Wanted: Reader Input on Lesser-Known Favourites

Lusipurr.com is soliciting reader opinions on the topic of lesser-known favourites. We would like to know about games which, for whatever reason, were not hailed as enormous successes but which you love anyway.

The Megaphones Ahoy! Podcast will discuss a selection of reader suggestions on the upcoming podcast for 31 May. Feel free to tell us about as many games as you like. More information is, as always, appreciated. Why do you feel it was not a hit? What appealed to you about it? Where did you hear about it? What do the detractors say? What is your response?

Thank you in advance for your input!

Also: I have a potato. No joke.

0 comments

  1. Radiata Stories I loved. It had a certain charm to it and told a sad tale in a light-hearted way. I haven’t played it in a while, but I remember being very fond of some mechanics although I don’t think I loved the battle system.

  2. Yes! Radiata Stories was a brilliant game, glad it was mentioned first. It was all about the presentation- great characters, world, and art direction. Still need to beat the non-human branch though. The battle system was “mashy” but fun at times. Only bad point was the save system that was prone to advancing the plot when you saved even if you didn’t want to.

    My favorite RPG ever is pretty underrated/unknown and that’s Landstalker for the Genesis. Probably played it through at least fives times. The hero may be a Link clone, but the game is better than Zelda. Yes, BETTER THAN ZELDA! (though I haven’t played any Zelda game newer than Ocarina) The spiritual sequel Alundra was pretty good also, but I think veered a bit too much into the Zelda camp with it just having one town; structure was a bit too Zelda-esque.

    Also, a couple action-adventures that flew under a lot of peoples’ radars when they came out, but most with sense have hunted down and played: Beyond Good & Evil and Pschyonauts. Both fantastic.

  3. eh…That was a very creative spelling of “Psychonauts.”

    Pschyonauts (pronounced “Pssh-Yo-Nots!) was the sequel, and it sucked. Yeah.

  4. Alundra (and Alundra II) are not bad games but they do feel a bit like a Zelda clone.

    In that vein was Lagoon, another Zelda-like game of the SNES era which I seem to recall enjoying at the time.

  5. As far as recent games go that fall into this category, I’d put forward Uncharted and Saint’s Row 2. Neither one was a commercial flop or anything, but I think both are underappreciated by the general gaming public. For Saint’s Row, this is probably because of the time it was released (last fall). There was pretty much a triple-A title every week for a month in either direction of it’s launch date. There was just no way it could compete. I did have a really fun time playing it, though, and the inclusion of mid-mission checkpoints alone means it’s head and shoulders above GTAIV in my book.

    For Uncharted, it seems like everybody who played it liked it, but just not enough people played it. This might be partially due to the fact that it was an exclusive for the most expensive console currently on the market (if you don’t count PCs). I really think it’s a shame, and I’m glad Naughty Dog’s getting a chance to do a sequel (although I thinkit’s one of those games that just doesn’t need multiplayer).

    While I don’t think either of these games will hold a special place in my heart years down the line or anything, both were a ton of fun to play through and I’m looking forward to the next installment in both franchises.

  6. Uncharted was absolutely amazing and IMO still has way better graphics that the superb looking Killzone 2. The thing I loved most about it though was just it’s undeniable charm and rogueish main character. I agree that Uncharted absolutely doesn’t need multiplayer as it’s single player is of a decent length and isane quality, yet lack of multiplayer was one of the things which partisan gaming sites used to character assasinte the game, making it fall bellow the 90+ meta-rating it deserved (one review gave it a 67 which I find absolutely mind boggleing). I actually read a few reviews where the reviewer implored readers rent this game instead of buying it because there wasn’t enough content to justify a purchase. IMO much of Uncharted’s success is owed to word of mouth recomendations in forums, as I have never heard anything but good things about this title from PS3 owners. It’s kind of sad that insipid chaff like MGS4 has the reviewers fawning all over it and massive sales, while true gems like Uncharted get overlooked.

    BTW I’m surprised no one has mentioned Valkyria Chronicles yet.

  7. Well-spotted, SN. Valkyria Chronicles (Sega) may well be one of the most unappreciated-yet-excellent games in recent memory. It’s a masterpiece and sadly went well under the radar for many gamers, despite the availability of a free Demo. That said, it is listed as one of the best-selling PS3 games in North America (5th place according to Gamasutra) so the degree to which it is ‘not a success’ is open for debate.

    There are a few games which are excellent but which I’ve found most people are unaware of: the Mega Man Zero (Capcom) series (four games) for GBA deserve recognition for extremely solid, classic-style gameplay, complete with good soundtracks and clever stage design. They are the first Mega Man games I’ve played since the original 8 which capture the essence of the original series. I suspect these did pretty well in Japan but most people over here don’t seem to have even heard of them, which is a shame.

