What’s good, everyone? Welcome to day three of our 30 day video game writing challenge. Today we’ll be touching on some of the more obscure or just “not-as-loved” games out there as we discuss some of our favorite underrated games.
Being completely honest, this is a topic that can cause a lot of arguments between gamers, as one person’s “underrated” is another’s “cult favorite”. Hell, a cursory Googling of “the most underrated games” produces several Top [insert number here] lists of games that are arguably underrated. For me though, this is an easy one. We’re going to take a little trip back in time to visit a little console in it’s prime called the Super Nintendo. It is this console that is the home to my pick for underrated gem: Breath of Fire.
Breath of Fire emerged on the SNES in April of 1993. With titles like Final Fantasy IV (then II), Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen and Soul Blazer already out and The 7th Saga, Secret of Mana and Illusion of Gaia on the way, the early 90’s were the rise of the JRPG in America. BoF was a unique beast in that was developed by Capcom (of Mega Man and Street Fighter fame) but was largely localized and promoted by RPG titan Squaresoft, due to Capcom’s relative inexperience with text-heavy RPGs. The game focuses on a young man named Ryu, one of last of a bloodline of people who can turn into dragons. The gameplay is pretty typical from there, forming parties, taking to everyone, random encounters, boss battles, grinding and saving the world. However at that time, I had not played a game that had had the sheer scope that BoF had. Even as I sit here writing and remembering, it staggers me how huge a game this is. The graphics were pretty good for the time, the characters were memorable and the score and SFX were top notch (because Capcom) and this one remains one of the main reasons I got so into JRPGs… even though I personally don’t know that many people who know anything about it.
— Evo out.
Yo yo yo! Hannah here to bring you my pick for most underrated game. I chose Super Mario 64 for… you guessed it! Nintendo 64. This was one of the title games for N64 so sometimes it gets overlooked in favor of games that had more time to adjust to the platform and sharpen their edges a bit, so to say. The game didn’t get negative press, so to speak, but I just feel it didn’t get enough positive. I spent YEARS playing this game, finding something new each time. Since this was released in 1996, it was easy to avoid spoilers and it felt special and exciting when you found something new. The world was shockingly immersive, and I just loved the adventure and freedom of going anywhere, through any door, and finding something different. You had goals in the game, but they were more about what you felt like accomplishing rather than a set objective. The diversification of levels/mini-games was revolutionary and inventive.
But I just effing can not even with the baby penguins and their inability to be transported. Herding cats, indeed.
– HSLAMMA WILL RESPAWN IN THREE… TWO… ONE…
Hey everyone! Megan_Highwind reporting in! The most underrated game, to me, is one you might remember if you read my article a while back regarding this topic entitled “Great Games You May Have Missed Part 2”. tri-Crescendo’s Eternal Sonata was an amazing game that I heard little to nothing about when it was released back in 2008 on the Playstation 3. Eternal Sonata is the story of the composer Frederic Chopin, lying in his deathbed in Paris, and the world he creates in his mind while he is not awake to the outside world. He creates an intense story with an alluring set of characters to match. I will freely admit that when I started this title I found myself thinking that it was going to be another overdone story, especially with the cutesy cover art and young looking characters, but I was wrong. When first falling into the world that Chopin creates, it is easy to feel like the story is going nowhere; but after the beginning sequences end and the heart of the story begins, it becomes so much deeper than at first glance. The story brings to the forefront the meaning of life and death, light and darkness and even dreams and reality such as the dream that Chopin created for himself. When the game ended, I found myself wanting more. All of the different characters that player encounters and the circumstances that have brought them together are also part of what make the story great. While they may all seem as though they are just children with no real issues to face, the more time spent with them the more it surfaces that not just Chopin, but Polka, Allegretto, and the others are all dealing with issues that are well beyond their years.
Eternal Sonata has some of the things I look for most in a great game. Like some other RPGs, when a monster runs into the party the player controls three different characters and has to fight. Hitting the monsters is done by slashing with the X button while special attacks are reserved for the triangle. However, unlike other games the light and darkness elements and the party level system keep the game from becoming too linear. Depending on where your character is on the board, either a light or a dark section, their moves change. On top of that, The music in this game is fantastic. Some of the songs are ones created by Chopin himself and are played at times with a thoughtful little saying or phrase that really add to aspects of the storyline. Other times pieces created by Motoi Sakuraba flood the speakers. No matter which composer’s songs are played during different times in the game, they blend together beautifully to create a picture of a world of beauty and hope as well as sadness and pain. Finally, the way the characters and backgrounds look and feel together are well done. The characters show emotion with every word and look that comes out of them. Overall, this game’s distinct play style, haunting musical score, and beautiful graphics make this a game everyone should check out!
-Megan_Highwind has left the party.
Hello again readers! James B. Boss here with my entry for today’s challenge. Every year, gamers can look forward to a massive release of big name titles in the world of video games. So many big names, in fact, that we often forget that there are some smaller titles that get released at the same time. Unfortunately, some of these underrated titles are forgotten and almost fade away never to have the chance to put their names out in the world, no matter how great they might be. That is until a few scattered gamers like us dive into the bargain bin and and go looking for these underrated gems. In my own personal searching, I came across a game called Ring of Red. It was a turn based strategy game that was released during the early life cycle of the Playstation 2. At first glance I did not know what to make of it, other than the fact it had a character sitting next to a cannon with a giant robot in the background. Of course, being a fan of giant robots I decided to take a chance and I purchased the game.
The game’s story takes place in an alternate history where Japan was divided into two areas, Communist North and Democratic South. Gameplay is fairly simple; you take control of characters who use robots units called Armored Fighting Walkers (or AFWs) and position them on the battlefield in a style similar to that of Final Fantasy tactics and Fire Emblem. Combat is turn based, but is also real time since you can control the movement of your AFW in battle. It’s like controlling a tank, but instead your using giant robots. Attacking is done by going into scope perspective (again like piloting a tank) and there is a percentage displayed on the screen. You can increase the percentage of your hit by aiming more precisely, but be wary since the enemy can land a few hits on you as well. There other types of AFWs that you can control as you progress through the, such as long ranged types and CQC (Close Quarter Combat) types. You can also equip special infantry units to help your AFWs to help change the course of battle. To be honest, I’m surprised this game did not catch on as well as I feel like it should have. The story was interesting and they gameplay was pretty solid, so I would at least think it was deserving of a closer look. While it’s rather rare these days, I highly recommend trying this game out if you see it on shelves. With turn based strategy and giant robots, how could you lose?
— Boss? What happened? BOSS?!