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Archive for the ‘Overlooked’ Category

Overlooked & Underplayed – Commanders: Attack of the Genos

Posted by Karen Jacobson On Friday 30 December 2011ADD COMMENTS


The Overlooked & Underplayed column allows us to recommend top notch games that, for one reason or another, failed to capture the public’s imagination. Don’t miss these forgotten gems.

Turn based strategy is often considered the lesser cousin of real time strategy. However, over the years we’ve seen some rippers in this genre. One such game that slipped through the cracks in 2008 on Xbox Live Arcade was Commanders: Attack of the Genos.

With smooth art deco graphics and 15 unique levels, this accessible, but addictive game provided hours of fun (spiced with moments of frustration). You had the choice of playing eight over-the-top commanders whose charge was to defeat genetically engineered aggressors known as the Genos.

The easier levels engendered an air of arrogance to make you believe that you could actually command your own real-life military operation. The more challenging levels would have you sweating on every move. There was a decent variety of troops, as well as ground level and aerial combat units to assist you in your cause.

Commanders: Attack of the Genos was a wonderful example of the genre. It didn’t receive much fanfare and, if you were to mention the name to most, they probably would say “huh?” Maybe it got lost in the early years of Microsoft’s download service. Who knows? What is known is that you should try out this game that not many people are talking about.

Don’t waste another minute! Commanders: Attack of the Genos is available for download from XBL.

Searching for more Overlooked & Underplayed classics?  View additional entries here.


Overlooked & Underplayed – Split/Second: Velocity

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Thursday 29 December 2011ADD COMMENTS


Racing games have been a staple of the video game scene since its inception.  You’ve had simulations, car chases, kart racers, cops and robbers and even dirt car madness but until May 2010 you hadn’t had a car racing reality TV show where you could alter the course as you were driving.

The game was Split/Second and it was brought to you by the late great Blackrock Studios, creators of the excellent ATV racing game Pure. This was a blast from start to finish, literally. You could swing cranes, drop explosive barrels and blow up parked traffic all in an attempt to take out your opponents. If you could hold off until the right moment, you could set off a mega charge that resulted in collapsing skyscrapers, crash landing 747s, exploding cruise ships or even a series of smoke stacks collapsing like dominos.

Split Second was released with little fanfare and almost no marketing, meaning that despite solid reviews the game was missed by many. So if you find yourself in the mood for some destruction with a side order of racing, Split Second should fit the bill nicely. It may be a one trick pony, but god damn it is one hell of a trick.

Don’t waste another minute! Download Split/Second from either XBL or PSN.

Searching for more Overlooked & Underplayed classics?  View additional entries here.

Overlooked & Underplayed – Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven

Posted by Zorine Te On Wednesday 28 December 2011ADD COMMENTS


The Overlooked & Underplayed column allows us to recommend top notch games that, for one reason or another, failed to capture the public’s imagination. Don’t miss these forgotten gems.

Ninjas. For all the fanaticism surrounding them, few games have portrayed them in their traditional context. Japanese developer K2 sought to rectify that with the Tenchu series. Kicking off on the original PlayStation, the stealth based gameplay and setting in feudal Japan drew fans eager to take on the role of ninja assassins Rikimaru or Ayame.

As the third installment in the series, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven continued the tale on PS2. This 2003 game maintained its predecessors’ emphasis on stealth over Rambo tactics and introduced a slew of new enemies and beautiful new character designs accompanied by a stellar soundtrack.

Where the title really shone was in its gameplay. It made stealth fun. I daresay it is the only title to ever have done ninjas properly. With its balance between stealth and action, heap of single player missions and assortment of intriguing items, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven offered a healthy amount of game time. Players could also pair up to conduct mission cooperatively or duke it out in versus mode, both of which added hours of replayability.

Despite the critical praise it garnered and a revised Xbox port, the game quietly snuck by and did not gain the following it deserved. Perhaps it was a little too stealthy for its own good?

Don’t waste another minute! Harass your local second hand games dealer for a copy of Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven.

Searching for more Overlooked & Underplayed classics?  View additional entries here.


Overlooked & Underplayed – Jade Empire

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Tuesday 27 December 2011ADD COMMENTS


The Overlooked & Underplayed column allows us to recommend top notch games that, for one reason or another, failed to capture the public’s imagination. Don’t miss these forgotten gems.

After the smashing success of their Star Wars and Forgotten Realms titles, many people wondered if BioWare had it in them to create an original universe. Well, no one should have worried, because what they brought us was something truly unique. In a genre where Sci-Fi and Fantasy reigned supreme, they brought us Kung Fu.

Published by Microsoft for the original Xbox in May 2006, Jade Empire was an RPG that took strong influence from both eastern mythology and modern kung fu cinema, giving players a world that included mythical water dragons, fire breathing toad demons and drunken warriors that Jackie Chan would be proud of.

The excellent real time combat system had players switching between four different fighting styles on the fly, creating a technique that was as unique as it was effective. Facing multiple enemies was a joy and the game went above and beyond to ensure the player felt in full control of their chosen martial arts master.

Solid RPG mechanics, excellent voice acting and a strong story saw Jade Empire wow critics around the world. Sales were a little disappointing though, meaning that to this day BioWare are yet to announce a sequel.

Don’t waste another minute! Jade Empire is available for download from XBL and Steam.

Searching for more Overlooked & Underplayed classics?  View additional entries here.