

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Catherine is a quirky adult oriented puzzle based role-playing game developed and published by Atlus for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. The game’s story revolves around the protagonist Vincent Brooks and his subsequent affair with a woman named Catherine over a week’s period. Gameplay varies between exploration segments where Vincent is able to talk to friends at a bar, listen to music at the jukebox, send and receive text messages, order drinks, and play arcade games.

During the night, the main gameplay takes place in “nightmare stages”, a dream world where men are represented as anthropomorphic sheep. These gameplay sections are where the puzzle elements come into play, as Vincent must push, pull and climb blocks as quickly as possible while avoiding various traps such as spikes and ice. Catherine is a truly unique experience that not enough people took the time to seek out.


11. Axiom Verge

Year of Release: 2015

Platform: PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, Nintendo Switch

“Metroidvania” is a term that’s gained significant traction over the last decade and refers to a game that uses design and mechanics reminiscent of the Castlevania and Metroid series. There may be no better example than 2015’s Axiom Verge, as it’s essentially an amalgamation of the two classic platforming series. The game also incorporates other elements from classic games such as Mega Man, Bionic Commando, Blaster Master, and Contra.

Players play as Trace, a scientist who awakes after a lab explosion, only to find himself in a strange new environment. It’s up to players to uncover the truth about this new world, as well as Trace’s role in it. With some of the tightest platforming seen in recent memory, Axiom Verge combines gorgeous visuals and a sublime soundtrack into a package that is a must-play for fans of retro video games.

Via GoNintendo

10. Asura’s Wrath

Year of Release: 2012

Platform: Ps3, Xbox 360

This fast-paced, third-person action beat-em-up published by Capcom in 2012 finds its closest comparison in games like Bayonetta, God of War, and Devil May Cry. The story revolves around the generation-spanning journey Asura and his fight against the evil race of Ghoma, the Seven Deities, and quest to save his daughter and the world (granted, it’s a pretty tall order). Fortunately for Asura, he’s a demi-god, and begins the game alongside seven other of his kind, together forming the Eight Guardian Generals.

The game is presented in the style of an episodic anime television series, with gameplay shifting between third-person action and rail shooting segments. Asura’s Wrath is yet another unique gaming experience that successfully provides players with something fresh amidst a sea of first-person shooters. Like many games on this list, the game was well received but was overshadowed by more higher profile releases at the time.


9. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Year of Release: 2012

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an expansive RPG with a sprawling story and vast numbers of side quests. Featuring superbly in-depth combat, Kingdoms of Amular has a huge variety in character design and leveling systems, and allows you to deviate from the main plot and explore its enormous world at your leisure. Unfortunately for developer 38 Studios, virtually nobody played this underrated gem. The game’s closest comparison is The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and unfortunately for 38 Studios, Skyrim did everything better (and was vastly more popular).

Despite not quite living up to SkyrimKingdom of Amular’s third-person combat was unparalleled at the time and made up for some of its shortcomings. 38 Studios had an epic MMO in the works shortly after the release of Kingdoms of Amalur, but were forced to close up shop after a highly publicized lawsuit bankrupted the company.

Via Electronic Arts

8. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Year of Release: 2013

Platform: PS3

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is a Japanese role-playing game developed by Level-5 and co-produced by famed animation house Studio Ghibli. A charming game with a gorgeous art style and compelling narrative, Ni No Kuni was released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 in 2013.  Players assume the role of Oliver, a young boy who sets out on a journey with his pal Drippy to save his mother Allie from a dangerous alternate world.

The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot, by boat, or on a dragon. While players navigate the world, they’ll encounter creatures known as “familiars” which can be captured and compelled to fight by your side, much like Pokemon. Ni No Kuni received widespread acclaim, with praise particularly directed at its story, graphic design, and gameplay. Unfortunately, many gamers passed it by, writing it off as a niche JRPG. Despite this, Ni No Kuni is a must-play for even the most casual RPG fan and even managed to produce a (arguably inferior) 2018 sequel.


7. Bulletstorm

Year of Release: 2011

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Bulletstorm is an over-the-top first-person shooter that rewards players with points for performing increasingly ludicrous and creative kills. Absolutely one of the most entertaining shooters of the past decade, Bulletstorm was overlooked by many due its arcade style gameplay and lack of multiplayer modes (there is, however, cooperative online play as well as an addictive score attack).

Bulletstorm takes place in a futuristic setting where a confederation is being protected by an elite band known as Dead Echo. The setting and story may be run of the mill first-person shooter fare, but the intense action sets it apart from other shooters. The game has a clever scoring system that rewards players for disposing of enemies with various skillshots. The more deadly the skillshot, the more points players receive to further develop their character, unlock weapons allowing the player to perform even more creative moves and deadly skillshots. It all makes for a fun and unique experience that is worth revisiting.