    (The MegaMan ZX series, for the DS, is sadly not as good as the Zero series for the GBA.)

    MegaMan and Bass (Rockman & Forte) is excellent. Did anyone else buy it?

    Also for the GBA are the Sonic Advance (Sonic Team) games and their spiritual DS sequel, Sonic Rush (not to be confused with Sonic Rush Adventure). These four games are the first Sonic games since Genesis trilogy that is really worth the price of admission. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of the original three Sonic games.

    Sonic Rush Adventure tries too hard to be Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast, and whilst a solid game really isn’t excellent–but I’ve never felt that the Sonic games were suited to 3D and any movement in that direction seems detrimental to the core gameplay of the series.

    Einhander (Square) was a solid shooter for the PS1 and did very well in Japan. It received good reviews but, once again, I know few people who owned it. It has been available on PSN in Japan for about a year now.

    Shadowgate/Deja Vu/Uninvited were NES adventure games which may have done reasonably well, I think? They were excellent examples of the form which has, it seems, become extinct. There was an N64 Shadowgate in 3D which was tolerable if not particularly excellent.

    Back after it was released, I could have said that Disgaea was an excellent-yet-unappreciated title, but NIS has done their level best to change that. Multiple releases and high-profile sequels have gone a long way to making the series far more widely-known.

  8. I hate to be the dissenter in the group, but I don’t see what the big deal is about Valkyria Chronicles. I’m probably about 80% through the game, and while it is enjoyable, and a the gameplay is a great mix of genres, it hasn’t sucked me in the way it has everybody else. I’m not saying it’s not a good game, definitely well worth the money/time I’ve put in, and I’ll probably be finishing it up this weekend, but I get the feeling it’s one of those games I’ll never touch again once I finish. Just throwing in my $0.02 on the VC subject.

    Getting back on-topic, another game I remember having a blast with is Crackdown. Like Saint’s Row 2, it had a story that was just plain laughable, and there were definitely a few technical glitches, but jumping from rooftop to rooftop once you had all your powers maxed out was just plain fun. I’m hoping that either inFamous or Prototype will be a similar experience.

  9. Oh yeah, and I’m not sure if they really fit in this category, but I’d say Persona 3 and 4. I’m constantly surprised by how many of my friends who are into video games, and even into JRPGs, have never heard of them. I guess they’re still a lot more niche than I realize, but I enjoyed them more than anything else that’s come out the past few years.

  10. My point wasn’t that Valkyria Chronicles was a dismal failure, but that like Uncharted it sold less copies than it should have.

    Btw VGCharts has it listed as selling 160,000 copies in NA, which doesn’t strike me as the 5th best selling PS3 game. They have it as selling 470,000 copies WW.

    Actually Mad World has only sold fractionally worse than VC in the west, the only diffence between the two games being that Mad World doesn’t have the Japanese sales to bolster its WW figure. It’s now up to 210,000 WW.

    In contrast Lost Odyssey has sold very well for a Japanese Rpg on the 360 with 800,000 copies sold WW, yet I would say it has been underrated it terms of its critical reception. If you look at Metacritic it has mainly received mediocre reviews.

  11. Legacy of Kain: Defiance I really liked this game’s combat, which hadn’t been very good the previous two, and it really tied together the narrative and story up to that (apparently discontinued) point.

    SaGa Frontier 2 although I was never able to beat the final boss on Will Wright’s storyline, I did enjoy this game despite its flaws and everyone else crapping on it.

    I can’t come up with any others that people haven’t mentioned at the moment.

  12. @Darth Gilbert- They have ok NA sales for last gen games though. Persona 4 (230,000) P3:FES (180,000) and P3 (220,000). If you add their Japanese, Europe and Asian sales to these figures then you end up with fairly decent sales figures.

  13. BTW yes I’m aware that I’m judgeing Persona sales by different standards than VC, but that’s because next gen games cost much more to make and also because much of the momentum for PS2 software (other than music sims) has dissapated.

  14. *Lusipurr craps all over SaGa Frontier 2.

    Lost Odyssey deserves far better than the reviews it has generally received. I can honestly say it is the best RPG I’ve played since Final Fantasy VII, and it struck me as one of the most singular experiences I’ve EVER had whilst gaming.

    I am constantly pained by my lack of a 360 for that one game alone. Everything else I was able to part with easily; but the lack of Lost Odyssey grieves me.

    With any luck it will see a PC release one day.

  15. Well perhaps the next Xbox will be a more durable piece of hardware and have backwards compatibility, then you could play it without having to use a pile of junk.

  16. I’m kind-of hoping that as well. Microsoft *generally* either learns from their mistakes, or repeats them in spectacularly more terrible ways. Here’s hoping they aim for the former rather than the latter. If so, the Xbox720 (or the Xcube or the Xcircle or the 3Box) will be a must-have if only for LO alone.

