The best part about video games is their sheer variety. With the thousands of titles available on each platform boasting amazing stories, styled gameplay, and unique visuals, there is bound to be something for everyone. However, this virtue often makes the gaming industry brutal for smaller developers. While huge names like Call of Duty and FIFA never fail to get attention during their yearly releases, other IP’s often struggle to get a chance in the spotlight. Thus, it is easy to see how some great games could go largely unnoticed by the masses. If you have not been able to get your hands on some next-gen hardware, here’s a list of great last-generation games you may have missed or overlooked.
1. Risk of Rain 2
Why not start this list off with a bang? Risk of Rain 2 is a rogue-like third-person shooter developed by Hopoo Games and published by Gearbox. It places players in the shoes of an explorer (or robot, or an engineer, or a weird venomous alien thing, or…) stuck on an alien planet with only one goal: survive. Of course, surviving requires players to drive the local, ever-hostile aliens to near-extinction while becoming progressively more powerful and looking for a teleporter to find more creatures to murder mercilessly.
Likely the best part of this game is its intense and fast pace, especially on “monsoon” difficulty. While other games may encourage the thorough exploration of their environments, this one goes as far as indirectly punishing it, as the difficulty is dependent on the time you’ve stayed alive just as much as it depends on your progression. This forces players to find a balance between grinding for loot and rushing straight through to the next level. Finding the sweet spot between the two extremes can prove to be extremely rewarding.
2. Let It Die
Undoubtedly the weirdest addition to this list, Let It Die was probably somebody’s effort to describe their experience after having a fever dream under the effects of psychedelic mushrooms and nitrous oxide. Plot-wise, it is set after a global apocalyptic event known as the “Earth Rage,” during which an enormous structure spawned in Tokyo. For some reason, people believed that the tower “held the key to the future” (whatever that means). As the player, you are egged on by Uncle Death into playing a “game” where you take control of inanimate avatars (for lack of a better word) to explore the tower in hopes of getting to the top. The line between reality and fantasy within the game is blurry at best.
The gameplay is reminiscent of a slightly more forgiving souls-like with a few guns and rogue-like elements sprinkled in. Its biggest virtue is that, despite being free-to-play, it doesn’t drown the player in ads for microtransactions. In fact, the game seems to drown players in its own premium currency. I don’t know how this does them any good monetarily, but it is definitely a great thing for players.
3. Titanfall 2
Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall 2 is probably the most famous often-overlooked game of all time. Because of weird video game politics that shall not be discussed here, it was released between Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Thus, the heartwarming story of the bond between a soldier and his mech went unnoticed by many fans of shooting games. It was a shame, as the gameplay and story were among the best I’d ever experienced.
As of today, the player base remains big enough to reliably find matches. This, paired with the fact that the game can be bought nearly anywhere at a very low price, makes it an easy choice for someone looking for some variety in their shooters.
4. Wasteland 2
For someone looking for something a little slower-paced, there’s Wasteland 2. Developed by InXile Entertainment and Obsidian, this game has players lead a team of a group of newly recruited Desert Rangers as they investigate the murder of one of the more senior members of the Rangers. As is the case with many RPG’s, the main story grows to unexpected proportions while players are presented with hordes of side-quests to keep the global emergency waiting.
In terms of gameplay, players are thrown into turn-based strategic battles similar to XCOM. The game isn’t too deep tactically but encounters never fail in forcing players to approach them carefully. Where the game really shines is when presenting the player with RPG choices that really have an impact on the surrounding world. My only grievance for this game is that it is pretty hard on the eyes.
5. Mad Max
For another post-apocalyptic desert, there’s Avalanche Studios’ Mad Max. In this game, players take upon the role of Max, a survivor in the apocalypse, in his journey to build the “Magnum Opus” into the fastest, most powerful vehicle possible after losing his first car. Needless to say, the story isn’t the focus of the game. This title is taken by the surrounding world, as it shows how the end of the world has hurt and broken everyone to the point of insanity through gruesome visuals, hidden items, side quests, and environmental storytelling. Indeed, few games can match the level of subtle world-building that is provided here.
The majority of the gameplay involves Arkham-like fighting and intense vehicular combat, with the latter undoubtedly taking the spotlight. These driving mechanics made tracking down enemy convoys in search of cool rewards the most exciting part of the game.
GreedFall is a semi-open world RPG set in a fantasy world inspired by the 16th century age of colonization. Here, players are thrown into the world as De Sardet, a noble in search of a cure for a plague spreading throughout his homeland. While doing this, he has to wade through political conflicts, mythical monsters, magic, and morally gray societal conflicts. The game is definitely not the best looking or the most polished, but it manages to scratch that classic RPG itch that Bioware has failed to take care of in recent years.
Combat is comparable to The Witcher 3, though not quite there. Nonetheless, what the developers have managed to achieve with their AA budget is pretty impressive. Especially considering the existence of games like Anthem. All in all, the game’s main attractions are its imaginative, complex world and the rich RPG elements. GreedFall is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.