Via Den of Geek

6. Child of Eden

Year of Release: 2011

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

Child of Eden is an on-rails shooter game created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and serves as a prequel to Mizuguchi’s genre-defying creation, Rez. which was released a decade earlier. Gameplay involves shooting various targets which produce musical notes when destroyed. The game was developed for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and takes advantage of Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move controllers.

While Rez was played from a third-person perspective, Child of Eden is all first-person. The game works quite well with motion controls, adding another layer of gameplay to the rail shooter formula. Overall, Child of Eden does a fantastic job of combining sound, visuals, and compelling gameplay into a package that is arguably the best rail shooter of all time.

Via Amazon UK

5. Vanquish

Year of Release: 2010

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

Vanquish is a stylish, fast-paced third-person shooter that was published by Sega and released in 2010. The game was a collaboration between Shinji Mikami (creator of Resident Evil) and Platinum Games, the studio behind the Bayonetta franchise. Vanquish is notable for introducing several elements to the 3D shooter genre, including beat-em-up elements, and an always enjoyable rocket slide mechanic. The game excels in its varied gameplay approaches, allowing players to use the cover based systems much like Gears of War or take advantage of the rocket slide for some more fast-paced action.

Vanquish was released at a time when there were dozens of big shooters on the market and was unfortunately seen more as a Japanese developer jumping on a popular trend. The game received favorable reviews, but somehow failed to catch much attention until years after its release.


4. Sonic Generations

Year of Release: 2011

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360

The Sonic franchise has suffered through some sub-par releases since the glory days of the 16-bit era. After what was possibly Sega’s worst effort to date in Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), there were several mediocre releases in the years leading up to 2011’s Sonic GenerationsGenerations follows Sonic and his sidekick Tails as they form an alliance with their past (retro) selves to stop an evil entity from erasing all of time. It’s an interesting concept that adds something new to what was seen as a stale franchise.

Generations does a fantastic job of straddling the line between old and new, as the game features two distinct gameplay styles – the “Classic” style, which plays from a side-scrolling perspective like that of the original Sega Genesis games, and “Modern” style, which features 3D levels similar to those found in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Colors. Due to the many underwhelming Sonic releases in previous years, most gamers simply passed Generations off as more of the same. However, those who took the chance on the game were surprised to find a rewarding experience.


3. Mad Max

Year of Release: 2015

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Mad Max was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 in 2015. The action-adventure game is based on the film franchise of the same name and features enemies and locations from the latest film, Mad Max: Fury Road. Players take control of Max Rockatansky as he journeys to the Plains of Silence in search of fuel and parts for his vehicle, the “Magnum Opus”.

Gameplay is varied and features some fantastic vehicular combat, mixed with open world exploration and combat. The post-apocalyptic setting provides a perfect background for the vast open world gameplay and gives the player a real sense of desperation. Although Mad Max struggled with its quest design and featured an underwhelming story, it’s totally worth your time if you’re looking for a great open world action game in a familiar setting.

2. Spe-Ops: The Line

Year of Release: 2012

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Spec-Ops: The Line is a great game and appears on many people’s hidden gems list. Released in 2012, Spec-Ops is a third-person action game developed by Yager Development and published by 2K games for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The player assumes the role of Captain Martin Walker, who is sent into a post-catastrophe Dubai with an elite Delta Force team on a recon mission. As the game progresses, Walker’s mental health deteriorates as he begins to experience hallucinations and slowly realizes the horror of war and his hand in it. It’s a clever storytelling twist that elevates the game from standard shooter fare.

Gameplay is well done, with cover-based shooting mechanics that use the desert setting almost as a supporting character. Sand plays a key role in the gameplay mechanics and can be used as an aid to defeat enemies. With so many shooters on the market, it’s hard for a game to differentiate itself from the rest, but Spec-Ops: The Line successfully accomplished this, in spite of being commercially overlooked.

Via GMagazine

1. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Year of Release: 2010

Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

While far from being a perfect game, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West lands in our number one spot of the decade’s most underrated games. Loosely based on the classic Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’, players are cast as Monkey – a strong, brutish loner who is forced to partner with the tech-savvy, yet physically weak Trip on a journey to freedom. An action-adventure game developed by Ninja Theory, well known for their work on DMC: Devil May Cry series as well as 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Enslaved was a commercial failure for the studio.

However, the game features some great chemistry between the two lead characters performance captured by Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw. Gameplay features some tight 3D platforming, decent combat, and some clever puzzles. The story may have had grander designs than what was seen in the final product, but the game is worth the price of admission for its gorgeous visuals and level design alone.

Via Gamesplanet


Charles Rogers

Charliee Rogers is a freelance writer, father of two, and video game player!