The eighth generation of video game consoles hit the market in 2013 and they’re only just now coming into their own in terms of ditching the original, hastily thrown together launch titles and moving on to bigger and better post-release games. The hardware is only now starting to win over the gamers who aren’t the bleeding edge early adopters but it’s looking like this latest batch of consoles is here to stay. That said, many gamers still proudly play and display their seventh generation consoles right next to their new ones.
Eventually, the big console manufacturers such as Sony and Microsoft will stop supporting their seventh generation consoles and ditch their corresponding online services but until they do, we’ll keep playing our Xbox 360’s and PS3’s. The seventh generation of video game consoles has been around since 2005 so there are literally tons of game titles out there. Even a rabid, gaming ninja hasn’t played them all. You’re probably familiar with all the big mainstream game releases of the last generation such as Bioshock and Portal 2 but this is my list of games from the last generation of video games you may have missed – games that for one reason or another most likely never have made it into your console or PC. Maybe it was because of fair to middling reviews or perhaps they just didn’t sell very well or maybe still it was both – whatever the reason, these titles are still kicking around in the bargain bin of your local video game store and deserve to be played.
Spec Ops: The Line
Spec Ops: The Line is a third-person shooter released in 2012 by German developer Yager Development and published by 2K Games. It received mixed reviews and despite winning several industry awards, saw lagging sales.
Why You Should Play: This game looks gorgeous even three years after its release. The levels are detailed and the backgrounds are simply stunning. That’s not what makes this game so amazing though – the story does. You play as a soldier in a desolate foreign country caught up in intense and gripping events that make you question the humanity of your mission. You witness devastating violence and see the aftermath first hand by meeting war torn families and it all conflicts with your views and goals established at the beginning. The controls are some of the smoothest you’ll find in a third-person shooter and that combined with the surprisingly intense and thought-provoking story make this shooter fresh and fun to play.
A psychological/horror survival game released in 2010 and developed by Remedy Entertainment, Alan Wake received positive reviews from critics and several industry awards and while not a financial disaster by any means, the game’s sales have been slow to climb compared to other similarly hyped titles at the time.
Why You Should Play: Alan Wake is a visually stunning, technically well designed survival horror game with an engaging storyline. Most of the enemies are shadowy figures that you shoot down after keeping a flashlight on them. There are some terrific references to older pop culture like The Twilight Zone, The Shining, and Twin Peaks – the latter of which Alan Wake is often compared.
The game’s story is told in an episodic manner with each episode having its own plotlines and cliffhangers all working to give the impression you’re watching a thriller TV show. The cutscenes are well done and the voice acting is fantastic. Despite an overall lack of gameplay, Alan Wake manages to keep you engaged and hungry for more and shapes up to be an enjoyable way of whiling away several hours much like a good book.
A sci-fi FPS released in 2011 by Polish developer People Can Fly and Epic Games that unfortunately, and despite all the controversy that would spring from its content that SHOULD have driven sales up, just didn’t sell – selling fewer than one million copies and failing to turn a profit.
Why You Should Play: A manly man’s shooter from start to finish, Bulletstorm is a white water raft ride through a testosterone river. It’s paced so quickly it may seem like a blur while you’re playing it, but afterwards you’ll feel a little nauseous and unsure of why you just had as much fun as you did.
The skillshot system is ridiculous on so many levels yet a total joy to play around with – rewarding the player for mixing up the kick and tether mechanics with environmental hazards scattered throughout the levels along with increasingly overpowered weapons. You’ll spend more than half your time trying to figure out creative new ways to kill baddies – each time you do you’re rewarded with a smartass quip and bonus points. It all adds up to something as mature as a “Your Mama…” joke but if you can dial your brain back to fourth grade Bulletstorm is an awesome shooter!
Shadow Complex is a platform adventure game released in 2009 by developer Chair Entertainment and Epic Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox Live Arcade. The game has received unanimously positive reviews and numerous awards and despite being one of the most downloaded titles on Xbox Live Arcade, the delivery method itself locked the game to the one console and obscured it from players who may not be using Live resulting in sales below that of a title of equal quality published traditionally and sold in stores for multiple consoles.
Why You Should Play: Everything about this game deserves to be experienced. Shadow Complex’s stellar design, gorgeous presentation, and addictively smooth “2.5D” gameplay all wrapped up with a very attractive price tag make it an easy decision for anyone looking for an endlessly engaging “Metroidvania” subgenre experience – you just might find yourself playing start to finish in a single sitting…it’s THAT good.
Remember Me is an action-adventure sci-fi game released in 2013 and developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. While generally praised for its world design and story ambition, problems with aspects of the story, weak platforming, and poor level design choices have led to mixed reviews and lagging sales.
Why You Should Play: While the game has many flaws, it’s gorgeously realized dystopian cyberpunk setting is not one of them and should be experienced by fans of the genre – especially at a bargain bin price. The unique combat system with combos that can be customized to suit the progression of the game difficulty along with frantic and varied boss fights make for an enjoyable experience despite its shortcomings.