In a perfect world, every video game would get the attention it deserves. Instead, many games are pushed aside to make way for their shiny, big-budgeted competitors that have the money to take the spotlight from other games. We've seen it happen many times before; unique titles like Mirror's Edge, Brutal Legend, Viva Piñata, and MadWorld were great games that got overlooked by many gamers for a myriad of reasons.
As we approach a highly anticipated fall season filled with major releases like Gears of War 3 and Battlefield 3, it's easy to overlook the smaller games that have already released or are just about to come out. This summer has several, and here are the ten that you should definitely give a chance.
Despite the positive reviews and huge amount of hype this game has received, its Kinect exclusivity and incredibly unique look and setting (with no identifiable characters or story) will keep it from surpassing cult status. It's a great game, but it's also one that's difficult to market to those unfamiliar with similar games like Rez. If you ever find yourself bored of the same shooter or alien invasion game, Child of Eden is a gorgeous assault on the senses that you won't soon forget.
Shadows of the Damned is an interesting beast because it's a pseudo-horror game from the minds behind No More Heroes (Goichi Suda, aka Suda51) and Resident Evil (Shinji Mikami). Suda51's games are known for their psychedelic, punk-rock feel, but they're also notorious for never becoming more than cult hits. Obviously, Shinji Mikami has seen greater success with Resident Evil, and specifically his work on Resident Evil 4, a game that's considered by many to be the best game in the series. Unfortunately, the action/horror setting limits the appeal of Shadows, as does its decidedly Japanese flavor. But this is a game that shouldn't be missed by horror fans. It's continuously hilarious, and the music, scored by legendary Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka, takes the experience to a whole new level.
I, like many others, skipped its predecessor, Earth Defense Force 2017, because it looked dated, strange, and cheesy. What I didn't know back then was how incredibly fun the game actually is—it can only be described as a "gamer's game." It doesn't have stellar graphics or a robust multiplayer; instead, Insect Armageddon focuses on an addictive arcade-style gameplay that you can enjoy with a friend. If anything, it'll make you nostalgic for the days before achievements, when you would grab a bunch of quarters and join your friends at the arcade cabinet for a few hours of unforgettable fun.
For those who are paying real close attention, yes, Outland actually came out in late April for the Xbox 360. But since it also made its way to the PS3 in mid-June, it's still fair to make room for it on the list. At first glance, Outland has everything going for it. It's an undeniably beautiful game with intuitive controls and a unique story. Anyone who's actually spent some time with the game will also be familiar with how insanely fast the difficulty ramps up, taking it to seemingly impossible levels that will keep many gamers from wanting to spend their money on the game. But if you think you can handle it, Outland is a game that rewards you for your hard work, and it's an experience that's as memorable as it is perilous.
Despite their flaws, I really enjoyed my time with the last two Call of Juarez games. They're not the best-looking games, and at times they can get a little buggy, but the story and Wild West setting (an era that isn't covered as often as it deserves to be in video games) made the games worthwhile experiences. The Cartel takes the series on a new path, bringing the action to modern-day Mexico. Whether or not this was a good choice is something we won't know for sure for another week, but I have complete faith in developer Techland.