The nine most underrated games of 2009

The games you should have bought in 2009

  • Sometimes, we truly question our readers' ability to comprehend the English language (and not just because we’re semi-literate hacks — although there is that too). When we presented our list [[artnid:332675|of the most overrated games of 2009|The 9 most overrated games of '09]], we explicitly stated that "none of these games are bad, they're just overrated." The hysterical hate-mail we received was therefore unexpected.

    Within minutes of the article hitting the Web, scores of irate gamers were demanding our resignation for daring to call Uncharted 2 a bad game (for the record, we never called it bad). Entire forum threads were devoted to our lack of professionalism and deviant sexual habits. It was as if we had spat in the face of a blind orphan amputee and then sat on her dog.

    Hopefully, this follow-up article will be a bit less contentious [making fun of blind orphan amputees is probably not the best start — Ed.]. Some of the games on this list were completely overlooked by the buying public. Others were unfairly dismissed by snooty critics (er, including us). A few were overshadowed by a rival in the same genre. Whatever the reason, they all share one thing in common — they should have been bigger hits. Basically, these are the games that you should have been playing in 2009.

    We've also included links to our original reviews, and online deals where you can get the games for cheap. Can we all be friends again now?

  • 9. [[artnid:322606|Brutal Legend]] (PS3, Xbox 360)

    Keen eyed viewers will have noticed that Brutal Legend also appeared on our [[artnid:332675|Most Overrated Games of 2009]] list. "How is this possible?", we hear you ask. Well, first off, office opinion was fiercely divided by Tim Schafer's rock opera opus. While some of us found it to be fun and original, others dismissed it as an uneven and self-indulgent mess — as pointless as a heavy metal umlaut. Also, while reviews were generally positive, the game's sales were wholly disappointing. In other words, Brutal Legend was overrated by reviewers, but underrated by the gaming public, which is why it appears on both lists.

    For all its flaws, Brutal Legend deserves plaudits for being that rare breed of video game — a unique IP that offers something completely different. For this reason alone, everyone should have embraced its stage-diving debut and treated it like rock god. Instead, we let Jack Black crash through the floorboards to his bloody doom. Free Bird.
  • [[artnid:322606|Brutal Legend]] (Cont.)

    At the time of writing, Brutal legend was selling for $84 at [[xref:|EB Games]]; a saving of $25.
  • 8. [[artnid:275251|Killzone 2]] (PS3)

    Let's face it: Killzone 2 was never going to get a fair shake from the gaming community. It all started at E3 2005, when Killzone 2's debut trailer [[xref:|caused a storm of scepticism |E3 2005: The Mystery of Killzone -- IGN]] to erupt across the blogosphere. In short, Sony was accused of passing off pre-rendered PC graphics as in-game PS3 footage. People were apoplectic.

    At the time, Sony bashing was fresh in vogue, and Killzone 2's ‘fake trailer’ provided the perfect scapegoat. To put it bluntly, if Ken Kutaragi had stripped down and done a wizz on stage, we doubt it could have caused more controversy. In any event, people's faith in the franchise was irredeemably shaken — and the original [[xref:|wasn’t even that great to begin with]]. After E3 ’05, practically everybody outside Sony’s fanbase wanted to see the game fall flat on its metallic arse.

    By the time Killzone 2 limped into storefronts, most people had stopped caring. What was once touted as “the ultimate Halo-killer” was now being dismissed as “just another FPS”. While Killzone 2 did okay commercially, [[xref:|its sales were eclipsed by Halo 3]] — and even the much-maligned Halo: ODST. To add insult to injury, few publications saw fit to include it on their Game of the Year list. Now we’re not saying Killzone 2 is a Halo-killer — whatever that means — but it’s certainly a lot better than most people give it credit for. Also, the Hellghast are just about the coolest video game villains ever. Those guys eat Spartans for breakfast.
  • [[artnid:275251|Killzone 2]] (Cont.)

    Killzone 2 can be purchased online from [[xref:|Games Warhouse]] for the killer price of $45.95.
  • 7. [[artnid:299551|MadWorld]] (Wii)

    Year after year, gamers continue to cry out for something 'fresh' and 'different'. While we’re happy to keep buying the same old sequels, we also want new ideas, unique designs and original IP. In a less mad world, we'd have a perfect mixture of both.

    Sega’s MadWorld delivered all of the above and more — just like Icho, Killer 7 and Mirror’s Edge. Collectively, they sold about 13 copies. Tch. Is it really any wonder that games publishers are increasingly reluctant to invest in original concepts? Clearly, we only have ourselves to blame.

    But the ironic thing is, behind its startlingly unique visuals, Madworld is just a paint-by-numbers scrolling beat 'em up — and a bloody good one at that. (It's certainly better than Ubisoft's TMNT games, which continue to sell well.) Maybe if Sega had used a dull brown colour scheme like every other action game in existence, MadWorld would have been a bigger hit. Sigh.
  • [[artnid:299551|MadWorld]] (Cont.)

    MadWorld is selling for $44.95 at [[xref:|JB Hi-Fi]]. That's just mad that is.
  • 6. [[artnid:303744|Bionic Commando]] (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

    We’re not even going to try to convince you on this one. But it's true.
  • [[artnid:303744|Bionic Commando]] (Cont.)

