Every year, I play games that I think to be excellent, and then find out that the general gaming press strongly disagreed with my opinion. There have been times where the gaming press have badly reviewed games that did not deserve such bad praise, with the most notable example being the PS2 cult classic God Hand.
In 2013, there were plenty of games that I felt didn’t deserve the low scores they received, in turn resulting in low scores on GameRankings and MetaCritic. The lowest GameRankings score for each game is selected (in the case of multi-platform titles) and shown below each title. If you are looking for hidden gems of 2013 that were probably overlooked due to poor critical reception, then you’ve come to the right place. These are the Top 10 Most Underrated Games of 2013.
And in the meantime, if you want more Top 10 lists to disagree with, check out these other end of year lists! Stay tuned for next week when we will announce the Top 10 Games of 2013 and the Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2014!
10. Sonic: Lost World (Wii U)
GameRankings Score: 61.95%
I honestly think that most professional critics go into every Sonic game wanting to hate it right out of the gate. Or they hate it for the wrong reasons. Yes, the story and characters in the game are atrocious, but by the same token, it’s a Sonic game. The enjoyment is not meant to come from the story or the characters, it comes from the platforming, and the mix of 3D and 2D platforming is actually pretty great in Sonic: Lost World.
The game blends the Super Mario Galaxy style with the classic Sonic side-scrolling style, and the results are often fantastic. The game is also brutally difficult, providing a challenge that is not often found in games nowadays. Not only that, but the game is gorgeous, with vibrant colors and a beautiful world that shows the Wii U is being horribly underutilized by other developers. Sonic: Lost World has me excited to see what the next Nintendo exclusive Sonic games will bring in the years to come.
09. Dead Island: Riptide (PC/360/PS3)
GameRankings Score: 57.58%
The Dead Island games are B-games, but that doesn’t mean they deserve the hate they get. Riptide offers a new island to explore, full of various buildings and jungles that are in turn full of zombies. The gameplay is fast, the RPG elements rewarding, and while I am still a bit disappointed at the lack of offline co-op functionality, the game still provides great online co-op for up to four players. Riptide felt like more of the same, but the slight improvements went a long way to keep the zombie-slaying madness as fresh as possible.
08. Remember Me (PC/360/PS3)
GameRankings Score: 67.06%
Remember Me is an extremely unique game. The combat system that the game uses offers a very weird twist on the Batman: Arkham combat system employed by WB in those games. It’s very complex, but also very rewarding.
A lot of professional critics criticized Remember Me for having linear exploration, but I don’t think the exploration really mattered in the game. What was important was the combat system, and Remember Me nails the combat perfectly. It provides something that is familiar, yet also very different. It’s exciting and original, and even if the exploration is linear, the setting is still a gorgeous cyberpunk wonderland.
07. Deadpool (PC/360/PS3)
GameRankings Score: 63.33%
Licensed games are rarely expected to do well, but the studio behind Deadpool managed to crank out two highly rated Transformers games that were beloved by fans of the franchise, the second one especially. Deadpool perfectly captures the essence of the character and provides plenty of laugh out loud moments that simply can’t be found in most other games these days.
There are some legit criticisms against Deadpool, but even then, it deserved higher praise for the pure fun factor it brings to the table, the creative take on QTEs, and its unmatched hilarity in the industry.
06. Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel (PS3/360)
GameRankings Score: 54.24%
I admit to loathing the second game in the Army of Two series, but the third game is one of the most purely entertaining experiences I had in all of 2013. The Devil’s Cartel features great co-op gameplay, some of the best shooting mechanics that I’ve experienced all year long, and great visuals to boot. Couch co-op is too often ignored, but if you’re looking for a great co-op game either online or off, The Devil’s Cartel is definitely the way to go.
05. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PC/PS3/360)
GameRankings Score: 61.91%
“Betrayal!” Internet personality Noah “Spoony” Antwiler infamously screamed this at E3 one year after he found out about the original incarnation of The Bureau, which began life as a BioShock-style first-person shooter simply set in the XCOM universe. Why Spoony so hates spinoffs, I don’t really know, but thanks to (undeserved) fan backlash, The Bureau went through development hell and numerous versions until it finally became a tactical shooter.
The Bureau is essentially a Mass Effect clone with connections to the XCOM universe. There are far worse games to copy out there besides Mass Effect, and it’s actually a formula that hasn’t been mimicked all that much anyway. Fans of Mass Effect will probably have a lot of time with The Bureau. I know I did.
04. Wii Party U (Wii U)
GameRankings Score: 64.68%
Professional game critics like to hate on Sonic games, but they also like to hate on mini-game compilations and party games. Actually, a good deal of the Internet gaming community also like to blindly hate on games like this, probably never actually playing them in their intended capacity: with other people.
This was the same story with the original Wii Party game. Lots of undeserved hate when it was some of the most fun I had with video games in a very long time. Likewise, Wii Party U is a blast with friends.
03. Fuse (PS3/360)
GameRankings Score: 62.62%
From the talented people at Insomniac Games, Fuse is an innovative co-op shooter with four different classes that have abilities that play off one another in combat. The game’s levels are highly replayable, with great level design and tense, exciting enemy encounters. The weapons are over the top in true Insomniac fashion, and the game is quite simply awesome and I am appalled at the review scores it received.
02. Knack (PS4)
GameRankings Score: 58.44%
PlayStation 4′s launch lineup is not as strong as it should have been because of the delays of the highly anticipated Watch Dogs and the exclusive racing game DriveClub. Knack was there on launch day, and its review scores are unfortunately going to keep a lot of people from playing an old school platformer/brawler that deserves to be played by everyone with a PS4.
Knack, like Sonic: Lost World, has a weak story and bad characters. However, it succeeds where it counts: the gameplay. Knack is challenging, fun, and nostalgic as hell, with platforming challenges that harken back to the glory days of Crash Bandicoot. Those looking for an old school challenge will find a lot to love about Knack.
01. Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)
GameRankings Score: 63.62%
Speaking of next-gen launch games that received far too low of scores, Ryse: Son of Rome deserved a lot more than what it got after it launched for Xbox One. The game is the best-looking video game that I have ever played, and it’s also a lot of fun. The combat system is simple, but satisfying. The multiplayer is addicting and a lot of fun.
Why did Ryse receive such bad scores? I don’t know. My guess is that it is too easy, but yet reviewers also seem to hate on games for being too hard. The challenge in Ryse does not come from simply winning the battles and getting through the levels, but rather mastering the combat system to get the highest scores possible.
Those with Xbox Ones should own Ryse: Son of Rome. It is fantastic, with an interesting story, gorgeous visuals, and satisfying gameplay.
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Which games of 2013 do you feel are underrated? Do you feel that the games in the list deserved the scores they received? Sound off in the comments below!