  17. I’m hoping the same thing, I have some nice games and I don’t know how much longer my 360 will be with me.

  18. I really liked Suikoden IV and feel much of the hate it gets is undeserved. It may not be a good Suikoden, but the worst Suikoden is still better than most of the stuff out there.

  19. @Epyon: True that. It compelled me to finish it, which is more than can be said for just about every other game that exists.

  20. Certainly not the worst game out there, but a terrible dissapointment by Suikoden standards nonetheless so I can’t really see how it can be a lesser-known favourite.

  21. SUIKODEN 4:good story, fast battle system,great main character true rune.great world desing but the sailing system sucked hard.still way better than tierkreis.

    Legend of dragoon: beatiful environments (water effects were great),interesting story,great characters,fun battle system(at least for me).

    thousand arms ps1: great anime style and hilarious characters, good story, fun and also hilarious date system.MAYBE THE WORST BATTLE SYSTEM EVER but i was young when i played and i was less picky.

    shining force neo: anime style dungeon crawler.really bad graphics and not a “diablo killer” of course but i really enjoy it.i want a sequel.

    sorry for my bad english.

  22. I always thought Illusion of Gaia for the snes was amazing, then again I was in 4th grade when I played it for the first time. The music still gets stuck in my head though. Maybe IOG is a little too old school for this thread…I’m old.

  23. I remember being confused that Thousand Arms was not a Wild Arms game.

    Lots of good suggestions here. Hopefully we’ll get even more before the podcast!

  24. Lol I love the fact that if you live long enough everything does a 180 until FFVII becomes a terrible game and FFVIII becomes a misunderstood masterpiece, and oh yeah apparently Working Designs did a bad job translating the Lunar games.

  25. You like Wakka’s voice acting, so I must beg to differ! A world where everyone liked that would not be worth living in!

  26. It wouldn’t be lightly populated at all, if everybody liked what I like then personal discretion would count for naught.

  27. oh double post. but also, persona was mentioned, but most of the MegaTen games are super-good and pretty under the radar compared to your Dragon Quests and Final Fantasies and assorted western RPGs go. They’re worth looking into, it’s a huuuge series though.

    Also, if you haven’t played Cave Story yet…

  28. Double-posts are totally allowed here. Even triple posts and quadruple posts! God forbid that you should be punished for having more to say!

    SoE is a good call. I loved that game!

    Here’s one from the past: Crystalis. And also: Faxanadu!

    Another excellent one from the NES era: Legacy of the Wizard.

  29. i forgot.

    VANGUARD BANDITS PS1: similar to front mission with some fire emblem elements. has an epic 80´s soundtrack. it reminds me of the anime escaflowne too.

    sorry for my bad english.

  30. Your English is quite good, no worries. It’s certainly better than Oliver’s, for he has never learned to read and writes his own name, in crayon, as “OLAVER MOTAK”.

    I remember Vanguard Bandits. Another game from the same time was Azure Dreams, which I expect most people have forgotten. It was a Dungeon-oriented RPG with some dating sim elements. Curious game, but good!

  31. @SN: Apparently I’m still young, because I still love FFVII

    @Lusipurr: I was actually listening to “The Times They are A-Changing” off the Watchmen soundtrack when I read your post. You are obviously some sort of musical wizard.

  32. Oh, and about Lost Odyssey, am I the only one that found the crying effect really jarring in that game? The first time I saw it, I seriously thought that the characters were turning into zombies or something for some reason.

    And, in the interest of triple-posts, I will mention Persona once again! I really need to get around to playing some more of the SMT games. Does anybody have any recommendations on where to start? I know Devil Summoner 2 just came out, and it seems to be getting good reviews. I was planning on picking up a few games next week, maybe I’ll add that to the list.

  33. @Darth: They were actually turning into Zombies. Did you notice Ming’s breasts? Zombieflesh!

    And yes, I am a musical wizard. But where I come from, they call us BARDS.

  34. @DarthGibblet- Yeah me too I was just making light of the fact that it is now trendy to hate FFVII and to cite its translation as the worst in video game history. FFVII’s translation was flawed but there are plenty worse.

    I’m actually convinced that in a couple of years time people will take to spitting on the ground whenever they mention FFVII.

  35. @DarthGibblet – I’ve only put a few hours into Devil Summoner 2 but it’s a fun game. Really good battle system. There’s a PSP remake of the first Persona game coming out, and that one is really close to the style of the original megaten games.

    Also,

    http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=smt

    and

    http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=smt2

    :D

    Digital Devil Saga isn’t quite as ludicrously expensive on the internet as some of the other SMT games, so i’d recommend that too. Also Devil Survivor for DS is coming out real soon, and that looks way cool.