My personal list of heavily under-rated videogames or series
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I figured that since I just skewered several well-known and in most cases, also well-regarded games and series with my other list (My personal list of most heavily over-rated videogames and series), that it might be nice to do a more upbeat and cheerful one. One that won't make Mr Boris (see user badge below) weep in agony.

"The Ravens of VGG - 2016-2019"
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So without further ado, here's a list of videogames that were tragically and to be quite frank, foolishly under-rated by the confused masses of videogamers out there. To clarify, this is MY list of games that I found egregiously under-rated - either via critical acclaim (idiotic professional reviewers who should have known better) or via mass assessment and in comparison, perhaps, to similar titles that probably shouldn't have gotten as much hype or success.

The key part when determining if something is under-rated for me is 1) obviously my own tastes and subjective biases and 2) how a game was comparatively assessed by others, when placed near games in a similar genre.

PS. I reserve the right to add more as they come to me.

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1. Video Game: Too Human [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:6041]
Video Game: Too Human
A very unique setting (sort of a futuristic version of Asgard replete with Norse mythological influences), very fun and graphically appealing gameplay and combat, made this controversial (due to a stupid lawsuit between the devs and EA) game far better than many people thought it was.

I recall reading many reviews and it was obvious that the reviewer either found it too hard, too confusing, or was more interested in talking about the developer (Denis Dyack) than his game. He'd been a brutally honest and fairly outspoken developer that had rankled whiny game journalists a few times so he was fair game for shoddy reviewing, apparently.

This was a game that still (to me) stands as the poster child for why players can still benefit from a good thick paper manual, still. I say that because when I first picked up the game, I sort of got it and was having fun initially but I finally decided to grab the game guide and once I did that, I could truly understand some of the excellent ideas in the game system. This really made the game shine a lot more for me. I strongly suspect that had players had access to a reasonably decent and fairly thorough game manual, that many reviews would have been far higher.

It's just a really good game that should've had several sequels. What a shame.
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2. Video Game: Dark Reign: The Future of War [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2384]
Video Game: Dark Reign: The Future of War
This one popped immediately into my head when I thought of this geeklist.

Dark Reign, along with Total Annihilation and a little game called StarCraft, leaped onto gamers' PCs in 1997 and as great and as popular as StarCraft was, Dark Reign was better than both in several ways.

Total Annihilation heralded the lauch of Chris Taylor's brief but shining videogame design career and featured a massive glut of robotic units (though all fairly samey in nature, sadly) and the first impact of 3D environments on RTS gameplay. Other than that, it wasn't anything special, really. StarCraft banked on Blizzard's rapidly growing good name and provided a better-than-average story with excellent multiplayer - this was enough to push it top of the heap, as it seems gamers were just waiting for something to provide fodder for their competitive desires. Yet it felt like a very "safe" game, in overall design, lacking in some advanced features that it felt like it should have had.

Dark Reign had an interesting back-story but also provided excellent graphics (every bit as shiny/good as the other 2 RTS games) but really kicked butt in terms of AI, the excellent User Interface, and gameplay options - Units were very unique, interesting and creative and really boosted this to a point where it, not StarCraft, should have come out of this trifecta of games on top.

It did generate a decent sequel (which I was delighted, back in the day, to get to Beta Test) as well as its own excellent mini-expansion (gotta love the Breath of Ra!) but it never really put Auran (the designers) on the map the way it could and should have.
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3. Video Game: Psychonauts [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:107]
Video Game: Psychonauts
Yes, it does have a cult following that may make you think it's more popular than it was but overall, it didn't blast off the way it really should have.

Nearly everything about this game is fantabulistic! Superb artistic direction and style, unique levels, cool, fun story, great characters, hilarious dialogue, enjoyable platforming.

Sure it suffered from a tough level or two but if I could complete the game, anyone can - so that can't be that big of a negative.

To this day, I'm still not quite certain what made gamers decide they'd rather play one more tired version of crummy Mario over something as brilliant as this but you know what they say, "There's no accounting for taste...or lack thereof." shake

Desperately needs a sequel.
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Series: Pro Evolution Soccer
Consistently, ignorantly, and incorrectly under-appreciated by fans of digital futbol, in favor of the far inferior FIFA series.

Speaking as a former semi-pro player with over 39 years of playing, coaching, reffing, and managing experience, Pro Evolution has consistently offered much, much better on-field play experience compared to FIFA, which is little more than an arcade-style simulator in comparison.

FIFA has won more fans by taking the path of least resistance aka "licensed teams and players" and that's a damn shame, because PES (as us fans call it) is far better from a soccer "playing" perspective and that's what truly matters.

PES does offer much of what FIFA does in terms of other modes, etc...and also offers a superior team-managing mode, to boot.

This series deserves better credit and appreciation, hands down. Not FIFA.
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5. Video Game: Jade Empire [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:325]
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Jade Empire offers a very interesting setting for a videogame as well as cool combat, great characters and story, and everything you could want in a RPG plus it's Bioware, as they're hitting their stride. Just a great game and if you missed this one, you owe it to yourself to go back and get/play it!
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6. Series: Freedom Force
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Long before Ken Levine hit the jackpot with his stunningly great game, BioShock, his Irrational Studios made one of the all-time great comic book games - it was called Freedom Force and it even spawned a sequel.

It was set in the Silver Age of comics and just oozed respect for its subject matter as well as a deep knowledge of the hobby and offered superb gameplay and tons of depth along with it.

Great graphics, great voice-work, super enjoyable gameplay that captured everything wonderful about comic books. Highly under-rated!

Here's a picture of the first game's cover:

From gallery of wytefang
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