eGamer Awards 2012: The Most Underrated Game
While we had plenty of fantastic games this year, we also felt that some passed by under-appreciated or without getting some deserved attention. In this award, we’ll be looking at what we consider to be the most underrated games of the year that actually turned out pretty decent or even good, but first let’s take a look at the rundown to see what we look for when we nominate games for this award.
We understand that there is a fair amount of subjectivity to an award like this, but we believe that it’s an important one to hand out simply because there are some relatively good games out there, or hidden gems, that get trampled over and tossed aside like trash when they’re not actually that bad. You could even say they’re misunderstood, or dismissed unfairly. However, we usually look for games that weren’t hyped that much prior to their release, or games that no one was really looking forward to. Most gamers dismissed it, and critics maybe weren’t interested enough to give said game a fair review. However, we thought differently to the majority, and felt that the game actually ended up good enough to deserve better treatment, and that’s what we look for when we nominate games for this award.
From the outset it would be easy to see why this game was dismissed, as it looks rather tacky and arguably silly. However, what we felt those gamers were missing out on was a special game filled with top-notch humour, a fantastic sense of style, vibrant colour and a quirky nature that really made it charming to play. It may have been easy to dismiss Lollipop Chainsaw as being too silly to bother with, but by that same token it was just as easy to love the game for its obscure idea of entertainment.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones was critically panned upon its release, and many dismissed it entirely and barely even cared about it. It was slammed for its combat, graphics, technical faults, and not being for everyone. But we felt that the extreme harshness probably came down to many critics not really being invested with the source material enough to enjoy such a game. Sure, you may argue that if a game is good it should be able to be enjoyed by anyone, but this was a game made for fans, and yet that little fact seemed to be quite forgotten. Fans who were familiar with the book series would have especially enjoyed the clever, gripping story, characters and game world. Sure, those who weren’t fans should most likely have avoided the game, but it gave fans of the series a very memorable experience that was a worthy addition to the legacy. Giving it a chance and a bit of leniency on its shortcomings was key.
Spec Ops: The Line
Most gamers who dismissed Spec Ops: The Line thought of it as nothing more than a run-of-the-mill, generic shooter that simply filled the space in an endless genre. Now, we wouldn’t quite hold it against anyone who thought that, because from the outside it’s easy to see why Spec Ops fits that particular bill. However, what all of those gamers and critics were missing out on was the powerful, haunting and excellent narrative. As far as we’re concerned, it was tremendously important for growing up the modern war shooter genre, and video game narrative as a whole. If you looked at it purely as a shooter, then sure it hardly did anything for the genre, but if you let yourself experience it, then this wouldn’t be a game that you forget all that easily, but treasure. We’ll certainly remember it fondly.
Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: Downpour had a difficult time when it was released because the series these days usually spells disappointment and missed opportunities. However, we felt that Downpour corrected that, returning the series to greatness. Still, critics dismissed it and faulted it for its combat, monsters, gameplay and various other things. We wouldn’t at all say that select critics had no grounds to stand on with these complaints, but we felt that the game received rather harsh treatment, especially given the state the Silent Hill series was in after Homecoming. The game may not have been a revolution in the horror genre and definitely wasn’t the best game in the series, but we felt that it successfully managed to drag the franchise out of its depressing slump and deliver a genuinely good, compelling horror game driven by a strong narrative and great ideas for scares. It was hard to put down, and worth playing.
It wasn’t Spec Ops: The Line, because the game wasn’t too badly rated in the end and we could see that it became more noticed and relevant as the year went on, and it even became a talking point for some famous names such as Yahtzee in his Extra Punctuation columns.
Truthfully, Lollipop Chainsaw and Silent Hill: Downpour could have been front-runners for this award, but in the end we simply felt that our winner was the most deserving.
This probably would come as a surprise to many, but we felt that Game of Thrones was the game that deserved a bit more appreciation than it ended up getting. We felt that as a game made for fans, it certainly fulfilled that purpose, and that the compelling and excellent narrative was severely overlooked when brushing this off as simply another licensed cash-in. Game of Thrones had a lot to offer the fans who decided to give it a chance and maybe have a little leniency on its shortcomings, and we felt that what it lacked in budget and polish, it made up in story and character. This was a game for the fans, and we felt they definitely would have enjoyed playing it and gotten something meaningful out of it. All of this makes Game of Thrones our choice for the most underrated game award of 2012.