    Bionic Commando is currently on sale at [[xref:|EB Games]] for just $46 (original RRP: $120).
  • 5. [[artnid:309725|Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood]] (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

    For some reason, gamers just don't seem to get the cowboy genre, despite its endless scope for action and adventure. Even after the runaway success of the TV show Deadwood, Westerns continue to remain at the fringe of the gaming landscape; like mangy, flea-bitten horses.

    We were consequently unsurprised when Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood failed to set the world alight. With its compelling storyline, exciting set pieces and well-implemented gunplay, it really deserved to be a bigger hit. The early war-set missions are particularly noteworthy, proving that a pre-WW2 shooter can work if handled properly. With any luck, Activision will take note and release a Call of Duty: American Civil War game. It'd certainly be better than storming the beaches of Normandy again.

    Until [[artnid:334739|Red Dead Redemption]] kicks through our saloon doors, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood will remain the best next-gen Western in town. Head to your local game dealer, slap down a fistful of dollars, and take it home: you won't be disappointed.
  • [[artnid:309725|Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood]] (Cont.)

    Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood can be purchased from [[xref:|EB Games]] for $46 (original RRP: $109.95).
  • 4. [[artnid:318979|Wet]] (Xbox 360, PS3)

    Wet was always destined to become a poor man's Bayonetta. Both games feature balletic gunplay courtesy of a busty brunette in stilettos. Yet, while Bayonetta was heralded as one of the best action games of its generation, poor old Wet was left out to dry. (Do you see what we did there?)

    While we concede that Wet lacks the verve and energy of its Japanese rival — and is a little too fond of QTEs — there's still a great game to be found here. Just ask 2K Games' Anthony Lawrence, who proclaimed it [[artnid:333543|one of his favourite games of the year]] in a recent interview. (Incidentally, he was supposed to be talking about BioShock 2.) With its knowing nods to grindhouse cinema and relentless acrobatic combat, Wet was probably one of the most stylish games of 2009. In fact, we'll take its exploitative grit over Bayonetta's bubblegum insanity any day.
  • [[artnid:318979|Wet]] (Cont.)

    [[xref:|EB Games]] is currently selling Wet for just $46, compared to the retail price of $99.95.
  • 3. [[artnid:297505|The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena]] (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac)

    Two great games for the price of one, and nobody cared.

    Seriously, what more do you people want? Vin Diesel's blood?
  • [[artnid:297505|The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena]] (Cont.)

    The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is currently on sale at [[xref:|EB Games]] for a mere $46. That's less than half the price of the original RRP.
  • 2. [[artnid:306258|Red Faction: Guerrilla]] (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

    Red Faction: Guerrilla is a tricky fish to fry. There were flaws aplenty in this game, ranging from repetitive missions to uneven gameplay. It also suffered from one of the weakest storylines we've seen from a 'Triple A' game in recent memory. However, Red Faction: Guerrilla overcame these faults to become one the most entertaining video games we've ever had the pleasure of playing. Its sophisticated physics engine and destructible environment were truly out of this world. If you've ever had a deep seated desire to level an entire city with a sledgehammer, this was the game to own.

    Red Faction was something of a sleeper hit, with sales gradually building after [[xref:|a disappointing launch]]. So why are including it on our list? Because everybody seems to have forgot about its existence. When it came time to nominating their best games of the year, most publications didn't even give it an honourable mention. Perhaps they had all been given memory-suppressants, like Quaid in Total Recall. Or maybe games journalists are just stupid.
  • [[artnid:306258|Red Faction: Guerrilla]] (Cont.)

    Red Faction: Guerrilla can be purchased today from [[xref:|EB Games]] for $66 -- a saving of $20.
  • 1. [[artnid:327292|DJ Hero]] (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)

    For years now, the Guitar Hero franchise has been trotting out the same tired old concept via a roster of diminishing tracks. With each new release, the pool of prospective songs becomes smaller and smaller, until we're left with the likes of Counting Crows and (hnnngh) Taylor Swift. Call us ageing hippies if you must, but the Guitar Hero series used to be about real music. Now, it's just another platform for vapid, plastic pop.

    Clearly, a shake-up was in order; and that's exactly what DJ Hero delivered. The game's October launch brought about the sort of changes that critics had been clamouring for: namely, a markedly different play style, an all-new controller, and a radically different approach to music in the form of novel mash-ups and remixes. More to the point, it was a hell of a lot of fun.

    Activision claims DJ Hero was the [[xref:333060|top grossing new IP of 2009]], but that's a bit of an empty boast. (What was it up against exactly? Scribblenauts?) Meanwhile, business analysts have [[xref:|reported modest sales]]. If the game's slashed RRP is anything to go by, we reckon the analysts must have the right of it. With any luck, the game will have earned enough moolah to greenlight a sequel. It's either that, or Guitar Hero: The Jonas Bros. Start screaming now.

    Follow GamePro Australia on Twitter: [[xref:|@GameProAu|Twitter: GamePro Australia]]
  • [[artnid:327292|DJ Hero]] (Cont.)

    You can currently snap up DJ Hero for $97 from [[xref:|JB Hi-Fi]] -- that's a saving of around $50 on the original RRP.
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